There Have Been Mothers Whose Choices May Have Scarred Their Kids, But They Are Mothers too

Not all mothers are perfect. Some may even have let their children down badly. Can we find it in us to forgive them?

Not all mothers are perfect. Some may even have let their children down badly. Can we find it in us to forgive them?

It was Mother’s Day again and a time to remember all the mothers who have been the greatest contributors to our lives. If any of us are in this world, it means there is or was a mother in our lives. She may or may not have been that perfect ‘motherly figure’. If she was/is, then you are truly lucky and I am glad most of us are.

Let me tell you, I am not against celebrating Mother’s Day. It is a very good gesture and I am glad that a day has been dedicated for this special person in our lives. But it is time to think beyond the usual ‘stereotypes’ of a mother. When I say ‘stereotype’, I refer to the usual, larger than life image created about a mother with words like ‘self-sacrificing‘, ‘ocean of strength’, ‘ever available’, ‘puts self last after serving others’ etc.

I am thinking of those few mothers who may have fallen short in playing the role of a mother. I think of the mothers with mental illness, mothers who had to give up their children for adoption due to life’s circumstances, those who are addicts etc.

I am reminded of a dialogue in a Hindi film Dhamaal wherein actors Ashish Chaudhary and Asrani motivate a drunk and sleeping pilot to fly them to Goa. When they put on the music, the first song in the list is about mother’s love, and it enrages the pilot as he is reminded of the negative experiences of his childhood. Though it was a hilarious scene, it reflects the reality of those people who have not experienced the love of their mothers. There are lots of children for whom the word ‘Mother’ may bring up adverse feelings.

While the expectations of the ‘ideal mother’ are scary especially in the Indian context, there are also a few mothers whose actions have scarred the lives of their children. Consciously or unconsciously, due to circumstances or due to their own choices, the children have undergone pain and rejection.

During my work with orphaned and vulnerable children, children born with HIV, and children of sex workers, I have come across children who undergo emotional pain and struggle to come to terms with life as they feel let down by their mothers. This may be a real issue or one of perception as I also know several such mothers (e.g. HIV positive women or women in sex work) who put their lives on the line and work the hardest for the sake of their children! I salute their efforts and truly wish these mothers experience love on Mother’s Day.

To all such children (who may be grown-up now), I want to say, “Yes, it was a tough phase as you did not have a normal upbringing, but this Mother’s Day may you find peace and forgive your mother for her shortcomings as it will personally liberate you.”

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