For mothers who are deciding how they will be mothered.

My mom and I are not close.

I don’t trace my history in her palm or search for safety in her lap.

I feel her love,

but I don’t call her home.

Maybe if she’d been my grandmother

I’d feel differently,

but the space of more years

exceeds resets we can retrofit.

Her now is not our then.

My love language is touch

but I find no safety in it.

I’m a sexually experienced

panromantic

asexual whose body doesn’t trust affection

more than energy or

potential more than memory;

the rush that turns my cheeks flush is trauma,

and I am not easily

or freely

moved to cuddle.

My loves have names and childhoods

that do and don’t resemble mine,

and their joy plants into

my imagination

new ideas about how I can be nurtured.

Daughters like me love our moms,

but our moms’ needs clash with our own.

This can happen, and we

may spare our mothers

this knowledge.

We may want our mothered mothers

more than a mothering mother.

not the fourteen year old

as they learn their no was meaningless,

spared the enraged,

or the grieving, the hurried,

the resentful or numb.

Spared the smothering with the absent,

the resourcing from vacancy.

a left behind child

now a dispossessed older child,

now an adult erasing your existence.

Motherhood shouldn’t haunt you,

but sometimes it will.

Sometimes families of origin dine with their friendlier ghosts,

drawn to dance with habits of fear

and practice.

Sometimes we can’t help ourselves,

and sometimes it’s not only our choices.

It can be the hospital stay and nursery

you painted, climbing blood pressure and

difficult or weak or intense bonds.

It can be a blood stained dress at a party,

and a fantasy we couldn’t part with.

It can be a nightmare that won’t end,

the trouncing lullaby and hastening and pleading for things to be different or

just not right now.

We can learn how to mother by observing,

but we are mothered out of every met

and unmet place.

And I wonder, can we tell the difference?

Can we feel our motivation?

Can we ease our unease,

whatever it’s source or it’s significance?

Are we children longing to mother,

or parents in need of mothering?

Could it matter which one happens first?

I am not close to my daughter,

but I remember giving birth to her.

Her energy contains maps back into myself,

first as a child,

tentative;

then as a visitor,

curious;

and maybe one day to parent

and reparent us both.

Who knows what mothering

I need to receive first,

and what my loves will teach me.

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Amanda Lindamood

Amanda Lindamood

Writer. Thinker. Facilitator. Advocate. Invested in accountability for power based violence, creative initiatives, and meaningful, nuanced dialoguing.