In order for a rite of passage to complete itself, the voyageur needs to be witnessed. If motherhood has taught me anything, it’s that we aren’t meant to do this alone. I had my daughter, Nova, during the pandemic. The loneliness started in pregnancy. There were no spaces to gather. None. Zero. I had this miracle happening inside of me and I wanted to share it. I wanted to be witnessed in my state of transformation. I wanted to be celebrated. I wanted to share my experience with others who were going through it too.
That was the year that Christmas was “cancelled.” Rather than gathering with friends and family, I continued my year of isolation with my husband, our dog, and our growing One inside of me. We made this time special and meaningful, but there was this ache at the bottom of my heart. And this persisted as community classes and gatherings continued to be cancelled. Even appointments with our midwives felt lonely. Marc wasn’t allowed to be present and I would spend most of the appointment parked outside in my car talking to the midwife on the phone. We only met in person for the physical assessment which was usually quite quick. (side note: despite all this, I absolutely LOVED my midwives and saw the extra energy the pandemic required of them ... )
This lack of community and sense of isolation inspired me to step into my teaching shoes. I started gathering small groups of women to share the practice of prenatal yoga. It was hard. I wanted to be tended to and I was the one tending to others. I wanted to be held in community and I was the one holding. But I felt a deep responsibility to fulfil this need for community & belonging while becoming a Mother.
When Nova was born, my lens through which I saw the world explicitly changed in a moment. I remember, driving back home from the hospital, the colours I was looking at literally appeared different through my eyes. I was transformed. But transformation does not complete in a one step process ... we could call this long-game transformation into motherhood Matrescence.
In the early days, my mother tended to me and the house while I learned all that is required to care for a newborn child. My midwife clinic started hosting weekly gatherings in the park for us new mamas and our babies. There, I met a group of women who I felt resonance with. We saw each other. We understood each other. We belonged. We started to weave the threads of our village. This was crucial. Without this group of women, those early days would not have looked the same. Every week I knew I had somewhere to go where the people there would meet me exactly as I was. Now that we are all busy with toddlers and some of us are back at work, we don’t see each other as often, but we have that sense of village. That sense of sisterhood. We message each other when we have questions, celebrations or frustrations. We are seen and heard.
All this to say, we aren’t meant to do this alone. The little sprinkles of the village here and there are reminders that our family ecosystem is much healthier when supported in community.
Are you wondering where your village is, dear Mama? Are you noticing holes in your web of support? What is one thing you can tend to to start building yours? That’s the tricky bit. If you’re looking for your village and not seeing it, you need to start building it with whatever ounce of energy you have left. See this as an ecosystem. Your efforts will return to you through the fertile soil you’re laying down.
This can look like: going to that community mom group, showing up for library time, reaching out to a friend and asking for their help directly, joining circles, becoming a little more friendly with your neighbours, finding people who inspire you online…. The village can be paid or unpaid … There are pros and cons to both … It doesn’t have to look any certain way, as long as it offers you a sense of support, community and belonging.
This new year, I’ll be offering 1:1 coaching containers and monthly circles. Your village is here. Join my mailing list for more info. xx