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By Amira Mensah
“I was a mother in a past life” is what I often tell people. This theory about my past life comes from the maternal essence that holds my soul and radiates through my spirit. It’s a desire to love, care and sacrifice for others. It’s a longing for someone to unconditionally love me. It’s the impulse to reach out and hold every baby I see.
I believe a mom loves without limits, cares without boundaries and protects with ferocity. This sort of mothering is a luxury seemingly afforded by a select few, or a fantasy that I’ve seen depicted only in novels and television sitcoms. The unfortunate reality is everyone doesn’t receive that type of mothering. Instead, some people experience it in small degrees or not at all.
When I hear “she’s your mother, she loves you” I want so desperately to believe she does. I used to hug her, squeezing her tight hoping to feel that love transmit through the embrace. I can remember searching her eyes looking for my place in her heart. I allowed myself to carry her shame in exchange to one day hear those words from her and not someone else.
Mother’s Day brings a mix of emotions
There came a point where I finally had to accept that I wouldn’t receive the kind of ‘mother’s love’ and care I had read in Hallmark Mother’s Day cards.
I accepted that I would never have the kind of relationship some of my friends have with their mamas and my cousins have with my aunties. As hard as it was to accept this, accepting it was the beginning of my healing. Sometimes it feels like it will take three lifetimes to heal from the pain of having the kind of relationship I have with my mother.
In the meantime, I seek comfort through my many interactions with the various children and mothers I come in contact with.
I get so excited when I receive photos of my nieces and nephews. Being able to watch my two best friend’s children grow up has brought me so much joy. When I am out alone in public, and should be minding my own business, I can’t help but to engage with the mamas and children I see.
A spiritual connection
I feel a spiritual connection with the mother and babies I engage with while in my ancestral homeland, Kumasi. While there, mothers graciously and freely hand me their babies, answer all my inquiries about their children and send me well wishes in their manifestations of me one day becoming a mother.
As I look into the eyes of both the mother and baby, I get a glimpse into my past life where I too was a mother raising my child in Kumasi.
Knowing that I have been a mother before, sparked an epiphany. The maternal love and care I had been desperately searching for was within me all along. Instead of focusing so much of time and energy into being hurt, I began to be grateful for my innate maternal qualities. With them, I have been able to mother myself.
There are so many of us recovering from the pain of having a less than ideal parent. And on days like Mother’s Day the pain is felt even greater. For the daughters who endured a less than ideal mother, and have been able to embark on a healing journey, I suspect you too were a mother in a past life.
Amira Mensah is a Communications Specialist, and Op-Ed Writer who is passionate about racial justice and pan-africanism. Her activism is felt through the words of the many blog articles she has written for various non-profit organizations as well as her published opinion pieces. She is currently finding healing through reading and writing. “I write about it, speak about it and heal from it.” Amira has currently relocated to Nairobi, Kenya where she is working remotely for a Liberian based agricultural start-up company.