Friday, August 15, 2014

the Loss in Becoming Mother

 I was honored to contribute as a guest writer 
My first post published since the birth of my son,
 I offer this up with love and anticipation for the new
and beautiful chapter unfolding in my life.

Transition is about loss first. Maybe we don't like that, but there it is. If something is changing, something is being let go of and lost. Maybe that's good but it is still loss.

I could tell you about my transition from maiden to mother.
Or about the transition from pregnancy to parenthood.
Or the literal transition during my labor and the birth of my son.

Each one of those things embodied loss in a way I could not fathom until I experienced it.

Regardless of the joy, the delight, the glowing-ness of what has become my new normal, I have been working through a deep and painful sense of loss; loss of Self as I understood Her to be.

Who I am is the collection of years of choices and experiences I've accumulated. But before baby, this was entirely self-propelled and motivated: Who I Want to Be. Who I Choose to Be. Who I Need to Be for Me.

Becoming Mother is entirely about Who HE Is, and Who HE Needs Me to Be for HIM. This means my body is no longer mine, but his. Ditto for my time, my energy, and any other resource in my possession that he can make any use of.

Honestly? There have been times it feels damn insulting.
But we don't talk about those feelings, because mothers are supposed to love being mothers.
And I do. I adore my beautiful boy, and I would not trade him for anything this world has to offer.

But there is pain of loss with such a transition. Grief for the death of everything you are that came before to make room for a new, gloriously tired YOU.

I grieved the loss of my pregnancy after the birth- that private, intimate joy of relationship with this cosmic, magical being growing deep within that nobody could hold but me.

I grieved the change in my relationship with my husband- stronger than ever, more lovingly wound with the tether of CHILD between us, but... changed, nonetheless.

I grieved the lost hours to write- to sit before my altar and meditate, to sit quietly as inspiration flooded me, igniting my heart with the words to put down on paper, in my journal, to share with others.

I grieved the loss of solitude in my home. No longer MY home, but HIS- where he is ruler; walked and rocked and nursed and burped and changed and loved and adored and shushed for endless hours, day after day, month after month...

My books and altar spaces and decorations remain, but are covered over with a thick layer of dust, onesies, diapers and everywhere the faint smell of milk. It hardly feels like the home of a priestess these days.

And yet, that is precisely what it is.

Becoming Mother is to move, clumsily at times, with the ebb and flow of night tides - 3am feedings when your beloved is softly snoring and it seems the whole world is asleep but you and this wildly new creature you're still learning.
Becoming Mother is a purpose-filled transition from What I Need For Me to What I Must: give, do, say, and be for the good and growth of my child.
Becoming Mother is moving in Isis energy- lover/mother energy that gives of herself, her body and time, her whole heart and soul for another because it's Who She Is, yes, but also because it's What Is Needed. Period. You're here, you're Mama, so get it done.

For me, this is what being a priestess looks like right now- I am midwifing myself into motherhood, and my son into personhood with each kiss, each hour holding up aching arms and every minute of so much tiredness I want to cry. It is my sacrifice- and it's nothing in comparison to what others have given- unremarkable, without extremes- but it is mine, a worthy offering for my own life, and my own becoming.

My transition into motherhood has felt like many things.
Loss is only one of them.
But it is powerful, and it is real, and it isn't going away.

It's something that will evolve as I and my baby do- morphing with each passing year into something beautiful and strong that can be looked back on with pride. And I do, already, because it is the hardest work I have ever been asked to perform, and I am doing it without knowing how, really.
But therein lies my work and initiation into the Mother mysteries:
the priestess-ing of my new Self as Mama- acknowledging and accepting the loss as sacred.

Loss is one thing shaping me for something entirely new- something I am beginning to see as quite lovely, something beyond the maiden years of rebellion against limitation and independence of mind. I am bigger now, more spacious for the giving, surrounded by the beauty of loss. May it be blessed.

Cain Anthony, born April 28

1 comment:

  1. A very interesting point of view, entirely different from my own experience. I never felt any sort of loss upon becoming a mother, only gain. Perhaps because I didn't have a strong sense of identity or purpose up to that point anyway, and it fulfilled me and made me feel finally that my life had a meaning. Before that I was just drifting like a boat lost at sea. The horrible sense of loss and grief came when my daughters grew up and moved away. I literally cried for years, every time they went away again after coming to visit. It's been six years since my youngest moved out, and I can finally say goodbye to her without tears.


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