Raised by Lousy Moms

Dolores Aguilar

1929 – Aug. 7, 2008
Dolores Aguilar, born in 1929 in New Mexico, left us on August 7, 2008. She will be met in the afterlife by her husband, Raymond, her son, Paul Jr., and daughter, Ruby.

She is survived by her daughters Marietta, Mitzi, Stella, Beatrice, Virginia and Ramona, and son Billy; grandchildren, Donnelle, Joe, Mitzie, Maria, Mario, Marty, Tynette, Tania, Leta, Alexandria, Tommy, Billy, Mathew, Raymond, Kenny, Javier, Lisa, Ashlie and Michael; great-grandchildren, Brendan, Joseph, Karissa, Jacob, Delaney, Shawn, Cienna, Bailey, Christian, Andre Jr., Andrea, Keith, Saeed, Nujaymah, Salma, Merissa, Emily, Jayci, Isabella, Samantha and Emily. I apologize if I missed anyone.

Dolores had no hobbies, made no contribution to society and rarely shared a kind word or deed in her life. I speak for the majority of her family when I say her presence will not be missed by many, very few tears will be shed and there will be no lamenting over her passing.

Her family will remember Dolores and amongst ourselves we will remember her in our own way, which were mostly sad and troubling times throughout the years. We may have some fond memories of her and perhaps we will think of those times too. But I truly believe at the end of the day ALL of us will really only miss what we never had, a good and kind mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. I hope she is finally at peace with herself. As for the rest of us left behind, I hope this is the beginning of a time of healing and learning to be a family again.

There will be no service, no prayers and no closure for the family she spent a lifetime tearing apart. We cannot come together in the end to see to it that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren can say their goodbyes. So I say here for all of us, GOOD BYE, MOM.

***

The ability to bear a child does not a mother make.

Delores Aguilar was obviously a very fertile woman. She was able to squat out babies in rapid succession. But like far too many woman, Delores Aguilar lacked the ability to nurture.

According to the testimony of her own children, Delores Aguilar spent a lifetime tearing her family apart.

I didn’t grow up with that sort of mother, thankfully, but I have several friends who were raised up by selfish mothers. Women who lacked affection for their own children. They weren’t necessarily bad women. Many of them have attained remarkable achievements in their professional lives. They were just bad mothers.

Mothering is a skill.

A mother’s love may or may not be natural, but the ability to nurture is a learned behavior. Children will nurture one another if they have seen it modeled. They will also abuse one another, if they’ve seen that modeled.

A new study by the National Academy of Sciences reveals that children who had nurturing mothers in early childhood, actually have a larger hippocampus — that part of the brain that helps memory, learning and a child’s ability to handle stress.

There is a direct link between brain growth and maternal support.

A mother’s nurturing, or lack thereof, impacts a child’s cognitive function and emotional regulation.

“For years studies have underscored the importance of an early, nurturing environment for good, healthy outcomes for children,” said study author and professor of child psychiatry Joan Luby.  “This study, to my knowledge, is the first that actually shows an anatomical change in the brain, which really provides validation for the very large body of early childhood development literature that had been highlighting the importance of early parenting and nurturing. Having a hippocampus that’s almost 10% larger just provides concrete evidence of nurturing’s powerful effect.”

In other words, maternal neglect — the leading form of child maltreatment– diminishes the hippocampus and makes children more subject to depression and other mental health issues.

Children who grow up with mothers who neglect them often develop emotional, behavioral, and learning problems that can persist throughout their lifetime.

Some of the specific long-term effects of abuse and neglect on a child’s developing brain includes:

  • Diminished growth in the left hemisphere, which may increase the risk for depression
  • Irritability in the limbic system, setting the stage for the emergence of panic disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Smaller growth in the hippocampus and limbic abnormalities, which can increase the risk for dissociative disorders and memory impairments
  • Impairment in the connection between the two brain hemispheres, which has been linked to symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

 

Ponder those facts the next time you see a mom bent over her iPhone and ignoring her child.

It is not true that all women are born with the gift of mothering but it is true that all children need nurturing.

We have to do a better job of supporting and helping women become better mothers.

Norway leads the world in support and care for mothers. They have the best policies and systems in place to help strengthen the role of mothers.  The U.S. places 25th in  our ranking for support of mothers. Smack dab between the Czech Republic and Belarus.

We do, on the other hand, lead the industrialized nations in child abuse fatalities.

In the past 10 years that we’ve been at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have lost 20,000 children to child abuse right here on US soil. Four times the number of soldiers-killed-in-action.

Far too many children in this country can relate to the sentiments expressed by Delores Aguilar’s offspring:   At the end of the day ALL of us will really only miss what we never had, a good and kind mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

For those children, Mother’s Day is not a happy occasion. It’s a painful reminder of all they have survived.

 

 

 

About Karen Spears Zacharias

Author. Speaker. Journalism Instructor. Four kids. Three dogs. One grandson.

  • Marian Carcache

    Thank you, Karen, for saying what needs to be said, no matter how unpleasant or unpopular the subject may be — and for managing to always, always say it eloquently.

  • anonymous

    Thank you. It’s good to know i’m not alone.


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