On this Mother’s Day, I want to celebrate not only my guests, but also the lessons I’ve learned from having my show for almost two years. In my dozens of interviews with guests and casual conversations with people, I have learned that our mothers are the beginning of our identity, who we are is inherently linked to the woman who carried us directly and indirectly. The decisions they made in their lives shape our early existence, which determines who we become.
If we’re lucky, our mother’s hands are the first hands to hold us, their eyes the first we gaze upon. A mother’s love is a love that knows no limits. Again, if we are lucky. If we are fortunate to have a mother who is balanced and in control of their mind, heart and life, we have the chance to not only survive, but thrive. If our mothers are broken, there is a chance they will break us to prove their brokenness. Children are strong and have endless resilience even in the most troublesome environments, they can thrive.
As a mother myself, I’m aware of the cracks within my spirit, and how they spill over in plain view of my son. The reality is we were never that far away from where we began, yet we get up every day with the best intentions, and always strive to do right by our children. Life gives us the opportunity to rise above our circumstances, every person I’ve interviewed has found a way to go beyond the experiences of their childhood and create a beautiful life.
Changing Lives with Empathy ft. with Peter Mutabazi
The kindness of a stranger can be so powerful. Peter Mutabazi experienced this firsthand as a child, which changed the course of his life. Now, Peter changes the course of other children’s lives.
“But for the very first time, I had been seen as a human being, I had been seen as someone who had potential. The rest of the world saw me as I will never amount to anything. I was garbage. I was useless. Before he met my lowest there, he saw the potential in me. He didn’t see the dirty thief boy, but he saw a little boy that had the opportunity to be someone and he said, ‘I will offer that I will be there for him.’ And that’s why it changed for me; it was in the school I was going to, but for the first time that someone saw me as a human being, and that’s how I changed my life.” – Peter Mutabazi
The Girls Who Went Away ft. with Ann Fessler
In the decades before Roe vs Wade, many women had the role of mother stolen from them due to the societal and systemic pressures; forcing them to surrender their babies. This became all too familiar for Ann as she learned more about her own birth mother.
“I understood what my mother had been through. I really did believe that she wouldn’t want this skeleton in her closet to reappear and show up on her doorstep. And as I’m talking to this woman, she’s telling me a completely different perspective. I realized as I’m standing there, that here I am a 40 year old adoptee who thinks they’re well informed and is very well informed about women’s history, well read about all those things—never heard anything about this. And I realized that I was completely wrong. I had never considered that losing a child through adoption was any different than losing a child in any other way—that it’s a loss. It’s an enormous loss. People talk about losing a child is the worst thing that can ever happen to you, but they never talked about that in relation to a mother who surrenders a child for adoption. Somehow they think, well, she wanted to give this child away, so she doesn’t care. Right? As I continued to talk to this woman, I thought, my God and it was like a giant light bulb went off in my head, and I thought, this is something I have to look into.” – Ann Fessler
The Baby Scoop Era ft. with Karen Wilson-Buterbaugh
Similarly, Karen Wilson-Buterbaugh knows this all too well. She felt the pain that came with not having a choice in the decision—losing her child was the hardest experience of her life. The secret history of adoption isn’t known to many.
“I don’t know how you say goodbye in an hour, but the thing to do was get to know my baby as fast as I could, you know, I wrapped her and looked at her hands and her feet. I wanted to see her body, dress her and undress her, then dress her and wrap her back up. Put her on my shoulder and rock her and sing to her. I remember telling her all about her dad, what a nice guy he is, and that he doesn’t know where we are, but if he did, he would come for us. We had gone steady in school and I was so so sorry that this is happening to her. If there was any way I could prevent it, I would, but I had nowhere to go. I had no money. How can you have money when you’re locked up?” – Karen Wilson Buterbaugh
Aftermath Life in Post-Roe America ft. with Elizabeth Hines
We are called to action when something ignites us, this was true for Elizabeth Hines. The overturn of Roe had her asking herself the type of world she was leaving for her children.
“You know, I believe that there is a responsibility one has to one’s children. I have three children who are not so small anymore, but two daughters and a son. When I think about the world they’re inheriting, I get worried and I figure we all have to do what we can to leave them a world that respects who they are as human beings. It’s their freedom and this is my effort to step up the work.”
Manifesting Your Dreams ft. with Linda Sivertsen
As we explore our dreams and lives, it’s easy to feel like the world is against you. What you have to remember is that there are magical, maternal figures there to help you.
“I always say if you have the ache, you have what it takes. So trust that. People try to come to my writing retreats and send me lots of samples ahead of time to prove to me that they’re worthy, that they can do it, that I’ll be able to help them get an agent down the road and a deal. I just say stop; if you have the ache, I’m not worried about it. If your writing isn’t strong enough, and you don’t want to take the time to get it there with all the different ideas I have about how to help you, we’ll find you a ghostwriter or an editor. Don’t stress. What I need to see in somebody is the ache and the desire and the story.” – Linda Sivertsen
Defending Identity ft. with Keshia Adeniyi-Dorsey
We’ve discussed the loss that a mother can feel when she loses her child through adoption or in other situations, but we can’t forget the experience of the children. There are no words for it, only deep feelings, searching and wanting to know where they come from, who was the person that nature meant to raise me, but life had other plans.
“I love that you characterize it as complex because I think that also owning that was also a part of the healing. I think for me and my mom, owning that, having those tough conversations—I remember sitting down with my mom be like, ‘Listen, I understand that you’re trying to protect the space, you’re trying to also protect me, I think as well, right? But you have to also trust that—’ Nobody can replace my mom. Just like nobody can replace my birth mother, right? That’s what makes things complicated, right? There’s this inherent desire to not just know where you come from, but also it’s so much a part of your identity.” – Keshia Adeniyi-Dorsey
Paying Homage to Motherhood
Mother’s Day is such a complex day—homage to the mothers in our lives, including the tribe of people who raised us.
- To the moms mommying and doing their best and trying to make this generation stronger than the last, this is the work of warriors. Remember that.
- To the birth moms who made a gut wrenching decision that changed their heart forever, we see you, we honor you.
- To the foster and adoptive moms who open their heart, mind and home for children. This is not an easy way in. But the love is there. It is real.
- To the children who were adopted, you are loved by so many, even when identity can feel elusive.
- To the step moms who helped raise other people’s children, this means your heart is expansive. You might not get a Mother’s Day card, but you did the work because you could and that in itself speaks volumes to your character.
- To the animal moms who know that loving an animal is just as rewarding as loving a human.
- To all the varying types of mothers out there—male, female, all types. To Mother means to love, to give, to embrace.
- To Mother Earth, the mother of us all, may we as people find a way to live for and with you versus thinking you are ours to take from.
Happy Mother’s Day, don’t forget to mother and nurture yourself today too.
Find it Quickly:
[2:09] Peter’s Experience
[3:11] Ann’s Experience
[4:51] Karen’s Experience
[7:02] Elizabeth’s Experience
[7:57] Linda’s Experience
[10:43] Keshia’s Experience