On a Sunday in May, we recognize and celebrate mother, the woman who birthed us. While the day emphasizes the good mother, the elephant sits quietly in the shadowy corner of the room.
Whether you slice cake together, go to the graveyard to visit her, or do nothing for your mom, your strong feelings, unresolved conflict, or unanswered questions can
interfere with your relationship to her on this Sunday and everyday.
Love or tolerate her; this woman, your mother said yes to your life.
We are all born into a family, whether intact or scattered. The sacred vessel that grew you belongs to a woman who eventually becomes known as ‘mother, mom, saint, or bitch,’ a caregiver with great power over life and death.
Not denying spirit or the father’s role, Mother agreed to carry you to term, knowing the joys, challenges, and risks of pregnancy. She is your first relationship on the planet. The early years profoundly influence your life today, without you realizing the impact they have.
There Cannot Be Blame and Healing.
Language reveals trauma and struggles, which often leads directly to the Primary Scenario, which is a term used to describe the mother-infant or child relationship to learn what happened or did not happen during the first years of life.
Who was mom? How was her relationship with bio dad? Was she ill? How about her moods? Did she die young? What happened to her? Was there a break in the bond? What was her stress? Did she have addictions? Did she want her child?
Our relationship with mom is existential. In the early years, we actively “took” from her.
- We cried to be fed, and we took in what she provided us.
- We felt ill, and we took in her comfort.
- We discovered our toes, and we took in the praise she gave if she did.
- When mom was stressed, we also took in her tensions.
- When she was away, we also took in her absence.
- When she was present, we also took in how she was attending.
What is the story of your infancy?
Maybe you were colicky and couldn’t hold down food, or you were a ‘good’ baby who never cried? Did you sleep or cling to mom? Were your milestones on track?
These symptoms and others are how babies express stress. The interactions that occurred frequently were imprinted in the nervous system and brain, replicating themselves through time like Russian nesting dolls.
No matter what happened or didn’t happen, if you have strong negative feelings for mom or there are things you have not resolved regarding your upbringing, here are three things to think about to begin the process:
- Look back at her life for a broader perspective. Talk to other family members, look at old photos, or ask her questions if possible. A clarifying question is, “Who was she as she entered motherhood?” Many women enter motherhood traumatized.
- Stop blaming to start healing. When you blame mom for your ills, while the facts may be true, coming to terms with what was is a critical piece for moving out of the past. Saying, “Yes, Mom was abusive…” does not drop a veil over the experience or deny you hurt.
When you continue blaming mom for your problems, you remain tethered to her wounds. As children, we did not understand or know the burdens she carried, and we are shaped by ‘her’ wounds, often mirroring her. We can not rescue or fix her, but the consequences, hurt, and memories are within our power to heal.
- Agreeing to what is true, not the story, includes your experiences. Agreeing does not make whatever occurred ok or acceptable. It lifts the veil of denial to sort through what belongs to her and what is yours. You do not accept abuse; you agree that it was true and consequential.
Accepting mother as she is (was) is acknowledging life as it was, not how we wanted it to be or how it was supposed to be. When you reconnect with these early years and fill the voids with the strengths, love, and joy that were overshadowed, you can walk forward into your life, not looking over your shoulder hoping for the Hallmark fantasy to come true
Denying the hurt, the small child within you distances from the better relationship you might have with her or yourself today. It’s possible mom matured, and without words, she tries to atone for shortcomings because a part of her knows.
Healing is your responsibility, and it is well within your purview. Healing the mother wound improves your life all the way around. Say YES and agree to your life, just like she did.
Open the heart to hold the good and the truth of the struggles because chances are – you have all you need within yourself to heal.