Almost 15 years ago, I was initiated into the realm of motherhood and my "ritual," as most mothers would endure, was a long, intense torrent of contracting, ripping pain that didn't appear to end. Somehow the 9 months of pregnancy didn't seem to be enough to prepare me for those intense hours of labor. But labor itself revealed to me that I was embarking on a very profound journey with myself and another being, whom I would guide/ am guiding through this lifetime. This is a great responsibility filled with many challenges. Through experiencing the birthing of a being, I came to a realization of how remarkable and exceptional life is. As such I value life more than I did before I became pregnant. I appreciate the little things that I experience of my children growing up as I know that these could have not been, had the birthing process taken a different turn.
We in the modern world take many things for granted; we turn on a tap and clean water flows; plug in our electrical device and it powers up; women become pregnant and babies get delivered all wrapped in soft linen, all cleaned and "perfect," with no trace of blood or mucus that nourished it for 9 months. Even this word, "delivery," that we use in English to describe birth is strange to me. I definitely did not feel that my babies were "delivered" like a package arriving by post. It required resources, nourishment, connection, preparation, endurance of pain and patience. Birthing is just one step in a longer intense process of nurturing life, which continues throughout the child's and caregiver's lifetime. I say "caregiver" because it could be that it may not be the mother that births the child, who will care for it in its lifetime. Not only do we take for granted that life just keeps happening, we take the people who make it happen for granted.
"The woman of ancient times had possessed a strength we no longer claimed. If she had too many children, or not enough strength to rear another child, or if feeding it would deprive the tribe at the wrong time of year, she could look into the face of the child and put forth her hand and send that child back into the nowhere and nothingness as if it had never been born...A man must know that he is breathing because his mother looked on his face and saw that it was good and chose freely to nourish him." (Zimmer Bradley, Paxson, 179-180)
I am here today, as you are, because our mothers chose to bring us into the world and nourish us as best as they could. Sometimes this is not easy and may be extremely challenging, depending on the circumstances life presents in different geographic and cultural circumstances. Mothers give us the unconditional love to be who we need to be, they are that hand which supports us when we are falling and pick-up what we left behind. In this day and age of looking for superheroes, we forget these invisible beings who do superhuman actions, like creating, maintaining and nourishing life; right there in front of us, in our own homes. To mothers all over the world I say, "I see you and I appreciate your invisible hand. I am grateful and I thank you for being Mother."
Zimmer Bradley, Marion/ Paxson, Diana L. (2000): Priestess of Avalon. London: Penguin Books Roc.
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