Collective Motherhood

Collective Motherhood

When my first child was born, he didn't know how to sleep and I didn't know how to help him.  Most nights he and I were up alone, rocking, walking, singing, nursing. The room was quiet and dark, but instead of feeling like I was the only one awake in the world, I could almost feel all the other new mothers out there, who were also up rocking and nursing and singing with me. 

I had joined the collective consciousness of motherhood, and perhaps that's why we fight with mothers who are virtual strangers over parenting styles like we have a right to tell them what to do -  mothers are sisters to all women who have given birth.  We may have long ago left the village where we minded each others children and shared the chores, but our bones have not forgotten.   

There is a sacred trust among mothers.  We tell our children to look for a woman with children if they get lost, because we know that mothers will help them, no matter what.  

So too, all mothers grieve together when one of us loses a child.  I read the news differently. When a child dies, all mothers grieve. It doesn't matter if we know you.  We know how it feels to long for a child, to carry a child in our body, to hold a baby in our arms. Our souls are still part of the collective village, even if we can no longer see each other through the walls and smoke of our modern cities.

Our hearts are with you.  We are weighed down by your grief. You are not alone.   

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