Mother is supposed to hold the womb that gives life. Mother is supposed to be the fountain of unconditional love and support. And our safe place to fall. But what is she’s not? What if our mother isn’t a safe place to fall? What if our mother has such enormous struggles that she takes it out on us? And what if we’re not from our mother’s womb?
Mother’s Day brings up all sorts of complicated emotions for me. Yes, I was born from my mother’s womb, but she wasn’t always a safe place to fall. And my first child wasn’t mine to raise. She has another mother.
As much as I now know my mother did the best she could, her best left me with scars and damage. Spiritually, I understand that our souls made an agreement to share this life together to give us both opportunities to grow. And I’ve discovered that one of the biggest movers in life – one of the things that propels people into action to make change – is discomfort. Just the right amount of discomfort or pain will push people. Too much pain and we shut down or exit life.
Apparently, in this lifetime, mom and I seemed to get the mix just right because the amount of change I’ve been able to create, in part thanks to our relationship, has been staggering. And I’m not talking just about what my life looks like on the outside, but how much I’ve changed internally.
My childhood memories became lost to me in my adult years. I haven’t had many memories younger than about eleven or twelve, and it never bothered me.
In my thirties, when I began to have a lot of trouble keeping my weight down, I turned to hypnosis to help me discover what was going on, and to help reprogram my subconscious. After sifting and sorting through a few different hypnotherapists, I stumbled across the field of energy healing and then a hypnotherapist with a spiritual twist, who was just the right fit for me.
What I learned, with the help of intuitives and hypnotherapy, was the damage caused by my relationship with my mother. When I looked at why I was an emotional eater, what came up was how painful it was as a child to have my mother verbally attack me. Food cravings were an attempt to deal with unconscious trauma. And the older I got, the closer to the surface the trauma was pushed.
The beauty of uncovering such pain during healing sessions, was it was immediately dealt with. I wasn’t left with raw, bleeding emotions. The parts of my inner child that had been in pain were immediately healed. The pain was released. In healing circles, a lot of what I did is known as soul retrieval.
Growing up with a mother who was mentally ill (and not medicated until I was almost out of high school) was formative for me. First off, I didn’t know she was ill until her first hospitalization when I was in tenth grade. Her wonky behavior was my “normal”.
I was always very sensitive and a quick learner. Because I was the target of my mother’s venom (when she became manic), I learned to duck and hide. I also learned to be compliant. One of the gifts my mother helped hone was my gift to hear a person’s emotional state in the tone of their voice. I got good at recognizing when my mother was manic by how she spoke and by how she acted. Before she died, I could peg her emotional state (whether she was depressed or manic, and how much) within a minute or two of talking on the phone.
To this day, just by listening to someone when they’re talking, I can tell if they’re being authentic or deceptive by the tone of their voice.
My own journey to becoming a mother was not by choice. Being molested by my older brother for about two years, it only stopped because I became pregnant and the whole thing came out. I lived in fear. Fear of being molested and fear of getting in trouble for it. (This is how a victim’s mind works). I was dominated by my brother.
When it was found out I was pregnant, it was kept secret. The shame and embarrassment of the molestation and pregnancy was cemented by secrecy. By good fortune (and amazing spiritual planning), I was able to hide my pregnancy and the birth of my daughter from friends and family. They believed the deceit and lies we created, and six weeks after my daughter was born, she was given up for adoption. To this day, most of my childhood friends and half of my family are still unaware.
I never allowed myself to think of my daughter as mine, knowing that I could never in a million years keep her. Yet, one night in about 2006, after a class I was taking in writing hypnotherapy scripts to help lose weight, something deep inside bubbled up from the meditation we’d done in class, as I walked to my car. About half way across the parking lot, the phrase, “she was mine” hit me like a ton of bricks. Sitting in my car bawling from the depths of my heart, I was finally able to take ownership of my daughter. I was able to let her fully come into my heart, with the knowledge that she absolutely was mine.
Back when the molestation was found out, the decision to keep this whole thing a secret was done to protect our family from harsh judgment and scrutiny. As much as it saved us from possible harm and embarrassment, it took years to fully understand and heal the damage it created. Secrets are always double-edged swords.
By the end of high school, getting away from my mother was pretty high on the agenda. I picked a college that was far enough away from home that I didn’t have to see my mother very often (just during our breaks), and was able to begin to spread my wings.
After having to give my daughter up for adoption, the desire to have a child I could keep and raise became very important to me. Being married and having a family was always high on my priority list. With a few twists and turns of life, I finally reached this goal in my late thirties.
It was in my early to mid-thirties when my childhood started to catch up with me (as it does for many). In my case, medicating my emotions with food became a problem. And finally becoming a mother to a child I could publicly call mine, came with a host of unexpected challenges, including years of undiagnosed depression and a child with special needs.
It’s been through the process of finding things to help deal with my emotional eating, and things to help my son that my life has changed in miraculous ways. Being set up in life with many painful experiences, created the soup of discomfort that pushed me to look for relief. Stepping my way into discovering healing work, to looking for what worked and paying attention to what resonated with me, has led me down an incredible path filled with heartache and joy, mystical experiences and spiritual awakenings, and more healing than I ever believed was possible.
Today, when I think about my mother, her struggles with mental illness and the damage she inflicted upon me, there is peace. No more hurt or rage. I feel such compassion for her and her situation in life. Fortunately, by the time she ended her life, by her own hand, I was far enough along with my own healing that her suicide didn’t hit me nearly as hard as it did the rest of my family. I am at peace with her decision and send her love for her continued healing on the other side.
When I think about the brother who molested me, the rage about the past is gone. My desire for a relationship with a loving older brother has been healed. I no longer want what I never had and will never have. I am at peace. He has his own deep issues, and until and unless he works on them, he’ll remain the disconnected, disempowered person he’s always been. I honestly don’t see it happening.
My daughter is now 38, and from what I’ve been told by trusted intuitives, has a family of her own. I would love to meet her some day, and to meet her family. I’d love to meet the woman who raised her, her mother, to thank her for loving the baby I couldn’t keep and for taking that little one into her own heart.
My own journey of motherhood is still challenging, with new issues having popped up over the past few years that I’m still working on. But I wouldn’t change a thing. The chemistry between my son and I has been just right. He’s a sensitive, heart-centered teen with a small handful of invisible disabilities. And it was because of my love for him that I stepped my way into a spiritual awakening and discovered healing modalities that have not only helped him, but jet-propelled my healing into the stratosphere.
As fraught with difficulty as Mother’s Day has been for me, more and more it’s becoming a reminder for me of how far I’ve come and how much I have to be grateful for.