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  • Writer's pictureDayna Sharp, LCSW


The gender-neutral term "Mothering" includes the acts of fully seeing and accepting, emotionally connecting, repairing and protecting when needed, and nurturing.

Yesterday was Mother's Day, a day meant to celebrate the Mothers of the world--their hard work and sacrifices they make for their children. But Mother's Day is also a day laced with pain and suffering for many--particularly women struggling with infertility, those who have lost children, lost their mother, and those who have strained relationships with their mother. For many of us, Mother's Day can bring a sense of loss and sorrow. And there isn't anything I could--or should--say to try to change that. Part of love is grieving, and it hurts. But it's still love, its reasonable, it is part of you, and you have the right to it.

You might love Mother's Day. You might hate it. Either way, your feelings are valid.

But if today feels hard for you because you feel you didn't get the love or care or protection that you needed from your mother, I'd like to try to offer some solace:

“You are born to one mother, but if you are lucky, you will have more than one. And among them all you will find most of what you need.”

Clarissa Pinkola Estés

We human beings are social creatures. We need relationships from which to grow and learn. We need attachments with other people that help us get our needs met so that we feel secure enough to go out into the world and take healthy risks. We often think of attachment figures as Mothers or Fathers. But the truth is, no one or even two people can provide us with everything we need. Even when we believe our parents "did the best they could", it still hurts when our earliest attachment figures weren't able to give us what we needed. We will likely always have a place inside where that pain lives.

But the better news is that it's not too late! Throughout our lives, we have the opportunity to cultivate new attachment relationships--relationships where we are genuinely and fully seen, accepted, protected when needed and encouraged. Any person that is able to emotionally connect with us, provide healthy interaction and nurturing can step in as a "secondary attachment figure" and repair earlier relational harm.

You can't change your mother, but you can find the mothering you need--not just from one person, but from many.

You might build a relationship with a Teacher or Professor. Or find and give mothering from and to your women friends. If you belong to a spiritual community, you may find mothering there. You can find mothering from a partner--the acts of mothering is not gender-bound! You can also cultivate a strong relationship with a therapist who can provide the deep emotional connection and support that you've been longing for.

At Creating Space Counseling and Wellness, I am no one's mother. I do not replace anyone. I am simply a part of the community village that help children, adults and families to get their emotional needs met. If you could benefit from some additional support, please feel free to contact me. 856-281-1664


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