When you think of a mother, or of motherhood, what images and feelings pop into your mind? Are those thoughts and emotions all glowing and comforting?

Is there any hardness or open hurt in your heart?

If you are a mother, how is your relationship with your offspring different than the relationship you had with your mother?

Do you treat your kids better than your mother treated you?

Is motherhood a title?

Is motherhood a state of mind?

Or is motherhood something else we can define down across cultures and ethnicities and nations to agree on a set of behaviors and beliefs?

Motherhood

14 Comments

  1. This is a different kind of mothers day post, huh? I’m sure you’ll let lots and lots of “I love my moms” and “I’m the perfect mother” comments. I have to say I’m more hard hearted and indifferent to my mother. I point to disappointments and lies that affected my future and my health.

  2. Hi Veronica!
    It’s nice to hear from you again.
    Your comment is the reason I posed the questions about motherhood today. I know these sorts of celebrations are not shared by everyone and — for some — days like today can make it harder to make it through the day than easier.
    Are you in contact with your mother?

  3. Not so much in touch. We only argue when we talk and I feel better not having contact with her. My friends feel sorry for me and push me into calling her. I learned I know what works best for me. No contact makes me feel better than going back into the mother-child relationship that brings up so many bad memories. My friends mean well but they’ll never understand. I don’t feel I owe them an explanation.

  4. I think your decision not to have contact is a healthy one, Veronica. You know what you want. You know what you do not want.
    Don’t let others try to press you into a behavior or a situation that is painful or dangerous.
    Forgiving and forgetting is fine — but it doesn’t mean you ever have to deal with that person again.
    There are some things that one can never get over and that’s okay as long as you are able to keep moving forward every day.

  5. Thanks. My relationship with my mother is prolly why I don’t have children today. Clock is ticking. I’m too scared I will be her and make my children’s lives miserable like mine was growing up.

  6. I feel for you, Veronica, I really do.
    Don’t let the bad past behavior of others negatively color how you will perform in the future. You can break the chain and in many ways you are already free because you are self-aware. You know exactly what not to do.

  7. Today is a very hard day for me. I’ve been away from my Children with no contact for almost two years. My Father sent me some photos the other day of my Children that he’d taken over the Easter Holiday and I sobbed like a baby when I saw them.
    I was never really that close to my own Mother probably right from being a Teenager. Possibly even before then I’d realized that she treated my younger sister differently, and my younger sister got many opportunities that I never did. But if you ever ask my Mother – even today – she’ll tell you she treated us both the same.
    However, I was adopted at ten weeks old, and have never known who my Birth parents are. I tried a search when I had my first child, but was forced to really think about my actions. Did I even truly want contact? What would I say to her? Would I look like her? And when I sat and really thought about it, I realized that I only have one question for her. Why? Why did she give me up, but not the older Brothers and Sisters I know I have out there? And I wondered whether I was mentally strong enough to put myself through the pain that she may not want to be found, and even if she was, how would I feel if she didn’t want contact?
    Things like I’ve mentioned above are what makes Mothers Day so hard for me. I know how it feels not to know your parents – yet thanks to my ex, I’ve put my Children through the pain of not knowing their Mother.

  8. Hi Dawn —
    I visited your blog as saw the images of your children. They are so beautiful. They look just like you in such an eerie way – and I think that’s on purpose – there is no doubt those children came from you!
    http://retardedrugrat.wordpress.com/2006/05/09/i-miss-them-so-much/
    It must be extremely difficult for you to be away from them for so long but — on a slightly brighter side — they look healthy and strong and engaged with life.
    What else could a mother selflessly wish for than good health and a warm future for her children if she cannot be directly there to raise them under her own hand?
    I hope you will honor your instinct and your desire to get an answer to your “Why?” question from your birth mother if you can find her. I think that is a vital question that goes to the guts of each of us. “Why am I here?” “Why did this happen?” “Why did you give me up?” You have a right to ask that question and you have a greater, ethereal right, to know the answer.
    I am not terribly close to my mother. As an only child that can be a difficult thing for people to understand.
    In today’s Salon Magazine you can read a fantastic article – for free if you watch an Ad — about a young woman and her icy mother:
    http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2006/05/14/shapiro_mothers_day/
    Lots of the people responding to that article don’t get it. Oh, I get it. Big time. I completely understand the trauma and the distance the author describes between her and her mother:

    I dropped my mother off at her building on Riverside Drive and drove for a while around Manhattan. It was late at night; there weren’t a lot of cars on the streets. I could still feel the cool ledge of my mother’s cheekbone, the almost bloodless feel of her skin touching mine as we kissed goodbye. I had always wondered if she was really my mother — not just in that hateful-childhood-fantasy way, but as a real, ongoing question. There were no photographs of her obviously pregnant with me, but that could be explained by the bed rest that she was confined to for most of her pregnancy. I knew that I had been born by cesarean section, and I had seen her scar, but still, I had never been entirely convinced. She and I were nothing alike. She was tall, dark, angular, dramatic. I was small-boned, soft-featured, fair. But our differences, as I saw them, ran far deeper than our surfaces. On a soul level, it seemed impossible to me that this woman was my mother. All my life, I had had trouble looking her in the eye. Her presence brought me no comfort. In my longing for some sort of pillowy, maternal warmth, I came up emptier than empty. For years, I had collected other, older women. Mother figures who bestowed hugs, asked questions about my life, gave me compliments that weren’t wrapped in barbed wire.

    I am sure your children will one day ask you “Why?” as well, Dawn, and that will be a hard moment of truth for you to face. Be honest with them. They will hear stories about other mothers fighting for their children and they will only wonder why they couldn’t be raised in your care.
    The details won’t matter.
    Only your response to their questions will matter and you will do them the best service to accept the responsibility in total. Don’t point away from yourself. Don’t blame others.
    It all may be true that circumstance and life and your Ex punished you into pummeling your children away from your direct care — but those facts won’t matter to them.
    The only thing that will make a difference is that they know deep in your heart that you never stopped being their mother and sometimes that means you have to live apart and not see each other every day even though you think about each other all day long.

  9. Thanks for being so understanding David. As that article says, other people DON’T understand. I don’t think you ever can unless you have to go through something like that. When I said thanks to my ex, I didn’t mean that he took my Children away from me directly as such. I only meant that he’s the one that set off the whole chain of events – but no matter. When it comes down to me explaining to the Children WHY I left, I wouldn’t ever blame my ex, no matter how I feel about him, simply because 1. That’s not right or fair, and 2. It’s not true. We’re both to blame for our separation
    I have already set into effect a chain of events that I hope will allow me to see my Children. If this doesn’t happen, then I’m going to concentrate on geting married and then I’ll take legal Steps. I believe it’s always good to try any and all other options before taking it legal. Legal Situations usually turn nasty and I really don’t want that. But at the same time, I’m not going to let my ex blackmail me into doing whatever he wants just for the chance to see my Children. To that extent, he’s using the children and that’s not right or fair either. They’re the victims in this and have been hurt enough already.
    As for my Birth Mother, right now I don’t know whether I want to find her or not. I’m scared of coming across as this mean tempered woman who can’t hold her anger back. Because I’m almost certain that if we met. I would not be able to hold my tongue, but lashing out at her is no good. What’s done is done, and it can’t be undone. Maybe she did it because she had to. I don’t know. But lashing out at her for doing what she had to, would make me look and feel terrible. After all, that’s exactly what I did with my own children.

  10. Hi Dawn!
    There will be reckoning for you when your children are old enough to start independently evaluating their childhood without you and I know you will be strong enough to stand up to the facts of what happened — even in the fire of their potential anger and frustrations and hurt feelings — and own up to the reality that forced you all to be apart from each other.
    I have complete faith you will be reunited soon with your children. You are a fighter. You do the right thing. They will be with you again. I know it.
    Just remember your anger — your hurt feelings — towards your birth mother is/are justified. To feel nothing in the pursuit of your birth mother is to merely perform a task instead of setting out on a mission to know the truth.
    She might give you answers you do not like.
    She may say things to you that you do not want to hear.
    The end result of the pain is the knowing and that’s a good thing.
    The anger will leave.
    The hurt feelings will begin to heal.
    You will then be able to move from living outside yourself on emotional rejection to thriving inside your great mind where you can intellectualize the experience and it will inform your relationship with your children in a good way.
    One day your children might just come to you with another “Why?” that you cannot leave unanswered and that is — “Why don’t we know our birth grandmother?”
    Don’t let the reason for their not knowing her be because you were too hurt or too angry or too frightened to find her and ask your own set of “Whys?”

  11. I think it’s easy to give birth but raising a child in a balanced, matured way is not a child’s play. Whenever a person takes the responsibility to nurture a kid, he and/she becomes the kid’s mother/father, if not biologically – at least socially.
    When a mother (biological/ social) falls from this basic principle regardless of time and place, confusion and pain takes place instead of a happy childhood memory. It takes lots of patience; tolerance and cooperation to raise a child where he/she will learn to adore his/her parent by seeing things from their point of view instead of ignoring them. A kid comes in the world much after his/ her parent, so if the two doesn’t gel well the responsibility eventually falls on either/both the parent.

  12. These are all good questions. I have a great relationship with my mom now, but this relationship really began when I became a mother. I had a new appreciation for the difficulty of parenting. I lost my father when I was 10 and my mother was not the perfect single-parent, but I certainly was not the perfect teenager. Regardless of the past, I know that my mom will always be there to support me with unconditional love, and that is something that I plan on passing on to my children. I have seen firsthand the effects on my step-children of not having a relationship with or knowing unconditional love from their mother. Carrying your child for nine months and giving birth may make you a mother, but it does not make you their Mom. Huge difference!