Sunday, May 10, 2015

Grow Your Own Mother

I’m reading the book, “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?” by Karyl McBride, PhD.
It is about healing and recovery for daughters of narcissistic mothers. McBride writes about the patterns of behavior, the persistent feeling of never being good enough and the invisibility that accrue to women whose mothers were on the continuum from self-absorbed to full-blown narcissist. Part of the recovery that McBride describes is developing an internal mother who is all the things one’s real mother was not able to be.

So today at the beach I began to envision what that new, inner mother might be like and I began to borrow parts of other women—and some men—to grow my own mother. To be fair I did include a lot of my real mother and her best qualities: passion, curiosity, charity, physical energy and humor. But, as I walked the beach, I began to name the people who I would include as I grow my internal mother.

I added in bits of Georgia O’Keefe, May Sarton, parts of good friends whom I’d want to have as part of my eternal mom-in-me. I also added in my two grandmothers: Josephine and Sophia. I never met them, but I knew of them. But could I pass up a grandmother named Sophia—wisdom—in building my inner mother? And Josephine, my maternal grandmother) who was a professional a poker player and the neighborhood “reproductive health advocate”
(she helped women in poverty to limit the size of their families.)  As I walked the beach I wrote the names of these woman in the sand, physically co-signing the new mother-in-me.

I picture this mom-in-me growing kind of like one of those pills you drop in water to delight a child. After soaking up lots of water they blossom into a seahorse or dragon. Now, soaked in lots of saltwater--ocean and tears, I am growing my own-new-mother.

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