So God Made a Mother is Here! 🎉

“We will share the good news with my Mom when she gets home from the hospital,” I said to my husband as we were driving home from the ultrasound appointment to confirm my pregnancy.

For all of the nine years that my mother fought her battle with stage 4 colon cancer, she always came home from the hospital—always stronger than before. Despite the changes we all saw in my mother, and how much she was suffering, I was determined that she was going to come home again like all of the other times. Maybe not as strong as all of the other times, but she was going to come home. This time she was going to have the motivation of being Nonna to fight even harder.

However, God had a different plan.

The doctors pulled my family aside and told us that my mother could no longer breathe on the oxygen machine. At this point, hospice was the only positive option for my mom.

The traumatizing memories still seem foggy to me. All I can remember is the noise of the doctors and nurses talking to my family. I couldn’t hear actual words, just the noise of their voices fading in and out as I zoned out. I was in an actual nightmare, and I was in no condition to comprehend what was happening.

I felt like the walls were caving in and all I could think was we have to tell her. I gathered my emotions and with my trembling voice, I was able to share with my mother that I was pregnant. As painful as it already was, all I could see were the tears running down the side of her face.

The very next day after we saw the tiny little image of the beautiful life we were given, another life was taken. My mother passed away only hours after being transferred to hospice.

How was I going to be strong enough to carry a baby and grieve the loss of my mother?

There are still so many unanswered questions that I will ponder forever. But most importantly, how was I going to be a mother without my own mother?

Who is going to look at me when I’m feeling defeated about motherhood and simply tell me that I’m doing a great job?

When you become a mother for the first time, you realize that you need your own mother in a different way you never imagined before.

Grieving the loss of my mother during my first experience of motherhood has forced me to look at life differently. When I’m feeling down about not being able to see my mother simply hold my baby, I look a little deeper. I think of certain things that I could imagine her doing, and I do it.

My mom LOVED music and dancing—that’s how she was defined. So each time I am overwhelmed by those painful emotions, I pick up my little baby boy and dance around the living room with him in my arms listening to Mom’s favorite songs.

When I had to take my baby to his very first pediatrician appointment alone, my mom knows me well enough to know that I was flooded with anxiousness. She often would call me the “worry wart!” Only I would lose sleep over the thought of handling the car seat and driving around with a newborn. My mom found humor in these situations with me. She would giggle, as I would work myself up over every small detail. She laughed because she had all the confidence in me that I could do anything I put my mind to.

I wanted to pick up the phone that morning before I left for the appointment and just say, “Please come with me, Mom! I can’t do this alone without you!” I imagine that she would have giggled and said, “Oh come on Kris, you are FINE! You can do this!”

After I was driving home from my son’s successful pediatrician appointment, I wanted to speed dial my mom and laugh with her and say, “You were right Mom, I did it!”

I loved making her proud.

This was no surprise to her that I was able to gather the confidence to go out with my newborn for the first time. (New moms, I know you understand me—this is scary!) She was with me every step of the way because as soon as I got in the car, her favorite jam came on the radio. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to giggle or cry tears of joy the entire way home.

It’s in these simple moments, I slow down and look a little deeper—and I feel my mom’s presence.

It may not be the exact way I want it to be, but it is my way of accepting that she is still with me during motherhood—in an unfamiliar, different way.

This is what I like to call my new normal. I know I am not alone in these feelings. For those of you grieving this same loss, I can’t promise you that it will ever get easier. But I can promise that you will find a new normal. A new way of feeling your loved one’s presence.

They are with you every step of the way.

So, I circle back to that same question: how will I be strong enough to carry a baby and grieve the loss of my mother?

I can assure you I received my answer to this the day my son was born.

I was strong enough to endure this journey because my mom had undeniable strength that led me to carry on and honor her.

You may also like:

What it’s Like to Love a Motherless Daughter

A Letter to My Mom in Heaven

Only a Motherless Daughter Knows

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Kristina Marie Palomba

I joined motherhood for the first time about six weeks ago. So far, my motherhood journey has been beautiful and bittersweet, all at the same time. It has not been easy to experience this without my mother, who I just recently lost a few months ago. My hope is to inspire others through my journey and writing. 

My World Stopped When I Lost My Dad

In: Grief
Sad woman placing a white flower on a closed casket

I think it’s safe to say we have all dealt with grief. If you haven’t, count your blessings. I, like so many of us, have traveled on the road of grief . . . an unpleasant walk. After several losses, I have been on different sides of grief. When your friend loses a grandparent, you mourn with them, for them, for yourself, for their family. But it doesn’t quite affect your everyday life. When your spouse loses an aunt after an illness. When your spouse loses an uncle in a motorcycle accident, you mourn the loss of a kindhearted man....

Keep Reading

It’s the Flower Food Packet that Hurts

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Flowers on a headstone

It’s the flower food packet that gets you. That little plastic packet with the powder that keeps your flowers alive longer. The little packet you know you’ll never use because these flowers aren’t going in a vase. They’re going on the ground. RELATED: The Impossible Grief of Child Loss Hurts Forever Buying flowers for my baby’s grave is a normal process for me. Every so often, and especially around the time of year we lost our boy, I grab a bunch at our local grocer. I lay them carefully on top of where his very tiny body was laid to...

Keep Reading

How Do You Say Goodbye to Your Mother?

In: Grief, Loss
Sad woman sitting on edge of bed

Sitting at a McDonald’s table in Charleston, SC, I looked down at my ill-fitting shirt and shorts. Stress had taken its toll, and most of my clothes now hung off me. I should have worn something else I thought, but how do you pick out an outfit for saying goodbye to your mother? I reached up and felt my earrings. They were hers and seemed right. That was something at least.   Within the hour, my family and I would come together to take my mom off life support. It was Good Friday and I managed to secure an Episcopal priest...

Keep Reading

This Is How to Show Up for a Friend Who Has Cancer

In: Cancer, Friendship, Living
Bald woman during cancer treatments and same woman in remission, color photo

One moment I was wrestling with my toddler and rocking my 3-month-old to sleep, and the next I was staring blankly at the doctor who just told me I had stage four cancer that had metastasized from my uterus to my left lung and spleen. “Well, I didn’t see that coming,” I smiled at the young doctor who had clearly never given this kind of news to anyone before. I looked over at my husband’s shell-shocked face as he rocked our baby back and forth in the baby carrier because I was still nursing, and we knew we’d be at...

Keep Reading

All I Have Left Are Dreams of My Mother

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother holding infant, older color photo

I had a dream about my mom last night. It’s rare when this happens but last night’s dream was unlike any I’ve ever experienced. I was at a party, and she just walked in. It was so vivid. She sat down in a chair, looking so beautiful, so young, her eyes so very blue. She was so full of light, something I hadn’t seen in a while. I just looked at her, stunned, and gasped. I said, “Are you here? Are you real?” I couldn’t believe this was happening. Just like that she got up, grabbed me, and hugged me...

Keep Reading

I Miss the Little Moments with My Mom the Most

In: Grief, Grown Children, Loss
Woman sitting on floor by couch looking sad

You think it’s going to be the big holidays that are hard. The first Thanksgiving without her. The first Christmas. Maybe even her birthday. But it’s not the big days that bring you to your knees. It’s all the little moments in between. It’s cooking a family recipe and not being able to call her to ask a question about the directions. It’s looking down and realizing you’re using the Tupperware you stole from her and knowing you can’t return it even if you wanted to. RELATED: My Mom is Never Coming Back To Get Her Shoes It’s talking about...

Keep Reading

“It Can Wait.” What I’ve Learned about Doing Too Much after My Mom Died Young

In: Grief
Family posed for photo outside

My mom died at the age of 45. Yes, just 45.  Around Mother’s Day, the reality of just how young she was hits me hard. As a mother of two young boys, I’m evaluating my own motherhood journey and in the absence of my mom, trying to give myself some sound advice for this next year.  My mom was a family doctor. She got her MD at the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s from Johns Hopkins University. Brilliant, most would say. She was in generally good health, petite, never smoked, never had more than a glass or two of...

Keep Reading

Time Doesn’t Make Mother’s Day Hurt Any Less

In: Grief, Grown Children, Living
Grave stone that says "mother" with a yellow flower

I’ve been in this motherless daughter club for over a decade now. Most of the time, that still seems strange to say out loud. I’m far from the firsts without my mom. However, what I have learned, is that there are certain experiences, certain days, and certain moments that you can’t put a timeframe on. These are the times that hurt for so much longer than just that initial grief period. Big moments without my mom—anniversaries, birthdays, special days—but the one I like to believe weighs the most and hits the hardest year after year is Mother’s Day. RELATED: Mother’s...

Keep Reading

Can You Hear the Silent Cry of Bereaved Postpartum Mothers?

In: Baby, Grief, Loss
Crib in nursery

Trigger warning: post discusses death and loss The cool air shocked my sweltering face as I walked into the doors of Old Navy. My husband kept his hand on my back to remind me he was still with me amidst the summer hustle that was buzzing in the store. We were there for a shirt. A single shirt.  An embarrassing want that I was calling a need. I thought I would actually laugh at the situation once I got out of the house for the first time in a week.  Seven days before, I was lying on my back in...

Keep Reading

I’m Happy for You But I’m Still Grieving: Remarriage after Loss

In: Grief, Grown Children, Loss, Marriage
Coupe holding hands at wedding, close up black and white image

“I take you for my lawful wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death does us part.” Remarriage is beautiful and redemptive. Remarriage proves that second chances are possible and that love doesn’t come in one specific shape or size. Remarriage is the embrace of hope as much as it is of love. Remarriage shows that love is still possible through heartbreak. But let’s face it, when you aren’t the one remarrying, remarriage can be a little awkward. Add in that you are the progeny...

Keep Reading