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Behind the Initiative

Emily
Mulligan

Project Founder

Polly
& Daisy

Project
Inspiration

In the middle of 2020, mortality was on every one of our mind's. The world was locked down, families separated, and the future was very much unknown. But when we think about death, we often think about life. The two are inextricably linked. As the poet, Mary Oliver put it, "what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" For me, I'd just discovered my answer lay in motherhood, and in having a second child. 

 

The daunting privilege of solo motherhood

Backtracking a little, I'd had a very unexpected start to parenthood the previous year. My daughter Daisy's pregnancy was unplanned, then my relationship with her father ended just after she was born. I'd had trouble with my mental health throughout my life, so I'm certain my family were poised to catch me fall. But what happened was the contrary: I'd never felt calmer or more at ease in my life. Motherhood was my homecoming. My purpose crystallised. Even as the corona-virus threw the world into chaos, I felt happy and safe at home in Western Australia. After a welcome redundancy payout, it didn't take long for me to decide I wanted to grow my family on my own as a Solo Mother by Choice.

I didn't take the weight of that decision or responsibility lightly. Of course I was aware of people's opinions that it's not fair to deprive a child of a father, though I was certain I could make up for a missing person with the sheer infinity of my love. I gratefully conceived another daughter, but throughout that pregnancy, my mind kept returning to what if something happens to me while she's growing up? Clearly we'd all just been dealt the biggest lesson in the unexpected. I owed this baby some kind of safeguard against life's uncertainties. So I embarked on a journey that led to the creation of The Love Mum Project.

 

A passion project
My motivation was simple yet profound: to ensure that if anything did happen to me, my beautiful young daughters would have a lasting trail of love and advice to guide them into adulthood. I started writing birthday cards for both the girls, then letters for major milestones. I asked my brother to deliver them at the right times, should the need ever arise. He was blown away by my commitment, and suggested we future-proof the Project by adding a digital database. It became my creative outlet and a source of accomplishment, offering a refreshing break from the monotony of early motherhood, and a welcome alternative to doom-scrolling social media. I would often add entries one-handedly while breastfeeding, or while nap-trapped under an over-tired toddler. On long drives I'd record a rambling voice memo, speaking to a topic or reflecting on a time in my life, and upload it. The satisfaction of knowing I'd just saved another part of me, and possibly provided my girls a little more nurturance, never ceased to light me up. 

Sharing it with the world

Three years into my Project, which I updated often with memories of our months together, and new things I was learning about myself, I came across a heart-wrenching post in a Facebook group. A mother, diagnosed with terminal cancer, sought keepsake suggestions for her pre-teen daughter. Many mums responded with their ideas: photos, video recordings, teddy bears with heartbeat sounds, inscribed jewellery, and wedding day gifts. It struck me then how valuable a database like my Project could be for her. Having already laid the groundwork myself, I knew it could significantly ease her burden and make the task less overwhelming. I understood that someone with a terminal diagnosis has enough to worry about. The process of creating these keepsakes needed to be straightforward, adaptable to moments of inspiration or times of treatment when she might have her phone handy.

I reached out in the comments, sharing screenshots from my Project and offering to create something similar for her. To my surprise, by the next morning, my inbox was flooded with requests from other mothers wanting their own Love Mum Project. They were amazed by the concept, calling it genius. By the end of that day, I had committed to creating a Project for over a hundred women. I wasn't sure of the 'how' or the 'when', but the 'why' was crystal clear. My Project had taken on a life of its own, and a business driven by heart and purpose was born.

 

The movement begins

I've spent the remainder of this year creating a product I'm truly proud of, and something unlike anything else you can buy. I look forward to growing this into a movement of dedicated, inspired, intentional parents, who don't take tomorrow for granted, and know they owe it to their children to leave their legacy of love, just in case. 

Listen to the story here...

Organisations I love

Dying to Know Day is an annual campaign that empowers all adult Australians to be strong self-advocates for their own personal planning when it comes to their future.

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A site aimed at facilitating conversation and providing resources for grief management & end of life discussion.

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A for-purpose organisation that delivers evidence-led professional therapy and support services to children and families who have experienced or are at risk of harm.

cancer chicks.png

Supporting, empowering and enhancing the lives of all young women affected by cancer and severe chronic and terminal illnesses.

death cafe logo.jpeg

A not for profit organisation which aims to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their finite lives.

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An Australian charity supporting grieving kids and teenagers to heal after a death. They provide free camps, programs and resources.

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