Mother Wounds

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.

International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific.

The role of women both in society and home cannot be over emphasized. The bible speaks very profoundly on mothering in the book of Isaiah.

“Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” Isaiah 49:15, KJV.

This is one of my favorite passages of scripture, mainly because I relate so deeply to the love of a mother. My mother raised my siblings and I single handedly after being plunged into widowhood following the death of my dad after less than 10 years of marriage. She was in her 20s having been married as a teen to an elderly widower.

To say that life was extremely difficult is a gross understatement; my mother had to literally scrape in the trenches in order to put a morsel on the table, more on the floor, a semblance of clothes on our back and take us to school. Our experience was compounded by the fact that ours was (and still is) heavily patriarchal society steeped and marinated in misogyny, male child preference and systemic gender based violence.

As a child, my mother was the ultimate symbol of strength, perfection, resilience and femininity. Most times, my belief was that my mother could do no wrong. The realization as an adult, that my mother is human, flawed and imperfect shook every fiber of my being. As an adult, I have learnt to forgive my mother unconditionally for the times that she may have wounded me either knowingly or unknowingly. Unconditional forgiveness has enabled me to be more empathetic and compassionate to my mother, being consciously aware that she did her best with what she knew.

Over the years, I have walked hundreds of individuals through the journey of healing from ‘mother wounds’. Most times this journey is mired with anger, pain, frustration and bitterness as the individuals struggle to make sense of how the most important figure of attachment (mother) can inflict so much pain.

What are mother wounds? According to Sherry Gaba; these are traumas passed down from generation to generation that have a profound impact on lives. When left unresolved, the wounds that mothers and grandmothers failed to heal are passed on. The wounds consist of toxic and oppressive beliefs, ideals, perceptions, and choices. Subsequently children repeat the cycle, harming their own children, and their children’s children with centuries of unresolved pain.

Mother wounds may originate from the fact that women have lived under patriarchal reign for centuries. Myths have been perpetuated that women should: stay at home and give up their ambitions as child bearers, be the primary caretakers of the household, constantly serve others while giving up their own needs, hold it up together all the time, and utterly deplete themselves in order to support their families.

How do you know if you have a mother wound? Never feeling like you had your mother’s approval or acceptance. Maybe you have concerns about not being loved by your mother or not being loved as much as other siblings or family members. Perhaps you have difficulties in relating to your mother on an emotional level.

An unresolved mother wound robs an individual abundant life as it leads to self-sabotage and difficulty in relationships. The great news is that by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit one can rewire their brain and heal the aftermath of a mother wound.

My prayer for you today, is that you may choose to forgive unconditionally and love passionately.

Dr Rose Misati

Certified Family Trauma Professional


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