Healing the Mother Wound

by Stephanie Marshall

“The past or the future? Do we cling to the past and stay with what we know or choose to leave it all behind and look to the future? The future is scary sometimes because it’s unknown but it can also be exciting and make your heart pound like never before.” – Author unknown.

Most of us think that it’s our past experiences that make up who we are but I prefer to look at it this way, the past can be used to help us develop into the person that we want to be. However, it’s not so easy to execute. A few months before my mother passed away every morning when she woke up she would say good morning to me with a smile. It was very hard for me to accept that she was being authentic.

I know you’re probably thinking well Stephanie there is nothing wrong with her saying good morning to you, you have issues. Yes, I agree that there were some issues between us. Let me give you some background. My mother abandoned me when I was a baby. During that time I was shuffled from my grandmother to my great aunt and finally to my Aunt Betty on my father’s side of the family. Aunt Betty took good care of me and loved me like I was her own, I have fond memories of being with her.

By the time I was about 3 years old, my mother came back to town from New York and I remember as my Aunt Betty, who I called mom, introduced me to her. She said,” baby meet your mother”. I was so scared! I looked at the strange dark lady with blonde hair standing by the door peering down at me with those huge eyes. I grabbed my Aunt Betty’s leg and hugged it tight looking up with tears in my eyes and said, “she is not my mom, you are.”

They sent me to the other room and I could hear the two-woman arguing over who would keep me. Well, my birth mother won the battle. The rest of my childhood would be filled with neglect, physical abuse, and emotional abuse from my birth mother. I don’t ever remember getting a hug, a kiss, nor a good morning from her while I was growing up. The only time she touched me was to smack me across the face.

There was virtually no love between us, no mother-daughter bond at all. So that’s why it was hard for me to accept her forced good mornings now that I was an adult and she was depending on me to take care of her. I could say that I had forgiven her but I hadn’t forgotten. What’s interesting about this is that I really wanted that closeness with her but it just wasn’t there.

I can say that the years before she passed we had built somewhat of a friendship. But the truth is I didn’t like her very much. I loved her as the woman who gave birth to me but I didn’t like her ways. Part of me felt guilty because I didn’t like her. I talked to a very close friend of mine about this and she said, “Stephanie you are not obligated to like her so don’t feel guilty.” Those words helped me to allow myself to feel what I felt and not push the feelings away because I thought that they were wrong.

It’s important, to be honest with ourselves to begin the healing process. How can we heal something that we continually suppress? Do we hold on to the past and what we know or do you move boldly into the future? For me, I had to address the past in order to heal my present so that my future could be lived with more love and peace.

Shortly after leaving my ex-husband I spent a brief time in counseling. During one of the sessions, I noticed a statue of a bird on the table. The bird’s long neck was bent backward and it looked as if the bird was picking something off it’s back. The therapist explained that the bird was an African Sankofa and that it was a reminder that we must reach back to our roots to move forward.

At that time for me, that meant reaching out to my mother and trying to understand her. So, the journey to healing the mother-daughter wound began. Below are the steps I used to heal the mother wound.

1. Self-care

Take time for yourself, give yourself the love, grace, and support that you would give a good friend.

2. Expectation

Stop expecting your mother to be the “Mother of the Year” because she’s not. When you stop expecting her to be the version of the mother that you want her to be your relationship with her will change. Releasing expectation will give room for you to be surprised. When I stopped expecting my mother to be a certain way that’s when I was able to laugh at her quirkiness instead of being repulsed by it.

3. Forgiveness

Forgive your mom for not being the mother that you want her to be. Forgive yourself for expecting her to be a person that she’s not.

4. Have fun

Please have fun ladies! Watch a movie that makes you laugh until your stomach hurts. Take yourself out to dinner and by yourself a gift. Order the gift and have it delivered to yourself gift-wrapped with a note that says, “Hi Beautiful! You are doing great! Love Ya!” Of course, you can write whatever you want to yourself.

There is only one rule…it must be kind and loving.

Stephanie Marshall

about the author

Stephanie Marshall

My passion is to help women to be the best version of themselves. I believe that every woman is beautiful and powerful in her own unique way. I strive to empower every woman that I cross paths with to own her unique and powerful beauty, inside and out. I am here for you gorgeous! Let's connect!

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