Loss

Mothering Sunday: Who is mothering you?

Mother’s Day. A day approached by so many with trepidation and heavy hearts. The incessant advertising that seems to leak into every daily activity – nowhere feels safe from reminders of what can be such an emotive day.

My own relationship with it remains somewhat complex for a multitude of reasons. I am reminded of Orla, my firstborn and whose sixth birthday is fast approaching. I am now also coming to terms with the reality that there will be no more babies. The whispers of ‘I wonder if next year…’ have well and truly been laid to rest and this is my first Mother’s Day navigating this new chapter of grief. 

Yet it is a day that I feel incredibly blessed to be able to enjoy with my daughter – something I will never take for granted. She is at such a delicious age right now; my desk is overflowing with notes and sketches that she regularly thrusts in my hands, and I constantly find her name inscribed on my own notepads from quiet moments stolen in my office. She loves and gives in abundance (something I hope that she feels from me too) and it is in these tokens of affection that I really feel connected to the act of mothering.

To mother: To treat someone with kindness and affection and try to protect that person from danger or difficulty 

How many of us engage in the mothering of those around us? So often it is a role that we have comfortably occupied throughout our lives: the carer, the confidant, the protector. And how many of us tenderly mother the hope and dream of a baby many years before it becomes a reality? Nurturing the idea of the mother we want to be. Tenderly caring for the embryo that we know is on board, or the one that we hope one day will be. 

We are mothers long before society is willing to afford us this coveted title.

And what about the babies who are no longer with us? Or the hopes that have been unceremoniously taken from us? How many of us are mothering to protect a memory or mothering fiercely through the guilt of not being able to provide a sibling. 

And who is mothering you through this?

The need to be mothered is so profound when on the journey to parenthood. A journey that can be so treacherous and traumatic, punctuated over and over with loss and heartache. It can leave us completely untethered as we desperately try to find a place to anchor and feel safe. In my work, I often find myself in this role: walking alongside, metaphorically holding a hand, holding the baton of hope when it feels too burdensome and providing the net to fall back into. In my own therapy I have had to face my own complex relationship with care and help. 

To allow others in to care for us is a challenge far greater for some. It involves fighting against hardwired beliefs of worthiness, safety and overcoming the fear of vulnerability. It may also be accepting where it isn’t available and involve curating a village of people who have the capacity and willingness to offer it where others have been unable.

But one thing is certain. We all deserve to be mothered.

I wrote these words last year and they still feel so relevant to me now when I think ahead to the weekend:

To everyone who needs mothering today

Those who are unsure

Those hoping and waiting

Those who are fearful

Those whose path has been long and painful

Those grieving, with empty or half full arms

Those with complex relationships

Those whose mothers are no longer here

Those struggling with the transition to motherhood

To all of those who are desperately longing to be mothered right now – I see you. You are worthy and you are deserving. Your story matters x 

Go easy this weekend.

Michelle x

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