Thursday, March 21, 2013

What is the MOTHER FRONT?

The relevance of this outlet has grown for me lately, causing me to evaluate what exactly my intentions are with the corner of the world I inhabit.  I've always saddled the line between professionalism and profanity, needing my blog to be a safe space for both.  I've felt a drive lately to dig deeper, and have a space where I can offer what's truly going on inside of me, to offer what it is that I want to share and do so in a way that I feel confident developing it into it's fullest potential.

I have so many ideas for this space.  And it turns out that people might be paying attention.

So I'm going to go ahead and answer the big question:
What is the MOTHER FRONT??

It is the space of consciousness that our earliest memories exist.  Earlier than time allows, earlier than we, as we know ourselves, were awake.
It is the place where the beauty within and the violence of this age collide, where we battle constantly to hear the truth of our own voices. 
It is the place where it is safe to cry in front of others.  To admit that we feel too much in a world that feels too little. 
It is what it means to be home.

In my work with child-bearing families, the most beautiful moments are the ones where I witness people finding this place within themselves.  Where people walk into their own power as fully embodied physical and spiritual beings.  And in the work I do with myself, I am constantly seeking the safety of this space, the refuge of my power.  I want to share this in a deep way.  I have a deep need to help heal humanity in my own subtle way.  

What does this look like?
Of course, it's political.
But it's a truth being hidden in the essence of ourselves, and we can all have a piece/peace of it if we give ourselves the tools.
Movement, meditation, relaxation.
Feeding ourselves purely, physically and spiritually.
And the honoring of the traditions of humanity.
Through our children.
Mother to mother.
People to people.
It's healing the lost art of love.

So watch out.  In the next few moths, I want to do something I've never done before, and that is to commit, full- and open-hearted, to this process and offer everything I know about how to do it.  This includes gentle parenting, primal motherhood and birth, guided meditations (which I'm really excited about recording and possibly broadcasting), and complimentary medicine lessons in bodywork, herbalism, and energy healing.  I will still journal here from time to time, and always post the tools that are relevant to me in the moment with honesty and emotion, but expect to see a major shift, because it's already happening.  

I'm excited to make this next step, to make the Mother Front a tangible thing in my life, and perhaps even possibly yours.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Loafing and wisdom of third trimester fitness.

Despite having basically no income (I'm at the bottom of the barrel of student loan money), I made some investments in my pregnancy that are probably pretty necessary, somewhat out of fear.  Eh.  Sometimes it's a good motivator- when you see yourself moving quickly towards an unattractive demise (i.e. a midwife chastising you for gaining too much weight for the second time, a second degree tear, a nearly nine pound baby, and severe diastasis), the best thing to do is turn around FAST in the other direction.  

First, I purchased one of the lovely books that Juliette de Bairacli Levy, the famed Gypsy herbalist that has had such a profound influence on other healers I've come to love, called Nature's Children.  I had to buy it after peeking inside it on Amazon late last night and reading her wisdom on pregnancy and motherhood.  It's simple.  A family is only as healthy as the mother.  She shares beautifully from her experience instead of theory her thoughts that a robust pregnancy, one where the mother stays physically active and alive, sleeps well, eats well, breathes fresh air and spends most of her time outdoors (such as the nomads she lived and birthed with) leads to a quick, often painless birth, as well as babies who are healthy and robust themselves.  

Here she is with her Afghan hound, the breed she always kept by her side.

Ah, a breath of fresh air!  What a philosophy to get behind.  So simple, yet so removed from the lifestyle I've adapted even up here in the Black Hills, overwintering, sometimes over-eating, and generally loafing around. 

So this morning I was determined to get up and get real, but of course, I perceived obstacles.  I'm not in the frame of mind quite yet to fully appreciate walks alone around the ranch (perhaps when I have more of my own projects going on, the garden growing, the chickens scratching around..)  The biggest piece of Julliete's wisdom I've taken to heart, mainly because I can actually FEEL the effects of having not, is exercise.  My 30-week belly has really been pulling me down lately, but I've let it.  Earlier, my solution was GaiamTV and the prenatal videos they offer, but when I went to renew my lapsed subscription, I found that- NOO!!- they don't play the beloved prenatal yoga video I found myself going back to over and over again.  While they have gobs of other amazing content (like recordings of my favorite spiritual teachers such as Michael Beckwith and Marianne Williamson, plus, um, Jillian Michaels), I knew what I wanted and I wanted it NOW.  

And I am PICKY when it comes to fitness/yoga recording.  Any slightly annoying inflection of a host's voice and I'm out.  I wasn't sticking around on GaiamTV if they didn't have what I wanted, to I went back to Amazon and just bought it.  Fuck it.  I'm worth it (and so is this little one).  

That said, I really can't say enough good things about Hala Khouri's Radiant Pregnancy.  As a doula and childbirth educator, I think that her approach to the sacred nature of pregnancy is gentle and not patronizing, and allows plenty of space for a mama to feel her way through her own experience (which is what a good yoga teacher does anyway).  Plus she's a generally bad-ass lady.  Here she is:

Now, if you can't get behind that, I don't know what you're doing on my blog in the first place (just kidding!  welcome!!).  I'm generally attracted to down-to-earth, fearless people, so I'm excited for Friday, when Hala Khouri will show up in the mail.  I'll let y'all know how I'm feeling in about a week.  My guess is that things can only improve.

Until then, I'm going to get dressed, get outside, and go shovel aged cow manure into buckets for my compost pile!  I think Juliette would be proud. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

On having a daughter.

This second pregnancy has been smoother, faster, and healthier.  I feel less chaotic and psychotic than my first, in which I did a lot of crying, a lot of yelling.  I wasn't nearly this balanced with Elijah, and suffered from pretty profound postpartum depression (if you've read my blog before, you may know this).  My psychosis and anxiety ran so deep that it was one of the only reasons I considered not going through with a future accidental pregnancy.  I had a deep fear of myself after what I went through with Elijah, and so the way this pregnancy has gone is a sigh of deep relief.  

When I found out, I immediately connected with the little rose bud inside of me.  I smiled mistily in disbelief and gratitude, and held on to the belly that lingered from this one's brother.  That day, I put myself on a path to ground myself in wellness (which I have done better with at times than others) and self appreciation.  I've been able to connect with this light body inside of my belly in a demystified way that can only come with the veil having been lifted through the birth of a previous child.  This second pregnancy is profoundly different.  I've been so grateful.

But now I am terrified.

Elijah predicted this.  Of course, I'm not surprised that my utterly intuitive three-year-old knew the nature of this baby- he's been nothing but gushing over his "baby sister", but I only indulged him.  I could care less, or so I thought.  After all, I didn't with him.  With him, I thought I wanted a girl, and when he was a boy instead and I realized the joy of mothering a sweet little man, the whole thing became arbitrary.  And theoretically speaking, the sex of a baby makes not a damn bit of difference.  I'm not interested in the cultural indoctrination of gender.  

But suffice it to say, at the risk of political correctness, the reveal of this baby's sex, one that happened due to my aforementioned ambivalence and the excitement of said three-year-old, has made a drastic shift in my perception.  Due to a combination of several factors, including an intensely unhealthy relationship with my own mother, my spiritual beliefs regarding the power of women, and deeply held political ideologies, the weight of having a daughter is heavy to my soul.  My ex mother-in-law always talked about how much "easier" boys were- how they always loved on and supported their mothers- but how daughters would tear your guts out without even blinking, how vicious they could be, and I would laugh knowingly, looking back on my relationship with my mother and how awful and vicious I was to her, the deep anger I held and acted out toward her and how aware I was of it without caring at all.  I was deeply wounded as a child because my mother didn't have a "mother" of her own, in any known sense of the word, and so no examples were given her of stability, of emotional availability or gentle nurturing.  

So these deep fears have come up, and I'm in the private process of bracing myself not against a wall, but against solutions, tools.  I am a gentle mother to Elijah, despite having put him in the unfortunate position of being "motherless" for part of the time, so most of the fear of myself as a mother has no place.  But the chain remains unbroken- my mother and I are taking our own chips at it but it really is much bigger than us sometimes.  It's a long lineage of resentment, jealousy, and just plain meanness.  I feel like I'm going to be too tough on her, that I'm going to be awkward and unavailable, or conversely dependent on her validation of my worth as a woman.  I'm afraid of being ripped apart and being simply not good enough.  I can't imagine a greater vulnerability.  

And now the pressure is really on.  All of the ways I've been meaning to embody The Mother, the great goddess or what have you, can no longer wait.  I've been able to put them off until now.  But raising daughters, I believe, is serious business.  It's a scary world for them, and there's so much healing to do.  (It should be noted, of course, that all forms of motherhood, and parenthood for that matter, is serious business, and I take raising my son no less to heart, but my feelings are clearly so different.  Elijah has taught me the depths of compassion that must be opened up for him as a future man in the world.  As much as I wish it weren't, this is much different.)  

I wish I didn't feel a distinction.  I wish I could just raise my children in their fully appreciated selves without regard to what I thought to be arbitrary news.  And really, still, at the end of the day, I could give two shits about having boys or girls (in the way people want one or the other).  But the emotions in me are undeniable, and for the sake of future vulnerability, honesty, and heartfelt discomfort, here they are.  

I have faith that all of my children will be fully realized versions of the beautiful beings they are sent here to be.  It's just scarier than hell to know how much of that rests on me.  
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