What Does Motherhood Mean to You?

Motherhood. It’s one of the most powerful words (and experiences) I can think of. We recently reached out to our community on social media to see how they personally define the word “motherhood.” Throughout this blog are some of their most heartfelt responses.

linda_blockheart Hard.

Personally, I can say that one of the greatest saving graces and reminders in my life has been my children. I am a proud mother of three, and now, a stepmom to three more powerful humans. I love being a mother, and I love that my kids push me to live my purpose even more fully…to make me stand even more firmly in my power and integrity, and to truly embody these qualities from moment to moment.

paulagomezv It’s the art of loving someone more than yourself. Know new limits and have the strength to fight against everything. It’s having a motivation and a reason to live and being happy.

Of course, the journey hasn’t always been smooth. But the motivation is always there.

Moms experience so much pressure to be perfect, or else we face the danger of traumatizing our kids through something that we did or something that we failed to do. And the fact is, we do traumatize our kids—it’s inevitable and it’s called life.

twestog Your heart outside of your body, making its way in the world.

After over 20 years of being a parent, I have accepted to break down the split between “good” and “bad” and accept myself for who I am: from the moments of yelling at my kids to tucking them in bed and telling them how much I loved them. I have accepted the richness and complexity of my experience as a woman in the world who is simply trying to offer love and affection in the best way she knows how, from moment to moment…a woman who sometimes fails in doing these things but who, nonetheless, is dedicated to being the best and most authentic mom she can be.

cquin85 Incredibly hard, incredibly worth it!

Whether or not our identifications with motherhood are negative, positive, or a mixture of both, it’s a concept and role that looms over all women. It carries the gifts of nurturing, care, and almost superhuman love…as well as the wounds of neglect, abandonment, and conflict.

shell_fl Motherhood is experiencing love so strongly that it overflows into tears. Motherhood is expecting to teach a new human about life yet learning just as much from them. Motherhood is experiencing childhood all over again. Motherhood is realizing strength you never knew lived inside of you. Motherhood is messy and magical. It brings awareness & allows vulnerability.

Not all of us are mothers, but every single one of us has experienced motherhood—whether it’s through the (most likely) complex relationships we have with our own mothers and children, the unconditional love and nurturing we’ve discovered in our community of women, the sacred bond we share with our Mother Earth, or the joys and difficulties of birthing our dreams into this world.

editorkristina I once heard a conference speaker use the term “Mothering our communities.” What a great way to think of motherhood in a wider perspective! Not everyone has children, but we can all be mothers.

It is my belief that a powerful feminine thread weaves through every single woman on this planet. It connects us through our bloodlines, through our stories, and through our ability to create new life. This feminine thread is the essence of motherhood, of creativity, of connection. That’s why motherhood is something that every single one of us has the capacity to experience—especially when we choose to devote ourselves to something much bigger than our own lives.

zhalehg Incredible journey watching your little miracles making their way through life…Connected at the deepest level of pure love and hope for their happiness and success.

When I think about it, motherhood, simply stated, is the place where our feminine wisdom and capacity for love becomes a container for our deepest creative impulses.

kekrames My answer has more to do with what motherhood is NOT limited to—birthing another human.

No matter who you are or how you define motherhood, we wish you an incredible Mother’s Day! Let it be an occasion to ask yourself: What wonderful things have you mothered in the past? What are you choosing to mother now?

reyes_aurea Unconditional love! No more! No less! Love as it is!

snazzy_naz000 My life is no longer my own. I died and was reborn.

Kelly McNelis

About the Author | Kelly McNelis

Kelly McNelis is the founder of Women for One, a place where women from 50 countries share their powerful stories with the world. Over 500 Truthtellers, as Kelly calls them, have answered her call to action: Make life happen by sharing your messy brilliance. Their stories range from the devastating to the delightful, and everything in between.

Kelly is a mom, wife, friend, mentor, businesswoman, Reiki master, minister, healer, incest survivor, and firm believer that there’s no such thing as “TMI.”

Formerly a nonprofit- and small-business consultant, Kelly now travels the world as a speaker, teacher, and workshop facilitator, empowering women to find their voice and discover their true power. She has interviewed global changemakers including the late Dr. Maya Angelou, Arianna Huffington, Regena “Mama Gena” Thomashauer, and Byron Katie, on the importance of cultivating our own inner wisdom and truthtelling voices.

Kelly’s first book, Your Messy Brilliance: 7 Tools for the Perfectly Imperfect Woman, will be published by Enrealment Press in Fall 2017. Pre-order the book today!

Kelly’s work, husband, kids, and brilliantly messy life are based outside Seattle.

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4 comments to "What Does Motherhood Mean to You?"

  • Pat

    I was always told that I won’t make a good wife or mother. I’ve never been ask out by men! My heart is broken! Wanting & praying for a family! The mother I given, their isn’t any reason to say ‘happy mother’s day’
    I’ve cried out to God for a husband & children. Nothing! Can’t say happy mother to a woman who blames me for all the problems.

  • Lesley

    Your email asking me what motherhood means to me upset me. Motherhood means to me; attempted murder, neglect and sex abuse. When sending out your emails, please remember that 1 in 5 families are estranged, mostly due to abuse but for many complex reasons. Your email didn’t even consider this, so please consider the hurt people experience at their mother’s (or children’s) hands when you put messages about ‘family’ out there.

    • Women For One
      Women For One

      Hi Lesley,

      We honor the pain and hurt you are holding, and we absolutely understand that motherhood is a complex subject for many people (including every single staff member at Women For One). That’s why we mentioned the following in the post:

      “Whether or not our identifications with motherhood are negative, positive, or a mixture of both, it’s a concept and role that looms over all women. It carries the gifts of nurturing, care, and almost superhuman love…as well as the wounds of neglect, abandonment, and conflict.”

      In addition, given that the women in our tribe come from a variety of backgrounds and have many different associations with motherhood, we wanted to make the concept of “mother” as broad as possible and to even go beyond the literal definition of motherhood. That’s why we mentioned this:

      “Not all of us are mothers, but every single one of us has experienced motherhood—whether it’s through the (most likely) complex relationships we have with our own mothers and children, the unconditional love and nurturing we’ve discovered in our community of women, the sacred bond we share with our Mother Earth, or the joys and difficulties of birthing our dreams into this world.”

      While we know that we cannot possibly speak to the experiences of everyone in our tribe (which is why we count on you to send us your stories and share your truth), it is our practice at Women For One to shed a light on the diverse lives and truths of the people in our community and to provide new perspectives and ways to contemplate “universal” concepts such as motherhood. In doing so, we genuinely hope that we can help women (and men) process, integrate, and move through their personal pain and trauma—and to reclaim things like the idea of motherhood on their own terms.

      Love,
      Kelly

  • The second my daughter was born, I had never felt so responsible. Responsible for her self-esteem, her outlook on life, her relationships, and her general well-being. I felt a strong desire to set the best example possible. I changed my entire life and was never so able and undeniably pushed and inspired to make her life the best. No effort was ever wasted. She is 20 now, and so strong and independent. I am never tired of singing her praises. I have never been so proud. She is lovely, funny, beautiful, smart, and the best person I know. Mother’s Day? It should be Daughter’s Day!