Soulful, deeply-connected mothering isn’t really talked about, even in this week leading to Mother’s Day. There’s a profusion of pink cards in supermarkets, glossy magazines with beautifully curated gifts and sentimental advertisements on television but not much about how mothering requires every emotional fibre of your heart, and then some.
This week, I’ve immersed myself deeply in my current editing job, a slim sixth edition book on childbirth, as well as a friend’s beautiful heartfelt book on parenting and three school masses celebrating motherhood.
The childbirth book has made me feel queasy at times – so many potential interventions! So many things to think about for first-time mothers! So many new things to learn while recovering from the birth and learning to care for a newborn baby! But the sheer miracle of creating and nurturing a new little life is so beautiful and hopeful an act of love that I am in awe again at this miracle.
My friend is a psychologist and a mother of five adult daughters. Her book is part memoir, part parenting guide and I so wish I could have read it while my children were young. The section on listening deserves to be distributed to every new mother in hospital. My friend’s gentle, wise words on using reflective listening to truly connect with your baby, child or teenager comes deep from her experience of mothering and providing psychology sessions. I’ve carried her words around deep inside me.
I’ve attended two school masses for Mother’s Day, with one more to come today. And oh, the music – teenage boys singing You raise me up, teenage girls singing psalms. And the blessings – because mothers need blessings. Oh, we need the blessings for the times when the baby cries inconsolably at three in the morning, when the toddler won’t get in the car when we’re running late, when the seven-year-old doesn’t get invited to a party, when the teenager won’t do their homework or stays out too late.
And we need to remember my friend’s suggestions to listen – not only with our ears – when they won’t tell us about their feelings of loneliness or not-enoughness or social media angst.
And we need to remember our feelings of love when we first gazed at their wonderful unique selves after the ordeal of childbirth. Soulful mothering – it takes everything we’ve got.
This weekend, there are families missing their mothers, mothers missing their children, childless women enduring a day of celebration that doesn’t acknowledge their choice or loss, mothers who don’t quite feel their own enoughness. Blessings to all of us.