Photo Credit: sabbathrestmagazine.com
The father wound sets us up for relational handicaps, but the "mother wound" cripples our sense of self and well-being. I read the article I linked in the opening sentence "Why it’s Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound" by Bethany Webster. This sort of article is so very shaking and upsetting to me because I have not one but TWO mothers: one who lives a parallel life in Korea and an adoptive mother who has been estranged from me for many years. Add on to that significance of the fact that I am a mother to a daughter.
It's true. I find myself feeling a sense of shame every time I admit to my daughter with emotion in my voice that I will never be perfect... that I have feelings too. I feel the weight of every word I say and don't say. I know how much potential I have to emotionally handicap my daughter. There's never a moment that I feel the quality of the influence I have on her.
The truth for me is that I cannot heal my mother wound, at least not without some dialogue. Spiritually, I do my best to forgive and to bless what I cannot resolve with my mothers. I have two obligations and measures worth of baggage, loyalty and respect. But I've stopped handing them the power over my feeling of well-being. They do not determine how I feel about myself. I don't make excuses for them. I name the way they damaged me. I didn't make a silent vow that I couldn't be okay until everything was copacetic with my mothers. I knew better than to put such an impossible stipulation on my health.
When I see anything weak or unsightly in my daughter, I immediately take stock through my mental file cabinet of my mistakes with her and try to assign my mistakes to her faults. By God's grace, not all of her imperfects fall on my shoulders- but most do. It's just the reality of the situation. We are just too close to each other for her not to absorb some of me that I wish could just keep to my self.
I guess my situation is a hybrid to the blended family situations of today. Fifty percent of families in America today are blended families. That means, excluding deceased parents, each child potentially has two mothers. I do my best to train my daughter to respect her stepmother and to give her grace. I do my best to help her give her stepmother the benefit of the doubt. I try to impart on her that it is ok to see us make mistakes and that they are ours to shoulder- not hers.
But that's assuming that an eight year old understands what I speak of and how she might go about making herself impervious the free radicals I've shared with her. The one thing I really really truly didn't want to pass on. I know I'm not perfect. I remember that one time I sat in the hallway pregnant and crying to my black cat "How can I be a mother to a girl?" It was as if I knew she was going to be damaged by me even before she was part of this world.
It's no mistake that my disastrous relationships with my mothers have set the stage for me to shy away from making female friends. But according to the article, Bethany suggests that friendships where women can support each other and let each other vent and mourn our wounds are the best safeguards against passing on the mothering uglies to our daughters. What is a Meredith to do?
For now, I cry out to God. He aches to fill in the void... as many as I have. But he will only step in if I invite him and invoke his relationship with me. He can cover the sins of my mothers and of my own. He can be that protection, the anti-oxidant that protects my daughter from my free radicals. There is no option to be apart because abandonment is another type of pain. We- are in a conundrum of not wanting to damage and yet not wanting to abandon our children. Lord help us.
So- if you didn't already feel down- I can only imagine you're already there by this sentence. I'm sorry for that. But let me pray over you that God would bless your relationship with your mothers and your daughters. I ask that God supply us with an extra helping of peace, humility, self love and grace so that we may give the surplus to our own children. God made mothers not out of dust but out of flesh so they could feel genuinely and so we could be set apart from the rest of creation. Let us live up to the expectation that we be the crown of his creation. He wills it so. Passing on God's love to you~ Amen.