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“When she becomes a mother, it is as if a women must go deep in the bowels of the earth, back to the elemental emotions and the power which makes life possible, losing herself in the darkness. She is like Eurydice in the Underworld. She is pulled away from a world of choices, plans and schedules, where time is kept, spaces cleared, commitments made, and goals attained, to the warm chaos of love, confusion, longing, anger, self-surrender and intense pleasure that motherhood entails.” - Sheila Kitzinger

Motherhood is Everything

earth mamas

Motherhood is everything - it’s how we all began and yet, it’s so overlooked.

It’s a role that holds all the feels in extreme intensity from joy to pride to rage to sadness. Anxiety for so many reasons and isolation too.

We are raising the next generation - perhaps the generation who will be asked to make incredible change in this world. Perhaps the generation who will save our species...our role is anything but small - it’s everything.

Join us as we circle for a series of weekly rituals that honour Motherhood and build sisterhood between us.

Oh! Bring a pregnant friend for free!

A Baby Is Born Out of a White Owl's Forehead

Ángel Larroque, 1895

Ángel Larroque, 1895

At this time there are few
poems about pregnancy and childbirth
do I find this curious
I want to shriek at
any identity
this culture gives me claw it to
pieces; has nothing to
do with me or
my baby and never will,
has never perceived a
human being.
My baby is quiet and wise, but I'm
a trade name and I'm
rainwater on a piano -- I'm so
scared then but now of then I'd say
I want to make your tunes go away
to have a child is more casual
than, you might say, and more serious than
the definition
for who, frankly, was ever born
or gave birth?

After the usual pain and the well-meaning,
mostly but not all,
intervention of others and others' words and meanings
I find him. Lying next to me yes and being
nursed by me.
I serve him why not he isn't wrong.

I'm infused with a noxious dispirit
as the world makes me be a woman
everything has gone wrong in some sense by now.

Of two poems one sentimental and one not
I choose both
of his birth and my painful unbirth I choose both.
The woman in the photo has a haircut from Vidal Sassoon
wears a black silky synthetic top and probably a long skirt
the baby on her lap in sleepers and
a blue and white Peruvian cap.
They look abstracted in the same way.
He is the baby unchaotic
he is born and I am undone -- feel as if I will
never be, was never born.

Two years later I obliterate myself again
having another child
not to be a form of woman
but in allegiance to the process I
can't quite see.
I have begun to be.

I sit with my sons in a barely cared-for apartment
inside from Chicago in the TV's ambience (black and
white, like the snow) purple crocuses there
Ted's becoming sick with a lasting illness
though we are calm while money doesn't press us
a moment of happiness, these bodies are clear
all four finally clear and
still clear

but first, for two years, there's no me here.

By Alice Notley, 1972

Climbing Mount Everest

"I think that parenting young children (and old ones too) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they’ve heard there’s magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb is an impressive accomplishment. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it’s hard there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they cried most of the way up.

And so I think that if there were people stationed, say, every thirty feet along Mount Everest yelling to the climbers, “Are you enjoying yourself?! If not, you should be! One day you’ll be sorry you didn’t!” those well-meaning, nostalgic cheerleaders might be physically thrown from the mountain.

My point is this: I used to worry that not only was I failing to do a good enough job at parenting, but that I wasn’t enjoying it enough. Double failure. I felt guilty because I wasn’t in parental ecstasy every hour of every day and I wasn’t MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY MOMENT like the mamas in the parenting magazines seemed to be doing. I felt guilty because honestly, I was tired and cranky and ready for the day to be over quite often. And because I knew that one day, I’d wake up and the kids would be gone and I’d be the old lady in the grocery store with my hand over my heart. Would I be able to say I enjoyed every moment? No.

But the fact remains that I will be that nostalgic lady. I just hope to be one with a clear memory. 

And here’s what I hope to say to the younger mama gritting her teeth in line:

“It’s helluva hard isn’t it? You’re a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. Carry on, warrior. Six hours ’til bedtime.”

And hopefully every once in awhile I’ll add, “let me pick up that grocery bill for ya sister. Go put those kids in the van and pull on up. I’ll have them bring your groceries out.”

- Glennon Doyle Melton

Frogner Park

Frogner Park

I'm With Her

Thank you to everyone who participated, worldwide, in the Women's March on Washington! There's really so much to say about this that it somehow feels quieting - like we can't quite find the words (or at least, the right words) to speak of everything that creates the need for an event like this, as well as the power and beauty of an event like this.

But we're definitely asking a lot of questions and some of the questions that keep coming to mind are 'how do we exist in the face of hate and not return it?' and 'How can we act with grace amidst chaos?' 

Well, to start, we stand.

That's right - just show up. Sometimes, words aren't even necessary but our energy, our presence, our support and our radiance are.

Together, let's rise.

The Language of the Brag

I have wanted excellence in the knife-throw,

I have wanted to use my exceptionally strong and accurate arms

and my straight posture and quick electric muscles

to achieve something at the centre of a crowd,

the blade piercing the bark deep,

the haft slowly and heavily vibrating like the cock.

I have wanted some epic use for my excellent body,

some heroism, some American achievement

beyond the ordinary for my extraordinary self,

magnetic and tensile, I have stood by the sandlot

and watched the boys play.

I have wanted courage, I have thought about fire

and the crossing of waterfalls, I have dragged around

my belly big with cowardice and safely,

my stool black with iron pills,

my huge breasts oozing mucus,

my legs swelling, my hands swelling,

my face swelling and darkening, my hair

falling out, my inner sex

stabbed again and again with terrible pain like a knife.

I have lain down.

I have lain down and sweated and shaken

and passed blood and feces and water and

slowly alone in the centre of a circle I have

passed the new person out

and they have lifted the new person free of the act

and wiped the new person free of that

language of blood like praise all over the body.

I have done what you wanted to do, Walt Whitman,

Allen Ginsberg, I have done this thing,

I and the other women this exceptional

act with the exceptional heroic body,

this giving birth, this glistening verb,

and I am putting my proud American boast

right here with the others.

- Sharon Olds

hatching the universal egg, 1984, by sandie abel

hatching the universal egg, 1984, by sandie abel

birth tear e2, 1982, by jane gaddie thompson

birth tear e2, 1982, by jane gaddie thompson