What must Mother's Day feel like if you are a woman, between the ages of 30 on upward whose hope of having children has not yet, or may never come to fruition? As a member of this tribe, I have had my own evolutionary experience living with this reality. I have also heard from and counseled countless women in my private practice, as a psychotherapist of the past 20 years, about their feelings related to the widespread phenomenon of circumstantial childlessness (due to infertility, lack of financial resources, lack of partnership to parent and so on).
It is from this experience and vantage point, that I share six Mother's Day recommendations for women without children, fostering an acknowledgement of who we are, who we can be, on this day and every other. These reminders and suggestions are for all women who do not have children, whether by choice or happenstance.
Here we GO!
1): Mothering as a transitive verb:
We usually think of "mother" as a noun, referring to those who bear or adopt children. The perspective I share with clients I see privately and on my ChildlessMothersConnect platform for women who do not have their own kids, is simply this: To consider viewing mothering as also a verb. A "transitive verb" is one that expresses a doable action, with someone or something as the recipient of that action. From this angle, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "mothering" as: "to give birth to," "to give rise to," "to care for or protect." Related synonyms include: deliver, bear, produce, breed, and generate. The idea here is that mothering is not constricted by biology or even gender. Rather, it is about a consciousness and energy field of giving and loving fully. The universality and versatility of looking through this definitional lens of mothering is not only beautiful, but also life-affirming.
2): Acknowledge and celebrate the mother within you:
So who do you mother? What two and four-legged beings do you care about and nurture? Who do you share your compassion, guidance, wisdom and unconditional love with? What are you birthing in the way of creativity, philanthropy, conscious commerce, etc.? If you scan your heart's memory it is quite possible that you will recall and recognize a special few who are very near and dear to your heart, or you may see a sea of faces of people you have deeply touched. You can also claim motherhood for an idea, product, movement and contribution to humanity. As women who embody the divine feminine, we have the capacity to conceive, nourish and deliver so much value to and for others in our lifetime. Whether I've met you personally or not, I see it in you. The question is... do you see it in yourself?
3): Share the mother in you more!
If you cannot think of many or any at all that you have "mothered" it may mean that you have been holding back sharing the fullness of you. Give yourself the time now to reflect upon this. Have you withheld your love, participation and engagement from friends, family and community? Usually we do this when we are holding on to old resentments and fears. Have you not had much to give because your feeling too depleted or deprived? Does getting close to someone feel scary and so you have lived in the illusion that isolation and distance will protect you from the inevitable hurt you anticipate? As you heal what needs healing, these historic shackles that have constricted full access to your ability to give and receive love can finally be released. In this new found space, there is daily opportunity to open your heart wider and share more of who you are. There is infinite love in side of you and it is your birthright to feel it, appreciate it and share it. Once you do, the love will multiply and come back to you ten-fold. And even when it is a "seemingly" one way give, that feeling of loving with no holds bared can fill your cup to the brim.
4): Share the glee and gratitude with those who have mothered you:
I believe that no matter what our chronological age, all of us need mothering from time to time. We just trade places in holding a safe and sacred space for this for one another. It can come in so many forms... from a stranger that crosses your path at the perfect time with the perfect message, to a soul sister that just knows what you need exactly when you need it.
At the end of the day, much of the juice and purpose of life is really just about loving and being loved. So who has loved you with all her heart and soul? Was it a teacher, coach, mentor, friend, sister, auntie, friend's mom, nanny, grandmother (or fairy godmother as my step-daughters call me)? Think about writing, calling, visiting them to let them know how much you love and appreciate their love and presence in your life. If she has passed, tune in and connect with the memory and spirit of her. I bet you may very well more palpably feel her with you still.
5): Mother the mother within you:
On airplanes, during the safety instructions we hear: "Put on your mask before assisting your child'. For all of us this highlights the importance to take attentive and good care of our selves. The world needs us! We deserve to feel good, live long, and to continue to be a loving and maternal conduit for love, light, and intelligence on this planet. When you feel lost or troubled, the quickest way to mother yourself is to tune in to that all-knowing and pure channel of maternal love within you. If you are not being kind to yourself, hear and see in your minds eye what you would tell a child or someone you love. That's the mama wisdom within you that you can always trust, who will not abandon, and who has got your back... always and forever. Embrace and treasure her.
6): Make Mother's Day a sacred one:
What suits your fancy? Is it a quite day of peaceful solitude? Connection with "mother nature;" pleasure pampering; exploring new places; time spent with fabulous people (including the little ones you participate in loving and caring for); adopt a pet? One year I organized a "Childless Mother Brunch" with a group of absolutely magnificent women! It was soul food in more ways then one for all of us.
What ever calls to you... make it a marvelous mothering day for YOU!
I have had moments in my own life when Mother's Day was not a fun day for me. It was painful actually. But I have evolved into choosing to view, receive and experience it in the ways I have just shared. This transformed a day that once felt empty into one which highlights the abundance of love and blessings in my life.
I invite you to try it for yourself this Mother's Day... and I'd love to know how it goes! In the meantime, I wish you the presence to embrace and dance with what is and what can be... and the presence to experience the joy that surrounds and awaits you.