Natural Dreamwork with Mary Jo

the other mother…

“Mothers are lost to their daughters when they’re lost to themselves.” ~Geneen Roth
Dream – I’m at some large event, people milling around. I’m standing at a bistro height table with three teen girls, 17-19. I am much shorter, my head just clears the table top.  One asks me, “So what do you have to say about the mother?”  I feel pain and sadness, no desire to talk, tears rising.  The others continue asking me similar questions.  I don’t respond, some fear and other feelings rising. 
In the dream I’m covering my pain by thinking “I have no desire to speak.”  As we worked with the dream and I felt into this what emerged was, “I have always had this feeling…not that I am not able to speak about a different kind of mother than others enjoyed, but that I shouldn’t speak of it.  Yet here they are, the older girls, parts of my soul, here to encourage and to help me find my voice…to speak…from my soul…of what I have always felt shouldn’t be spoken. 
Mother’s Day is arriving…with Facebook photos, postings, restaurant brunches, flower vases and candy boxes…filled with the outpouring of love by so many for their mothers…and the outpouring of love by so many mothers for their children. It’s really quite beautiful to witness…and yet a tender strangeness…an ache…for others of us…our noses pressed up to a window looking in at an experience of being mothered that we never knew.
For those who have not experienced this loss, no words can explain it. For those of us who have…the depth of this pain and sadness is so great because the need to love and be loved by our mother is so great.  It’s about the forever raw heart wound we carry…often in silence. In the sea of those loving and being loved by their mothers, it can feel like there is no room for the inconceivable experience of those of us for whom the mother was the source of our wound.
Today I write for myself and for all those who have trauma around the mother, who would like to or who have stepped out from behind story, beyond blame and shame and confusion…and into the feelings of this terrible wound, this rejection by the mother. Feelings that have included pain, fear, sadness, betrayal, loss and so much more…including a reluctance to speak…for fear that there is no room for the voices of us who had the ‘other mother.’ 
And many still try…still hoping it can be different…until we know it can’t…still looking for the magic words that will be heard…until we know there are no magic words…when we gently and with profound sadness lay it down. Perhaps there is nothing more tenacious and core than a child’s desire to love and be loved by their mother.  
And yet there is another kind of healing…an opening to our soul. With the support and love of our dreams, we learn we don’t have to let the love go. What can’t be reconciled in the world can be reconciled in the wounded heart…discovered where we thought it was lost forever.  
The simple truth…we love our mother and we need our mother’s love…the soul loves and the soul needs love…
For those who had the other mother, may we find even a moment to touch into…untouched and pure…the shared place in the heart where love and loss live together.



Mary Jo Heyen is a certified Natural Dreamwork Practitioner working with clients throughout the country and abroad in person, phone or Skype. Learn more about her work with dreams at or 


3 thoughts on “the other mother…”

  1. Your words ring true to me, child of one who was mostly the \”other\” mother. Finally, she was a help to me when she saw my wisdom and turned to me for help, with the realization that she had not been a very good mother. I was able to forgive her, and to learn to value myself. She has gone back to spirit now, and my freedom is complete.

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