Published on May 7, 2016

 

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When I was 6 years old my mother left home. It was a sad day. From then on our relationship was like a treacherous ocean. Hard to navigate and full of turmoil. In the later years of mum’s life we did find some peace. Some moments of quiet reflection, sharing and listening to each other’s pain over cups of tea and a new baby.

My mother had suffered greatly in her early life and she did not know how to emotionally bond with a child. She lived a life without nurture for the first 6 years of her life and this left a long term legacy that that rendered her unable to know how to raise two beautiful girls.

The loss for her and the loss for us always tinkered in the back ground right up until her sudden passing at age 63.

Motherhood can be a place of such extremes. The joy and the wonder that I feel as I simply watch my girls just breathing, the detail of their eye lashes, the way they say their words is just exquisite. Watching them learn, discover and flourish is something that I will never tire of.

The sadness that comes when I perceive myself as having failed them in some way can be quite immense. And the roar of the inner lioness when I am protecting them surprises even me sometimes.

In my clinical practice I talk to so many mothers. Mothers who have won and mothers who have lost. Mothers who have had to say good bye to their babies and their adult children who have died before their time and against the natural order of things. Mothers who are saying goodbye to their children as they grow older and are leaving home; and who do not know yet how to let them go.

I also talk to many children who have never known their own mothers. Not really. Raised in foster care; they live a life where they are faced with the challenge of finding themselves and their way through life without the loving guidance that only a mother who knows can give. Some find themselves in the most beautiful way. Others continue looking.

As a mother I understand that motherhood is a journey and every mothers road is an individual experience. And it is on this day more than ever that we need to acknowledge both the celebration of motherhood as well as support those who’s experience of motherhood- whether as a mother or a child – has left them feeling a pain that rests in the space where no words reside.

Here are some ideas.

Allow your grief to express itself

For those who also feel sadness on mothers day then I send you much love. Whether you are a mother who’s child has died, a child who’s mother may have loved you but did not know how to nurture you; or a mother who for whatever reason is not having a mothers day that they wished for – then I encourage you to allow yourself to feel the sadness that may come. This sadness; whilst it may feel like it is going to overwhelm you; is just an emotion. Your mind and body telling you that its ok to feel sad. It is understandable to feel sad and it is time to allow yourself to feel that sadness. Find ways to nurture this sadness and look after yourself via your 5 senses. Listen to some soothing and beautiful music, allow your eyes to rest on a beautiful image, wear soft fabric and immerse yourself in a warm shower or bath; smell some beautiful essential oils and taste some yummy food.

 

Celebrate

For women all over the world who have children here with you; today is the day to celebrate. As you do consider both the gifts of motherhood that you have both given and received. There is much to be grateful for I encourage you to write these down. Record them in some way. And enjoy.

Breathe in every single moment as your family gathers around you. You are truly blessed and very fortunate indeed. I will be having a very special day with my husband and girls. We will immerse ourselves in the blessings of the planet and I will write my gratitude list. And the first item on my gratitude list will be that both myself and my girls have air in our lungs to breath and be present in this moment together.

 

A special message for women who are struggling with infertility and the quest for motherhood….

 

There are also many women who are seeking motherhood and who have not yet been able to conceive. Mother’s day can be so hard for you and it can really heighten your sense of loss. You are surrounded by a strong reminder of what you can not yet have. Allow yourself to feel sad. Your pain is real and is completely understandable. This is a day where you need to particularly immerse yourselves in all forms of extreme self care.