Everyone has a mother but not everyone has a mother’s love. A mother’s love is unlike any other because no one else can take the place of the woman who spent 9 months sharing her body with you, nurturing and protecting you before going through the miracle of birth. It is this unique bond that forms the basis of a mother’s love for her child. A love that can be unconditional and perpetual, absolute and profound.
Mother’s love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. ~ Erich Fromm
In a perfect world every human being would experience a love such as this. The benefits of a strong attachment with a mother can not be underestimated. But this world is not perfect. And those who lack their mother’s presence be it physically or emotionally can be wounded as a result.
To grow up secure in the knowledge that you are loved because you are you, that you are cared for because you are you, that you are valued because you are you, sets a firm foundation of self-belief and self-worth. Without that affinity, the effects can be devastating.
It was being abandoned by my own mother as an infant that resulted in my feelings of insecurity and inferiority that I would carry through into adulthood. Like many children I internalised the rejection and believed she had left because I wasn’t good enough. Leaving me with an abusive father only served to reinforce my lack of self-esteem that manifested itself for years to come through depression and alcoholism.
A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them. ~ Victor Hugo
It isn’t only the physical presence of a mother that is important, her psychological availability is crucial. And not only through childhood. A mother’s support, encouragement and care is needed just as much when you are adult as it was when you were an infant. To have a mother who is alive but emotionally distant can be hard to accept. To yearn for that connection only to be rebuked or worse still abused can cause intolerable damage.
Abuse by a mother, whatever form it takes is something I find difficult and disturbing to contemplate. I have no idea how a woman can harm the very one they should protect. But some do and the consequences are severe. Whilst the bruises and marks of a physical attack will fade in time, the emotional wound of that event can last forever. And words too can cut like a knife causing a mental laceration that may eventually heal but leave a permanent scar of rejection and hatred.
Even though the mother somehow falls over, even though she has nothing to offer, the offspring will develop and grow independently and still thrive. ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes
One of my concerns when I became pregnant was a fear of repeating what my own mother had done to me and I would reject my own child. I need not have worried, because from the moment I had my pregnancy confirmed I was filled with such a need to safeguard and treasure my unborn baby, there was no doubt that I would love my child.
There is nothing that I wouldn’t do for my daughters. My love for them is unlike any other love. It is unconditional and perpetual, absolute and profound. As it should be.
A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform. ~ Diane Mariechild
For me this proves no amount of bad experiences from the past need define the future. Having a bad mother didn’t make me a bad mother. In fact it was the lack of love in my childhood that fueled my desire to find love and pass it on to the next generation.
What a blessing it is to be able to give my offspring the love that I never had. To be able to give what I never received is one of those miracles in life that I never take for granted.
Yet, whilst I rue the lack of love from my own mother, she did give me life. That is love enough.
©carolyn hughes – hurt healer 2015
Thank you to Judy Lai of http://www.motherchildpaintings.com/ for her permission to use Painting of Mother and Child in Latin America – Top Image and Painting of Mother and Child Eskimos -Bottom image. All rights reserved. No part of these images may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without prior written permission of Judy Lai.