Reveal Yourself - Accepting Motherhood
As someone who has felt always very free by myself and very happy by myself and very content to explore the world by myself, having a family and a husband and children who require me, my presence, my diligence and my love, constantly, as sad or horrible as this may sound, can feel suffocating.
I've spent a fair amount of time feeling resentful about starting a family. It's hard to say that out loud, or rather write it, because it's an ugly feeling. But I believe the only way to move through the ugly things are to name them and accept responsibility for my part, without blaming others. And I chose to get married very consciously. Even when I knew it was gonna be a hard go around for me, I also knew that it was exactly the right thing to do.
I'm sure now that becoming a wife and mother has not just stabilized me but saved me. It has taken me over 5 years to feel comfortable with how I wear motherhood. For me to accept it into my being and be curious about it. Like any role we play or identity we put on, to become real, it has to be our own. It is normal to get wrapped up in the judgment of others and societal norms when we are detangling our own views, because they have to be chosen in the present. I have battled internally with how to make these choices peacefully within the confines of my current life. As a privileged person, to say that I feel resentful of my prior independent life, makes me feel entitled and bratty. But it is also true.
When these photos were taken with Jade, I was five or six months postpartum and I felt pretty terrible. Part of the reason I went to her was because without knowing her, I knew that she would help me feel beautiful again, she would call me back. I wrote about the dissonance I was experiencing at the time juggling the identities of motherhood and divine womanhood here. She did help me see these things, and in a way I had not at all expected.
In the end, the toughest part of Motherhood ends up being about accepting myself. Not about feeling suffocated, but about withholding judgment and continuing on. And giving myself permission to mourn the loss of my independent self, grieve for the wild woman who lost herself to her family, and then call the spirit of that woman back.
Like the story of La Loba, I will sing over the bones of my dead self and bring her back to life. I will sing to motherhood and artistry. I will sing to the maiden who runs blissfully alone in the woods. I’ll call in the wisdom of the witch too, because she is also me.
Rationally, I don't think these things should be so difficult. Because I am a mother and a woman. I would do anything for my family, and I would also do anything to be without them for a little while. As women, when we put ourselves into tidy boxes, separating the parts that are acceptable from the parts we deem unworthy, we eclipse our own magic.
Sing woman, sing. Bring yourself back to life. The stories and ages of women have your back.