9/13/07

Motherhood and the Goddess

It occurs to me as I sit here with my infant son sleeping on my lap that the Goddess as Mother is a popular image that never really gets viewed with depth. Oh, people have waxed poetic about it. I have done so. But no real thought of Mother is there, just (for the most part) the romantic image of Mother. Now that I am a mother, it occurs to me that that romantic image really is a horrible disservice to mothers if not a disgusting lie. It's like the Angel of the Home stereotype of the Victorian Era. It may look sweet and comforting, but it really is a gloss over a confining concept that is built on assumptions that can cause a great deal of harm.

I can't really comment much on the process of birth. I can say this, what I felt of labor before the pain medications kick in, it is not a serene experience. Anyone who tells you this has not been in labor. I wasn't at the point of hard labor when the pain medicine kicked in and I was experiencing pain that was approaching the level of what I did with appendicitis. There's a lot of other little details like this that people just gloss over when they think of motherhood and the Goddess as mother. No one wants to consider the idea of a Goddess that's crazy because of hormonal instability as her body's adjusting from being pregnant to not being pregnant, in addition to the wackiness of the hormones for nursing.

No one wants to think of a Goddess who is cranky because she was up half the night with a baby who was crying. No one wants to even remotely consider a Goddess who is suffering postpartum depression. Nor do they want to think of a Goddess dealing with the grimy niceties of something such as dirty diapers, spitting up, or a sick baby. Or a Goddess who's half deaf and aggravated by the baby who's shrieking on her shoulder because of painful gas and is squirming around so much it's difficult to burp them. The list just is endless.

People want the chocolate box image of Mother. They want the woman holding a peaceful baby, looking deliriously happy and dressed beautifully. They want the Angel of the Home with a bit of June Cleaver thrown in. This romanticized image of Mother is not real. It makes it a lot harder to be a new mother when you've got that image held up of how things should be. Let's not even consider how it would compare at the larger level of the forces of elemental creation.

I have upheld that the Goddess as Mother is Chaos itself. Some say I'm crazy for doing this and that the people who revere Chaos are fools because it invites it into their lives. From what I have experienced thus far, however, nothing makes more sense. The daily tasks of raising a baby are going to be chaotic and the patterns that emerge are going to be like those of a fractal. I'm not going to claim that I know what I'm in for, but I think that I can say that I need to meditate on what Mother would do in situations that have me taxed to the end of my wits. After all, there is no more inventive solutions then the ones that arise out of necessity.

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