The role of ‘Mother’ has been glorified into an expectation of limitless love and compassion, ceaseless service and unending support and sacrifice. Societal expectations re-enforce this impossible veneer of ‘Motherhood’ giving birth to its suppressed counterpart – the ‘Martyr Mother’.
As women, we are socially expected to express a narrow and limited version of what it is to be a ‘Mother’ that fails to encapsulate the full reality of the actually experience. I have personally perceived expectations upon all women including (but are not limited to):
- I must place the physical and emotional needs of my children (and anyone else who is displaying a need for nurture) ahead of my own.
- Regardless of my own experience, wit or intuitive knowing, I must be informed, told, taught or instructed on how to ‘be’ or ’behave’ by others outside of myself.
- When others are hurt or in distress – they are permitted to hurt, abuse, harm or subjugate me in order to alleviate or placate their own suffering (even though this behaviour brings no true alleviation)
Has your Mother ever used emotional blackmail to force your obedience? Please forgive her; she was not taught to ask for your help or trust you to choose your own response. She was often not given any freedom to choose for herself and expected to conform without delay.
Has your Mother ever shut you out and ignored you for not being subject to her will? Please forgive her; she was no shown how to honor the choices and wishes of others. Her freedom to express herself individually was not provided; she was isolated and abandoned for having her own desires.
Has your Mother ever turned to you for Mothering; expecting her unspoken needs and heart’s yearnings to be perceived, accommodated and granted without request. Please forgive her; she was not told that she is the only one truly capable of loving, accepting and cultivating herself. Her needs and wants were perceived as selfish and frivolous and they were shunned and discounted before her eyes.
We have been raised by un-mothered Mothers who are burnt out, defeated, estranged and hopeless to varying degree’s. A part of them potentially feels like giving up on ever being loved, cared for, supported or granted permission to fulfil their own needs and heart’s yearnings.
As we confront the reality of what being a ‘Mother’ means to us individually and collectively… I am asking myself for more room to be who I am! I am asking you to consider how you can make more space for you to be who you are in your life as a Mother. I want to remind myself that it is safe and supported for me to ask for what I want and to remember that I can use my own pain and lack of love to transmute my past suffering into light. I truly wish the very same for us all.
The light of truth redeems the Martyr Mother. Freedom to be all that we are now (as Mothers) returns us to balance as we find our own wholeness. I hereby grant myself permission to be fierce and self-devoted as well as nurturing and compassionate.