The soul in my motherhood

I wrote this poem to bring together some of the musings I have been having about motherhood and soul work. It saddens me to hear women say they lose their souls in mothering, although I understand it as a part of my truth too.

My ongoing journey is in recognising my souls fulfilment in being a mother and remembering that through the challenging times when I feel divorced from my passions and other soul work.

I am also appreciating how motherhood is shaping my soul and how what I now bring to my work is deepened through my experience of becoming a mother. Mothering as soul work, for indeed it is. Soul work can demand of us to touch the darkest places in ourselves. Motherhood has certainly invited me to look at those places in myself.

Mothering has asked me to tend close in and slow right down. In the light of the current climate emergency, I have often given myself a hard time for not feeling ‘involved’ enough – then I take some time to sit with myself, with my despair, and I remember that how I choose to parent is as much of a political statement as any other…

Here is my poem:

IMG_1269

There was a time,
when speaking with peers,
I had to force myself to
Meet their eyes.
Shame burned in me and
I imagined they would take one look at me
And know…

The stiffness of my muscles,
The aching of my joints,
The tenderness in my breasts,
The tired circles that halo’d my eyes for
What felt like an eternity.

Although I never ceased moving,
Returning to movement as a
Line connecting me to life,
As a gasp for breath between
Deep dives…

There were times when I carried my body
With me like a weight,
Something I could barely feel
Except for the places where
The rivers were damned and
The ice was solid as rock
And the exhaustion bore down on me
Like an unforgiving sun in the desert.

Something in me strove and fought
To hold on to some morsel of
Who I thought I was –

The independent woman,
The facilitator,
The giver,
The eternal student,
The sensual one…

Yet, slowly motherhood stripped me.
Layer by layer.
And slowly, and
At times reluctantly,
I brought my ear to the ground and
I listened.

Until

Naked
I stood.

And Naked,
I exhaled
The relief of surrender that
Comes with giving up trying so
Damn hard.

I gave myself to the breath of life that
Insisted itself into my heart and to the
Metamorphoses of motherhood.

I have heard mothers say that their soul
Exited when they gave birth,
Forgotten for years while they
Tend the other.
And, in the beginning,
I believed that to be
Something of my truth that
Never sat fully true.

Yet, now
I see that, with the coming
Of my son,
My soul began to be
Moulded by a clay
From a much deeper, richer and
More resilient earth.

To welcome myself in my exhaustion,
To move with it instead of against it,
To allow my soul to give itself to
Mothering and all that it entails.

The greatest freedom I found
In becoming a mother was
In allowing myself to be a mother.

There are times when my heart lurches
Inside of me,
When there are choices to be made
And they weigh in the favour of
He with the greatest need.

There are times when I long for
How things were,
The ‘freedom’ I had before his
Head burst through my vagina,
Ripping me open and
Changing my world.

There are times when
I wish my husband and I
Had more time together
Just the two of us…
To remember each other…

But slowly, the spaces are opening up.
I am awakening into a
Deeper version of myself
Whose needs and desires
Have been shifted by
The ebbing and flowing tide of
Sleepless nights,
Of cleaning up poo and of
Digging in to the the deepest
Pockets of my soul to
Find my greatest patience,
The roots of my vehemency and
The most powerful love I
Have ever experienced.

I would not know this without
My son,
Who brought these gifts
To me.
Who has insisted the
Container of myself
Expand to include
Not just him,
But all the parts of myself
I had unknowingly outcast.

It’s an ongoing journey.
One integrative step after
The other.

Do I recommend motherhood?

It’s not easy, it’s not.

Really,
It’s not.

And it’s not for everyone.
It is not every women’s desire.
And it ought to be a choice.

In fact it’s fucking hard and
Societal structures can make it
Isolating as hell.

But when I look at myself as who I was
Before he came and
Who I am now.
I can’t imagine it being
Any other way.

IMG_1993

Published by Hayley

Hayley Price: PG. Dip. Dance & Somatic Wellbeing. Yoga Therapist Children’s Movement Facilitator Hayley has been facilitating movement in the community for over 15 years. She has worked with children of all ages in schools and developed a movement mentorship programme called ‘Girls Allowed’ for pre-teen girls to support them in transitioning times. Her work is multi-layered and focuses on creative emergence through movement, voice, healthy relating and embodied relaxation. She draws heavily upon the principles of Authentic Movement in her work. Hayley has facilitated movement based support groups for the general community, for women with postnatal depression as well as one-to-one based work with young adults in the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and those in the community with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, bi-polar and other structural and functional issues. While she lived in Scotland, she facilitated a programme to support teachers in schools. This focused on nourishment through embodied relaxation, gentle movement a safe space to share. Her work is creative and inquiry based, tailored to the needs of each group or individual.

%d bloggers like this: