If you had a loving mom, it’s a beautiful thing to acknowledge her for whatever she’s done for you, but it’s also important to understand not everyone has such a mother. Here are five myths about motherhood that might make Mother’s Day easier to get through if you are struggling with a broken relationship with your mom.
Myth #1 Giving Birth Makes a Mother
Giving birth doesn’t actually make a mother. It might, but it’s not a guarantee. What makes a mother is a loving relationship manifested through nurturing and empathy.
God’s intentions for mothers (and fathers) was for them to represent him by procreating in their own image and serving their offspring with other-centered love, teaching them to do the same for the next generation.
Narcissistic mothers give birth and serve self. In this case, birth creates a sort of queen mum to be waited on hand and foot—a so called mother who demands her children meet her every need. Sometimes this includes dictating who her children should marry or even if they can marry. If this is the fruit of her so-called motherhood, then giving birth didn’t create a mother, it just provided more narcissistic feed for a narcissist.
That said, we can still honor egg donors. We can thank them for life–without allowing them to control our lives.
Myth #2 Adopting Makes a Mother
Just as with giving birth, adoption is another opportunity to be a mother–but only if a woman chooses to become a mother through giving other-centered love. There are many adoptive mothers who tenderly love a child as much as any who gave birth. But then there are narcissistic mothers who merely wanted to acquire more children as if they were possessions and when the newness wears off they get bored of motherhood. Motherhood is more than the acquisition of a child, it is a relationship for life.
Narcissistic mothers often fail to nurture because they lack empathy. Empathy is the part of love that allows us to see life through the eyes of another. It’s sad how many mothers both through adoption and birth choose to shun their children because they have no empathy for them and resent their adult children who didn’t turn out the way they wanted them too.
If you had such a mother, you probably already know you can’t live out her expectations for you. It’s important to determine where your mother ends and you begin. Such boundaries will separate your mother from yourself and allow you to become yourself.
Myth #3 God Decides Who Gets to Have Children
While I was growing up, some people used to say “There’s a reason God doesn’t give some people children.” Hmmn… If we believe God has withdrawn his blessing from every infertile couple, then we would have to follow this idea through to its logical conclusion and assume God is purposely giving children to every mother who gives birth. Why would God bless crack addicts and abusers with children, while he withholds babies from honest, loving parents?
I have a friend who is a counselor for an adoption agency. She once said, “I think God stepped back from actively deciding who gets to have children a long time ago and left the choices to us. I think the determining factors as to who can give birth is more likely the result of genetics and health from living in a damaged world.”
That said, every child who comes into this world is still a gift from God. God designed the human family to receive love and a give love and a helpless baby offers us one of the most rewarding opportunities to experience love.
Myth #4 You Can’t Understand Parenting Unless You’re a Parent
To be a mother is to love and nurture. Some of us were mothers at an early age. I changed diapers and bottles and dressed my baby siblings since I was four or five. I never actually thought I was their mother and I had no plans to usurp my mother’s place. I knew we all had the same mother, but I still mothered them.
Chances are if you care about children at all, you have mothered in some sense even if you are not called mother. Mothering is the art of giving in a nurturing way. Mothering is planning a birthday party, soothing a wounded knee and sharing encouragement when a friend is discouraged.
When we think of mothering as a verb, it’s obvious anyone can use empathy and love to nurture others. Mothering can describe the behavior of older siblings, grandmothers, aunts, teachers and really anyone who takes the time to invest in the life of a child. Mother Teresa is a grand example of a true mother heart.
Myth #5 God is Our Father, But Not Our Mother
Some people freak out over references to Mother God, but where do they think mothers came from in the first place? The Godhead said, “Let us create humankind in our image.” Male and female were created in God’s image.
God therefore is as much mother as as a father. Those who are invested in patriarchy, might cling to whatever they’ve been told and struggle to see it, but those with open minds, willing to seek truth in all things, can’t deny God is both masculine and feminine. There are verses throughout the Bible describing the feminine face of God.
The kind of mother we find in God, is the opposite of a narcissistic mother.
When the narc mom demands we jump through arbitrary hoops to please her, our Mother God sets us free to be ourselves.
When the narc mom demands control of the relationship, our Mother God leaves us free to choose if we want a relationship.
When a narc mom makes fun of us and demeans us, our Mother God has designed us to be unique and beautiful and she celebrates who we are.
This mother God is not some false concept, nor is she in disagreement with our Father God–they are one and the same God.
To recap, anybody can give birth or adopt a child, but it takes an empathetic, loving person to be a mother. Anyone can answer to mother, but those who empower a child to grow into her true self instead of controlling who she might become, is mothering. To mother is to be like God. God is the ultimate mother of us all. Let’s honor both our heavenly mother and our earthly mothers and let’s release the narcs to take care of themselves.