In the past week, i had encounters of different yet similar sorts- both were mothers who communicated and both about their children. The differences are, what I would count, among the superficial, for motherhood is the essential experience that I want to talk about here. They belonged to two different countries, one was a boy’s mother and another a girl, their respective children also nearly a decade apart in age from one another.
Whatever the children were going through is a different story and that is not what I am going to share via this post- but how mothers, since I communicated with mothers in this case, suffer when their children suffer – universally.
The child of one of them has been having depression due to drug induced psychosis and the other one is simply not connected to the mother, due to some anger of the past and her own current suffering due to a recent divorce. Both mothers were extremely anguished, and unsure how to live their own lives, with so much of turmoil in the lives of their children. Both were not sure if they could not do more than what they were currently doing and what they could do differently to lessen the suffering of their children, even if the children were not communicating with them.
I said the same thing to them and I want to share with others who read also-” Please remember that you are not responsible for their suffering. It is life, we all suffer, for this or that reason- but to feel responsible for the suffering of your children is to believe that whatever little happiness you have in your current life is undeserved and you need to suffer just because your child suffers.”
Sometimes, when people suffer they are also angry inside them, especially if they see others around them who are not suffering from the same suffering. They want to bring everyone in the ambit of that, because it is not easy to suffer alone and it is difficult to believe that the world outside of oneself is not suffering, while we are. At that time those who suffer become somewhat selfish and want everyone to suffer too. But suffering is a universal phenomenon and everyone suffers, though the nature of suffering may be different.
It may be you encounter a colleague who comes to work very cheerfully, so you would think what would she be suffering from? Possibly she leaves an ailing parent at home and wants to be away for a few hours in an atmosphere which would take her mind off the suffering of her parent, or an in-law who is rude and judgemental.
Mothers feel responsible for their children as long as they keep on feeling that they are mothers and the other a child. Okay yes, that connection can never change, but that does not mean that the child does not have a life of his/her own and does not have to bear the consequences of her/his own actions. We all have to- whether it be a mismatched marriage, or the effects of drugs and alcohol, not studying for exams, or speeding on a road and having an accident. Whatever we do, sooner or later comes back to us.
Mothers ought not to forget that motherhood is only one among the many roles they have to play. They are also humans, also daughters, wives, friends, lovers and many other roles. If we get attached to any one role, how good is that for our own wellbeing? To think that motherhood is the key role that one has to play and if a child is suffering it is a personal failure of the mother, is nothing but ignorance and inviting self-criticism/blame.
Please be kind to yourself mothers, and stop feeling responsible for what you have not done– you have not lived the lives of your children, they have. Let them face the music now- sorry, if it hurts you. But you have to stop being mothers all the time, and start being humans too. Let go of your children as your flesh and blood only- they are creatures of this universe and whatever applies to this universe, in terms of action/reaction, they would have to face it too. Be their support when they come to you, but be not their aprons that they keep rubbing their wet noses, dirty hands or sweat with at all times. They deserve your love but so do you.
The lady in the picture has nothing to do with the content here, but it was a photo lying in my photo-album symbolic of women with children. It is only a symbol, no allusion to anyone and neither is it the picture of any of the two mothers whose communication is what constitutes this post.
Both mothers, incidentally, were very relieved to hear these words from me. And I am quoting this last lines one wrote to me-
Me : I will also take your leave for now, but remember one more thing before I go for now, that your son is only your biological child but actually is a child of the universe. So you are only to that extent responsible, and you are the ones who are seeing his story unfold the closest.
You do not own your child, nor are responsible for him. You are a participant in that drama- see it like that, and just as we watch a drama or a movie, we get emotional, entangled so are you, because it is happening closest to you. Do not kill yourself over it
She: We do, thank you so much Prateeksha… I cry from the wonderful Spirit coming through you to us.