Reclaiming Motherhood as a Feminist
I have never been totally comfortable with the way *some* strands of feminism belittle Motherhood.
And at the same time I really don’t like the way Islamic and Asian cultures glorify Motherhood, as if it is the only role worth playing in society, the only thing that gives us worth or value. The patriarchy has done an amazing job of convincing us that the more we care for men and children, the more we can be considered ‘good women’.
But the thing is, I am naturally maternal and nurturing. Always have been. For me, being a mother and taking care of my family are as important to me as the air I breathe. If I talk about how important my maternal role is to me, or the personal qualities I’ve developed as a result of it, does that make me any less of a feminist, or any less committed to gender equality? No way!
I resist that subtle denigration our of mothering role, and I say you can absolutely be a fierce feminist and a devoted mother.
In fact, working with the Mother Archetype has been one of the most powerful ways that I have reclaimed my feminine power and come to a balanced approach to my family and my work (and which women these days are not looking for that ever-elusive balance?!).
The trouble happens when the Mother Archetype becomes distorted or over-used at the expense of other female archetypes (such as Warrioress, Queen, Wild Woman, Wise Woman). We can end up over-giving, and self-sacrifice to the point when we stop taking care of ourselves, and stop following our dreams - or we don’t even have any dreams anymore beyond those that we care for.
This is not encompassing the true qualities of the Mother Archetype. When in balance, she is compassionate, nurturing, creative and resilient. But when she over-dominates we can end up unhappy, frustrated, resentful, burnt out, angry, or even physically ill. PMS often is a result of overdoing our motherly, care-giving attributes.
Women are not only mothers and carers. We have other sides to us that must be honoured and expressed. We also need to receive as much as we give, and be mothered and nurtured ourselves; otherwise our inner world, relationships and the entire Earth tips out of balance, as has been the case for several millennia.
But rejecting the notion of motherhood altogether as a potential source of healing or personal power is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Let’s reclaim our Mother Archetype as a source of power and great love, but remember that this is not the beginning and the end for women. We are not defined by, or valued for, our mothering solely. We are whole and holy as women in our own right, whether we are mothers or not. And we can work with the Mother Archetype whether we are mothers or not, and regardless of gender identity.
Healing our own Mother Wounds, learning how to give ourselves the self-love and care we perhaps did not receive from our own mothers, and then learning to receive care and nurturing from others are all important steps to our transformation and healing.
Collectively, it also will contribute to creating a balanced, harmonious society and future world for our children. Because, yes, we are women and we care about the children. And there is no shame or weakness in that.
With Love and Power,