Mother Courage

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Photo credit: Alvin Lumanlan

The German word for mother is “Mutter” and the first 3 letters “Mut” mean courage. German can be such a detailed language and in this case it is so true and precise. Courage is the word which describes motherhood the most. It already takes courage to be pregnant and to give birth, but the ultimate courage that surpasses each and every idea I had about being a mother is motherhood. I see pregnancy and birth as a start and preparation for motherhood that often exceed words and understanding at first. In any scenario, birthing a child is raw and stirs up a lot of things in hidden places – Oh yes, pregnancy can do that! (cut the crap).My decision to have 2 home births was not only because I wished for a natural birth. I mostly wanted to have an experience without distractions: an inner dialogue with my birthing body, a starting relationship with my almost born child. I longed for an extreme adventure with the help of people I could choose. The simple fact of beeping lights, people coming in and out and the supervising environment of a hospital that tries to control a completely wild birthing journey freaked me out. However, here we are: Motherhood – a wild and uncontrollable journey.

Now fully in Motherhood I can choose even less and I cannot control anything anymore. Every time I try, the outcome is unpleasant and disturbing to the bones. At these moments I discover a person I don’t want to be. I yell, I cry, I stomp, I am respect-less, exhausted, I am drained, I fail. Motherhood is nothing less than a spiritual path. A path I cannot escape, it is here forever. I have no break, no excuse, not even at night.

On very bad days, I try to make it a habit to remember my first thought after Nova was born. I held this little being thinking that after this amazing birth I can do anything and everything. I felt empowered to the bones and could feel the strengths of womanhood pulsating through my open body. I was grateful for this little being that helped me feel so powerful. I felt whole, holy and loved from within myself. It all made sense. Life made sense. I made sense. At the same time I knew, this feeling is temporary like everything else and instead of crying I laughed. It was transformative and surprisingly light. Love is light and not heavy, sweet and not bitter, supportive and not burdensome. I understood that then.

On good days, motherhood is awesome. A well of life and happiness. A creative bomb that shows me the potential in us humans and my children are my happy place. I “wholebodily” want to be exactly where I am. I feel a freedom in my brain that I didn’t know before I had kids.

A little bit more than a year after being a mother of two, I learn to accept help when it is offered and I even learn more and more to ask for help. I find ways to recalibrate myself when I enter the deadly zone of power struggles or loosing faith in patience. I finally get that when I try to control Sequoia, he simply reacts to my behavior. I see myself in him and it makes me rawly aware of my triggers all the time. It is challenging, messy and entangling. If I want to be a respectful mother, I can’t look away and I especially can’t have adult-tantrums every day.

Often in my life I decided to take a different route, change gears, boyfriends, jobs or even countries. I am an “in-betweener” and feel like an alien many days a year. I complain and wish I had more help; I envy families that have the funds for more care, babysitters or grandparents close by. But more and more I fathom that this motherhood thing gives me the chance to courageously commit to something wholeheartedly, to learn the heck out of me, my children, my partner, my surroundings and my past; I learn about myself as a child and I am more empathetic with my mothers’ choices.

Being a mother is what I do, without a sideway or a shortcut. Rajendra and I are doing this together and on our individual learning journeys. (Sometimes I wish I would be more present to witness his path but I can hardly be present enough for my own.) Being a mother is so much more than I thought. Motherhood rips me apart and sets me back together, rips me apart and sets me back together, rips me apart and sets me back together – as many times as it takes. Every time I get a little bit stronger, a little bit more humble, a little bit wilder, a little bit more forgiving and definitely more courageous.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you courageous mothers!

 

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4 thoughts on “Mother Courage

  1. Wow, Carmen, ich bewundere wirklich die Achtsamkeit und das (Selbst-)Bewusstsein, mit dem Du Mutter bist…
    Liebe Grüße, Katharina

    • I am doing it right and I am doing it wrong. All of it, all the time. It doesn’t really matter in the end. Beyond doing it well and not so well is a learning curve I try to catch every time.

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