I attended a Birthing From Within workshop for doulas and mentors last weekend and, my word, was it glorious. The energy in a room filled with women passionate about motherhood and helping other women is so healing that I started this week with a renewed sense of self and capability. I am so grateful for this.
On the first day of the workshop we practiced an art exercise after discussing some of the issues we see with modern birth. The directions were to use pastels to draw an image, or images, that would tell someone from the future what the essence of birth was in 2017. It didn't have to be literal, nor did it have to look pretty. It simply had to come straight from our minds right onto the large piece of paper in front of us. Tasks like this are exactly what recovering perfectionists like myself need. I felt free to truly create, and it was invigorating. Plus there weren't any tiny hands around to "contribute" to my drawing. This was a first in a very long time!
My image was of a huge, beautiful flower in the middle of towering, crashing waves. In the corner was a golden crescent moon controlling the tide. I used my fingers to purposefully make the pastels spread all over the paper, leaving lines of imperfect color in their wake. To me, my image invoked a scene of the beauty of the feminine being threatened by the waves. The moon, too, was actually being threatened by the waves, and the wind created by the events at hand was dangerously close to ripping the flower apart.
As I created this piece of art, I could hear myself writing a passage in my mind. When I finished with the pastels, I moved a new medium - my pen. I wrote what I heard in my head, word for word, on my paper, and I loved it. I loved that I conveyed a message in two different ways at the same time. I loved that I had the time and space to do it. I loved that I was alone with my thoughts, furthuring my knowledge of working with women during the childbearing year. I loved every aspect of that moment and what I had created.
Below is the passage I wrote. It comes from a place of recent struggle, a struggle I will write about soon when I'm ready, and it reflects some of the darker aspects of my mindset as a woman. Yet, in spite of this, it maintains the sense of hope I hold for my children and their future as women, possibly mothers, but most definitely sisters. Maybe it rings true for you as well during this strange time in history that is greatly affecting the present.
Everything passes so quickly. A constant influx and overload that overpowers our deepest desires to connect to our center and epitomize goodness. Motherhood, and womanhood essentially, is an existence so tied to nature it is nearly unbearable. And yet, the more rooted we attempt to become, the stronger the tidal pull of all outside forces. Though the moon controls our being as much as it controls the vast and powerful ocean, it often appears to be no match for the speed and control of our daily physical life. It feels as though we are slowly being washed away, but within us remains a strength literally unknown to man, and it will always drive us to continue forward, and to one day overcome.
In remembering the sweetness of my daughters, and the abundance of tiny and beautiful moments they bring to me throughout the day, I stay grounded.