The Mother Wound
You may have moments reading this in which you are confused, even offended, by these words being the words I have chosen to speak for Mothers Day.
Hang tight, I promise this is going somewhere; and regardless if it is somewhere you want to go, it is likely somewhere you need to.
I am giving the talk on Mothers Day at my church, and I was happy to take it on- not because I am a mother, I am not; but because I like to talk.... which my Mother can confirm. She laughed out loud the day I came home from school with the "Motor Mouth" nickname; and has said, more than once, that I was born talking.
So here I am, writing out what I will speak publicly on Mother's Day, participating in my favorite pastime- talking. I refined this pastime over the years; and I no longer relish in talking about just anything, but I do in talking about things which matter greatly. When one is willing to talk about things which matter greatly, they must always be willing to accept they will, undoubtedly, confuse and offend people. Offensiveness and confusion are often the nature of all things greatly important. C'est la vie.
I am happy to speak to different facets of the jewel that is Motherhood.
I am not a Mother, but I have been called "Mom", mostly by people I worked with during my years of management. I was a cat Mother, I have had furbabies. I spent years working with neurodivergent and neurotypical children. I was a Psych and Child Development Major. I love kids. I have a Mother, and I am my Mother's savage daughter... which my Mother can confirm. I have worked across from, and alongside Mothers, I am a coparent, but I am not a Mother. I entered this world with Cool Aunt Vibes, and I took that torch, and ran with it.
I am a counselor, and I speak to a lot of people about their Mothers, about becoming Mothers, being Mothers, and being a Mother once one's children are grown.
Maiden. Mother. Crone.
I have bore witness to women transitioning from Maiden to Mother, and Mother to Crone; and I pray I will live to see the women close to me move through all three phases.
Becoming a Mother speeds life up, and makes life busier- a blur. As someone who chose to pass over the Mother phase, I have had the opportunity, instead of participating in the swirling, hyper-speed experience of Motherhood, to observe it. To bear witness.
To see it as an outsider on the inside.
I am an outsider because I am not a Mother. I am on the inside because I am a woman.
We often speak to Motherhood as if it is separate from Womanhood- a separate illusion of elevation, a protective space for women.
This separation makes sense, because Motherhood has, historically, been the space in which women have been safest. Not safe. Safest. The space in which women were elevated, less degraded. The space in which women could be positively recognized; and less negatively judged to be loud, dangerous, carnal, disobedient...
Yes, the Patriarchy elevated, and in some ways protected the holiness of Motherhood, as if they knew...
...if they took THAT from us...
...it would be the last gOd dAmN sTrAw, the straw that broke us, and broke us free.
Women live in a world which is unwinding generations of oppression; and on one hand, Motherhood has protected us to some degree, but it has also trapped us. Lionesses trapped for display like zoo animals, the cage masquerading as protection and adoration, then tossed away and hidden when their wombs weaken and their skin sags... to be replaced by their cubs, and the cycle continues...
Beautiful, caged, protected, adored, well-cared-for breeders.
I am an outsider because I am not a Mother.
I am on the inside because I was trapped in the same cage; but I got out.
I am the Cool Aunt Lioness, outside the cage, drinking mimosas on a Monday afternoon (because I can). I climb over, from time to time, reminding those still trapped by the Patriarchy that the cycle of life also exists outside of the cage. Outside of the cage, the cubs are wild and free, and the Lions don't stand a chance.
I promise, this is going somewhere.
Motherhood isn't the cage, the Patriarchy is.
Let me be clear, "The Patriarchy" is not MEN. If I meant MEN, I would say MEN. Men are victims to the Patriarchy too; but that is an article for a different day, perhaps next Fathers Day.
There is a quote from a book written by Merlin Stone which reads, "At the very dawn of religion, God was a woman. Do you remember?". Yes, I do, the memory and knowledge of this swims in my DNA, and breathes in my consciousness. The Big Bang created the Earth, and Women created humanity. Women create life. Your Mother is your creator... your Father gets a high five for the noteworthy assist. Creation is the greatest, most innocent and honorable power in the Universe. The Patriarchy decided, long ago, to control the womb, to control creation... They trapped women in Motherhood by making it the safest, not safe, place for women to be. They trapped women in Motherhood, changed the rules of creation and womanhood; and made breaking those rules punishable by death, drowning, burning at the stake, violent beating, or maybe locking you up in an institution after being called mad for speaking the truth.... Cassandra knows a bit about that. Yes, they confiscated our power of creation; but that great, innocent, and honorable power is not naturally theirs; and it must be returned to us.
I promise, this is going somewhere.
They traded us and our wombs like fine spices and political bargaining chips, making women more powerful than money; but treated us as if we were as powerless as the finest thread of a spider's web. All the while, most women knowing how powerful we truly were, are, will be; but, by then, we had already been trapped, and the only way to escape was to destroy it all. How have we not destroyed it all? We cannot. We are the creators, not the destroyers.
I promise, this is going somewhere.
Even though we all may understand, to some degree, the violent, aggressive, subhuman treatment of women and Mothers existed and exists... it's important we do not forget... ever. It is important you bear witness to the oppression which swims in your Mother's DNA, and breathes in her consciousness.
It is important we replace the bulbs and the batteries in the flashlight held towards these injustices so we may never ignore the journey women have traveled and travel to simply exist safely. It is important we recognize others in their journey to simply exist safely, and help. If anyone can understand this struggle, it is women, especially women of color.
The government stole Women of color's babies... regularly, for hundreds of years, because they could. They stole, not only the power to create, but the creations themselves. Up until the 20th century, if a woman was married with children, her legal rights were surrendered... her husband or family could do anything they pleased with her children. Anything. They could sell them, give them away, send them to a nunnery.... Commandeering her power to create, and her creations themselves.
In the last century, the Patriarchy has thrown Women and Mothers a few bones... you may vote, you may have rights, you may have a bank account, you may have rights to your children...
"We've thrown the lionesses a bone or two, and distracted them; but we will remind them and men, regularly- Women are hysterical, weak-minded like Eve, their [fathers, brothers, uncles, husbands] are the head of household as ordained by the Patriarchy. We will tell Women it was ordained by a VENGEFUL but merciful, loving god. Vengeful if she opposes the Patriarchy's rules; but merciful and loving if she follows them. We'd hate for her to go to hell after we burn her at the stake."
Like I mentioned earlier, I promise this is going somewhere; but first I had to pave the road.
The road which leads us to The Mother Wound.
When I deliver Fathers Day talks, I speak to those who had/have incredible Fathers, those who didn't/don't, and those in the middle somewhere. I will do the same with regard to Mothers, although it may sting. Due to the insidious nature in which Women and Mothers have been treated in combination with a societal agreement forbidding negative talk about one's Mother, many people are uncomfortable speaking about Mothers (especially theirs) in a perceived negative way. Let me be clear- we assign negativity or positivity to truth, and we don't necessarily have to. We can simply recognize truth neutrally. Easier said than done, I know.
Womanhood has been wounded by generation after generation of women only having one truly safe space to be: Motherhood. The Mother Wound is comprised of two elements:
1) The systematic oppression of Women and the Divine Feminine.
2) A Perceived, real or real to you, betrayal by your Mother.
It is important to mention both of those elements and injuries.
It is important to mention the word "betrayal", because when we are harmed by our Mothers, it will feel, and is, more of a betrayal than anything else. To be harmed or hurt by one's creator... it's like a fire hot blade slicing through flesh. The wound is cauterized as it is inflicted; and the lack of blood leaves one thinking, "Was that real? Did it even happen? She couldn't have. She wouldn't have..."
It is important to mention the oppression of Women because most betrayals occur because the betrayer is attempting to get ahead, get retribution, or get revenge. When one considers the millenias of aggressive, violent, righteous oppression of Women - it's genesis emerging within Grecian and Roman culture- it's not hard to imagine why Women and Mothers would betray others... even their children. They most certainly, for thousands of years (even now) could not direct the pain and rage towards the Patriarchy or Men... that would have left them burnt, drowned, beaten, or institutionalized- leaving their children solely in the hands of the Patriarchy.
Most of the harm we inflict upon others is unintended as harm, or completely unconscious. This is true with regard to The Mother Wound, for the most part, as well. Have some Mothers intentionally and maliciously caused their children harm? Yes. Is this common, average, or usual? No. There may be actions your Mother took against you which have you convinced she intentionally hurt you; but I encourage you to take a deep breath, and view these actions as an observer, not through the eyes of the ego or inner child.
Is it possible your Mother was operating from her own internal pain, struggle, or unconsciousness... and her actions had nothing to do with you at all? It is possible, it is likely. Is it possible your Mother was operating from a Patriarchal programmed space, convinced her actions were purposed to keep you safe in a world which uncommonly behaves ethically? It is possible, it is likely. Is it possible she was relating to you and raising you based on the world she lived in within her own mind, not the world you were actually living in? It is possible, and it is likely.
Is it possible that millenias of generational trauma, violence, judgment, and oppression altered your Mothers consciousness; and she simply raised you from that altered state of consciousness? It is possible, and it is likely.
It is challenging to step out of the victim mindset with relation to parental wounds, especially The Mother Wound; but I assure you, the victim mindset will undoubtedly tether you to your pain for as long as you choose to be in it.
In no way does trauma, even millenias of generational oppression, excuse the mistreatment of anyone; but when we step into deeper understanding of consciousness, we find compassion... and solutions. It is in this deeper understanding we find healing, and prevent the passing of a torch no one wants to fucking carry.
The torch that says:
Women and Girls are accountable and responsible for the actions of Men and Children.
Women and Girls cannot participate in subjects and activities of great value to the Human Collective.
Women are only valuable as Mothers. Motherhood defines Women.
Women's worth is determined by everyone but them.
Perhaps you have a lovely relationship with your Mother. Perhaps the loveliness is the result of healing, or perhaps your Mother raised you from a conscious space... aware of her wounds, and dedicated to not pass them on to you.
If you love your Mother dearly and deeply, is is not enough for you to pass her brunch and flowers through the bars of her cage once a year to say, "Thanks!", on Mother's Day. Brunch and flowers isn't enough if she's out of the cage. You must be willing to bear witness to the oppression of Womanhood and Motherhood, and acknowledge her for living through it; and not treat her journey through it as casual, or take it for granted. You must be willing to investigate if you are carrying the torch of this oppression.
I am not one to use such phrases as "NOT ENOUGH", because we are all, "ENOUGH"; but you know what, sometimes our actions aren't conscious enough. For us. For our loved ones. For the collective.
If you hate your Mother because she harmed you, it is not enough for you to hate her, and refuse to carry the torch of The Mother Wound. You must be willing to bear witness to the oppression of Womanhood and Motherhood, and acknowledge her for living through it; and not treat her journey through it as casual, or take it for granted. You do not have to forgive her (unpopular opinion); but you must be willing to step out of the victim mindset to free yourself from your pain, because you are otherwise always at risk for hurting yourself or passing that pain off to others... furthering the continuance of The Mother Wound.
We must be willing to step into a higher state of consciousness when honoring Mothers, because as we honor them, we honor thousands of years worth of struggle that no man could bear. They can't even bear the flu... sorry, not sorry.
We say Mothers have eyes in the back of their heads; but from an adult child who loves to talk, I say this: Mothers can hear with their hearts if they are willing to listen, without a word being spoken; but we must command a world in which Women and Mothers do not have to speak without speaking, for a world without the voice of women is not worth living in.
Happy Mothers Day,
Love, Rev. Meg