When Mother’s day is ‘ouchy’…

It’s Mother’s day again and not always a happy day for everyone.

I happen to love Mother’s day, not because I have a wish list for gifts (in fact sometimes on Mother’s day I really want to be alone, enjoy a break by myself in nature, or with humans that I have not given birth to) but because it offers me the opportunity for pause and reflection on what ‘mother’ means. We are mothers by virtue of having children, but are also the daughters, the children of our own mothers. The effect of the absence or presence of the mother in our lives, stays with us forever.

When I became a mother,  I realised that my mother’s voice is often in my head. A lot of my parenting involves separating her story from my own, unlearning what does not work for me and my own particular style of mothering, but also truly giving thanks for her. I understand her more than ever now that I am a mum- and I realise that she did the very best she could, with the resources she had available to her at the time (with her own mother in her head). The babushka within the babushka within the babushka…


I am especially aware of the hard ‘mama’ stories at this time, so I always light a candle. While we post our photos of the flowers received, the breakfast or outings enjoyed, there are undoubtedly those amongst us who also feel the ‘ouch’ of loss on this day. Where mothers are dying or have already gone to their graves, where mothers may never have been known. Where mothers may have had to give up their children. Where the word ‘mama’ is synonymous with trauma. I light a candle for the woman who has miscarried or buried her child. I salute the woman who took over the mothering of another’s children. I think of the children (young and old) separated from ‘Mama’.


My own children are growing older now, the apron strings are loosening. I am learning, trying my very best to trust and let go a little more, so that I can mother myself too.


If mothering means to nurture or take care, then I wish this for us all on Mother’s day. Whether your mother or child is dead or alive- I  honour you. I salute your own honouring of yourself, your ability to birth new chapters in your life;  to mother, nurture and take care of yourself, at all times.

Every day.


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