The Gifts of the Mother

Some of us get on well with our mothers, some don’t.  Some of us don’t even know our mothers. But whether you are close to your mother or not, she is your first relationship in life and your direct source of life. Your mother is also one half of who you are genetically. 

We don’t need to be close to our mother or even know our mother to take on the essence of who our mother is. The kind of person she is, how she faces life or doesn’t face it, how she relates to others and how she loves or refuses to love—all of that is automatically part of us at an energetic level. Significant events in our mother’s line can create reactions, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and actions that become patterns that define our own limitations or strengths.

Systemically, we know that the way that you are with your mother often shows up in the ways that you engage with your partner and engage in other relationships and groups.  As the birth giver in your life, if you struggle with your mother, you may end up unconsciously struggling to give birth to projects or maintain flow and energy feeding your endeavors.

The gifts of the mother are many and often hidden. When we choose to connect to our mother and our mother’s family line, something quite fundamental settles in us as we open to all the energies and information contained in that source—energies and information we need ourselves to create, grow and nurture new possibilities in life. When we struggle to connect, or have issues with our mother, this flow can become blocked and we struggle unnecessarily.

For example, Jessica, an only child, came to a systemic work and constellations event angry and distressed because she did not feel seen by her mother. “She just seems so absent. It drives me wild!” she said. “I don’t know what to do.”

When we did some constellation work, it became clear where the problem lay. Jessica’s representative stood close to her mother, but her mother’s representative kept turning around and looking behind her, obviously searching for someone. At that point Jessica recalled that her mother had had three late-term miscarriages before she was born. We added three representatives for the lost babies and it instantly became clear to Jessica why she’d never had her mother’s full attention.

I reminded her that the mother brings many gifts, and asked Jessica what gift this situation might have given her. “I had to entertain and take care of myself a lot of the time,” she said. “It’s made me very independent.” She thought for a moment and then brightened. “Now that I think about it, it’s enabled me to build a highly lucrative career as a consultant. Something I probably wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise!”

She smiled and then laughed for the first time. “Gee, thanks mom!”

It’s important to remember that the family system is always in service of our growth, and that limitations are often gifts in disguise. Sometimes it’s not easy to see what the gifts are from our mother. But they’re always there if we look for them. 

This Mother’s Day, ask yourself this question: “What do I need to thank my mother for?” You might be surprised at the gift that shows up!


  • Remember: Without your mother you wouldn’t exist.
  • If your mother is absent, ask yourself where she is present—where is her attention going? That may show you why she’s been absent like Jessica’s mother.
  • The way you are with your mother is often the way that you are with your partners
  • When you can accept your mother exactly the way she is or was, your heart will open to receive all the gifts she has for you.
  • When your heart is more open you have better, more engaged relationships with others.

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