"Wherever you go, go with all your heart" - Confucious
Women are amazing miracles! Life is our power. We bring life into the world through our mind, body and spirit. We are about connection and creation.
In addition to giving life, women have an infinite capacity for healing and transformation. Kundalini Yoga pioneer Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, one of my dearest teachers and author of Beautiful, Bountiful, Blissful, says "Think of pregnancy as boot camp for your soul, a time when you will be conditioning for the challenge of labor and the ongoing challenge of motherhood. Giving birth is an act of surrender. As we surrender to love, we let our "self” fall away and become something greater than what we have ever imagined."
From a soul centered perspective, the "self" we are called to let fall away during motherhood is actually our "ego", our small unawakened self. Our reactionary mind and emotions. The "something greater" is our "authentic self "- our higher consciousness where creation and wisdom reside. In our authentic self we are pure love and acceptance. Here we have a willingness to take 100% responsibility for our lives. We are open to what is unfolding as we awaken to ourselves as a loving spiritual being and a mother. And though we have been taught that love is an emotion, in actuality, it is a vibratory frequency. Love is always present. We don't have to do anything to earn it. We simply have to open to it. Thus Motherhood is opening to love.
So how does all this relate to Mothering? Well, the ego doesn't like change. It will fight for control when it feels threatened with the process of "letting go". After all, the ego has been running the show for decades filling our lives with accomplishment and achievement based on "doing". But to be a Mother we need to reach a deeper place of "being" so we can listen to and be present to our babies needs. This is a huge shift for many new moms whose very identity is being challenged. And it comes as a shock to many of us when motherhood does not provide outer focused feedback.
No other job requires a woman to put in so much energy to get so little back. Of course there are precious moments where we are bathed in love for our child and that is sublime. But there is no salary, no title and no positive reinforcement when we do a good job. Our egos aren't being fed anymore. Our babies need one thing from us - to "be love". To swim in it. To share it. They don't need us to be perfect. They just need us to be real. And in being real, we find that we have spent a lifetime in ego, repressing our emotions and our authentic self.
At this point, many new moms can feel absolutely raw. Their ego is being stripped away and their sense of self challenged. They wonder how they can start sharing their deepest selves and emotions when they've been conditioned to believe (especially in our western culture) that the definition of health is being free of distressing internal experiences. This social training leaves new Mamas highly vulnerable because the process of living, by nature, involves pleasant and unpleasant situations.
So let's take a minute to imagine what all this looks like for a new mama. She has just given birth and is feeling overwhelmed with a rush of biochemical changes in her body, raw emotions and the responsibility of caring for an infant 24/7. Society expects her to be sunshine and daisies yet she has a mixed bag of love and fear. Unpleasant thoughts and emotions are coming up but she doesn't know how to share them or deal with them because she's been taught to stay in control. Thus, she holds on tighter at a time when what would really benefit her is to let go...to uncover, discover and release her feelings. Her ego starts to create protective shields to keep her from feeling. She may distract herself in a highly constricted day to day routine, or become over concerned with the baby's schedule scouring book after book for how to keep her baby under control. She may become depressed or anxious or shut down her body so she doesn't have to feel the anger/rage, loss, guilt and shame. She fights to hold onto the illusion of the "perfect woman, the "perfect mom". In essence, she begins to constrict like an egg in a shell. She hides, in a soupy state hoping it will pass. She is trapped in her small self, sacrificing participation in her new life for the illusion of control. As she controls her mood she loses control of her life.
In one of my favorite books, Birthing From Within, authors Pam Enland and Rob Horowitz address this issue of control. They share that "our successful evolution to parenthood depends largely on our accommodation to the vast changes which are unfolding beyond our control. Learning to accept loss of control is an integral part of both birth and motherhood/ fatherhood.
So what does all this mean? Simply that as we give birth to our babies, we give birth to our "authentic selves". And no one can do it for us. It is the first time in our lives when we must have our own backs. Motherhood requires that we rise like the phoenix out of our small selves like a bird breaking free of its shell. Our babies require a strong mama willing to excavate her deepest fears so they can be diffused and replaced with self love and acceptance. We simply cannot stay small and meet the needs of our children. If we haven't done our empowerment work we will most assuredly begin it now.
Perhaps that's why women give birth, because we have the ability to surrender to love. To go through profound transformation by accessing a deeper intelligence. In The Birth of The Mother, authors Daniel Stern, Nadia Stern and Alison Freeland state that "having a child radically changes a woman's life, reshaping her values and priorities, restructuring her closest relationships, and redefining her role in her family. It is an intimate psychological experience as a woman is consumed by powerful emotions - fierce love, aching protectiveness and a driving need to care for and nurture a new life."
As you can see, Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. It is a powerful rite of passage. It is an empowering experience which unveils our true dignity, divinity and grace. Motherhood flows when we listen to the voice inside us that knows what to do. When we learn to observe our children and receive their cues for feeding and comfort. Motherhood is self trust, self esteem, self reliance and self-expression. Motherhood is honoring our commitment to ourselves. Motherhood is a beautiful journey where we wrap ourselves in a blanket of loving compassion, forgiving our judgments, healing and surrendering our past and freeing unconditional love to flow within us, to our babies and the world!
For this, I believe Mothers should be recognized for what they have accomplished and become. Have you thought about how you might like to be celebrated after you've given birth to your baby and your "authentic self?" How will you mark this passage? I challenge you to show the world your beautiful self! Be seen. Be Heard. You are the phoenix! You are Pure Mother Love!