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7 May 2021 | Editing

Blessings for mothers

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.

Her sheer audacity

4 Comments

Pamela

I don’t think you always feel adequate enough being a mother. It is a daunting role. No one can really tell you how to overcome all the hurdles. The wonderful ache in the heart when you look at the miracle squirming in your arms just after birth. No one can explain that. I feel privileged being the mother to my 4 beautiful, caring, talented children.

May 7, 2021 at 7:32 am

Kathryn Smith

Thank you Karen for this beautiful writing honouring mothers and mothering. My children are 30-38years and mothering is always important, a constant and a blessing even in the difficult times
I will be blessed to have two of them visit me this weekend. My eldest in far away Rwanda is now a mother of two
Your last paragraph brought my tears forth as I miss her so much and our grandchildren and son in law. Separation is difficult but we tell ourselves “this too will pass” and we will be able to see each other and hug. Thank you for releasing my sadness.

May 7, 2021 at 8:36 am

Kathleen

Beautifully written Karen.
I have always said mothering is the best and most important job in the world.
Have a lovely day on Sunday. X

May 7, 2021 at 9:34 am

Caroline Touzeau

My mum always says “Mothering never stops” Aren’t we lucky! I love being a mum but l certainly think of those who’s circumstances didn’t allow this. Happy Mother’s day to you Karen, a wonderful mother that you are. Caz xx

May 7, 2021 at 12:11 pm

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