What is your Motherhood?

Motherhood is one of the most sensitive topics for women. Every woman on this planet has her own story with motherhood: There’s the motherhood she got to experience already, and there’s the motherhood she is still hoping to experience. There’s the motherhood she’s choosing not to experience. And then there’s the motherhood she didn’t get to experience in this life, despite her longing and hopes.

Behind each of these variations are stories that touch our deepest place as women. ‘Our children’. The ones we gave birth to; the ones that didn’t make it through and the ones that stayed in our dreams and potential. Did I include them all? Even writing this blog fills my mind with a well of precautions: What if someone reads this and feels her situation disrespected, not taken into consideration?

Our raw emotions are right under the surface with this topic. Our instincts for motherhood are mixed with deeply personal considerations and emotional experiences. Our life circumstances may determine our choices and possibilities. And we’re surrounded by expectations from partners, friends, family and society. In so many ways, our bodies are not our own.

The truth is that our fertile bodies make us very vulnerable. Every month for many years we’re reminded of our intimate connection with life through our bleeding. At the same time, many of us are brought up with shame and the message to avoid sex as long as we can. Or we enjoy our sexual freedom, well protected by effective contraception.

But no matter which turns our lives take, sooner or later every woman has to face the question of motherhood. This can be very painful and intimidating. The reasons we can feel we’re failing are endless.

This is why I would like to make one clear point: We are all mothers. We all give life to something; though our bodies or through our very being. Motherhood is not only manifesting in giving birth to a child. It manifests in all the ways we care for life. In all the ways we nurture something outside ourselves. The essence of Motherhood itself is in knowing what cares for life and what shuts it down.

To conduct a research project can be caring for life. To run a shop, to walk a dog or administer an office, to…… Fill in the endless blanks. Everything you do can be your motherhood. Everything can be in the service of life. Or it can be the opposite: Empty. Soulless. Without purpose.

The question is not what we do, but the intention with which we do it. Do we care about what we do? Do we care about that ‘something’ outside of ourselves: our creation, the things and people we touch, the traces we’re leaving?

It can be reduced to the very simple equation: Are we creating expansion by nurturing growth, or are we creating contraction by exerting control? Contraction, or expansion?

This is a big question, whether we’re fostering our child or working in a bank.

It is as simple as that: Caring or control. Contraction or expansion.

Motherhood is about caring for what you do. It is about bringing values, intention and awareness to everything you touch with your hands, or with your being.

Values. Intention. Awareness. What is your motherhood?