Recently I have felt really drawn to write about motherhood. Considering the many challenges and choices that women face today in our world, this is a topic I hope many of you will resonate with, and it also happens to be one that is very close to my heart.
I want to first establish that I am not currently a mother in the traditional sense, In fact, that is rather what I am here to discuss.
So why don't we start with defining motherhood... What do you think it means? Usually the conventional response would be having a child. But is that accurate? What about adoptive mothers? Or women who chose not to/cannot have children and cannot adopt? ... A difficult thing to answer, is it not? And how does being a mother connect with being a woman? Are you meant to be a mother?
It's a complex issue. Luckily, the answer is rather simple:
Motherhood is, simply, creation and nurture through love.
It means taking in life energy in the form of love, and transforming it, creating with it. Nurturing it.
And what unites all women is that is we are meant to be mothers. Yes. I said it. You We are all meant to be mothers.
Now, before you get upset, remember my definition. There are many things we can create through love! Children are one important and beautiful expression of that, but I would argue not the only one. If motherhood means love, creation, and nurture, then that is something that we as women all have within us, and need to express in order to be fully in touch with our true femininity.
Before we continue, let's rewind a bit and let me tell you a bit about my personal journey and how I came to this conclusion.... About 8 years ago I was diagnosed with a condition called PCOS. This came at a time when I was already struggling with my sense of self as a woman, which is something that I am sure many young women in our society can relate to. At the time, I felt like my body hated me. I was drained, fatigued, depressed, a shadow of myself, with a host of physical symptoms. I felt like I was trapped in my body, and no one understood. So when the diagnosis came, I was excited in that finally, finally, someone knew what was happening to me. I remember sitting in that doctors office, and hearing the diagnosis, and then hearing her tell me that I had a future of diabetes, weight gain, heart disease, and most importantly, infertility in front of me. And that there was not much to do other than look into a low carb diet, maybe exercise a bit, and definitely medicate a lot. I felt like I had been slapped in the face and punched in the stomach at the same time.
In my mind, what she had just told me was: The feminine part of you is broken and can not be healed. You will never have the choice to explore being a mother in a physical way. You will be like this, in conflict with yourself, fighting your body, for the rest of your life.
I was horrified. And crushed. I felt like I was in mourning for a whole side of my self. Yes, I had an inkling that there was more to being a woman was more than just physical femininity, but... in what way?
As I struggled with this understanding, I began to ask myself... what does it mean to be a woman? And more to the point of this post, what does it mean to be a mother, since it is likely (I thought at that point) that I will never be one? Is it even important to be a mother? What is motherhood?
The answers came to me over time, and they represent my spiritual and emotional healing from this trauma. Luckily for me, they also coincided with the healing of my physical body. Since I am not one who accepts the status quo, I also set my mind after some time to overcoming this condition. Today, 8 years later, I am a different person. And the beauty of it all is that my PCOS is gone - we are unsure if I was misdiagnosed, or that my body simply healed completely, which is the more likely scenario. As I always say, we have an innate capacity for healing! Yes, it has been a challenging journey, but one I am grateful for, because it forced me to search for answers. It has helped me embrace myself as a woman, to truly understand what that means, and it is my hope that the insight I found will resonate with you too.
So here is what I learned; here is my truth:
We as women are all meant to be mothers. We are vessels for beauty and creation through love. We nurture life.
It is part of who we are. Denying this means denying ourselves. If you listen closely to your body and your heart, you will hear the whispers of this - your true inner strength, courage, wisdom, and power will manifest only when you embrace this. For some of us, this takes on a very immediate and physical manifestation through the birth of a child. But for others, it can have any number of other manifestations.
You see, this is the greatest kept secret of our strength and power as women! It is the key to unlocking our true potential - be that spiritually, physically, in relationships, and even in our vocations/careers.
To do this, we simply need:
I encourage you to go through life being conscious of this purpose and of this gift you have to offer the world. Believe me, the world needs us to be mothers. It needs a rebirth of cooperation, wisdom, strength, and unconditional love. And we must start with ourselves and our surroundings.
Sometimes, the opportunity to explore this side of yourself will happen accidentally, and life will intervene for you. Go with it. Take the leap. For some of us, it will mean pregnancy. For others, it will mean giving of ourselves to a project or someone who needs our help, or even art. Anything where we love, create, and then nurture. At other times, you will have to make a conscious choice to fulfill this beautiful purpose. Even seemingly small things in which you give love to wholly of yourself are transformative.
I won't say it will be easy. Any mother will tell you that where there is great joy, there is also great challenge. That motherhood requires all of her strength and will, but that it also nourishes her soul in a way she could never have imagined. She will also tell you that there will be moments where you will feel overwhelmed, and will feel resentful, upset and alone. But that at others times you will feel an overwhelming sense of being blessed, and a quiet power with you. For you created this. It is alive, it has its own being. It is beautiful.
Clearly part of this journey too is accepting that you are not perfect. You will not be the "perfect" mother or the perfect woman (what does that even mean?!). It is part of the duality of life. It is part of the duality of the feminine. Even in history, the representations of the goddess or great mother in various cultures had the power of giving life, but also of destruction. In other words, they had the power of transformation. The power to take in life energy, and transform with it. (You have that power too.) Accept this. Let your heart guide you to creation, and your inner strength will do the rest.
Know too that another part of embracing motherhood for many of us, is that we must learn to truly nurture something outside of ourselves before we can learn to nurture ourselves. So, go out into the world and mother. Open your arms to those in need, follow your creativity, build beauty around you. Care for it, support it. Love freely. For all this will give you strength. And as you are doing so, be present, and start learning to truly support and care for yourself.