FREE SHIPPING on orders over $100

the mother wound and the mother line


My maternal grandmother. And her mother.

The mother wound and the mother line.

When I started to unravel the dynamics of my relationship with my mother, at first everything felt so personal. And that was a part of the understanding and healing.

But also, too, is the zooming out a bit, the perspective of seeing our relationship within the context of a lineage.

My mother’s mother was a mother of 5, raising those 5 on a farm in rural Minnesota. Her journals tell a story of days filled with cleaning, cooking, and sewing, tending to the practical matters of family. And this, she did well.

The emotional stuff was another matter. She was hard to get to know, not one to be forthright with her feelings.

My mom didn’t talk about her relationship with her mom much. I got the feeling it lacked a tenderness that my mother longed for.

Shortly after my grandmother died, my mom shared something with me. One day in the late 80’s, she called my grandmother, her mother, heartbroken and scared, to tell her she was getting divorced. To which my grandmother replied, “Well what did you do?”

This absolutely gutted my mother. To be met with accusation instead of love in that moment, that heartbreak stayed with her. I could feel the freshness of her pain decades later.

And I think of how much better she did by me. For all the times we met each other with chilly silences and passive aggression, when I came to her heartbroken over this boy or that, she met me with nothing but love. She held me as I sobbed. She cooed and told me, “I know, honey, I know.”

And I was angry at my grandmother for that. It was hard to put her up on the ancestor altar that year and meet her with gratitude.

Until you zoom out a little further and realize, that my grandmother lost her own mother when she was quite young. So much of my grandmother’s life, she lived unmothered, without that support, guidance and love. So it stands to reason there may be gaps in her skillset as a mother.

Which is all to say, I’ve come to believe that old adage really is true: we do the best we can with what we’ve got.

This doesn’t take away the pain, but it does offer up some measure of understanding.

1 comment

  • This is so beautiful and relatable. Xo


Leave a comment