The Mother in All of Us

“Giving birth should be your greatest achievement not your greatest fear.” 
~ Jane Weideman

“When you have come to the edge of all light that you know and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, FAITH is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly” ~Patrick Overton

‎”Part of birthing without fear is trusting your instincts!” ~Brande Holm

There is a mother in all of us.  She lives in us so that we can create.

New life.  New ideas.  New movements.  New Love.

She is there, in our marrow, as we go about our lives. She knits together new things and breathes the breath of life into them until we cannot contain it any longer.  Then she helps us birth.

There is a woman who mothers through teaching.  She studies and writes papers and reads articles and attends conferences.  She is a student of the student, studying how and why we learn.  Then after a season she puts all of her learning into practice.  She takes young minds and births into them the gift of knowledge.  She works patiently with the slow-to-understand and crafts innovative ways to make learning fun.  She is pained when her students struggle because she is the mother of their learning.

And that is what a mother does.  

There is a man who was brought up a certain way.  He believed that men were in charge and women should follow.  He had no ill-will towards women and girls, to be certain, but he just thought there was a certain order to things.  Until he looked around his big, colorful world and saw that there were so
many women that were absolutely made to lead, teach, and instruct. It didn't fit with his worldview and so he set about the birthing of a new paradigm.  He struggled and toiled to comprehend all the faulty ways of his former belief system and there were many times he thought it was all just too complicated and he wished he could go back to the time when ignorance was bliss.  But the labor was already in process and could not be reversed.  In some ways, it was happening to him, whether he liked it or not.  So he went with the pangs and bore down on the discomfort of admitting when you're wrong.

Because that's what a mother does.  

There is a young girl who comes from the legacy of slavery.  She instinctively knows that the color of her skin gives her unfair and unjust disadvantages.  The neighborhood she calls home has a culture of resignation that life will always be hard for "people like us".  But there is a fire growing in her belly that says she will form a new path.  Despite the lack of support she gets from friends and neighbors, she studies hard to get into college.  She cries silently into her pillow at night when the loneliness crushes her.  But she works and toils and quite-literally grunts her way through high school exams and part-time jobs until the day she gets her acceptance letter to the college of her choice.  She birthed a possibility that hadn't existed in her family line for generations. Sitting in her dorm room on that first afternoon she caresses the bedsheets and posters on the wall and lovingly places her pencils and papers on her new dorm room desk because she knows that she gave all she had to be in this spot, in this moment.

Because that's what a mother does.  

There is a woman who comes to terms with her childhood abuse.  She sees her memories play before
her like a movie on a screen.  Each recollection brings stabbing pain to her soul and hurts almost as bad as when the abuse was originally inflicted.  She has avoided this remembering because it felt like death. But now she knows that the only way to healing is through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  She cannot go around it, she must go through it.  So she grieves and she mourns and she rages.  She throws questions to the wind that will never be answered.  She moves through denial, anger, bargaining and depression and knows that so much pain must be endured before the dawn of acceptance.  She feels justified in her outrage until she becomes aware that bitterness has rotted her from the inside.  And then, when the pain is at its apex she makes the excruciating choice to forgive.  Not to excuse the abusers or to let them off the hook.  But to release them, and consequently herself, from the penalty of hate.  She forgives again and again and again.

Because that's what a mother does.  

There is a mama who has no babies.  She prays and she waits and she bargains with God for her womb to be filled.  But month after agonizing month it is not so.  She grieves fiercely when she is told by the experts that her body will never produce a child. But she knows quietly that they are wrong.  Because in the terrible grief a more beautiful dream was born:  Adoption ~ the grafting in of another's child into your very soul.  So she waits and she pines and she prepares for the day when her baby from another mother is in her arms.  And when that priceless bundle is sleeping on her chest, it is confirmed that those experts were indeed wrong.  Her body is most certainly producing this child.  Her bones have ached and her flesh has melted into that child as her tears of love have washed their little face. She defied the odds by giving life to a child when she was told it couldn't be.

Because that's what a mother does.  

There is a mother who sits alone in her baby's room, quiet and in the dark.  Her baby is not there with
her, but in a tiny casket in a cemetery that might as well be a million miles away.  Her breasts swell with milk that will not be drank and her heart sheds layers of life until it feels like an empty shell inside her chest.  This is not grief or trauma or pain.  No, this is something entirely inhuman.  This is the death of your child and a mother is not equipped to know how to respond to this.  Even still, she takes her next breath. Even still, she white-knuckles herself through her days until the sun goes down again.  She waits and she groans and she waits and she wails.  Each day that passes is a new hope that today may be the day that the pain doesn't threaten to close her eyes forever.  And Time, the healer, works on this mama until the months turn into years and a new life unfolds.  The longing for her baby never dulls and the love never ceases but the storm of agony blows out to sea and gives her relief from time to time. But her body holds the memory of that small, precious child. Her body will never forget.

Because that's what a mother does.  

There is an artist who has a burning inside him to create that thing.  To write or to sing or to sculpt or to build.  To cook or to paint or to draw or to design.  That thing is in his DNA and if he doesn't create it he will lose a part of himself.  So he carves out time in his schedule or he leaves his career or he goes back to school or he wakes up before the sun so he can create that thing.  Oh, and he does.  Sometimes the creation flows out of him effortlessly but sometimes it sits stuck in his soul, not willing to budge.  So he coaxes and prods and erases and crumbles.  But he doesn't give up until that thing is created and out in the world for others to learn from, enjoy and love.  His artist heart wildly pursues the creation.

Because that's what a mother does.  

There is a mother whose children are grown and moved away.  They fluttered around her nest for what
seemed like only a second and then they were gone. Years of diapers and cheerios and car seats and homework and slumber parties and exams and proms and parties rushed by at the speed of a bullet-train.  She sustained them with her breast and her soft whispers.  She hugged and kissed and sang and caressed.  She repeated herself and tried not to raise her voice and scolded a little too often.  She instilled all the values that she thought were important and then when the time came she watched them go sprinting into their own lives with hardly a glance back.  And now they make choices and plans and carve out their own paths.  Many of the things she thought were of utmost importance are now the very things that her adult children have left behind. They chose their own values, after all that work.  This knowledge brings the juxtaposition of pride and pain.  Pride for how she raised them to think for themselves and pain for the rejection of her values.  But she supports them and cheers them on and never stops wondering how they are doing.

Because that's what a mother does.  

The mother in all of us is there to create.  Sometimes she waits patiently and other times she incessantly calls to us over and over and over until the ears of our souls are ringing.  She lives in us so that we can create.

She knows that creating isn't always joy and rainbows and glory and glitter.  Oh no.  She knows that being a creator is guts and brawn and sweat and pushing out something that you think will never fit!

And you know that feeling when you've done that thing and you've done it well?

That's the mother-feeling.

That's love.

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