Posts Tagged "motherhood"

On Children

Posted by on Jun 15, 2018 in Writings

On Children

I remember hearing this poem by Kahlil Gibran as a young child being performed as a song at one of the Re-evaluation counselling weekends my mother used to run. Two women performed the song,  ‘Your children are not your children…’ The song frightened me and I clung to my mother’s skirt. I did not want anyone telling me that I did not belong to my mother. I wanted to belong to her forever… But now as a mother with children in their teens and coming into their teens, this poem resonates with me more and more: Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts,  For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,  which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them,  but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,  and He bends you with His might  that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; For even as He loves the arrow that flies,  so He loves also the bow that is stable. I remember being a young mother of 21 and my firstborn on day 3 lying on my chest, milk drunk and fast asleep. It felt as though a shooting white light of love connected us at that moment…my beating heart connected to his. It was the most blissful moment of deep deep love and I knew at that moment that would be connected in this way forever. So as he grows older and his voice deepens that true deep connection never changes…it is always there…it is a trust and a love of the deepest knowing. From the moment they are born our children are moving away from us…and it is trusting that and them that is the key…  ...

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A Story I Wrote as a Young Mother

Posted by on Aug 23, 2016 in Writings

A Story I Wrote as a Young Mother

Today I walked through the entire length of Plumstead subway and didn’t even notice. What I was thinking about when I walked through it, I cannot recall. I arrived at Checkers and realised that I had suddenly arrived. I must have gone through the subway but have absolutely no recollection of having done so. Last week I walked through the subway, telling myself that this was the reality I had created for myself. I had created the hardness of the cement steps, the starkness of the walls. I began to imagine that they were soft, that their atoms gave way from my foot. I put my right foot down. Whoosh! The step beneath my foot was like water, and pinkish. It made a sound like a water drum. I panicked and reality returned. I tried to play the game again but my mind was either too scared or too convinced of the hard greyness of the steps and walls. I laughed and continued on my way to Checkers. Sometimes I feel ‘grrrr’ with the world and on those days the subway is the stinkiest and most ugly of places. I’ll be pushing the pram and Sai will be screaming as we roughly go bump bump bump down the stairs. There’s vomit and piss on the steps and green sludgy water has flooded the bottom. The bottoms of my jeans drag through it. Yuk. Broken glass. Bergies (homeless people) are sitting on the steps, suiping (boozing). They say, “hey girl!” but they don’t offer to help with the pram. Bump bump bumping angrily up the other side.  Sai screams.  ‘Grrrr.’ Sometimes I walk ever so mindfully through the subway, slowly and smiling at the world. Before I enter the subway I smile and look at the world. A cool breeze blows and lifts my spirits higher. I breathe deeply feeling my lungs expand. I push the pram carefully and slowly down the stairs. I notice the starkness of the walls, but I also notice the soft light of the sun on them. I notice the plants growing in the cracks. The small coloured gardener who cuts the grass across the road appears and helps to carry the pram through to the other side. I thank him wholeheartedly before he runs back to work again. Again, I stop and smile at the world. I notice the honeysuckles beginning to bloom. I look up at the block of flats across the road.  I notice an old woman looking at Plumstead from her balcony on the third story. She has long grey hair, clipped back at the sides and is wearing a bright pink jersey. I watch her for a while, smiling at her, hoping she will notice me. She doesn’t, although I stand there watching her for quite some time.  As I walk away though, I feel connected to...

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Every Mother is a Goddess

Posted by on May 10, 2015 in Writings

Every Mother is a Goddess

In her book Misconceptions: Truth, Lies, and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood, feminist writer and mother, Naomi Wolf speaks about her experience of becoming a mother for the first time. One of the things she wrote that stood out for me was how this highly regarded intellectual, academic, writer, author, woman, suddenly found herself to be an unseen person. She was walking down the street with her infant, and one of her students walked right past her, did not recognise her, in fact, the student did not even see her. I know that before I gave birth, I did not value mothers or motherhood in the way I did after I gave birth for the first time. I loved my mother and I respected her, but I do not think that I fully valued or saw who she was and what she had done to bring me into this world. During my first labour, I remember my mother’s eyes, soft, dark, familiar, slightly concerned, loving, strong, holding me, carrying me through this experience. And I remember at one point asking her, “How the hell did you do this four times?” She smiled, then laughed softly, shook her head and said, “I don’t know…” And continued to hold me with her gentle touch and soft eyes. After I gave birth for the first time I was high, the love hormone oxytocin coursing through my entire being. The world melted away and the importance of anything beyond the little bubble of warm cosy devotion I inhabited with my newborn son, evaporated. Everything dissolved, except for my deep connection, regard, admiration, and respect for all mothers in the world. I saw mothers and motherhood in a new light and I wanted to bow at the feet of all motherhood. I could feel their sweat, their pain, their love. And any mother who had given birth more than once, was most certainly a goddess. Her work, her love, was beyond my comprehension and understanding. I was in awe. Standing on the other end of having given birth four times myself (and that lovely strong bolus of oxytocin long having left my system) and now having attended numerous births, I feel very strongly that our work as those present at births is to mother the new mother. When a woman births, not only is a baby being born, but so is a mother. How we treat her will affect how she feels about herself as a mother and as a parent. Be gentle. Be kind. Listen. She knows best. She is the mother of this child after all. Or as the mother of midwifery, Ina May Gaskin so eloquently put it:   ”If a woman doesn’t look like a goddess during labor, then someone isn’t treating her right.” Happy Mother’s Day…to all the...

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