Over the course of my twenty-one years of mothering, I’ve been
a sad mother
a mad mother
a decent mother
a mediocre mother
a worthy and respectable mother
and a bad mother.
I’ve been devoted and irresponsible.
I’ve been present and preoccupied.
I’ve been vacant, and lacking, and exemplary.
I’ve been ashamed. I’ve been away. I’ve been here all along.
I’ve been gone. I’ve been waiting.
I love each of my children beyond words and outside of time.
I was raised by an extraordinary mother whom I adored (and adore). She sparkled with joy and humour, and insight and delight—and she still does.
She also came from a traumatized lineage, and when I was little, her ability for nervous-system self-easing was heavily impacted by the constant stress she was under to provide for me and my siblings, and to protect us.
Her moods frequently veered wildly between terrifying and serene, and I spent most of my childhood under immense pressure to perform, frightened of saying or doing the wrong thing; frightened of the rage I could inspire, and feeling terribly responsible for the possibility of everything crashing down around me, (and her).
I never questioned my mother’s love for me fundamentally, but I often felt abandoned, and the sense of agitation and chaos became familiar, and even comfortable.
I’m still learning how to care for myself and others correctly; when to hold on, and when to let go; when to armour, and when to soften and melt.
I still hold fear and tension and trauma in my body, and I still have a tendency to seek the perception of safety in the familiarity of dysfunction.
It makes sense somehow, that as I walk the path, much of the work I do in birth, and what I do with women 1:1, and in my community online, consists of supporting my fellow mothers through various stages of integrity, addiction, crisis, sorrow, self-sabotage, and coherence, and recognizing that we can program ourselves another way.
We can be ways that feel new, because underneath the layers of wounding that most of us are working to emerge from, there is a core piece in all of us that is Love.
What I know to be true is that all mothers love their children, including the mothers who fail and the mothers who leave, and the mothers who fall apart.
I know that all mothers love their children, and I know that all children love their mothers.
This is not an excuse for anything, or a justification, vindication, or absolution.
But it is a fact, and this knowing has helped me to remember that the only purpose of this life is to learn what love is, and how to Be it.
Happy Mother’s Day.