This is a picture of the founder of the style of yoga I do, Iyengar yoga. He was a light filled man who created a rather different style of yoga to manage his own hard times. Being a devoted practitioner to Iyengar yoga has certainly helped me navigate many difficult emotional times through the physical strength I have gained. If you know what downward dog pose is, we sometimes will hold it for 5-7 minutes. I have to go inside to tap into a mental strength to get my physical body to do it. That mental strength grows as I navigate life that is increasingly difficult, yet it grows easier to manage daily.
Mother’s Day has been a typically rough day for me. My mom was my primary abuser and the constant barrage of messages I get about loving and appreciating your mother as she’s the only one you have can feel discounting to my experience as I don’t mention in casual conversation what she did to me. It’s ugly.
A couple years ago, I took Mother’s Day back as MY holiday of the mother I had become and always was. I broke the cycle. I have been proud of the mom I have been, while no mom is perfect, I tried really hard.
Due to a bunch of insane complexity I won’t go into much detail about, I will not be celebrating Mother’s Day with my son. I haven’t celebrated anything with him for months. A very tiny select few might call me an ugly person. A much larger group recognize how hard I work to live well knowing I’m defeated, for now, in seeing my son. I live with joy. I live with gratitude. I live with beautiful memories of knowing my son and I had a wonderful relationship. I live with my truth about who I was as a mom who worked hard to protect her little bear cub despite not being successful.
Regardless, it’s Mother’s Day. While I know I have every right to be a miserable lump of ick, I’m working to take back the meaning of Mother’s Day again. I do cry big tears sometimes as my tears lead to smiling huge, genuine smiles as I work through the pain of so much.
I spent a good portion of my Friday morning writing cards thanking several women in my life that have been strong and powerful in my eyes and said “happy Mother’s Day” to them regardless of if they have children or not. I’m celebrating Mother’s Day this year by thanking the women in my life that make it meaningful. I have more cards to write, but none of them were going to get there on time anyway.
I didn’t happen to be blessed with a loving or caring mom. I had a mom who abused me in ways I won’t mention. She taught me to hate myself. She wasn’t successful forever as I appreciate and love who I am today and work to evolve to become even greater and stronger.
I celebrate that even if being a mom isn’t a current hat I’m wearing, I will always be a mom no matter what happens with my son. I didn’t do anything wrong. Truths get obscured. People have misunderstandings and if I were to tell the true story of what happened, you would be shocked as are the people who know my story about my son.
Today, I love him from a distance. I adore and treasure so many precious moments we had together. I am strong as I believed his truth too, and he took great comfort in knowing that he was seen, heard, and loved in a way a mother can.
Today might not be a perfect day. It might not be a joyful day. It might have tears. I also know that I am celebrating many women in my life that are incredible and brave.
I also know Mother’s Day grief isn’t unique to me. People can grieve this day for a variety of reasons—a lost mother, not having the chance to be a mother, similar reasons to mine whether it’s having a mom who inflicted trauma or losing your ability to see your child due to unjust reasons. Many holidays can bring up a variety of feelings. That’s ok.
My mom voice might have been silenced, but I am NOT silenced. I am not destroyed. I celebrate my victories. I celebrate wonderful women in my life. I celebrate me.
After feeling those ugly feelings, I can feel the peace the founder of Iyengar yoga knew. I can smile brightly and genuinely as I will continue to assert that my trying hard and working towards goals makes ME feel good. I also want my son to know I never gave up no matter how painful things were for me, physically, spiritually, or emotionally. Isn’t that the gift of having a mom? Knowing she was tenacious? Knowing she loved you unconditionally in distance or togetherness?
I can only hope I see him again someday to embrace him in a huge bear hug and start from a place of complete love where he doesn’t have to worry about what happened. He will only know that my love never stopped.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to eat healthy, engage in my iyengar yoga practice, celebrate the incredible women I’m surrounded with, particularly one who I write back and forth with daily from a place of love and compassion on both of our ends, knowing her beautiful words keep me going as we mutually decided to sit with each other this Mother’s Day as chronic illness is complex and mothering for both of us has its joys and sorrows. (I will celebrate the other incredible people in my life another day. Today is just about the women.)
If you are grieving this Mother’s Day, I’m sorry. You aren’t alone in it for whatever your reason is. Don’t buy into the social media hype that it’s some magical day where everyone got a perfect mom or gets to live a life of being a perfect mom. Social media is never true. Mother’s Day posts will be no different.
And if you are extremely happy about Mother’s Day or content with this holiday, congratulations. I am genuinely joyful and sit in gratitude for you and celebrate you as well.
So thank you to the women in my life that have held my hand as I continue through a life that might not be easy, but I am victorious in finding joy in a storm of chaos. My smiles don’t lie anymore.
And of course thank you to my son for giving me the opportunity to be a mom. You will always be my bunny, my baby bear bait, who lives inside my heart and has brought me so much fullness of spirit, laughs, and pride as I watched you grow.