A mother’s love.

mother child painting latin americaEveryone has a mother but not everyone has a mother’s love. A mother’s love is unlike any other because no one else can take the place of the woman who spent 9 months sharing her body with you, nurturing and protecting you before going through the miracle of birth.

It is this unique bond that forms the basis of a mother’s love for her child. A love that is unconditional and perpetual, absolute and profound.

In a perfect world every human being would experience a love such as this. But this world is not perfect. And those who lack mother’s presence physically, emotionally are spiritually wounded as a result.

“Mother’s love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. -Erich Fromm”

The benefits of a strong attachment with a mother can not be underestimated. To grow up secure in the knowledge that you are loved because you are you, that you are cared for because you are you, that you are valued because you are you, sets a firm foundation of self-belief and self-worth.

Without that affinity, the effects can be devastating. It was being abandoned by my own mother as an infant that resulted in my feelings of insecurity and inferiority that I would carry through into adulthood. Like many children I internalised the rejection and believed she had left because I wasn’t good enough. Leaving me with an abusive father only served to reinforce my lack of self-esteem that manifested itself for years to come through depression and alcoholism.

“The human race tends to remember the abuses to which it has been subjected rather than the endearments. What’s left of kisses? Wounds, however, leave scars.” ~ Bertolt Brecht

It isn’t only the physical presence of a mother that is important, her psychological availability is crucial. And not only through childhood. A mother’s support, encouragement and care is needed just as much when you are adult as it was when you were an infant. To have a mother who is alive but emotionally distant  can be hard to accept. To yearn for that connection only to be rebuked or worse still abused can cause intolerable damage.

Abuse by a mother, whatever form it takes is something I find difficult and disturbing to contemplate. I have no idea how a woman can harm the very one they should protect. But some do and the consequences are severe. Whilst the bruises and marks of a physical attack will fade in time, the emotional wound of that event can last forever. And words too can cut like a knife causing a mental laceration that may eventually heal but leave a permanent scar of rejection and hatred.

“Even though the mother somehow falls over, even though she has nothing to offer, the offspring will develop and grow independently and still thrive.” ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

My biggest fear when I became pregnant was that fear that because I had been abandoned by my own mother, that I would also repeat the pattern and reject my own child. I need not have worried, because from the moment I had my pregnancy confirmed I was filled with such a need to safeguard and treasure my unborn baby, there was no doubt that I would love my child.

There is nothing that I wouldn’t do for my daughters. My love for them is unlike any other love. It is unconditional and perpetual, absolute and profound. As it should be.

“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.” ~ Diane Mariechild

mother child painting eskimosIt proves that no amount of bad experiences from the past need define the future. Having a bad mother didn’t make me a bad mother. In fact it was the lack of love in my childhood that fueled my desire to find love and pass it on to the next generation.

What a blessing it is to be able to give my offspring the love that I never had. To be able to give what I never received is one of those miracles in life that I never take for granted.

Yet, whilst I rue the lack of love from my own mother, she did give me life.                        That is love enough.

Thank you to Judy Lai of http://www.motherchildpaintings.com/ for her permission to use Painting of Mother and Child in Latin America – Top Image and Painting of Mother and Child Eskimos -Bottom image. All rights reserved. No part of these images may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without prior written permission of Judy Lai.

73 thoughts on “A mother’s love.

  1. Hii Carol. I am not good at reading long posts because of my very tight work schedule. That is why i always like to make my posts as “inviting” as possible, since i know there are people like me out there. However, your posts are always an exception. I dont like reading them when i dont have enough time cos i will not be able to stop.

    This is one of such “well-crafted” posts that realy arrests all my time until i finish reading. This is a huge food for thought for parents, not just mothers, cos there are many children today who are “suffering from the actions and inactions of their parents, especialy lack of love.

    Just like you, i am using the experience(the good, the bad and the ugly) to raise my wonderful kids. I am using every means possible to prove myself to be “the best daddy on the world” God bless you Carol for this awesome “food for the soul” 🙂

  2. I love how you end this article – that just giving birth to you was love enough! It sounds like you have really made it through some healing – God bless you richly for sharing from your treasured heart through honesty!

    • Wow,your story sounds like my own.Inspiring to hear the depths of your maternal love.I too am blessed with 5 children,that I did my very best to give to them the love I was missing..I understand my own mother did her best,given her circumstances.It is a blessing to be on both sides,parent and child.I trust my children feel my unconditional love,as I know I am loved by our creator,and he has created everyone to ideally be loved.Trusting in Christ’s love to shine through me to our children and their friends.Wonderful to know the healing power of forgiveness,from my own childhood to my own parenting.Love is the greatest healer,especially when we are wounded.Thank you Carol for you site.Every day you bring me strength,healing and hope!!!

      • My lovely Donna, your children are blessed to have you as their mother. Your love shines through your comments and your words have brought such a smile to my face and gratitude to my heart. xo

  3. I love that you are able to say that your mother gave you life and that is enough. It is also wonderful that you are getting to give more than life to your own children. You have a beautiful story that came full circle from your birth.

    • It took me a long to be able to reach that point with my mother Pat but I do know that it is through the acceptance that I have been freed to love my own children unconditionally.

  4. What a beautiful, raw, and fierce post Carolyn.

    I agree, a mother’s love is like no other, warm, nurturing, accepting, and oh so yummy!

    Thank you for touching me with your words.

  5. That love is enough, a thought provoking post! I pray everyday for God to help me be the best mom He has made me to my biological children and other children too. Thanks for sharing, visiting from TBOYA Facebook Page.

  6. Making a comment to this post was really hard because it is very broad. It touches on so many issues i would really hav loved to comment on. But i cannot be so short of words and not be able to say, like you did, that the love for my kids is unconditional and perpetual. Nice piece. Mothers (and fathers) hould not only “like” the post, but should patiently read it….patiently 🙂

    • Thank you for your insightful comments Michael. I aim to keep my posts broad so that as many people can take something away after they’ve read it. And thank you for mentioning fathers too. Their unconditional love is every bit as important 🙂

  7. Enjoyed reading this – I love my mom and have been close to her every since I can remember but almost to the point of not being able to know where I began and she ended. Learning more and more each day to have healthy boundaries. Learning more and more each day that it is my connection with the Creator that will exceed human earthly connections – so my eyes know Who the eternal source is. I love how you are able to give love to your children in a way that builds and affirms despite the mothering you received. What a gift 😉

  8. “To be able to give what I never received is one of those miracles in life that I never take for granted.” A very touching story Carolyn. Deeply personal, vulnerable & honest. It is a miracle. A miracle that God placed within you. You are an encouragement to many!

  9. Awesome post Carolyn – it actually brought a tear to my eye as I related to some of the abandonment issues in my own life. You are an amazingly strong bright light and you are making a great difference in the world not only for your daughters but for anyone who reads your words.

  10. My life started with my mother’s “I love you, but …” so I have an infinitesimal ‘hint’ of what you experienced. (And I know how that one little detail affected my entire life … until I learned to forgive and let it go.) But knowing the rest of your story, Carolyn, moves the joyfulness of your parenting to the level of miraculous. What a blessing for you and for your daughters!

  11. Hope shines so brightly in your stories, Carolyn. Having just read the story about your daughter’s essay on her mom being the person who most influenced her life the most – and hearing her pride in her mother… the story of your own loss of a mother’s love is haunting. The contrast makes it all the more precious to hear the redemption in your story, and how God turned something potentially poisonous and disastrous into a life-giving well of hope, love, and faith! You are a real treasure, Carolyn, and I would sure love to read your whole story!

  12. You are one of those that has made the time and resources that goes with my blogging to be worth while. Thanks a lot for encouraging me 🙂 Please accept my nomination for a “bouquet of three awards” for all your inspiration. Plesase visit my blog for the award details. Congratulations and God bless you 🙂

  13. Ah, the warmth drips off the page, Carolyn. Your experience with mother’s love (or diffiulty with), both on the receiving end and the giving end paints a bitter-sweet picture that is tender and wanting. We tend to put more anger and outrage onto a mother who harms a child in some way compared to a father who does the same. As if it’s not even possible in the mother’s DNA to do harm…but for whatever reasons, it does happen. I don’t know what it’s like to be on the child’s side there, but you have been so honest and courageous in your writing of this that I can see a glimpse of it…and it hurts. But the one thing I can identify with is the absolute love that you have for your kids. I recently got a boost of that this past fortnight as I was home with my young boys (I was on vacation) and it sometimes actually *hurts* how much I love them. I never experienced that in my life until we had the boys.

    Beautiful post…and your girls are lucky to have a mom like you.


    • Thank you for your wonderfully encouraging comments Paul. I have so much admiration for you as you share your own journey of recovery and your feedback means a lot to me. It’s so brilliant to read about the depth of love that exists in your own family. You boys are also lucky to have a dad like you!

  14. I love that you turned and gave what you didn’t have into a positive! For many people they are unable or willing to do this! There is nothing like the love and comfort from our mother. I still want my mother when I’m sick lol.;) Lovely!

  15. Lovely post. A mother’s love and influence is so important to the healthy development of her children. But it isn’t the biology that creates that love; adoptive mothers often have as strong or stronger bonds with their children as well.

  16. Your daughters are so very blessed to have you as a mother – your devotion is clearly evident… what’s more they get a first hand example of how there is always possibility to move forward and grow – what better gift than that?

    I want to add, though, that the presence of such motherly love, while it certainly nourishes and helps to heal, it does not deflect later pain. I say this not to argue with you, only to acknowledge that sometimes mothers are wonderful and bad things and self destruction still happen. When it does, these daughters (yes, yes, I’m talking about me) are still lucky b/c they get to have that all encompassing love to support them as they overcome their own patterns.

    • Thank you for sharing and I’m so glad that you have your own mother to support you. I do agree with you that bad things and self-destruct can happen with or without the presence of a mother’s love.

  17. WOW! What a beautiful post. I can so relate to a lot of what you’ve shared. God bless you and thanks for sharing.

  18. This was a beautiful post Carolyn. It is true that a mother’s love is very important. The fact that some mothers can be so abusive is sad. I am know I am very grateful for my mom and I am sure that your daughters are very grateful for you. This post brought a smile to my face.

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