19 February 2006

Mother Figures

I've been thinking a lot about mother figures lately. My brother and sister-in-law are expecting their first baby. My sister-in-law's mother is so not happy about it. In fact, she hasn't even congratulated them (having anticipated this reaction, they announced the pregnancy via a card). I guess she wanted her daughter, who is a very talented opera singer, to pursue the "greater" things in life first. As I tried to find comforting words for my sister-in-law in regards to all this I began thinking of the way in which our need for mothers changes throughout our lives - especially once we, ourselves, begin the journey of motherhood. It can be a very difficult transition. I mean, at what point exactly do you stop being someone's child or stop needing your mother? And yet, we know we have to cut the apron strings sometime.

I had a very toxic relationship with my mother, one that unfortunately didn't resolve until she passed away. But I went through a mourning process long before she ended her life. I was encouraged in counselling to seek out nurturing relationships with other mother figures, and that this would help me fill the void I suddenly felt upon severing ties with my real mother. I had absolutely no idea where to begin this process! With interviews? "Hi, um, I admire you... would you be willing to take me under your wing?" Lol. But what I soon realized is that mother figures had been in my life all along. And I could draw strength from the already exisiting relationships I had. There was no need to create new ones, nor did they all need to be "motherly". My best friends for instance - always by my side. Like jewels, I tell you. They have definitely nurtured me. In fact, if I really think about it, I feel like Lily in the Secret Life of Bees, for "I have more mothers than any eight girls off the street."

I have come across women who could benefit from this realization. Women like my sister-in-law who are bound in codependant or broken relationships. And I just really hope she finds the strength and the love and the acceptance she needs in the powerful examples that lie all around her.


jessica said...

What a sweet post. Though I have a wonderful relationship with my own mother, I too have found treasured "second" mother relationships with so many of the wonderful women around me. I love when someone who doesn't have children herself becomes a mother figure to me and I'm always sure to share that with her.

Oh, and thanks for stopping by. I find a lot of my new reads by "comment lurking." I think it's a good way to judge if you'll like someone's blog. Anyway, feel free to drop by anytime. I'll probably be stopping here more often too. Great writing style!

Rachelle said...

Thank you for this. MY relationship with my mother is good, but there are unresolved issues. I know I am another mother figure to many of my students and I take that responsibility seriously.

The Constant Gardener said...

I've had many mother figures throughout my life despite my great relationship with my own mom. Thank goodness for good woman who have been willing to play the part.

Tigersue said...

I have a good relationship with my mother, but that really became as I grew into adulthood. I never fully appreciated her until then.
I think I shall always need my mother, I'm glad she has let me become what I needed to be. Lots of wisdom there.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a great entry!
We all need our mother's or mother figures...I was extremly blessed to have a mother who loved me and supported me unconditionally! I hope I will be as good of a mother to my daughter.

I think Lei is an amazing mother! I admire you sooo much!!!!

Love your cuz, Mel

Becky said...

What a great post! We definitely need mother figures. Thank goodness for the ones that reach out the children whose mother's aren't there for them.