Babies = change. Got it.
Nope, you don‘t got it. Let me tell you, sister, you don‘t got it. You will not get it until you are staring into the face of the child you have birthed or the child that was placed in your arms or the child that is sent to you. Then you will begin to get it.
I read an article in The Boston Globe a few weeks ago, Motherhood brings the most dramatic changes of a woman‘s life. No shit, right? But what this article points out is the acknowledgment, yet frightening lack of research, that for those of us who gave birth to our children we are changed at our core, in our brains, at the very physiological essence of who we are.
As I read I wondered, who am I? Am I the same person? It was a question for the spirits, for the ancestors, so I journeyed to them and they spoke to me.
*Below is an admittedly poetic retelling of my journey. It is deeply personal and if you‘re reading this, I appreciate you allowing me to share with you my truth.*
I am in my childhood backyard, grey sky overhead. There are lights on inside my house, but that‘s not for me right now. I turn away.
The wind blows open the gate leading out of the yard and into my mother‘s rose garden; I walk through the gate. I allow my hands to drag through the thorns of the bushes and I bleed, streams of crimson streak across my palms. This is an offering.
By the back fence I pick six blackberries from the giant bushes and eat them all at once.
Suburbia transforms into a primordial forest and I am hiking. I am met by my guides who run besides me, grey flashes through the emerald trees.
The path becomes steep and I am hiking up a mountain and when finally I reach the top, I breathe deep. Dad is there.
I cry in his arms and he comforts me, he reassures me he‘s always with me. Dad lifts me upon his shoulders and I‘m a child again. Carrying me, we hike deeper into the forest, up into the mountains until finally he brings me to a cave cut into the black stone of the mountain like a vagina.
Dad can‘t go any further.
I know that normally this cave is guarded, but I also know I‘ve already faced that guardian. I faced her when I gave birth. That journey, I’ve already made.
I enter the cave alone and am surrounded by the darkness of a moonless night. Before me there is a giant black pond that glistens like polished obsidian.
In the middle of the pond I see suddenly a figure on a stone seat – I wade into the water towards her.
“Am I myself anymore?”
No, she says, you are someone else now, the old you is gone, grieve her and move on.
Who am I now, I ask as I approach the seat, a guide swims around me in the waist deep water.
Only you know, says no one.
I strip off my clothes and throw them into the black water, I let down my hair.
I drape myself in a silver veil pulled over my head.
I wonder who I am.