(Published on elephant journal)

Before I get into that, let’s celebrate today’s Full Moon! Full Moon energy extends to two days post, and you can always integrate this Lunar Message anytime, as it suits you.

“We can use our difficulties and problems to awaken our hearts.” ~ Pema Chödrön

Of course I did; of course I did. I passed it on.

My mother wound is something that has shaped more than a few life decisions and the way I mothered my children. And even though I stepped into motherhood with the best of intentions (you know, I’ll never do to my kids what my parents did to me), my children can easily say they wouldn’t repeat some of the ways I parented.

Before I sat down to write a book that I knew would expose me to possible criticism by the only two people whose opinion on this matters (my daughters), I had to make peace with the fact that I’d made mistakes, that I couldn’t change the actions I’d taken, that I couldn’t write a word unless I had faced the past and forgiven myself (an ongoing process) and found compassion for my journey as a mother whose focus was infusing my children with my love so deeply that they’d never doubt they mattered.

Of course, I failed in my focus to some degree; of course I did. And of course, I knew ahead of time that it would be impossible to be an infallible parent. I remember being mortified that I had by accident ripped the shriveled end of the umbilical cord from my daughter’s belly button while drying her after a bath. She cried so hard. I cried so hard. I knew then and there that we were both vulnerable to so many ways of my getting things wrong. It was a small thing, but it represented much more during my postpartum haze.

“You’re such a good mother,” I often hear. The evidence of this to others and even to ourselves is that we demonstrate our love for each other through frequent family gatherings, plenty of communication, we like to vacation together, and I am always honored on important occasions.

And it’s true, we do enjoy all those things; I count myself extremely grateful for it. But it’s also true that while we love each other to pieces and spend as much time together as we can, while we nurture our relationship intentionally, there are also unhealed memories, which we don’t share to social media posts. The imperfections of my mothering have served as definitive growth points for our whole family. As I have learned to re-mother myself, to nurture my inner child, I have also learned to have compassion for the journey we have taken as a family, to own what pieces of it belong to me, and to leave unrealistic expectations behind.

“The stories of all mothers and daughters is the story of their estrangements and their reunions.” ~ Demetra George

Writing about the mother wound means I have been in life-long processing of my own memories. It means that I am learning to create relationships based on kindness, compassion, and integrity instead of guilt and fear. I am learning to let go of societal and patriarchal pressures of what mothering is and defining it for myself—based on my own values. I am learning to love myself in ways that translate to how I treat others. I don’t require myself to reach any kind of (false) guru status before I share what I have gleaned through honest introspection.

I am grateful for daughters who have shown me much grace in respect to our history together. They are loving humans who are good to others and the planet. I see their normal life struggles at times and with a natural instinct wish I could do it all over again, protect them more, save them from having to process anything harsh. But that’s a narrative that keeps women ridden with guilt and in selfless supplication to our motherhood roles.

I was and am a good mother, and, I passed on a generational mother wound. I also didn’t pass on much of what I had experienced as a child, ending many cycles, freeing myself and my ancestors, as will my daughters on their mothering path. We continue on intentionally, hand in hand, heart to heart.

I have always looked to mothering as my most important role—which we could say is a patriarchal narrative for women but have to honor that in this lifetime, at least, it has been my most ardent truth. I have other roles, such as earth-keeper, writer, and humanitarian, that express integral parts of me. They satisfy me greatly, but they don’t drive me like mothering does. It may be my natural way of being as a Cancer Rising sign, or my devotion to the Moon as my teacher, that brings me to that place with such force.

“Mother Wound is infused with fear of our own power, with our mother’s fear of her power, and her mother’s fear. When we rise from the waters of our own fears, we slay the dragons of our mother-lines’ past. We heal many generations to come.” ~ from Transforming the Mother Wound, Sacred Practices for Healing Your Inner Wise Woman, Through Ritual and Grounded Spirituality

Indeed, I could say that I have no right to teach something I’m still learning. We’ve probably all had the experience of being told to not do something by a parent who had done the very same thing. “You’re one to talk,” I once told my own mother, as she admonished me about something. She looked so sad to be reminded of her own foibles. Our conversation ended there that day, without any resolution to our issue. Later, much later, when I had children of my own, I understood the hurt in her eyes. Remembering this time in our relationship helped me to find compassion for myself, as I dragged myself through the quagmire of my human journey.

From speaking with clients who are processing their mother wounds, and some, healing relationships with their children, I know that it takes an intentional decision to center themselves on the quest. Without compassion and love for themselves, they can’t begin to imagine having compassion for their mothers. As Pema Chödrön says, our difficulties awaken our hearts. This awakening reaches in many directions—inward, to our mothers, to their mothers, to our children or other relationships, to the world.

Transforming our mother wound is profoundly impactful on the whole planet, on all of consciousness. It is the way toward peace and harmony within—and in—society.

If you are struggling with processing your mother wound, or repairing relationships with others because of it, I want you to know that you are not alone, that mothering is hard at the best of times, that your children or loved ones have a right to their own process and the acknowledgment of their wounds, and that there is a way through.

Here’s a short journal exercise from my book:

  1. What is your truth? Create a statement/mantra that validates your reason for being on earth and being loved:

>> I am here to…(explore what you are here to receive/share with the world)

>> I deserve to be/have…(loved, seen, heard, and so on)

>> I believe that/in…(list things that matter to you)

>> I am a person of…(list your qualities, talents, gifts)

  1. In what areas of your life can you listen to your own intuition more and recognize your own authority and sovereignty?

Transforming the Mother Wound, Sacred Practices for Healing Your Inner Wise Woman, Through Ritual and Grounded Spirituality releases March 12, 2024 and is available for pre-order here.