Lessons Learned from Labor and Birth Part 4: Mothering Was Meant to Be Done in a Tribe
This blog is part of a series. To read part 3 click here.
There I was in her consulting office, on the couch, with her hand on my breast. We were laughing because she said I’d have to try to feed Sophia, use my one hand to compress and get more milk, and try to tease her with the nipple of the bottle, too, so we could trick her into latching. Perhaps I could hold the bottle with my chin?
She said, in the cave days, you would have had a lot of help with all of this. There’d be the wise healer to offer cranial sacral. There’d be the midwife who’d handle her tongue tie. There’d be a five month old you would have been feeding to amp up your milk supply.
In that moment, I could see it. I was there, in the cave, with my tribe, all the healers, mothers, wise women who could assist me in my motherhood journey.
I realized it was true. We were designed to live on the earth, to be in community, in our tribe, to have support. To not go it alone.
The truth of it hit me deep within. The pang of modern society. The unfortunate fortune of technology. They way we moms now have to birth and mother alone. Fortunately, I have places like mama’hood, where I sat now and received the counsel of this lactation consultant.
I stayed out of public and mostly home for 40 days after birthing my babe. I had a sense that the world would come rushing in, fast-paced and full, all too soon, so I held that boundary like a mother bear.
Boy, was I right! At the six week point, after slow weight gain, we realized Sophia might have a tongue tie. Rapidly, it was driving here and there- visit this group, meet that woman, see that dentist, have this appointment.
The slow, restful days of babe breastfeeding and her sleeping on my chest, skin to skin, had come to an abrupt halt.
The opinions and advice of others came rushing in, and Sophia and I were in the midst of a twisting tornado.
Now, the dust has settled a bit. Our tender days of simple nursing have turned to bottle feeds, formula, pumping, breast feeding, and constant weight checks.
I never knew I was such a good multi-tasker. I can rise after 4 hours of sleep and pump, then breast feed my babe, top her off with a bottle, swaddle her up, put her to sleep, write a blog and eat, clean said bottles, I’ve got this.
And, what of the times when I didn’t have to do it all solo? Can you see we women gathered together? Can you feel the soulful comfort of tribe- being known, loved and cared for?
Can you feel the warmth of the fire on your skin? Can you see the glow of the wise woman’s eyes as she offers you support? Can you feel the midwife who tenderly touches your arm and cares for your babe?
If there’s anything I know for sure after birthing a babe, it’s this. In this fast-paced society, it is the women, the mothers, who lose.
We are marginalized. Our bodies under attack, right-wing politicians trying to set laws about we can and can’t do with our bodies. Birth control restricted. Adequate health care lacking. Pay that is less than a man’s.
We do the job of carrying life within our wombs. We birth the babes. We feed them and offer care. We are the ones responsible for the fruition and multiplication of life. Without our health and well-being, there is no soil in which the babes can blossom.
And, yet, we are set aside. Looked over, Harassed. Under-paid and over-charged. Our work is marginalized. Honor? It’s lacking.
In the modern era, of a fast-paced masculine driven world, it is the women and children who suffer. When we are not provided with adequate honor, health-care, love, and rest, we can not create safe, thriving, peaceful and healthy children.
When we are rushed back to work, under-paid, and given the charge of caring for our families, our homes, and our jobs without much support, everyone suffers.
There are silent heroines making the world turn. Day in and day out they carry the future, they birth possibility and they sit alone, many of them, in their living rooms; being the wise woman, the mother, the mid-wife, the healer, the cleaning lady, the cook and the sexy maven for their man.
We are burdened with too much on our plate and we are not often talked about in truth, nor really seen for what we provide.
Sexualized and commodified in the main-stream media, we are chopped up to be more bits and sound bites, than real, aching, women with deep longings and tremendous loads to carry.
They say it’s best to focus on the positive. I say we must acknowledge the truth, what is so, if we are to ever change it.
If I know anything at all, it is this. Women are meant to be revered. Honored. Cared for. Loved. We are the fertile soil in which all of humanity grows. It is vital to nurture, feed, support and till our soil.
In the name of love we abide, we reside, and we nurture. It is time to honor us, as the Goddesses we are.
I’m lucky, here in this town I have so many resources. If it weren’t for my birth center, and the mamahood, I don’t know how I would have survived the beginning weeks of motherhood. It’s inside of circles in those places that I found wise council to help us both to heal.
I wouldn’t want to go back to the days of the cave. I like running water and heat. Yet, still I wonder…
- What else is possible for mothers, babes and our tribes?
- What will it take to honor women as the hard-working nurturers that we are, as the great pillars of the modern world, who quietly hold it all together from inside the walls of our homes?
Being an awake, aware, present and powerful woman is about seeing and validating the truth. Being psychic, honoring our intuition, speaking our truths, these are the ways in which we modern wise women claim our power and our right to know what we know, see what we see, and speak our truth.
Being spiritual isn’t about being positive. Being spiritual is about owning all of who we are, reclaiming lost parts and powers, speaking our truth and expressing what we know to be true in our heart of hearts.
Being woman, nowadays, is about this reclamation. Honoring the deep longings inside and giving voice to our actual experiences. It’s about sharing our stories.
This is the purpose of the western woman. This is how we heal, we validate the truth.
I may be but one woman alone in my living room caring for my babe, but I’m able to write. And to speak my truth and share my perspective. And in that way, I heal.
I long for you, sisters. I long for that tribe. And I have it, in a way, in this modern world through classes and communities. Yet, I still long for it deep within, the teepees in circle, the elders at my side, the consistent experience of mothering not alone.
I leave you with a question today. What can you acknowledge or validate in the name of healing? What truth can you speak that you’ve feared to say? What story do you have to share? What do you long for today?
The least we can do is acknowledge our truth. To let ourselves know for what we long. To validate what is so and really feel what we feel.
In the name of truth,