Developmentally, our relationship with our mother serves as a template for our relationship with ourselves.
As female children, we absorbed information about how she felt about herself, about us as her child, and about the world. Naturally, we internalized these beliefs and worldviews to form the basis of our very own beliefs and experiences. We learned to treat ourselves the way our mother treated herself.
Our task as awakened women is to transform the inner mother within our psyche from a duplicate of our biological mother with her human limitations into the mother we always needed and wanted. In doing so, the inner mother more accurately meets our needs, and unconditionally supports and nurtures us in ways our outer mother may have been unable to.
We can become the mother we always wanted—to ourselves. In this way, we become capable of accepting the limitations of our outer mother, because the inner mother becomes the primary one we can rely on, in ways that perhaps we were never able to rely on our outer mother.
Our mother could only love us to the extent that she could love herself.
At a certain point, we must face that our mother could not and will not meet our needs in all the ways that we needed and wanted her to. This must be grieved all the way through. We have to grieve the ways we had to compensate and suffer from the mother wound.
In the process of grieving, we have the chance to realize that the fact that we felt unloved or abandoned in moments was not our fault, and we can stop struggling to prove our worth to the world. In the grieving process, we can also have compassion for our mother and the burdens she carried.
Healing the mother within transforms your life beyond anything you can imagine.
Through facing this pain, we may find that what we thought was our pain may actually be partly our mother’s pain that we have been carrying for her out of love. We can now choose to put this burden down. Instead of attenuating ourselves out of guilt, we can stand confidently in our bodies and hearts with a sense of true wholeness and self-love.
By becoming the “good enough” mother to ourselves, we liberate not only ourselves but everyone else in our lives.
It is challenging to admit to ourselves the ways in which we felt unloved in our relationship with our mother. We may recall seeing how burdened and overwhelmed she was, and we may have thought that we were the source of her pain. This “daughter guilt” can keep us stuck. Recognizing the innocence and legitimacy of our childhood needs is a way of releasing shame and baptizing ourselves into the truth of our goodness.
Once we have first grieved for ourselves, we can then grieve for our mothers and for women as a whole.
Grief replenishes and strengthens us.
As women, we can heal and give ourselves what our mothers could not give us. We can become our own source. The collective female “pain body” is healed one woman at a time. And as the female pain body heals, so does the collective human pain body. Our own healing is not only a gift to ourselves, but to the world.
The mother wound is a great opportunity.
As we allow ourselves to contact what feels like an ancient, inexhaustible hunger for an inexhaustible mother, we birth ourselves into our true identity—the womb of light—an inexhaustible, overflowing fountain of love and abundance that is not dependent on circumstances or conditions.
We then can live in service to that which we truly are—love itself.
Bethany Webster is a writer and facilitator living in western Massachusetts. She is currently working on her first book, The Womb of Light: The Power of Conscious Menstruation. She co-teaches a workshop called “Healing the Mother Wound.” Visit her blogs at http://womboflight.com and http://embraceofbeing.com.