Alone, isolated and misunderstood are three words that come to mind when describing how I felt at the age of 23 when my mum passed away.
She got sick when I was 21 and I quickly transitioned from a carefree, immature young woman with no responsibilities, to having the weight of the world on my shoulders.
At 23, I had no choice but to grow up and be more of an adult than my friends who I could no longer really relate to.
My brother is nine years younger than me and he was 14 years old at the time, meaning I had to take on a mother-like role. I wouldn’t change that though, because a beautiful sibling relationship has really blossomed. He is my best friend.
But there is something very sobering about losing your mum so young. Before you’ve even had a chance to figure out who you are, you have to figure out who you are without your mum and that's incredibly challenging.
I just longed to be around other women who also understood what it was like to lose their mum, because there is something so unique and profound about it.
That's why, after meeting my friend Eloise, who was 13 when her mother Janet passed away, we founded a community where women and girls could feel understood.
Motherless Daughters Australia has a network of more than 4000 women and girls who have the shared experience of being motherless. After discussing some of the most common thoughts and feelings we experience, here is what you may know to be true if you grew up without your mum.