The power of a mother’s love: 6 fictional mothers who understood the assignment

For mothers who demand the best for their children, look no further

Entertainment Desk May 09, 2024


With Mother’s Day inching ever nearer, a perverse part of us can’t help but think of every mother haunting television who deserves to be pushed down a well – think Nazia in Mere Pas Tum Ho and Ruth Dewitt Bukater, aka Rose’s mother, from Titanic. But for every monstrous fictional mother whose understanding of mothering could fit on a pinhead, there is a crowd of mothers standing head and shoulders above the rest, totally nailing the motherhood game.

1. Sajjo (Udaari)

Udaari attracted unwarranted attention from the get-go for its unabashed depiction of the horrific realities of predators and child abuse lurking in our homes. If anything warrants censorship, it means there is something in there worth watching – and in this instance, that something is the way Sajjo, a widow in a village with limited resources, rises against all odds and removes her daughter, Meera, from the clutches of an abuser. Without relying on anyone else, Sajjo breaks free from the chokehold of her own trauma and becomes a beacon of strength and resilience in the face of a mountain of adversity.

2. Rafia (Zindagi Gulzar Hai)

Unbothered by her separation from her husband, Rafia wastes no time indulging in self-pity. Instead, she works herself to the bone, fighting for financial independence and establishing a life for her three daughters. Her number one priority is the education and well-being of her daughters in a world rigged against them. Fans online, usually consumed by the unfolding of romance, have gone so far as to write, “The way the three sisters and mother faced hardships and got through – that was my takeaway more the lead pair and romantic angle.” Rafia’s hard work does not go unnoticed; her resilience ultimately trickles down to her children, particularly Kashaf, who learns the importance of self-preservation by following her mother’s lead.

3. Shahana (Suno Chanda)

In a feel-good show packed with comforting banter, Shahana’s overarching love for her children casts a warm, loving blanket as the story unfolds. Whether it is navigating the stormy waters of family drama or providing scaffolding for the dreams of her children, Shahana is always on hand as a pillar of strength and support. Striking the balance between a traditional upbringing and a modern outlook, Shahana strives to ensure harmony in her home, and her everlasting love and forgiving nature allow her children to express themselves with reckless abandon and flourish out in the world.

4. Regina (Once Upon a Time)

Starting as the Evil Queen consumed with a flaming hatred for Snow White and happy to torch everyone in her wake, Regina morphs into a woman carried almost exclusively by the love she develops for her adopted son, Henry. In her quest for revenge, Regina curses everyone in her world for nearly thirty years, but as a mark of love for her son, learns to overcome her villain tendencies and even befriends her arch-nemesis. As a tied-up Regina coolly informs a Machiavellian Peter Pan, who is holding Henry hostage, “I did cast a curse that devastated an entire population. I have tortured and murdered. I have done some terrible things. I should be overwhelmed with regret – but I’m not, because it got me my son.” To save Henry, she then breaks free and rips out Peter Pan’s heart. You have to admire a woman who can rip out the heart to make a point.

5. Mrs Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)

Poor Mrs Bennet is the recipient of unending eye-rolls from both her husband and readers. Mr Bennet has little compassion for Mrs Bennet’s nerves and despite her pleas to the contrary, goes out of his way to vex her. Unlike his wife, Mr Bennet is unable to see that in Regency England, it really is a truth universally acknowledged that when your estate has been entailed away to an obsequious clergyman, finding your daughters a suitable man is the only sensible way forward. Mrs Bennet remains astonishingly, almost admirably oblivious to Mr Bennet’s cutting remarks, and with three daughters married by hook or by crook as the tale draws to a close, her heart is full.

6. Lily (Harry Potter)

Who can forget the importance of mothers with Lily Potter’s ultimate sacrifice? Lord Voldemort, that’s who. If an intelligent wizard like Voldemort had explored the power of a mother’s love with the same mania he studied Horcruxes, he may have well have avoided his humiliating defeat at the hands of a teenager. Had Voldemort employed just a little more foresight and a smidgeon of emotional intelligence, he may well have become the dark Lord he so desperately craved. To his cost, Voldemort failed to understand that Lily shielding her young son until her dying breath would become the ultimate weapon he could never overcome.

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