Mama: On Never Fully Receiving a Mother’s Love. {poetry}


A sense of inexplicable, all-consuming longing is usually associated with romantic love and the idea that a partner will complete you.

This poem is about the pain around a much more primal love: the love that a child needs from her mother.

A child’s relationship with her primary caregiver, most typically her mother, sets the foundation for every relationship in her life. This fact has been confirmed and reconfirmed across psychology, biology, and anthropology. But what if that need was never fully met?

What if that love was only fractionally given, leaving a sense memory of what is longed for but can no longer be fulfilled now that the age of infancy has long passed into adulthood… even though the wound is still acute?

How do we find the strength to stand when we are not even done crawling? How can we find wholeness within ourselves when the foundation someone else had to build for us in the most basic way is not there?

This poem is about the deep longing that comes from never fully receiving a mother’s love, and the internal struggle of accepting that the window for that love has been lost and may not ever be fully found in another person… only within the self.


I don’t want to do
All of this heavy lifting
I have for my entire life
The baby in the cradle
Cradling herself
I have cried out for mom
In the way I have cried out
For god
Maybe they are one and the same
An illusory image
Made of all my own hopes and expectations
Or the inward peace
That I can only provide myself
Holding my own heart
With all of my own strength
But I don’t want to
I want to meet this motherly divinity
I have longed for
In the flesh
Fully human and fully loving
Have her hold me
And love me
In a way that reaches
Into the deepest stillness
Of my soul
And calms me from within
With a truth I have always known
But could never grasp
I do not want to do this alone
But I am slowly realizing that I have to
Because mother and god
Seem to be mirages
That surround mortality
Shrouding humanity
Leaving others confused
How I could ever expect so much from them
As I cry out to for help
This love was supposed to be
My divine birthright
But I never received it
So I hope for a saint
Who will save me
But they all shut their doors
Already tending to their own kin
No use for me
And I want to keep making
This pilgrimage
For the Mecca of Mama
But I am starting to see
That it is only me in this desert
And I will have to find the well within myself
Or die thirsty
But I don’t want to
Find her within myself
All it has ever been
Is me and myself
And I am so tired and lonely
I just want someone to hold me
Why can’t I get what I have always wanted?


Kimberly Joy McBride is a Los Angeles-based writer and actress. She is interested in poems and stories that center around the different ways we understand, process, and heal from painful experiences. She hopes that art, in all its forms, can be used as a way to re-discover inner wholeness. You could contact Kimberly via her website.


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