by Emily Suzuki, MA, LAC
Mothering is a profoundly complex experience that at once uproots and reroots our sense of self. It rewires our psychological and physical identities into new and unfamiliar ways. It is a phenomenon in itself, that is both unique and personal, and yet also universal and common. Though we know this to be true, the space and time as we sort through these dualities can feel incredibly lonely and isolating.
The first months (maybe even years) after my son’s birth, time seemed to be suspended. My internal body clock had lost sense of being able to differentiate between night and day, in my sleep deprived stupor minutes seemed like an eternity, and yet as I prepared to do a simple task, an hour would pass in what felt like a split second. I craved sleep and simultaneously dreaded the night knowing full well I’d be awake for a large portion of it. Around that time several people said to me, “the days are long but the years are short.” This resonated so deeply as I tried to make sense of my new reality.
In those long stretches of time nursing in the middle of the night, or laying, too tired to be productive, quietly soaking in my baby, I would feel like we were on an island together or boat, floating out at sea, journeying through unchartered territory. Sometimes it was enough, even joyful, just the two of us together. And other times it wasn’t, and I felt alone and trapped.
I have never felt so profoundly, as I did during the first year of my son’s life, how vital it was for me to have a community of other mothers around me. I made it one of my personal missions to find women who I felt a sense of connection with. I went to library story times, music classes, a few breastfeeding support groups, and challenged my otherwise introverted self to chat it up with any and every mother I came across. Each connection with another mother, whether it was momentary and helped those long minutes pass or a much deeper long-term friendship, would feel like an anchor and helped me feel like I wasn’t floating out to sea.
Sharing my personal experience, being heard and seen by someone who intimately and personally could relate to what I was feeling and saying instantly felt supportive and nourishing. In those moments, part of me would soften as I was reminded, I am not alone, I am ok, we are ok, and this too will pass.
The rite of passage into motherhood was once, and still is in some cultures, facilitated and nurtured by a community of women and mothers around the expecting mother. Many of us are not held by a culture of tradition that offers support or ritual around this passageway, but are creating it by organizing blessing ways, naming ceremonies and mothers circles. Collectively we’re craving depth, understanding and connection and looking to build bridges between each of our islands and boats.
Whether you’re expecting, a new or experienced mother, consider joining our circle of support. Mindful and Multicultural Counseling Center is offering a therapeutic mother’s circle to process the spectrum of experiences we encounter as mothers. Come share your stories, your joys, your longings, your grief and your triumphs in a safe and confidential space. We will hold you on this journey and be an anchor.
Mother’s Circle Thursday mornings 9:30 - 10:45 with Emily Suzuki.
For more info call us or email us