The Power of Female Support
How Mother’s Day can also be about celebrating all the women we admire.
By Nancy B.
Like so many women today, I will be celebrating Mother’s Day without my own mum. It’s a fact of life my peers talk about and discuss with sadness: you think your mum will be there forever, but for many of us, it’s a day when loss can come into focus.
However, it’s still a huge day of celebration for the mums we still have, if we are mums ourselves, grandmothers, stepmothers or guardians, it’s no longer a narrow definition of a singular role, but far more of an all-encompassing reflection on the women we admire.
I tuned into a great Instagram Live earlier this week with Dr. Louise Wiseman, whose book is something that is more of a go-to than a read-just-once publication.
In Your Best Life: A Doctor’s Secret Guide To Radiant Health Over 40, Louise takes out all of the overwhelming information that doesn’t serve us, and talks in manageable depth about every aspect of our health and well being. Whether it’s the psychology and genetics of ageing, to breast health, food questions and even wisdom, it’s wonderfully researched and reads like a dream.
Louise is really keen to state that it’s not a book you buy, follow to the letter, and transform yourself overnight. It’s all about providing useful markers, so that you can set achievable goals.
In her own words, if you aim to improve one aspect of your health by just thirty per cent, in a month you will feel real benefits.
So whether that’s just walking, reducing alcohol intake, or replacing sugar in your diet, slow and steady wins the race when you are already feeling a bit wobbly. It also means it is never too late to try - you can reverse so much of what you may have put your body through in the past. It’s about letting go of any shame around that, and learning valuable lessons that create new blueprints.
Listening to Louise speak about the real health benefits of female connection, she spoke about the proven benefits of making friends with ‘super-agers’ as she calls them: women you meet either in real life, or online, who adopt an age-positive approach to moving forwards.
I lost my own mum when I was forty-two, just at the age when we had developed an easier friendship. It is something I still grieve over, especially on a day like today, however I have found wonderful solace in my own super-age friends. If you put a group of women together, it produces oxycontin, Louise informs, which brings about calm and has myriad health benefits: get-togethers really are the best medicine, even though how we deliver them right now is challenging.
I first met A when I was just twenty-six and she was two decades older. She’s never been a mother figure to me, but she’s the best big sister I’ve ever adopted. Back in the 1990’s, she was already on a pro-age mission and her workplace habits of doing meditations during break times, popping out to the gym at lunch, and having a joyous approach to life made her stand out in a staff area filled with women who were largely doing the opposite, and quite frankly, put me off getting older.
She is still one of my closest friends, and when she popped around to see me on her seventieth birthday sporting shades and a new convertible, A reminded me of why I fell in love with her incorrigible spirit.
I met P when I was caring for my dad. The wife of my father’s oldest friend, we had met in passing over the years. She stepped in and offered me the support that I would have looked to my own mum for.
She is eighty soon and when we catch up nails, skincare, hair and hilarity are the order of the day. When she didn’t answer her phone recently I was worried. She was that busy spring cleaning she didn’t hear it. P has also rocked her world recently by getting a new puppy. She inspires me with her zest for life, and by always having something new to say.
My mum had her own, wonderful friends and her key to staying youthful was to have lots of younger friends, too. Wherever we went, she was never fearful of approaching much younger women and joining in the conversation.
If I ever took her to fashion shows or events, she’d often disappear, and I’d find her talking to the person I was longing to speak to. I once overheard her giving new season fashion tips to a noted journalist from a broadsheet: she was sixty-seven at the time.
It’s hard to meet up right now, but I did enjoy hearing Louise talk about the online friends she has made during lockdown. She certainly supports other women, me included.
Worrying about ageing and looking back to younger years and ‘trying’ to keep going like that is bad for your health.
Embracing your age as you are now really adds spice, and years, to your life. That was also her message, so I am taking the doctor’s orders on that one.
I will celebrate my mum today by playing some of her favourite music, or catching up on a TV series or film she loved. I now send cards to the ladies who have now become like mums to me - I would be simply lost without them. I am lucky I have younger friends who keep me in the loop also, whether it’s fashion stylist Jess Walsh or musician Lily Almond (who won’t mind me naming them!), they are my go-to girls for when my wardrobe feels low, and my playlist is tired.
Wherever you are today, and however you feel, pick up the phone to one woman in your life who feels like family. Get some fresh air, celebrate where you can and when you are putting on your serum before bedtime, you will look in the mirror and appreciate the person looking back at you.
It’s at times like these I realise I am definitely turning into my mother. That thought used to fill me with dread, but now it’s something that brings me huge comfort.
Until next time.