[#RapplerReads] Understanding a mother’s love
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At Rappler Reads, there is a topic that we have covered in different ways.
In February, we wrote about bereavement and remembering a mother. [READ: [#RapplerReads] How do you deal with your grief?]In April, we looked at how history and war can affect a mother’s love. [READ: In Pachinko, does a mother’s love surpass struggles of war and tainted identity?] A guest contributor even spoke about her own journey to motherhood and the book helping her along the way. [READ: [#RapplerReads]: Shelves of strong women]
If you’ve read these articles, you might notice that we have a lot to say about mothers and love. This is because it is a multi-faceted thing. How can we even begin to understand what comprises and motivates this kind of love?
Throughout the month of May, we will try. We’ll be posting articles that unpack the different forms that a mother’s love takes: from the lasting love of a dog mom to the empowering stories of a new mom, and everything in between.
To start and celebrate Mother’s Day, here is a list of books that talk about a mother’s love.
A mother’s love sacrifices herself
When we are first introduced to Lily Bloom, the protagonist of Colleen Hoover’s bestselling novel It ends with us, she is a twenty-three-year-old woman on the cusp of adulthood. Her father has just died, she has met someone she thinks she can fall in love with, and she plans to start her own business. As the story progresses, it grows and we grow with it.
I believe that even though this book is a love story at its core, there is a kind of love that holds together. The heartbreaking final part of the book centers on Lily’s love for her child. And spoiler alert! She sacrifices everything she has – a comfortable routine, the love of her life – so her daughter won’t grow up watching her father hurt her mother like Lily did. It takes a strong mother to break the cycle of domestic violence and I believe she is one of the strongest fictional mothers I know.
A mother’s love is ever present
One of the first books I read was Little woman by Louisa May Alcott. Ever since I was young when I first read it, I could relate more to Jo and her sisters than to their mother, affectionately called Marmee. But looking at this book as an adult, I believe Marmee exemplifies a certain kind of love that only a mother can provide.
The book primarily revolves around the lives of the four March siblings. But Marmee’s presence envelops the girls, which is seen when she berates her children or when she praises them. Marmee is always there to advise her children whenever they have problems. She took care of household management and parenting when her husband went to war. Through Marmee, we see a mother’s love manifest in her constant presence – a presence that is an integral, yet sometimes invisible, part of the whole family.
A mother’s love welcomes
Filipino-American Virgil Salinas, the protagonist of Erin Entrada Kelly’s Hello, Universeis a lola [grandmother]it’s the boy. A shy and calm boy in a family of “great personalities who boiled like pots of soup”, Virgil’s only confidant was his Lola.
From Lola, he learns the popular tales and myths of the Philippines. He discovers the story of the Stone Boy and Pah. These stories become part of Virgil’s psyche and affect how he sees the world. Although she is not her biological mother, Lola shows Virgil a love that accepts who he is. With her, he can be her introspective self. And thanks to Lola, he’s part of a culture unlike the one he grew up with. In Lola we see that a mother’s love can help us in our belonging and our identity.
A mother’s love changes
Chez Maya Shanbhag Lang What we carry: a memoir, there is a quote that I love. “Perhaps at the most maternal, we are not mothers at all. We are girls, going back in time to find the mothers we wish we had, and then we meet again.
In this memoir, Lang revisits the stories her mother told her when she was growing up, as well as her childhood, family background, and what she knows about her mother. The book helps us understand that motherhood is not static: the mother we knew when we were growing up may not be the mother we meet every time we come home as adults. As we grow up, our relationship with our mother changes. This changes even more once we become parents. Like all emotions and many things in this world, a mother’s love changes over time.
A mother’s love is brave
My teammates also have their own achievements when it comes to a mother’s love. Marj Handog, Editor-in-Chief of BrandRap, shares that “Assembly of Alice reminds us of the strong and courageous moms among us. Written by poet Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta, it’s a true story about Alice Feria, one of the first female journalists in the Philippines. She was among the fearless Filipinos who joined a secret resistance movement against the Japanese. Experience what it’s like to be a wife and mother in times of war while enjoying this work of literary non-fiction.
Join us as we discover what a mother’s love entails. Post your May book reads and reactions to social media with the hashtag #RapplerReads. – Rappler.com