The Innate and Complex Bond between Mother and Child
As a doctor in the Russian army during World War 2, my mother-in-law traveled by horse from camp to camp along the front. Her bed was under the operating table. She told me that almost every day of the war, she had to amputate soldiers’ limbs – almost always without anesthetic.
She shared this with me in a Botanic garden in Israel when I invited her to “be present” rather than locked in to “war zone” mode.
“Ima (Mom),” I told her, “You’re not on the front. You’re in Israel in a beautiful botanic garden with your daughter-in-law and grandchildren.”
Chutzpa is a word that comes to mind. I was a young mom bent on helping a woman in her eighties emerge from battle.
“What do you know of where I am?!” she exclaimed more than asked. Then she told me about the amputations. “And do you know what they ALL cried?” she added. “Every one. We’d give them alcohol and I’d begin. At which point they began to scream. ‘Mammatchke!’ (Mommy!) they’d cry. ‘Mammatchke!’ until they passed out.”
That conversation opened me to the depth of the mother-child relationship in a way I had not previously grasped.
One of the teachings I have found most useful to my clients is that whereas our parents are the mother and father of our bodies, the Holy One Blessed is He and the Shechina are the Father and Mother of our SOUL. It frees our earthly parents up from responsibility for our wellbeing as adults and therein opens the path to greater peace and joy both in ourselves and them. It also opens us to the healing power of surrendering to a G-d who is both all-powerful and intimately involved in our lives.
What are your thoughts on the undercurrent of our relationship with our moms? Of how to manage and heal it, allow it to flourish?
Want to explore more? If you’re in the LA area, I’ll be speaking on “Like Mother Like Daughter” at 8 pm this evening, 8835 Key St, LA, 90035.