Are We Not All Mothers?
I recently asked my Facebook friends to list three words they would use to describe mothers. Some of their replies included: absolute, unconditional love; teaching, loving, learning; angels on earth; soul-stretching love. And I agree. If there’s one word that defines “mother,” for me, it would have to be a four-letter word: LOVE.
The Definition of a Mother
Since I specialize in women’s emotional health across the lifespan, I get to work intimately with women, mothers, and grandmothers of all ages. Over the years I have witnessed this “soul-stretching love” that defines mothers of all kinds in all kinds of situations: Mothers holding vigil at hospital bedsides, mothers carrying on despite grief or mental illness, mothers on field trips, mothers finding their way alone when a spouse decides to leave, mothers teaching preschool, mothers fighting for special needs, mothers running the PTO for the rest of us who cannot, mothers doing crafts, losing sleep, and cleaning up vomit, mothers rocking babies, mothers holding their tongues with teens, mothers standing by adult children who’ve gone astray, mothers raising grandchildren, mothers who have buried children, mothers who were never able to have children.
Are we not all mothers?
As women, doesn’t each of us have a distinct call to nurture and love? Are we not all mothers? I can say with a surety, “Yes!”; it is part of our chemical makeup. Research shows that even as infants, female brains are wired for empathy, hearing others, being heard, observing others, and reading emotion. Female babies seem born to study faces, and by 3 months old a baby girl’s skills in eye contact and gazing increase by over 400% while baby boys skills do not increase at all. All of these details mean that the female brain is “a machine that is built for connection”(p.21). As aunts, sisters, friends, teachers, mothers—as women we are called to connect, we are called to love. And if mother equals love, then by the transitive property our call to love means that we are all mothers.
Your Mother’s Day Gift
So this mother’s day I ask women everywhere to give yourself a gift: the gift of self-love. Use your female brain to connect with the ones you have loved and receive their love in return. Let go of anything that stands in the way of your divine mothering call: Let go of guilt. Let go of blame. Let go of resentment. Let go of loss. Let go of the past. Let go of the future. Let go of the belief that you have to have a child to be a mother. Let go, and let love in.
Freely soak up all the love that comes your way this Mother’s Day. Freely express your love for the women who have mothered you. Freely accept where you are and who you are called to become. Then become the mother you were called to be. Yes, the definition of a mother is LOVE, so mothers, receive some love this Mother’s day. You not only deserve it, but it is in receiving love that we become full of the love that stretches our souls so big and wide, allowing us to love even more.
 Thank you to Keilah, Amy, Diann, & Becky for the use of your words!