Culture / Society

How to navigate Mother's Day without a mum

By Anna Clarke
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Photo: Martin Bergström

As Mother’s Day arrives, Swedish singer Joy M’Batha, who lost her own mum when she was just 19, shares her story and offers advice

I grew up with my mum, stepfather and my four sisters in a big yellow house with a sprawling garden in a small village in Skåne, in Sweden, where there were only 1,000 people living there.


I had a very complicated childhood. My mum suffered from bipolar disorder, so I had to grow up quickly. And because I don't have a good relationship with either my stepfather or biological father, it always felt like it was just me and my sisters. There were ups and then downs, my mum was very manic and then would be extremely depressed. It was very lonely and chaotic – I don't wish that on anyone. I don't remember anything from my childhood, I think that's a coping mechanism.