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20 Motherhood Lessons from Childhood Cancer

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20 Motherhood lessons from childhood cancer

by Trish Adkins, ALSF

We talked to some hero moms and asked them, “How did childhood cancer alter your motherhood? What lessons did you learn?”

Last year, we shared 10 of those lessons. However, it was not enough. So this year, here are 20 more things that we learned about motherhood from childhood cancer:

1. Motherhood is the coexistence of every emotion that exists. 

2. Motherhood can mean parenting a legacy because your child is not physically here, but their legacy lives on. 

3. Motherhood is appreciating the noise. 

4.  Motherhood is made easier with other mothers walking beside you offering their support.

5. Motherhood requires self-forgiveness.

6. Motherhood is knowing that your hopes for your child will change as they change and accepting that you cannot control the outcome. 

7. Motherhood is knowing that you will fail and fall, but unconditional love will always lift you up. 

8. Motherhood is being grateful for all things, even the less than ideal moments.

9. Motherhood is not waiting for tomorrow—because tomorrow is never guaranteed. 

10. Motherhood is holding onto the moment.

11. Motherhood is the center of everything you do—career, friendships, your home, yourself—are all still important, but only in the context of motherhood. 

12. Motherhood is knowing that the dark days will come and they will come again, but the light days—the bright days come again too. 

13. Motherhood is learning to see your child separate from you.

14. Motherhood is knowing that growing up is a gift—and the end of childhood should not be mourned, it should be celebrated. 

15. Motherhood is learning to treat your children equally, but differently and parenting each specific to their needs. 

16. Motherhood is being an advocate, but knowing you can’t do it everything for your child, no matter if they 3 or 30. 

17. Motherhood is experiencing the ultimate humility. You are not invincible and you are not a superhero. You cannot make it all okay for your child.

18. Motherhood is taking a vacation, being goofy and laughing.

19. Motherhood is having unconditional love—not just for your children, but for yourself.

20. Motherhood is forever. Nothing, not even childhood cancer, can take your title of “Mom” away. 


Special thanks to Robin, AnnMarie, Kira, Liz, Anita, Miriam, Keren, Jennie and Beth for sharing their stories with us. Happy Mother’s Day to hero Moms, heroes, SuperSibs and the wonderful mothers who love and support them all.

Trish Adkins is a writer for ALSF. She is most proud of being Mom to her childhood cancer hero Lily and SuperSibs Chloe and Nicholas.