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Bye, mum: From grief to empowering community group

Trigger warning: This podcast discusses grief, which some listeners may find distressing.

Danielle was 23 when her mother Rosa, aged 56, passed away from a rare form of gynaecological cancer in 2012. As Danielle had such a close relationship with her mum, she felt as though her whole world had fallen apart, and found it difficult to contemplate the sense of finality associated with death. Not knowing anyone her own age that had also experienced the loss of a mother, left Danielle feeling misunderstood and lonely. “It’s unrecognised and it’s under-acknowledged. The premature loss is incredibly impactful”, Danielle says.

Danielle longed to connect with another woman who was in the same shoes, but there was no support specific to losing a mother, or a platform she could feel seen and heard, and receive comfort and reassurance that her feelings were normal. While riding the waves of grief, Danielle decided to invest her time and energy into creating the support network she would have liked available, and commit to changing the path for future motherless daughters. In 2013, she reached out on an American Mother Loss Facebook page with the intention of finding a Victorian-based woman experiencing similar circumstances, and who might share her vision to connect girls and women whose mothers have died. Eloise Baker-Hughes responded, and the two met to discuss all things related to mother loss. It was here that the idea of Motherless Daughters was born.

Motherless Daughters connects and supports women and girls whose mums have died to help them navigate the everyday, and life’s key milestones without the support of their mum. Motherless Daughters is now an established community of over 10,000 women. “Knowing we are providing a platform for women who don’t have a place to go and speak openly and honestly without judgment or reservation is so special”, Danielle says.

Coming into Mother’s Day can be a difficult and triggering time for motherless children. In this episode, Danielle also discusses how she brings comfort to herself and others during this time of year through her support network and by normalising feelings of others.

For those who have lost their mum or a mother figure in their life, the best place you can get in touch with and find out more about Motherless Daughters is through their website www.motherlessdaughters.com.au as well as Facebook by searching ‘Motherless Daughters Australia’.

Tune into the Fernwood Podcast and listen to another fabulous episode. Simply search for Fernwood Shine on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, click download, and listen in.

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