At the tender age of 17, I faced the heart-wrenching loss of my beloved mother after a four-year battle with breast cancer. Fifteen years later, I stood at the beginning of a new chapter as I welcomed my own baby girl into this world.

For me, pregnancy became an exciting research expedition in an attempt to prepare for every conceivable challenge. Yet, amidst all of my meticulous preparations, there was a new reality on the horizon that I could never have foreseen– a silent struggle that nobody seems to talk about.

Having faced numerous life milestones without my mom, I’ve learned that the absence of her presence during these important moments doesn’t necessarily get easier– I’ve just learned to navigate the complexities with a sense of adaptability, and I didn’t expect my journey into motherhood to be any different.

Little did I know that cradling my precious girl would bring forth a flood of emotions that I wasn’t prepared for in the slightest– requiring me to grieve life without my mom all over again but this time with the perspective as a mother, too.

Navigating the intricate journey of motherhood without my own mother serves as a poignant reminder of the immeasurable value inherent in a mother’s presence. It’s the unspoken understanding, the intuitive connection, and the comfort derived from a mother’s unconditional love that I yearn for in her absence. Because the immeasurable value of her presence lies not only in the memories we shared but also in the unwritten chapters of our story that we never got to live.

Each milestone of my motherhood journey has become a celebration, accompanied by a longing to share these significant moments with my mom– seeking her wisdom and hearing her comforting words. It’s in the midst of our joyous celebrations and challenging tribulations, that I feel the depth of her absence more than ever.

I long for her contagious laughter, the reassuring touch of her dainty hands, her tight hugs, and the sound of voice, and I’m reminded that her immeasurable value was not just in what she did but in who she was—a beacon of love, strength, and unwavering support.

In navigating the complexities of parenthood without her, I am confronted with the profound impact of her absence in my family’s story. Yet, within this poignant realization, there is an enduring strength that arises. A strength shaped by her– the echoes of her love, the imprints of her teachings, and the resilience inspired by her life. What a testament to the enduring power of a mother’s love.

Dear friend, if this is your story, too, I hope you find solace in the shared struggles, strength in the unspoken bonds, and the courage to parent with a heart that bears the scars of both loss and undying love. You are loved and you are not alone.

You can learn more about Meredith Maag here or connect with her on Instagram.