The relationship with my mother has always been a very complicated one. As a child I adored her, as a teenager I hated her and throughout adolescence we struggled in finding our way back to eachother. A journey that didnt come without any struggles.
It took me a while to figure out that the difficulties I had with my mother, were actually quite common. I recently came across a term that describes this phenomenom quite well and is known as: the mother wound.
The motherwound is something that is caused because of the circumstances women have found themselves in throughout centuries. It is a direct result of the oppression by the patriarchy and something that can not be blamed on just one person or generation for that matter. Actually, difficulty and challenges between mothers and daughters are widespread but usually not openly spoken about. The taboo about speaking about the pain of the Mother Wound is what keeps it in place and keeps it hidden in shadow, festering and out of view. The Mother Wound is the pain of being a woman passed down through generations of women in patriarchal cultures. And it includes the dysfunctional coping mechanisms that are used to process that pain.
The Mother Wound includes the pain of:
- Comparison: not feeling good enough
- Shame: consistent background sense that there is something wrong with you
- Attenuation: Feeling you must remain small in order to be loved
- Persistent sense of guilt for wanting more than you currently have
Many or maybe all women experience these dynamics and thankfully it is much more spoken about these days. This probably also explains the fact that women today are increasingly coming together in special womens circles, full moon circles and such.
My journey with Ayahusca
When I was about 19 I started to realise that I needed to heal the relationship with my mother. I just didnt knew how. But it didnt take long before I had my first clue. On the island of Samthraki, Greece I had some kind of vision. It was as if someone whispered in my ear that I had to convince my mother of doing Ayahuasca with me. At the time I had plenty of experience with psychedelics, but my mom was green as a leaf. She was scared of anything related to drugs, but when I came home after 3 months traveling in South of Europe and told her about my vision, it didnt take much for her to be convinced. She agreed and a month later we went to an Ayahusca ceremony together and I think that was the start of the healing process between her, me and my grandmother.
Tribals and tribulations
I have never met my grandmother, because she passed away before I was born, but her life was not an easy one. As a mother to 6 children and living in poverty, my grandmother had to work really hard to keep her family afloat. When my mom was born, my grandmother was already 50 years old and she didn’t have much juice left to properly parent my mother. My mom has told me a lot about it, but during our ayahuasca trip we understood that we had to break the cycle of suffering and started to talk more openly with eachother. The conversations with my mother have given me a lot of insight about how these dynamics work, but the real healing only took place when both of us were willing to look in all honestly about what happened in both of our childhoods.
This might all sound very airy-fairy but it wasn’t anything like that. It was fucking hard and I cried a lot, we fought a lot, but made up better. Many mistakes were made, but now honestly and open adressed. No more hiding behind fear or shame. We brought it all into the light and I was able to vocalize my pain. This was very healing for me, but sometimes it felt more the opposite of it.
Motherhood and healing
But this changed when I became a mom myself. Being a mother has given my the insight of the other side of the coin. I suddenly understood how my mother had felt like when we were little and I was able to process more of my pain through these insights. Somehow when a child is born into a family, it gives an oppurtunity for healing and re-establishing connection. If the family members are willing to take this opportunity this can be a very healing event. But at the other side it can bring up a lot of old pains and traumas. For me both has happened.
My mother was there when I gave birth to my daughter and I like to believe that has forged an unbreakable bond between her and my daugther. But also at times where I felt like I didnt know what to do as a mother I have asked her for advice.
Other times I could see what went wrong in my childhood and that brought up a lot of pain. Some parts I still dont understand or am able to forgive, but I know that the more I understand, the better I can forgive. The more I let myself feel all that is inside me, the more I can let go. And by raising my daughter, I am also raising myself. Because all the things I give to her, I can now also give to myself. Somehow I feel like a new blueprint is created within me. And I can actually choose this! It is still not always easy, and most probably never will be. But it is real and open en honest. And those things are qualities I like to live and instill in my daughter. Qualities I think the world needs, so we all can heal and find ways to express ourselves more freely.
I believe women of today should encourage eachother to talk about their wounds, about their mothers and heal together. Because too much suffering is still covered under a blanket of guilt and shame. And we are not serving ourselves, nor our children by not addressing those emotions. We don’t want to pass the trauma onto the next generation and I very much believe that we now have the power to make that change.