Yesterday was Mother’s Day in Australia, a day that has always been difficult for me despite having two beautiful boys. I also know it is a difficult day for many other women, for a wide variety of reasons.
Often I would be deep in my sadness from the grief and loss of what the day symbolises for me and the memories it brings back. Watching people celebrating on the socials and rushing about with flowers and picnic baskets, taking photos with loved one’s was always confronting. Strangers wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day or asking if I have “special plans” for the day without any awareness if I’m a parent, or if I celebrate the day. Friends doing the same. Of course it is all well meaning, and I take it as such, but for many years inside I would be in turmoil with pain and sadness swirling.
Yesterday was different, testament to the deep inner work I’ve done but in particular have been doing this year around my childhood, family and divorce.
I found myself observing people as I sat in the park with my daily ritual of writing and creating. As they rushed I wondered where they were going, how they were feeling, who they were going to see. I overheard a mother angrily chastising her son “For Fuck’s sake this is my day, don’t ruin it for me”. I wondered what her hurt was and why she was angrily projecting it on her young son. Reminded that I have also uttered the words “not today, of all days”. So much attachment and expectation about what the day, Mother’s Day, is and what it should look like, based on the external influences of marketing campaigns and commercialism.
A huge part of my Journey Home to Soul has been honouring my authentic self and my values. Over the last year I have made difficult decisions around my family and how I choose to engage with them, based on the truth of the situation and not conforming to their expectations which I have done all my life. Yesterday, on Mother’s Day, I reaped the rewards of my soul’s authenticity.
Three major traumas sit underneath my discomfort with Mother’s Day.
The first is I am adopted, so I always find myself reflecting on my birth and my biological mother. I wonder how she feels on this day and if she thinks of me as she celebrates with my two younger half siblings who weren’t adopted out.
The second is that my adoptive Mother was incredibly cruel to me as a young child into my young adult years. We had no relationship until I was 16 and she divorced my adoptive father.
The third is that on Mother’s Day 2010 my ex-husband threatened to burn the house down, with a jerry can of fuel in his hand, while our 4.5 and 2.5 year old boys slept unaware. It was the end of our marriage instantly.
For many years the memories of those traumatic events would consume me in the lead up to and on Mother’s Day. There was nothing celebratory about the day, instead there were major triggers and overwhelming depression would accompany them. Many other women, for their reasons, feel the same and it feels like there’s no escape because promotions and campaigns promoting celebration are all around us for weeks leading up to the day.
I started my day deeply reflecting on my birth Mother Collette and what my adoption may mean for her. Strength, courage, grief, loss, surrender, forgiveness, gratitude, sacrifice, life force, unconditional love, freedom, soul connection and honouring were the words that came through. I had never before looked at my adoption through her eyes, instead caught up in my own pain and sadness. I hadn’t considered that she too had experienced grief and loss, sacrifice and surrender as an 18 year old with her life still ahead of her.
I felt deep gratitude to her for the courage and strength she had so young to deliver me full term and then birth me and have to leave me in the hospital. Deep gratitude and acknowledgement that she gave me life, that because of her courage and strength I was alive and a Mother myself now. I know to only a small degree what it feels like to be separated from a child I birthed, with my eldest son kept from his younger brother and I by his father for nine months. So the absence of a child carried within and birthed I understand, yet hadn’t previously acknowledged about my own biological Mother. The respect and unconditional love I feel for Collette, the forgiveness for her and my self, was beautiful as I sat in contemplation. I later bought a beautiful white and magenta orchid in her honour so I always have a symbol of her sacrifice and critical role in my life. It matters not we don’t have a relationship for she gave me the most precious gift of all – LIFE.
I then found myself feeling drawn to visit my adoptive Mother Sue, who I have not seen or spoken to in over a year. I’ve been writing and processing my childhood abuse over the last six months and the reality of the depth of her cruelty hit me hard. I’ve felt immense anger at her, bewildered how anyone can treat a child so harshly and deprive them of the very basics, and of love. I’ve felt confusion as to how I could even attempt, let alone succeed, in having a relationship with someone who was so cruel to me for 15 years of my life. It’s been a ride of dense emotions and a mess of contradictions that saw me withdrawing completely and not bothering with any contact. In contemplating my sudden need to see her yesterday on Mother’s Day, after a year of feeling anger and hurt and not wanting any contact with her, I realised why I was feeling the need to see her.
Over the years many of those who have witnessed my journey have expressed concern and surprise at my forgiveness of people like Sue. It has confronted and conflicted me and for many years I ignored and suppressed thinking about it too much. It was too hard and hurt too much. There is no denying that her actions to me do give me more than adequate reason to hate her but my Soul Truth prevents me from it.
My Soul Truth is I love unconditionally and lack the ability to hate. My very survival has been because of my Soul Truth, my unconditional love for others kept me going, kept me alive, kept me stepping forward and ultimately led to my healing. Even with unconditional love guiding me forward it has been incredibly hard and conflicting at times, but I am able to forgive and to love without conditions or expectations, which was what my soul was asking me to do yesterday. So I visited Sue and I’m glad I did. There were moments of needing to assert my authenticity around our relationship, but it was done with love and respect. I know she felt it deeply but it wasn’t about her, it was about what my Soul Authenticity required from me that I needed to honour.
Lastly, the issue of the trauma of 2010. This was actually much simpler than previous years because of the massive energetic clearings I’ve done around my ex-husband. Yes the memory still comes forth and probably always will as it was such a traumatic experience that changed the trajectory of my life and our boys. Unlike previous years though it wasn’t about recalling in detail the event and the ensuing years of enormous difficulty and continued trauma. It was fleeting acknowledgement without depression or any emotion other than forgiveness and gratitude.
Both my boys wished me a Happy Mother’s Day and it was all I needed. I didn’t need gifts or any special treatment because in my early morning contemplation, with my eldest son’s words “But I haven’t got you anything for Mother’s Day” ringing in my ears, I realised that the most important thing for me to celebrate on Mother’s Day is that my boys are safe, happy and healthy. I’ve had them full time for nine years, free from the toxicity and violence of my marriage with their Father. That matters more than anything, along with the daily “I love you” we all enjoy back and forth numerous times a day. They know they are deeply and unconditionally loved and they are safe. What more could I want?
My eldest son so innocently, yet beautifully, reflected this back to me in his hand made card at the end of the day. He wrote “Happy Mother’s Day to the best Mum there is. Thank you for always being there for me and constantly supporting me no matter where I go. I will forever be grateful for the man you helped me become and the life lessons you’ve taught me over the years. I’m glad you won the court case against Dad because I wouldn’t be the same without you. I love you”.
He loves his Dad, and their relationship is work in progress, but he knows HIS truth around the past and that going to court to secure their safety was the hardest thing I’ve ever done because it conflicted with my belief both parents have a right to see their children. My boys safety, happiness and wellbeing is all I need for Mother’s Day and it was deeply healing to realise that yesterday and replace the previous feelings of dread and horror from 2010 with the deep knowing that I have two young men healing and flourishing with every passing day, who know they are deeply loved unconditionally. That is the greatest gift I could receive and how I choose to honour Mother’s Day going forward.
I had wanted to share this yesterday but time got away from me. I temporarily got caught up in my humanness around sharing something real and not ‘love and light’ on a day promoted as a celebration. The truth however is that my realisations yesterday are celebratory. Their origins may be from trauma but my healing has bought celebration and deeper appreciation for the Mother’s in my life, my own role as a Mother, and their roles in my life may have been difficult but they returned me to my authentic self, my Soul Truths, and that is invaluable. I am grateful and I do offer them each forgiveness and unconditional love.
I feel to end with a quote my beloved often shares which continues to ring true in my life, and those I know and those I work with “walk gently in the lives of others, for you don’t know what they are carrying”.