Happy Mother’s Day— to all those who Mother.

Mothering is a calling, a choice, a lifestyle. “Mother” is a verb as well as a noun. Some women become mothers willingly, some unexpectedly, some through the process of birthing a baby. Others, whether they birthed their own babies or not, become surrogate parents to adult children in their life in need of parental guidance. I don’t have children of my own, yet much of my work life is devoted to “mothering the mother” and caring for new families. As many of you know, my massage passion is prenatal and postnatal therapy, but what you may not realize is that I work with mothers and fathers who will never carry and birth a baby—men and women who choose surrogacy and adoption on their way to becoming parents. Yet our prenatal sessions feel in many regards the same as the ones where a babe is growing inside. I have even more clients who come in “pregnant” with their next creative project in need of nurture along the way.

This Mother’s Day I want to remind each of us that being a mother is so much more than the birth of a child.

When I think of the qualities of the Mother—I’m using a capital “M” here to talk about the communal Mother rather than an individual mother—I think about reflective listening, nonjudgmental guidance, and fierce honesty offered with a healthy dose of love. When I think of the women (and men!) in my life who embody those qualities the list of names includes so many more people than just my birth mother. I think about work mentors who guided me through sticky situations. I think about wise counsel in my personal life offered by my sister and my friends. My own mother has an incredible group of strong women in her life and I absolutely benefited from their mothering as I grew up—I continue to enjoy their influence even now. I also look internally and thank my own inner mothering for guiding me towards healthy decisions for my body, heart, and mind on a daily basis. Many of the women who mothered me have no biological children of their own and yet they fully embody the qualities of the Mother. Instead of leaving them out this year, let’s remember to call, write, think about, and thank all those in your life who Mothered you into the person you are in this moment.

I would love to hear from you: what qualities does the Mother embody in your world? Who do you Mother? Who stepped in to Mother you alongside your mother or in her absence? Who else do you want to thank this Mother’s Day who mothered you through this year or in your life?

Happy Mother’s Day— to all those who Mother.