• margothovey

(M)othering Myself


I am currently assisting my mother who is in her late eighties to find a way to be comfortable with several mental and physical aging-related challenges she is facing. Mom is no longer able to take care of me or provide the overarching support that she once did. Aside from the difficulties I face ---- with her deterioration and suffering, I am suddenly confronted with an increasing absence of loving and care that has been with me through my life. This is different from the love of my husband or siblings. More than anything, her unique support has been with me since she birthed me. Even before that.


It’s important now for me to learn to mother myself.  “ It’s ok dear, you are safe, you are worthy, you are whole. You have good, moral, upright intention and conduct. “ Otherwise, I push my hurt self away. I divide myself. I am not integrating.  I cut off parts of myself. And when I am in this fragmented state, I cannot relate and connect with others.


It can’t be denied that being close, healthy and caring with our closest relations can prepare us for compassionate relations in these days of distancing in the social world. Just think about it for a second. Our closest relations offer an infinite number of triggers for us. How they respond sends a direct current to our very core. If we can keep our hearts open to them, surely we can keep our hearts open to those that we feel separate from.


But what about when your mother is so unwell she can’t be open and nurturing to you? Where do we turn for mothering then? I am learning now how vital it is to be a mother to myself so that I’m not looking elsewhere for that love. I put my hand on my heart and say “You’ve acted very bravely today and I am proud of you... It’s ok now dear, you are safe...” or when I am hurt by another “there, there dear, let me heal that pain”.

I am learning to trust my own self-love and self-compassion in a  new way. This is like a generalized feeling of protective fuzziness, a new “blanket “,  surrounding me. It’s warm and gently supportive.


It’s a big surprise to discover that I can learn to love myself in a way that is so profound. Especially, as my mother can’t.  As I learn how to embrace my own mothering love, so too can I look for opportunities to reflect that love to others.


If you are looking for new ways to mend the separateness between yourself and others, contact margot@margothovey.com

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© 2019 by Margot Hovey, PhD