This Mother’s Day, Inventory your Mother Wound. by Sara Gottfried, MD

Via Sara Gottfried, MD
on May 6, 2011
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Reclaim Mother’s Day—by how we Mother Ourselves.

Mother’s Day started out innocently enough with a sweet idea: recognize and honor the mothers in your life. Then the Hallmark folks created a huge market around it. And the food industry created carb-fests around it.

Sweet idea, yet as a mother of two kids, I’ve noticed Mother’s Day has morphed into a sugary, ill-fitting tour of both food and sentiment.  I don’t want to model the pancakes-in bed behavior for my two daughters followed by a trip to the toxic nail salon. And as a physician who specializes in all the things that can go wrong with the female body, I’ve noticed that many women feel left out of this particular holiday because they’ve chosen not to have children.

Maybe it’s time to reclaim Mother’s Day and get back to a broader, more healing concept of mothering and what we can honor about how we mother ourselves.

All of us were imperfectly mothered. Not enough protection. Not enough nurturing. Not enough holding space when we tried to find our authentic voice. We all have our mother wound. What can we recognize and honor about the ways in which we’ve had to mother ourselves through this life? Can we put our recovery from imperfect mothering on a pedestal, to be evaluated and understood and sussed out, this upcoming Sunday?

As I thought about what I want on Mother’s Day, I discarded the generic options of brunch with the family, chocolate and roses. I got an email from one daughter’s school the P.E. teacher will be spending two hours on Mother’s Day at the local high school track, timing anyone who wants to participate in the President’s Fitness Challenge. Ding! Ding! Ding! That’s my Sunday. Let’s go to the track, run one mile together and time it. No carb fests. No nail polish – just sunshine, relatedness and endorphins.

I have other ideas, of course.

Meditate together. Inventory your mother wound. What legacy, good and bad, did you learn from your mother? Write three pages about how you’ve healed your mother wound.  Recognize and honor the Sacred Feminine in the men in your life. Clean up Mother Earth and reduce your carbon footprint. Now, before I go all Hallmark on you, think about how you can make Mother’s Day work for you. And let us know your good ideas!

Image credits: meditation and cookies.


About Sara Gottfried, MD

I believe in evidence-based ancient wisdom. I believe in eating your leafy greens rather than popping synthetic pills. I believe in Ayurveda and integrative medicine. I believe in botanical therapies over synthetic hormones. I believe you deserve to feel sexy, ripe and delicious. I believe in tending your flame. I believe that proactively managing and optimizing your health is your divine responsibility and a path to personal power. I’m a mother suspicious of processed sugar and a yogini hotly pursuing lithe, lean lusciousness. I’m committed to deep green, organic living. I’m a scholar and a seeker of truth, vitality, hormonal balance, sacred balance, spirituality and divine self-actualization. I’m Sara Gottfried, MD and you can find me at my website or love my Facebook page.


7 Responses to “This Mother’s Day, Inventory your Mother Wound. by Sara Gottfried, MD”

  1. leslie says:

    Thank you. As a mother who is perfectly imperfect, i have spent most of my life healing my mother wound. My mother long ago abandoned me, along with my siblings, so I do not wish to celebrate my mother. My children love me, and we do celebrate Mother's day, though it always feels slightly hypocritical to me. I celebrate and honor motherhood.

  2. Sara, I love your bio! Truly fantastic xxxx
    OK, so over here in the UK, Mothering Sunday is not a fixed day because it is always the middle Sunday in Lent, which means that Mother's Day in the UK falls on different dates each year and sometimes even falls in different months. Celebrated since at least the 16th Century people made a point of visiting their nearest big church (the Mother Church). The church in which each person was baptised. (It is believed the celebration was adopted from a Roman Spring festival celebrating Cybele, their Mother Goddess.)
    Please forgive the history lesson before I make my point, I just thought it was interesting 🙂 Anyway, I am very close to my Mother whom I honour on Mothers day, and as a Mother of 4 daughters I am grateful to them for giving me the gift of becoming their Mother. But to all those out there who do not have these reasons to celebrate Mothers Day you could take this as your special day to honour your Spirituality, as it also makes you who you are. Namaste xxxx

  3. […] many others, I feel moms should be appreciated everyday but the brunch, gifts and special day give moms a calendar day to be appreciated. I love you […]

  4. […] repetition and the gratitude and joy of being alive with the endorphin release. I started to play soccer with my three-year-old and the neighborhood kids and I found the connectedness of teams; the many spiritual lessons to be […]

  5. […] So I chose to stop hating my mother (after the initial shock of realizing that I did actually hate her wore off). Perhaps “hate” is too a strong word. “Resent” would be more accurate. I resented her for so many things. Everything, as it turned out, and more as time went on: I resented her when people told me how much they liked her (which was often — she’s immensely likeable), because she’d done something to make me not like her so much; I resented her when she was happy, because she’d made me so unhappy; I resented discussions about trust and discretion and communication, because she’d excluded me from that when I was so little, barred me from the door, made me grow into a girl who would slice a relationship to tiny pieces and hurl it into the dumpster if someone showed cracks in their trust and loyalty and discretion. They could hurt you, so they had to be destroyed. […]

  6. I shall read more if you decide to write on the matter.

  7. womboflight says:

    Hi Sara, thanks so much for this article!
    What a powerful process for women to do on Mother's Day, especially for those women who have had challenging or conflicted relationships with their mothers. In my work as writer and facilitator, I specialize in helping women heal the mother wound. I invite you and your readers to check out my blog article "Why it's crucial for women to heal the mother wound."

    And here is a free e-book I've created called "Transforming the Inner Mother" You can download it here:

    (Also, I am developing an online course on the topic and have created a brief survey inviting women to share what they would most like to see in a program focused on this topic: )

    Thank you again, Sara for this article! I love to connect with other women who are writing and working with this issue, as it touches all of us to some degree. And it's important to have a supportive community of women as we move through it!

    All the best,