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This post is for the many mothers I know who had toxic, abusive, painful mothering as children.  I know many of you personally and I am one of you. I am also a mother and I celebrate that beautiful fact and am eternally grateful for being graced with this amazing being who came through me.  So tomorrow will be bittersweet as I allow myself to be celebrated and celebrate the mothers around me, and also sit with the pain of not having been mothered.

I see all the tributes on facebook, my fb family putting pics of their moms as their profile pic and the many statuses reading: I love you Mom, or some other wonderful sentiment.  As per my usual modus operandi, I was seeing, but not seeing, reading but grazing over what I may be feeling, going so swiftly through that I never gave myself the chance to acknowledge what I was feeling.. And so today, I allowed myself to stop and feel. And what came to me is this sadness about my own mother and this feeling of being on the outside looking in.  It is also came to me that not everyone is celebrating their mothers tomorrow or may have some really mixed emotions about celebrating their mothers. Some of you may be feeling exactly like me.   

So here is what I am feeling today, the day before Mother’s Day.  For me there is this great sense of loss even though my mother is alive. There is this sadness, that I barely felt the warmth of my mother’s touch. Tears come, right in this moment as I write this, the longing still soft and tender.  Touch, the idea of it, the longing for it, the gaping hole left by the absence of it, and the ambiguity that reams in and out because of my undeniable experience of it as toxic…all just makes me want to cry.

Today on the day before Mother’s Day, I grieve for the little girl who did not have the powerful mirror of MOTHER, staring back at her with love, joy, encouragement and admiration. I grieve for the little girl who encountered cruelty and violence in the eyes of her mother and felt unsafe in her world and feared living another day. I allow myself to see that what I experienced was not mothering, I let myself feel the space that was left by my mother’s inability to nurture me.  It is a big space which longs for her still.  Today I allow the space for this immense sadness, lest it spill sideways.  I breathe, and cry, and breathe, and cry some more and move through, and each time I do, I am healing by filling the space with the love and compassion I so desperately needed then.

I know there will always be a corner of sadness for the mother I had, and the mother she had and the line of dysfunction which kept us all from fully loving.  I am saddened by this generational rage, this wall, this fear that made its way into all of our lives, keeping us from the greatest gift of all…to fully embrace ourselves as mothers and to love and protect our children fully.

And yet there is a joy for me and I hope for you, that we did better, whether it was to choose not to have children, or to love the ones we had in a different way, we have transgressed the wall somehow, haven’t we?

Tomorrow is our day to be celebrated as mothers and to celebrate the mothers around us. We can have our truth and not be overwhelmed by it. We can take care of our beautiful selves, take time to mother ourselves, allow ourselves to be nurtured and loved by others. We can make space for the grief.  We can give ourselves what we needed then and find safe and supportive people who will serve as healthy mirrors. We can do it all because that is what being fully alive, human and woman means. We are capable of standing in all of it with power and grace, even if sometimes it means we crawl under the covers to stand in it.  When we resist, and suppress, we suffer. But when we move through, we move through to the other side, and each time, there is a healing.  Each time we move through, we heal another piece of the broken child and make space for love and joy to come in and wrap its loving arms around her/him, lifting her back up with dignity.

Move through, mothers, daughters, sons, move through. 

Holding you in my heart.

Lovingly,
Stephanie