Matrescence: The journey from Maiden to Mother
MATRESCENCE. This word is so validating for me.
This word encompasses the bio-psycho-social-cultural-spiritual-political aspects of becoming a mother. The messy middle of shifting identity, role, body, sense of belonging ...
This experience is not exclusive to those who bear and birth children physically. This applies to those who wish to conceive, those who adopt, those who step-parent, those who are pregnant, those who have lost ....
There's a huge shift in one's brain & hormonal makeup when stepping into motherhood. This is disregulating! This is threatening to our sense of self and belonging. AND this is very normal.
Truth be told, when my daughter turned 1, I really struggled for months. I didn't think I had postpartum depression, but then if not that, what? I didn't feel like myself. I didn't feel my usual spark and capacity to be there for others. The days were hard and long, I was filled with generalised resentment, I had no energy to move my body, to cook myself nourishing food, to call a friend ... I just wanted to pull the covers over my head and disappear.
But it truly didn't feel like depression.
It took a lot of sitting with myself to realize that what I was feeling was GRIEF.
Not many people talk about the grief that goes with growth or transformation. This is actually a needed emotion to feel and honour so that we can truly let go of who we used to be in order to embody more fully who we're becoming. Not easy. Especially when a feeling like grief is not outwardly welcome in our culture. And grief left untended can certainly lead to depression. AND! … grief indeed is a natural part of matrescence.
Discovering the term Matrescence, first from Jessie Harrold, gave me the permission to name what I was feeling. It gave me the validation that I wasn't broken. It showed me a way back to myself.
I have the tools for introspection, self-development & self-tending. I've dedicated my whole adult life to cultivating this toolkit for myself and so that I can share it with others. Using my toolkit, I was able to move through this period of grief and reach out for help when I needed it. One thing I really noticed was, when mothering alongside other mothers, it wasn't so hard. It actually felt quite joyful.
We are absolutely not meant to do this alone, Mamas. It's time to normalize the messy & the hard bits WHILE at the same time embracing the magic, the euphoria, the cellular joy of it all ... Because if there's anything true, it's that nothing is permanent.... This too shall pass.... And we will of course bump up against this struggle time and time again as we journey through our matrescence (spoiler alert … the journey probably never ends …)
Matrescence is a term coined by Archeologist Dana Raphael in 1973 & brought into the realm of psychology by Aurelie Athan.
As Aurelie has said, "words create worlds".
Being able to name the change, the experience you’re going through, can be the foundation for creating your fortress as Mother. Matriarch. Goddess.
This is without a doubt the direction I’m headed with my work as an embodiment coach, movement facilitator, space holder and massage therapist.
My heart’s greatest desire is to show other Mamas the way.
The fire that ignites my passion is to hold space for this undeniably powerful transformation. There is so much potential here for all of us. I can taste it.
You are not alone in this. We were meant to do this together.
Expect more of this to be seen through my work in the coming time.