"Mothering" is a word I’ve completely taken onboard, one that is much more charged as compared to the gender neutral term “parenting”. What is it about mothering that is so powerful? This was something I never truly understood until I became a mother myself.
Mothering for me started at conception. The day I found out I was to become a mother, I instantly felt a connection to myself, and my soul, that I have never felt before. At a recent mindful birthing training I did, my teacher, Michelle Papa, noted that, “A mother becomes a mother when she conceives; even if she miscarries, she has experienced motherhood to its fullest degree.”
Childbirth for me was a 3-day affair. In my mind, I was going to have this beautiful, orgasmic experience, after reading all my Ina May Gaskin’s books and experiencing through the eyes of other mothers how amazing it was going to be. However, after 48 hours of sleepless nights and endless contractions, my body could no longer hold itself up anymore. Day 3, I was submerged in the hospital’s bath, with chanting music in the background, breathing in happy gas, with my eyes closed. All of a sudden, doctors and nurses were pulling me out of the bath - I was too relaxed, and my body wasn’t responding. I needed to feel pain, for my body to respond and push. The pain was unimaginable. I screamed to my husband, “I’ll never ever have sex with you ever again.” I demanded wildly for every single drug available, and ended up on the epidural drip. What felt like hours and hours of screaming and crying was only a mere 30 minutes; but in that space of sheer terror, I felt my soul leave my body, as I watched myself from a distance. Within a couple hours, Munro was born, and I was reborn.
After the 3-day child birthing marathon, the real marathon started. Left sleepless for 72-hours, I was left at the edge of the cliff with a beautiful baby, an adult soul reincarnated into a living, breathing human being. Fueled with adrenaline from the birth, I went day 4 with no sleep, breastfeeding, and bonding with my baby. Day 5 was when everything started going downhill. In the middle of the night, I rang the night nurse. “I can’t do this anymore. I don’t know how I can keep going. I can’t imagine doing this for the rest of my life. This is crazy. I’m dying.” The words and tears just kept spilling out of me. “Just get me out of here," I cried. Just one day of mothering lifted me on a euphoric high, then left me at my lowest low.
“You’re not going through this forever. This is only for now. Things change. Babies grow up to become adults,” the nurse replied. A visceral part of me completely shifted. Oh my god, really? Babies grow up? In my moment of sheer hopelessness, I couldn’t quite comprehend that that could happen. With my nipples completely torn apart, bleeding and pusing, my vagina ripped apart with blood spilling out of me and landing on a maternity pad so large that any form of sexiness was unimaginable, and in my delusional insomniac state, I closed my eyes and sent a loving prayer to all mothers in the world. What an devastatingly amazing experience. So many mothers experiencing this in the silence of their bedrooms, most stories not shared, and not heard.
Things did change, and every phase is a different phase, every day is a different day. The fears, and the anxieties never went away. The overcompensating as a mother: showering my child with all my love, all my attention; and then the constant yearning to get away, be on my own, read a book without a child ripping it out of my hands, have a cocktail, have wild unbridled sex. Everyday, this duality exists within me - pushing and pulling me in directions I’ve never ever experienced before. I see it with my own mother - her wanting to be involved in every part of my life, to guide me so that I don’t experience pain, loss, grief; but also the need to get out of my way to allow me to explore life to its fullest.
I was sitting with a close friend for a coffee, both reflecting. “Anna, to be a mother is one of the most powerful experiences of my life. I feel this strength within me - a fearless tiger mother - but also this immense vulnerability, of not being good enough for my child.” She responded, and her words clicked into my deepest soul level, “Malvina, your child is a soldier on his own journey. What about you? A sacrificial lamb - slaughtered in the slaughter house, cut up and left to dry? Get out of the way, let your child live the destiny he is meant to live.”
That night, I drove Munro straight to my mum’s house, and left him there for 7 nights for the first time. I drove away feeling this immense freedom, this immense sense of empowerment, and this immense feeling of fearlessness. It was me executing my ultimate truth; which is trusting in God, trusting in the Universe, trusting in myself. Truly and completely letting go.
Still, the word “mothering” holds such a powerful space in my heart. In the vedic sense, the mother goddess is one who represents nature, creation, destruction and all the bounties of the Earth. I feel the most empowered, the most courageous in the role of the mother. My ability to create, to step into my inner space of fearlessness holds no boundaries. My passion for giving back to this world, and making a true difference to all beings in this world, again, has expanded in infinite amounts since becoming a mother.
Perhaps, the word “mothering” is something I will never fully grasp during this lifetime, but that doesn’t matter. What matters to me is for my ability to continually step into my truest self, to offer both my child and the world the best of myself and to sit in this wholly beautiful space of fearlessness, and courage. My child will experience my experience of life through his eyes, and become the amazing man he is going to be in this lifetime.
By Malvina Kang