It’s a shame neither of my Grandmothers are around to see me become a mother myself. But even though they are absent I’ve been connected to them, not least through the stories my mum has been sharing with me about their approach to mothering.
Like me they gave birth at home. At that time home birth was the norm. One of them gave birth to twins the other (so the legend goes) to a 10lb baby, but neither needed rushing to hospital.
I wonder whether they felt confident and fearful as their births, which would be considered high risk today, approached? And how they felt as new mothers? I wonder what advice they’d have for me about mothering? What lessons did they learn along the way?
My Mum says one of them asked her, in the early days after I was born, what her routine was? She told me she remembers thinking that she didn’t have one! We all have our own ways of approaching this sacred task of mothering but I would really love to hear what my Grandmothers had to say about it!
I’ve also felt inspired for a few years now, and made it part of my work, to question the lack of elder women and their wisdom in contemporary culture. I think there is something fundamental that we miss when we choose not to listen to the stories of the women who have gone before us.
In the process, as this part of my work has evolved mostly through writing, Listening to our Grandmothers, – I feel (as I spoke about in my TedX Talk) I’ve discovered, or at least begun to discover, a wiser part of me. I call this my ‘inner elder’.
My inner elder is often mischievous and single minded. She’s entirely un-bothered by current fashions in parenting and is more content to explore what feels right for me. She knows it won’t be perfect but she’s up for full effort, 100% commitment to being the best parent I can be. She’s asking how can I make this activity fun for both of us? How can we make bringing up our Son a beautiful adventure? She’s questioning whether we really need every last toy and gadget and wants to know what simple, present and available parenting would be? She’s conscious of how early in life things have an impact on us and is encouraging me to choose natural above things in shiny packages and to listen to the message in my babies newborn tears. She doesn’t have all the answers or have mothering neatly laid out instead she’s encouraging me to be with the mystery and follow my instinct.
I’ve always wanted to do things ‘my way’
My inner elder honours that. ‘Yes, Do it your way‘ she says.
There is no perfect way to be a parent, but authentic, open-hearted, conscious parenting is a thing she’s helping me to strive for and I’m finding that there is something magical about going with the mystery and just following that.
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