@less_stuff_more_meaning

An Instagram post by @less_stuff_more_meaning that stayed with me.

‘ “The world will be saved by the Western woman”.
– Dalai Lama, 2009
Why? Because we lead with out hearts. Why are we so plagued by self doubts and anxieties? Because we give a sh*t. This is what the world needs. Your hugs, your infectious laughter, your listening ear, your concern for others. To all the Mum’s raising a future generation of gentle souls, you’re amazing.’

Helen Garner

Helen Garner brings her thoughtful and considered insights to her coverage of Akon Guode’s trial for driving her children into a lake. Helen is able to show how even though motherhood means everything to Akon, it such a herculean task that sometimes good mothers do bad things. The enormity and impact on women of the task of that ‘ancient duty’ of motherhood as Garner describe it is in my opinion very much understated and underrated.

The following are excerpts from Garner’s piece, Why She Broke, which you can read here, which I keep thinking about.

‘Could it be that this woman, widowed, passed from hand to hand and abandoned, overwhelmed by her own fertility, estranged from her community and up to her neck in debt, was prepared to risk bleeding to death on a hospital gurney rather than consent to the surgical removal of the sole symbol of her worth, the site of her only dignity and power: her womb?’

‘I wanted to know if she shared my anxiety. I said, “She did a terrible, terrible thing. But she was very badly treated. She was betrayed. She was —”

The girl flushed and leaned forward. She put out both hands to me, palms up, and whispered, “But she was – a mother.”

I had no reply.

I was troubled, and I still am, by the finality of the word “mother”, this great thundering archetype with the power to stop the intellect in its tracks.

“The herculean task of being a mother,” said Marcus Dempsey in his final submission, “has now fallen to Akoi.”

In the shadow of this ancient duty, so implacable and profound, can mercy hold up its head?’

And a quote from Guode’s counsel was Marcus Dempsey:

“While men kill to control or punish their children or partner, women kill children because they cannot cope with the extreme difficulties that they encounter in trying to care for their children.”

Rumi

Be crumbled.
So wild flowers will come up where you are.
You have been stony for too many years.
Try something different.
Surrender.
—Rumi

At first I thought I would only need to surrender during labour. But the more my children grow, the more I realise that was only the start. In this new life, there are so many ways I need to learn to surrender, whether it is the constancy of being available to your children, or to the wee and poo of toilet training.

If motherhood has brought a sense of ruin to the order of my life and the person I thought I might be, there is beauty to be found in the crumbling. A new space is opened for growth and transformation. I feel the wildflowers pushing up their delicate heads.

@the.cosmic.seedling

“…It suddenly hit me, I am a mother. I will never be a maiden again. And in that moment I felt sad. Not because I am a mother, but because I felt I never got to say goodbye to that maiden. When my body was firm, my breasts were perky… I still had no love, respect or appreciation for her. I wanted to go back in time and hug her and tell her she was so loved. So I sent her some love and in a sense mourned her. After 11 months of motherhood my breasts are soft and definitely not perky, my belly plump and I have cellulite everywhere. All of it really, it’s like wearing a badge of honour. What a privilege to bring life into this world….I know we live in a society in which so much emphasis is held on obtaining and maintaining the maiden, but there is great beauty and joy in the mother.. and no doubt the crone!”

A post on Instagram by @the.cosmic.seedling. 30th June.

Gilmore Girls

‘She was the most beautiful pink all over. She even smelled pink. That sounds weird. I can’t describe it, that little, pink, baby smell. The first time her little eyes focused on me and her fingers reached out, I was someone new. She had me.’

Lorelai Gilmore on baby Rory, S4: E7 The Festival of Living Art, 29.20

Elaine Feinstein

Calliope in the labour ward

she who has no love for women
married and housekeeping

now the bird notes begin
in the blood in the June morning
look how these ladies are
as little squeamish as
men in a great war

have come into their bodies
as their brain dwindles to
the silver circle on
eyelids under sun
and time opens
pain in the shallows to wave up and over them

grunting in gas and air
they sail to a
darkness without self
where no will reaches

in that abandon less
than human
give birth
bleak as a goddess

Published in Lines of Life, 101 Poems by 101 Women, Edited by Germaine Greer, 2006, p170, Bookmarque Ltd, Croydon.

The Sage Mama

I read the blog post, ‘Rebirth: What we don’t say,’ by The Sage Mama before I had kids, and it meant something to me even then. Here are some beautiful excerpts.

‘My heart was cracked – shattered really and there would be no repairing it. The love that stretched and tore and suckled and broke my sleep was one so profound that nothing could have prepared me for it… The yellow from the canvas of day bled all over the black watercolour of night and time became nothing… I was lost in the curves of my children’ wrists and in the folds of their necks, their startling cries that made me start inaudibly and sent my heart flitting in my chest like a desperate butterfly… When I did get back to me, I was gone. This is the thing women don’t tell each other about motherhood. That you will not see anything the way you used to see it, you will never hear language the way you used to hear it, music, colour, photos, friends, family, career path – nothing came through my transition to motherhood unexamined. Least of all myself.’

In my case the change has been for the better. Each meaning in my life is deeper now. The full post is here.