Over the four years that I was a step-mother, (yet unacknowledged as such) I never received a single handmade card or flower. I struggled with that role, being as young as I was then, and also with what it meant to let two beings so deeply into my soul. Even now, (although I have no contact with them) I think of them all the time. I think of those 3 and 6 year-old boys when I first met them – the smell of their little boy heads, the messes they made, nighttime readings, walks in the woods, making food for them – learning slowly how to be a woman who could nurture little people. How shockingly different – and often hard, boringly grown-up, frustrating, and baffling – it was to be in a parent role as opposed to the ever-fun, eccentric, older friend or aunty who visits. They were not my kids, and yet they were my family. And it wasn’t until then that I could have any real compassion or empathy for the failures and struggles of my own mother.
So today I also want to claim my own motherhood – that I have been a mother, am a mother, and will yet be a mother. I offer these flowers today to myself and to my own journey of mothering. Of having learned to fail as a parent of two children, and still wanting to learn. Of mothering my actors and ritual participants over these last 7 years – like a mama hen (who sometimes unwittingly tramples her many chicks!) Of wanting to be a mother some day for my own little one. I’ve struggled so much over whether I could ever be a mother to another – whether I could have what it takes to make that kind of eternal sacrifice – to be always living “with your heart running around outside of your chest.” But I want that – perhaps more than anything else – to be part of and to bear witness to what I feel is the coolest thing I could ever do as a wombman.
Although we can never feel fully “ready” for what lessons motherhood brings, many of us who have not yet had children of our own are cultivating ourselves to be fertile ground for a small person to take root in, doing the work of healing our inheritance. I honor these fellow wombmen of my generation who are consciously choosing to ripen a readiness for mothering that our foremothers could never even have considered. I honor that’s its not an easy path for us. We are cleansing the lineage lines, we are saying no to patriarchy, no to our own self-doubt – so that our children won’t have to do this work, so that our children could be free and know that they are loved. Some of us are also waiting for a good man or partner to show up to create that child with (and wondering if they ever will). Some of us – for whatever reasons – had wanted to mother children and never were able to, and still bear that grief. I pray that we all find ways to gift our mothering with others who need it and can receive it. Some of us don’t know whether we would be good mothers, and are still healing from our own mothers’ lack of mothering. So many of us are just learning how to mother ourselves. And still others of us are not mothers’ to children (sometimes by choice), but instead create and offer forth so much beauty, wisdom and compassion to our world. To all these wombmen, I offer you these flowers. Each of us was once a seed – carried like a dream, like a prayer, in the womb of our grandmother’s grandmother’s grandmothers’ womb…may we be fertile ground for the beautiful creations this world needs, and for the seeds that might one day sprout into the free-spirited children who will belong once again to the Earth, just as these flowers do.
I hope one day to have a little being that calls me her mother, “amma”. I pray for all those who want to be mothers to others, to have the opportunity to do that in a good way, in a supported way, in a fruitful way. The world needs more good mothers, more good fathers, good parents, happy healthy children. Just like these flowers – all of Life is always trying to re-birth itself. I offer these flowers then, to all the wombs of all the wombmen who have been fertile ground for a being to take root in, and for all who – in some way or another – allow others to feel loved, seen and safe. May we take rest in our own inner mothering and that of the Mother Consciousness that holds all beings in its unconditional embrace.