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May 4, 2021
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May 4, 2021

A gift of compassion for mothers

By Sophie Barcant, BA (Psyc), B.ED.
Trainer, Facilitator, Parenting Coach/Consultant.

Several years ago, after one of my parenting radio interviews, on a programme featuring Mother’s Day, I was contacted by a woman in her thirties who was suffering greatly because she felt so guilty that she could not honour and appreciate her mother on Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day was a day of great pain for her because of the pain her own mother was causing her.

I learnt a few years later that her family believed they should keep her close to them so that she could look after them in their old age. They had no sons and only one other daughter who was mentally challenged.

With this belief, they held this young woman somewhat captive, never allowing her the freedom to socialise and go out without a relative chaperone. They dropped her off and picked her up from work every day. There was no plan to ever let her marry and have a family which she longed for.

She reached out to me as I spoke about the sadness many mothers experience on Mother’s Day due to a lack of good relationships with their children.

We mothers were raised by parents with their own set of values, upbringing, cultural norms, misunderstandings, concerns, fears, and wounds. They did the best they could with the values, awareness, skills, and knowledge they had.

We too are doing our best with the awareness, knowledge, and skills we have. By God’s grace we meet people or are exposed to talks and programmes that facilitate our growth in awareness so we can then change, but until then we remain unaware of any better way, and we continue causing harm to our loved ones.

Many are wounded, hurt and resentful towards their mothers, because their mothers were not able to meet their needs and be the mothers they needed them to be.

Here too, we consider this issue from the point of view of the mothers who are rejected by their children or ignored on Mother’s Day. This emotional pain is real and cuts the soul like a knife. A deep dig into the soul is needed to not resent them as we seek to understand their position.

Whatever it is, be it self-centredness, or not buying into the whole big commercial aspect of it, or their personal struggles and pain blocking them from being thoughtful and reaching out, we can never know.

The important thing is not to judge and assume we know, and to just accept and forgive them. They may be hurting from their own internal struggles. It may not necessarily be because of how they were parented. As I have said before, people tend to lash out or don’t reach out when they are trapped in their pain, fear, or shame.

What is the answer then when we are hurting from our needs not being met by our own mothers? Or hurting from the rejection from our children?

In my humble opinion, it’s compassion. It is putting aside our own self-centred mindset, our feelings of self-pity, victim mentality and unmet needs and imagining our dear mothers or loved ones as little, innocent, pure, blameless children who then got neglected along life’s journey, rejected, misunderstood, bullied, and even abused.

Their caregivers and parents, relatives, friends, teachers, peers, sibling’s friends, neighbours, all contributed to who they became and how they are in the world.

Find a childhood picture of your mother or anyone who causes you pain, try to visualise them as a young child, see their pure essence, the beautiful little being that they once were and they still have in them, buried today by their own pains, traumas, fears, and disappointments.

With God’s grace, this process may unlock your heart and allow forgiveness to flow and with that, freedom to honour and forgive them today and always.

Do this with your own childhood picture, too. Often, we are angry with ourselves and resent the decisions and choices we made and how we behave. Seek compassion for your own pure, innocent, little self. Reconnect to your true essence, acknowledge your God-given goodness and greatness.

Jesus is seen in the gospels being very compassionate with people, until His dying moments. Let’s imitate Him with this and let go our attachment to our stories of neglect, victimisation and rejection by our wounded mothers and children.

Let’s say “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing, and Father, forgive us mothers as we did not know we were neglecting our children or failing them in some way.”

Mend the divide while your mother is still alive or while you are still alive. Give yourself and them the gift of forgiveness and be free of regret when the hour to pass comes.

Contact Sophie at or FB messenger Sophie’s Parenting Support.