Thursday, February 11, 2010

Throwing Down the Truth

Motherhood challenges me profoundly, in a way that throws down my truth. It  breaks me wide open, stretching me beyond my perceived capacity. Childbirth merely marks the smallest beginning of the painful stretching and expansion that embodies motherhood. Frustration descends when one finds one's expectations unmet. Parenting denotes deeply surreal surrender and metamorphosis.  Sometimes we get "stuck" in the transformation. A mother can never win a battle of the wills with her young child. We sometimes have this notion or idea of how things should be. We forget that our child is NOT our mirror image, but an individual in his/her own right. A young human. And our job, our duty, involves preparing this young human for independence - i.e. equipping him to be able to live without us, to be what he's meant to become and not what we want him to become.

On some primitive emotional level, that makes me recoil. Innately, perhaps a parent feels a sense of negation when she experiences her child's individuation ~ the child taking shape as an entity distinct and separate from and not entirely within the control of herself (parent). To a large extent, parenting has embodied a struggle with myself; accepting that things turn out the way they're meant to and that, when I exert a force, 'my' little one will respond as Newton's law predicts. Assimilating and respecting the individuation of my children embodied the painful challenge of parenthood.

I sought to awaken my awareness, in order to fortify myself against self-indulgence. I raled against the notion of motherhood to fulfill unmet emotional needs or cure the empty solitude of existence, knowing that the newborn will eventually die if we fail to cut the umbilical cord. What a splendid embodiment of motherhood's painful joy! A child requires a sense of separateness and a healthy respect of boundaries so s/he can develop a balanced sense of self. My parental duty demands that I embrace beauty and grace, even in ugliness of imperfect chaos, the anguish of what could've been, and the vacuum created by separation. And so, a mother tastes surrender. And surrender. And surrender.


Matthew Isaacson said...

I think your perspective on parenting is very good. It is important to teach children to be independent, as much as we don't want to.

X. Dell said...

(1) I hope you don't wind up surrendering too much:-)

I've had talks about this subject with my father. Since I have no childrens, and I certainly will never bear one, perhaps it might be different with mothers. Perhaps mothers are a bit wiser, a bit more thoughtful. But what my father told me was that he would find it damn near impossible to have a child and not try to stamp your imprint on it.

Perhaps that's one reason why I never became a parent. You give me hope that his belief is a false one, or at least not an absolute. Yet, I fear what I might do to a child. I wouldn't beat him, or neglect him. But I might have a have a hard time with independence, and letting go of the autonmy when the time is right.

X. Dell said...

BTW, Turkey is an awesome place. I recommend it highly--not just for the history, either. And perhaps one of these days, I'll make it back to London.

Anonymous said...

A deep bow in respect of your writing.

Being responsable for the child during the night, ever since he's home (for now 29 months) brought me time and again to my limits.
There were days when I fell asleep while conducting lessons, upon a park bench etc., only to return home at the evening, beginning all anew, and being glad to do so.

Please have you all a wonderful start into the new week.

Andrea K. said...

Wonderful post. I just discovered both of your blogs recently and have been thoroughly enjoying them. Nice to find another Vancouverite in the blogosphere.

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