Mothers are sacred ground but not all mothers are great. This is a truth Oprah rarely deals with. So this is my salute to those of us who have not had great mothers.
I refer to mothers who may be with us, left us or have physically passed but they left an impact — The impact can be one of disconnection or a sense of being orphaned or betrayed. There are motherless daughters of all ages out there and I am one such. Because not all mothers, regardless of an ability of reproduce, are created equal. That they all try their best — that’s a certainty — no matter what it looks like.
There are many women (as well as girls and teens) who have or had a ‘mother’ — but have experienced mothers who for reasons of personality, addictions, psychic pre-occupations, abandonment or attachment issues or simply an innate inability to nurture left a profound wound on their daughters (and sons). To be clear, I’m not talking about intrusive mothers or annoying, worried but loving mothers. I am talking about difficult people, sometimes damaging, coincidentally female people, who are or were our mothers.
For us, Mother’s Day can cause a twinge because we’ve never experienced that wonderful maternal warmth our ‘sisters’ speak of. True, we also haven’t had the pain of losing a wonderful mother but we have never known that unique bond. We only feel its lack. On Mother’s Day, we can even feel a bit counterfeit or going through the motions. We play the part of the good daughter or the dutiful daughter since we are honorable people but emotionally it can feel empty.
Many of us have tried healing or replaced that bond with extra hard won, self-love as well as reaching out to a greater female community and/or, in many cases, brought ourselves up, filling in the gaps as we evolved. For some, a huge part of our healing occurred in rearing our own daughters and sons and giving them all we were denied or imagined ‘mothered’ daughters experience.
There is a myth of the ‘good mother’ and on Mother’s Day this myth looms larger than life.
(Where’s it’s not a myth, it’s a beautiful thing)
On Mother’s Day, I am honoured and joyous to have three fine sons celebrate me. I also salute mothers everywhere — as well as nurturing loving people (i.e. men and women) in general.
And to the mothers who could not ‘mother’ for whatever reason — amnesty (with boundaries!)
And to the league of ‘mother-less daughters’: You’re not alone nor unique. Probably, without any sort of role model, you’ve done an exceptional job of raising yourself to be the woman you now are — whether you are a mother yourself or dear friend or companion to someone, whether you’re 17 or 70. Motherless daughters, orphaned sons is not a popular Oprah topic nor at the top of the feminist ‘talking points’ agenda — but it’s real. I think the topic bears some light because nothing dark can survive for long, once light has touched it. And after the light? Forgiveness.