This is my 8th Mother’s Day without my mom, and my 7th Mother’s Day as a mom. Here are 8 things I’ve learned in the past 7 years:
1.) When a woman births a child, she is transformed in unimaginable ways. She will never be the same, nor would she want to be, because staying the same would mean turning away from the rich and varied emotions that surface in the moments, days, weeks, and years after childbirth.
2.) Being a mom takes courage. Not the level of courage needed to speak in front of a group of people. But the constant, unending courage it takes to experience the vulnerability that comes with deep love and all of the fear that comes with the mere thought of loosing it. Staying openhearted is the real courage that grows beautiful relationships between mother and child. Keep your heart wide open.
3.) The stamina needed for the endurance of motherhood is not always available. Even so, every single day we get up and do it anyway. There’s no recognition for this, no reward. In fact, there is often internalized shame that we didn’t do it better. Mothers love to be excellent at their job, and the thought of being anything less can start a shame spiral that is only paused when your child says “I love you.”
4.) The moment you become a mom, your heart is forever tethered to the heart of another. This is both the most beautiful experience and the most terrifying. The fear of fucking up the being with whom your heart is tethered to and/or loosing that being for any reason calls up the depths of our own darkness to be looked at.
5.) Whether you know it or not, motherhood, in itself, is a spiritual practice. A child’s needs are constant, and this teaches us how to stay centered in ourselves regardless of how pulled off center we become. Keep coming back to your true self, over and over and over again.
6.) No matter how much a person needs you, they can still ignore you. I’m still baffled by this…my children are young enough that they need me for their basic needs, and yet they can tune me out as if I didn’t even exist. How is that? I suppose they’re helping me find my voice.
7.) Anything you thought you had healed through will come to the surface to be looked at again so that you can truly be cleansed of it to support your offspring in not having to carry that torch, which was passed onto you from your parents. Head the call. Listen fiercely. It’s worth it.
8.) We are all always still learning, and kids teach us that like no other. The journey is clumsy. You will make mistakes, and you will learn the lessons you need every step of the way. Put the learner hat on. Let your children remind you how little you know. You’ve birthed a child. You love that child. Now the task is to continue to grow along side that child.