I’ve settled slowly into the realization that this season of my life is about mothering. Not in part, not on the side, but almost entirely. Love for my daughter broke me into pieces; love for my son has put me back together again.
From the moment the surges of my womb first pulled me in and under, motherhood has emptied me out and filled me up. My daughter’s birth was a kind of death for me. After hours of pain and confusion, the surgeon’s knife cut deep into my flesh, and I birthed my daughter into this world through my belly. My very first reaction was mostly relief, amidst a muddle of hormones, numbness and drugs. Then, in the days and weeks that followed my feelings for her ran through my body and life like wild fire. I hesitated to call these feelings love or joy, because they were unlike anything I had known before. They consumed every part of me in their fierce devouring flames. They made me capable of things I had never imagined; they drove me to build a different kind of life using muscles I had long thought atrophied or non-existent. She remade me.
And even as I lay awake at night to watch her face while she slept, and spent every moment of every day with her in my arms, I resisted this transformation. It was difficult and painful, equal parts grief and celebration. I mourned the woman I had lost. And when the intensity of the first few months of new life eased, I went looking for her. Where was the ‘me’ I used to know? Who was I outside of my mothering role? This panic-fuelled quest sent me off in every direction. A sure sense of what I was seeking eluded me for years. I saw the surface changes but failed to see the essence of my transformation beyond milk-stained skin. In the meantime my child lost her baby-tousled softness, and grew into a little girl. Still my mind turned itself into knots, looking for my place. I had sacrificed so much for motherhood, when would I find my way back?
And then he planted himself beneath my heart. From the moment he found his way to my secret garden, buried by the reach of my lover, my son stretched out his roots and took hold of my spirit. I knew immediately that another being had taken up a space inside my own. He asked me to slow down and breathe deeper. Retracing the steps of my first pregnancy four years later has made for a powerful journey. A path that was at the first walking exciting but also terrifying and confusing became empowering and centering. I am a mother of one, and I will soon be a mother of many. My unborn son has flipped and turned and expanded into his being, and in so doing he has peeled back the petals of my heart. As we have grown together into fullness, his spirit has rippled peace, clarity and strength through my bones.
Ah, I agree with his invisible throbbing presence. Of course, the path back to myself was painful, stony and barren. It leads nowhere except to memories and lost things. There is no whole way to move back in time.
Finally, I managed to open my eyes and see that the path at my feet is beautiful and lush. And the mountains sleeping blue and constant in the pale mist of the horizon are just as breathtaking. Motherhood is not about sacrifice. As mother love kneaded and pummeled me I was needled by the suspicion that she had robbed me of my self. Now as my belly rounds out towards the moon, and my womb flexes her power for the second time, I sink joyfully into my own potency. Motherhood has shown me a way towards the real me. It has shaped and moulded me and brought me closer to the life I was meant to live. This path may be away from society, from the expectations of others, or those of my own, but it is towards the place where my soul resides.
Now, for this season, in this rhythm, until my babies are grown, motherhood reigns supreme. She is not an adjunct to be slid alongside other roles. I am no longer maiden, but mother, and until I am crone, every choice is ruled by this self. Each step I ask, ‘Will this make me a better mother?’ and then move forward with as much grace, humility and courage as life allows. My children are my life, my work, my gifts, and I will make no apologies for that. I am finally, wholeheartedly, at peace within my soft, beautiful, endlessly pliable mama skin. I am mother. I am home.
This post was sponsored by Colleen of the Midlands House of Healing. When I first met Colleen, I was a mess of tears and strained muscles and blurred identities. My daughter was close to a year old, and my visit to Colleen's home in the deep Dargle was the longest time I had ever spent away from her. Colleen introduced me to a body repair massage, a kind of crisis management for the place I had come to. Since then I have visited Colleen monthly, and our sessions became about long-term energy work, transformation and soul-deep healing. Now, as I lumber into the final weeks of my pregnancy, I am so grateful for her ability to put me back together, as the combined efforts of parenting, working full-time, and growing another human being inside my body leave their mark in my aching muscles and joints. Through sound healing, manipulation, holistic massage and crystals she relaxes my body and realigns my mind and soul in the process. I carry sacred life inside me, and sometimes it gets heavy. How refreshingly peaceful it is to surrender to the wisdom of healing hands.
To book distance healing or a massage session outside Howick, contact Colleen on 084 603 0604.
Hello and welcome:) I am a South African artist and mama who believes in mindfulness and living on purpose. I love traveling, reading, yoga, leading our family business, and eating delicious food in beautiful places. And tea. I love tea. Pour yourself a cup and settle in for a read.