The mother wound is an aching hurt—a livid scar—that raggedly paints the landscape of so many relationships.
Mother's day has just passed. Bouquets will begin to wilt, cards will be forgotten, and we will move on with life as usual.
I am willing to bet, that for everyone of us that had a nurturing, caring mother there is one of us that had a mom who was stressed, ill, addicted, or otherwise consumed by life in such a way that she was not available.
This is where one of our most common wounds comes from—abandonment.
No, we do not have to be physically abandoned to have this wound. We could have a mother who was in a toxic relationship, we could have mother who was working two jobs, we could have a mother who was mentally ill, who was, herself, so traumatized by her own upbringing, or by other circumstances in her life that she was simply, heartbreakingly, emotionally unavailable.
My mother and I have mended much of the fibers that weave the tapestry of our relationship together. We are healed. When things arise, we work through them. I had the gift of the being able to share something very tender with her on Mother's day.
I read her a dream I had—raw from the pages of my red, red journal. It was hard, it hurt. It wasn't about her, except that any mother who cares will feel she is to blame for the hurt of her children. I know that feeling, that story—the martyred mother, the sacrificed daughter. I did plenty of things that hurt my own daughter to disappoint her, to spread my confusion.
The wounds we do not tend, get passed down. Often the mother wound leaps from womb to womb, mother to daughter, mother to son. We do what we know until we know better, but even then knowing is not always enough to make those core corrections that have nothing to do with the core essence of who we are, but are rooted in pain and confusion.
How does this wound manifest?
It may show up in the way that a woman always puts herself second in a relationship. It may manifest in the ways that she swallows misogyny. It may show up as women being jealous of their daughters, or emasculating their boys. It may show up as abuse, but it may also show up as her simply being unable to pay attention to her children needs.
"Ma, mamma, mommy, mmmm!" was what my daughter used to coo, babble and shout at me, when she wanted attention. It was sweet, and primal and it illustrates what a silly creature she is, but it also spoke to the humanness of her needs.
"Mother is the name of God on the lips and hearts of children"
-William Makepeace Thackeray.
Mother is our gateway from the eternal, to the material. It is a task of cosmic proportions to guide life though our bodies into this world. When we open that gateway we may be transformed, or we may be consumed, or mostly likely, a little bit of both. Our ancestral patterns may become activated, both beneficial and what could be thought of as curses.
As mothers we feed our children with our bodies. They consume us. If a woman has already, herself, been devoured how can she possibly feed that which depends on her for life? She can't. And too often she gets left behind, she gets judged and shamed for it, and she falls even deeper into her own neuroses—her own unmet needs.
We ask for endless sacrifice from the women who become mothers, but we offer them so little support. We expect perfectionism, we expect them to be able to take on the world, and often without anyone ever imparting the care or the tools to empower them to do so.
And what do they do?
They fail. They hurt us. The don't have the skills to do what is needed, the don't have a net to catch them when they are exhausted, they don't have the balm they need for their own scars.
It's lovely if we celebrate mother's day, but if we want to make it meaningful beyond this day, show these women—our mothers, our daughters, wives, friends, colleagues and sisters—some motherloving respect and some sweet, human care.
Let's get them a decent maternity leave. Let's not judge them for having messy hair, or houses for that matter. Let's send their husbands and partners to support parenting classes, instead of putting it all on them. And let's also acknowledge that women are valuable beyond their ability to produce and raise babies. There are so many ways that women can create and nurture life, beyond becoming mothers.
Women are not the only ones who need to face their mother wounds. Rise up men and make peace with your own feminine, with the way you were mothered, and stand true as protectors of life and innocence.
There is a beautiful thing that begins to happen when we start to take accountability for our own fear, pain and confusion, and simultaneously acknowledge that we are not alone. When we claim our bond with the living planet's intelligence, our Great Mother takes a step toward us with every step we take towards ourselves. She holds us, even as we strive to hold ourselves and each other.
As we turn within and cultivate our relationship with ourselves as nurturers, then we can really never be separated from source or each other and in repairing one holy, human bond at a time, we can heal the world.