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Aaah, Mother’s Day

I started publicly addressing my mother-wound in 2021. I was healing. I sat on the grass often; I watched the sky day and night, celebrating full moons in ritual. I was wrapped in so much love; the masks peeled off. Something had been missing all along; I wasn’t wrong. I started questioning it, why didn’t I ever feel this held in the arms of the person who gave me life?

I wrote a poem, did a video, and posted it on Tiktok, then Facebook. I am unsure if I had the courage yet, to share it on Whatsapp. I knew family would see it on Facebook, but it was my truth, and we don’t know each other like that for them to question me. Still, I didn’t expect someone to approach my mum, who lives outside the digital world.

“Are you mother to Wahu Kariuki?” this person had questioned.

The moment my mum said those words, I knew she knew; I was saying things you don’t say.

“So, now I am a bad mother?”

That wasn’t what I was saying, but then I was the bad guy, no more words out of me!

I’ve been wondering whether to call for Mother’s Day. It’s a hard day to ignore when you basically live on social media. Everywhere, people are talking about it, gift ideas especially, and when the day dawns, it will be posts of how awesome their mom is. It’s so beautifully loud; it amplifies the lack from my experience.

I didn’t get the hugs, the encouragement, the care, or the support. Lately, I’ve been imagining what it was like the day I was born, how I came into this world, and how Mum cared for me. I don’t remember all that, but I am here, so I understand it was because she was there for me.

In the things that I remember, however, I don’t have the memory of being held and that aches. I was never enough, always lacking something, especially if I didn’t conform to what a woman in training under patriarchy looked like. I hated chores, they felt unnecessarily repetitive and cumbersome, and every time I slacked, she pointed out how much of a failure I would be; a bad wife.

There is a bitter taste on my tongue, and this is because of the words that are continually stuck in my throat; they’ve been choking me for a while. I am shut down whenever I try to speak them to her.

When I ask her to see me, she says I don’t see her, but I do. The things I know about her experiences and life have been by accident. Still, to see myself fully, I must recognize the imprint she has left on me, the scars that open up every so often. I see her, I appreciate her, I am aware of some of the things she has poured into me, and everything I know about the cost of motherhood leaves me in gratitude for her deciding I was worth it. I have a clue, an idea.

I want to get to where I can find the words to speak how I see her, but I can’t because there are other things I need to say first.

She says she has scars, too; I know that. Not from her pointing at them and calling them wounds.

“That’s how things are,” even when talking about pain.

“That’s how it was; it worked like that back then,” when describing trauma.

So, when I point at myself and name what aches, she wants me to see her and understand.

She carries everything.

I must too.

I refuse!!

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