On Identities and Motherhood
Posted on May 7, 2021
Over the course of my lifetime, I have shouldered many different identities with those closest to me. I still do. First I was a daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin. Going to school I became a friend to many. In the second decade of my life I collected more identities—wife, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, mother. And then I spent the next few decades honoring those identities and roles—sometimes well and other times not.
As a child, being a daughter or a sister or a granddaughter required nothing of me. Just have fun! And be respectful. That was not difficult. My parents had a deep respect for life, relationships, and humanity. That was what I was born into.
But for me, as an adult, each identity had to emerge. Some part of me had to grow to meet the new label. As we get older we are challenged to meet our identities with grit, strength, courage, resilience, bravery—all under the umbrella of respect. In my teenage years I had to make the right choices so as not to “taint” the family name. When I got married, I had responsibilities as a wife, daughter-in-law, and sister-in-law. Every new identity called for an expansion of self and was met sometimes with love and other times with resistance . But it was all designed for the higher purpose of growth.
As I look back, I ask myself which identity did I enjoy the most? Which one swelled my heart with indescribable joy, and which one consumed me with the deepest fear, guilt, worry, and doubt?
Hands down, it was—is—motherhood.
Motherhood is our invitation to get over ourselves, to be open-hearted and open-minded, to deepen our roots, to shed parts of ourselves that no longer serve us, to flower anew – every day! Yes, every day! No matter how young or old your kids are, this work is DAILY.
I often reflect on the names my husband and I named my kids:
Nitasha: Nit—daily (eternal) and Asha—hope
Navin: New Moon
Even their names are reminders to rise above the daily highs and lows, to embrace hope every day, to welcome the newness that comes from changes like the setting of the sun or the rising of the moon. Motherhood is an eternal invitation to embrace what has shown up, to let go of what is no longer needed, and keep growing – all in the name of love. Motherhood pays homage to the unconditional love we have never experienced in any other relationship.
When my daughter got married, we welcomed her husband, Sameer, into the family as our new son. Now I had another new identity—“mum-in-law.” As with any other new role, I didn’t know what to expect. Two years in, he lives true to his name (Sameer—gentle breeze). He is kind, loving, respectful, and funny. He has brought new meaning to Mother’s Day.
This Mother’s Day, I am adding to that identity, because my son has proposed to the love of his life, Sabrina. True to her name, she embodies humility (Sab—all, Rina—flow, softness) with a presence that is larger than life yet as light as a rose petal. I can’t wait to enter this additional phase of motherhood with her.
Yes, motherhood can seem exhausting, yet it is the only experience that keeps us in flow. This Mother’s Day, I prepare to grow deeper into motherhood and through it to deepen the understanding of myself.
I invite you to take some time this weekend to reflect upon your own growth as a mother to your children, to children in your extended family, to the parents you might be mothering, and to the inner child that is in each of us.
I also invite you to join me for my weekly drop-in Mindfulness Meditation Monday, where we will honor the mothers in our lives and the ones we are. Details below.
Please register here… https://bit.ly/mmmwithroma
Have a wonderful Mother’s Day as you celebrate your own growth with this beautiful identity.