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A Very Different Kind Of Mother’s Day Celebration

Mother’s Day is here once again 
So a big & special shout out to all the moms
But let’s be real

It isn’t  always a happy & celebratory occasion for everybody
In fact it can be downright triggering for some
Either because it’s such a poignant reminder of a relationship
We once enjoyed, but no longer have
Due to the permanency of death
Or a temporary falling out


Because of the acute awareness
Based on our own painful experiences,
That the  word mother actually  doesn’t evoke a sense of love, safety and happiness at all.


While the media and retailers focus on  highlighting
The warm, fuzzy & profitable aspects of Mother’s Day
I  really want to pause and  take a moment to acknowledge
The tender underbelly of  grief, regret, resentment, anger & heartache
That  can also get stirred up at this time.
First,  I want to extend  my heartfelt sympathy
To anyone whose mother died this year
Whether because of  Covid, some other illness, an unexpected tragedy,
Or because of  natural causes.
The very first Mother’s Day without a mom’s physical presence
Can be a tough, tough one to navigate
 And so my heart  really goes out to you. 

Secondly, I  want to give a special  emotional nod to anyone
Who, by virtue of having become a mom yourself,
Now just simply cannot  fathom how your own mother
Habitually  failed to provide the  protection & nurturance
Which arises so strongly & instinctively  within you.
Sometimes it’s in the process of raising children
And giving love to others
That we slowly start to realise
Just how little we ourselves might have got.

Thirdly, I want to acknowledge anyone whose family structure & dynamics have changed significantly this year.
Separation, divorce, remarriage and  step-mothering
Can all  highlight the loss of old  traditions
 And make the new  decisions of  who, where & how to celebrate
 Unexpectedly complicated & emotionally charged.
 Fourthly, for anyone whose dreams of being a mother
 Failed to materialise or were painfully shattered  this year
Whether because of   the of lack of a partner,
The absence of the necessary biological conditions for conception,
A miscarriage in utero,  or the  death of a child that was actually born,
My heart truly  goes out to you. 

And finally, for those who have deliberately chosen not to be a  biological mother at all
A nod of respect to you.

A mother’s role is so powerful & tremendously important
In terms of how children end up relating to themselves,
The world, and the intimate partners they tend to choose
That it’s really  not surprising that as adults
Some of us decide not to venture into that particular arena of commitment & responsibility at all.
Regardless of which of the above categories most resonate with you
Or even if you feel securely  rooted in your mom’s physical  presence & love
Because no mom  is ever  perfect

This year I’m inviting everyone to celebrate Mother’s Day
In a somewhat different way
So, if you typically act out of  automaticity
Or from duty bound or  commercially driven obligation
Choose instead  to celebrate  the day 
 In a way that  feels right, authentic and emotionally safe  for you .

And even, or actually especially, 
If  your biological mother could “never”,
 As one  client stated
“Be anywhere close in the runnings for Mother of the Year Award”

Just graciously acknowledge whatever you can
and then see if you’re ready to consider giving her
 This very special gift :

For starters,  quietly acknowledge those aspects of good healthy mothering
That you now realise were  missing
And also acknowledge those pivotal childhood experiences
You wish had been different in your life 
And  then

Whether you deem your  mother’s failings
To be  deliberate  acts of commission
Or unwitting errors  of  neglect

I  invite you to extend to her 
The  gift of your  genuine interest and   curiosity
About the causes, conditions and inter-genenerational wounding
That created the kind of mother she ended up being to you.
Over time, this genuine  curiosity may lead
To a change in the way you choose to  relate to your mom

Or. Maybe not. 

But  at the very least  it might facilitate this realization,

Knowing all  that I now  know about her and  her life 
How could it have been any other way?

And then
Because intellectual insight is only one step along the path of healing
Regardless of  whatever new understanding you find you now have,

Here’s the second  gift that’s
Actually your  own Mothers Day homage to yourself
Wherever you find yourself still yearning
For whatever it was  that your mom failed to provide
I invite you to start mothering yourself the way
That you  secretly wished she’d done


Because nobody else, knows your needs, your wounds  or your desires better than you do.
Plus  its really, really important,
That you don’t unwittingly treat yourself
With the same neglect, abandonment  or intrusive overbearing demands
Which  you felt was  meted out to you.

I wish  for you lots and lots and lots of
Kindness Compassion & Nurturance this Mothers Day 
May you  wholeheartedly celebrate the  true mother figures
Whether biological or not,
Who  provided you with genuine  love affection & acceptance in your life

May you savour the love of, and for your children
If you have any of your own
And may you cut yourself some slack for whatever mistakes you’ve inevitably  made along the way.

And  if your mom is no longer around
May you realise as I have
That  while photos may fade
Like the last one of me and my mom before she died 20 years  ago ,
The felt experience of  genuine love and connection never actually does.



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