A new perspective about mothers surfaced for me when I read that actor Helen McCrory died. McCrory played the role of Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter series. In the series, Harry Potter was saved as a baby by his mother’s love. Narcissa Malfoy, one of the “bad guys”, saved Harry at the end of the story with the hope of saving her own son Draco. Narcissa’s love for her son overcame evil. The entire storyline pivots on a mother’s love. Badass Mothers!
My own mother’s love may have saved my life. When I called my parents a week after I did not die in a car crash, my mother burst into tears of relief. She had woken, shaking, from a terrible nightmare that I was hurt and on the edge of death. We traced the dream moment across continents and time zones and found that she had the dream at the same time I had the car accident. She had been praying fervently for me the entire week. My mother, the badass. (Don’t tell her I said that! LOL)
Mothers come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of mental-emotional well-being—or not well-being.
Some mothers do their absolute best, give it their all, and still their kid makes bad choices and goes astray. Everyone has their own journey—which, as a mother myself, remains a mystery to me.
My favorite Disney villain is the evil mother in Tangled who locks Rapunzel in a tower and sings to her, “Mother knows best!” I sometimes stray in that direction. I have to force myself to let go and allow the kids to live their own lives.
But what of the “bad” mothers? I also know people who suffered greatly being raised by “bad” mothers. It’s not pretty. A woman recently shared that her mother told her, “If I knew then what I know now, you wouldn’t have been born.” Ouch.
What of women who became mothers not by their own choice but through force or through societal expectation? Or mothers who experienced life through the lens of their unprocessed emotional trauma? Or mothers who inherited trauma from their parents?
The field of epigenetics includes studies of trauma passed to children through DNA. The children see and experience life through the lens of inherited, unprocessed, emotional grief and trauma—even when they’re not aware of it.
Storing emotional trauma in the body is a coping strategy for survivors. We know our ancestors were survivors because we are here. Part of what they did to survive—which made it possible for us to be here at all—was store trauma for later.
Their descendants (us) may inherit and later uncover pockets of toxic, undigested trauma. Unprocessed trauma gets passed through the generations until someone is brave enough to see it, acknowledge it, feel it, and process it.
Happy Mother’s Day!—a day to celebrate our birth mothers and the mother figures who raised us. They did the best they could with what they had.
Cheers to the badass mothers who loved and lost. Thank you for doing your best.
A prayer for the mothers whose unprocessed trauma got passed on to the children. We each have our own journey. We each get to make choices with what we’ve got.
What legacy will you leave for future generations through your choices today? Let’s join your highest and best with my highest and best and see where we can go from here.