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Article  •  10 August 2016


Daughters and mothers

Heartlines author Susannah McFarlane explores the power of the maternal bond.

Heartlines are those invisible lines that tie us to those we love. They are the lines that anchor us, that pull us home and tug when we are away too long. Yet they are, sadly, rarely straight and often unbelievably tangled and knotted. And over a lifetime you can tie yourself a whole lot of knots.

And perhaps no heartline is more important – or more potentially tangled – than the one that ties a daughter to her mother. What is it about mothers? For me, it’s that they hear you and that they remember what you tell them. When they ring to ask how you are, they really, really want to know. I mean, really, want to know, and will press on until you tell them. And then they’ll remember. On a good day that heartline is more than a thread, it’s a whole, warming blanket. A word of maternal praise or love can make you feel unbeatable. When these words are withheld (for real or imagined) you can be crushed.

Words can never be more powerful than when wielded by a mother. Or, in my case, two mothers.

Given up for adoption at birth, my first maternal heartline was cut short, but with love and time another one grew, strong and straight, tying me fiercely to my second. A few years after Mum died I felt the tug of that very first line and, following it, I found my birth mother Robin.

After all, if you had another chance at having some maternal love, you’d go for it, right? Even if it meant wading into a whole tangled web of knotty heartlines. Which it did. Trying to fix any broken relationship is messy, teasing out the hurt and the anger and trying to loosen the knots takes stamina and courage. We always have the choice of whether to hold on or to cut and run.

I’m going with holding on.

Feature Title

This is what happened the year I met my other mother.
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