A new self did emerge. This is what women do not tell each other. I want to say it here: You will die when you become a mother and it will hurt and it will be confusing and you will be someone you never imagined and then, you will be reborn. Truthfully, I have never wanted to be the woman I was before I had children. I loved that woman and I loved that life but I don’t want it again. My daughters have made me more daring, more human, more compassionate. Their births have brought me closer to the earth and they have helped me pare my life down to its essentials. Writing, quick prayers, good food, a few close friends, many deep breaths, love, plants, dancing, music, teaching-these are the ingredients of my/this new self. I waited for this new self in the dark, in the bittersweet water of letting go, in the heavy heartbeat of learning to be a mother, against the isolation, I grew and emerged laughing and crying and here I am, sisters and brothers. Rebirth: What We Don’t Say | The Sage Mama.
One of my favorite songs to listen to after my miscarriage experiences had a refrain of, “it is dark, dark, dark inside.” While previously not connecting to “darkness” as a place of growth or healing, during these experiences I learned that it is in the darkness that new things take root and grow.
As I’ve shared before, one of my favorite quotes about postpartum comes from Naomi Wolf, A mother is not born when a baby is born; a mother is forged, made. The quote I shared above from this “Rebirth” article touches that place in me—that motherhood results in a total life overhaul and a new, enriched identity. (This article also made me think of first postpartum journey which I wrote about here.)
In a previous post, I wrote the following about the idea that giving birth and mothering leaves permanent marks:
I’ve also come to realize that despite the many amazing and wonderful, profound and magical things about birth, the experience of giving birth is very likely to take some kind of toll on a woman—whether her body, mind, or emotions. There is usually some type of “price” to be paid for each and every birth and sometimes the price is very high. This is, I guess, what qualifies, birth as such an intense, initiatory rite for women. It is most definitely a transformative event and transformation does not usually come without some degree of challenge. Sometimes to be triumphed over or overcome, but something that also leaves permanent marks. Sometimes those marks are literal and sometimes they are emotional and sometimes they are truly beautiful, but we all earn some of them, somewhere along the line. And, I also think that by glossing over the marks, the figurative or literal scars birth can leave on us, and talking about only the “sunny side” we can deny or hide the full impact of our journeys.
During Pam England’s presentation about birth stories at the ICAN conference, she said that the place “where you were the most wounded—the place where the meat was chewed off your bones, becomes the seat of your most powerful medicine and the place where you can reach someone where no one else can.”
(I’m experimenting with PressThis for this short post)