Family is not always simple
You fall in love and you become a couple, perhaps you marry, perhaps you don’t. Are you a family? You make a baby, now you are a family of three. Sometimes you break up, and so you become a smaller family, a family of two. Or perhaps someone dies.
In all of these cases though, Mothers are made and Fathers are made, and in that miraculous process, new families emerge. My focus for now, are mamas, beautiful mamas.
Being a mama is not always simple.
Sometimes you start with the wrong guy, or without a guy at all. Having a child cracks you open literally. Sometimes, you wait too long, sometimes you start too young, sometimes there are miscarriages. Then you watch a baby grow inside your miracle vessel, you have this gift to bring life from other dimensions here to Earth, you are a Star Ship Mama. The joy is intense that first moment you hold your baby, right? Of course it is. You are empowered, your are humming with vitality. Or sometimes you’re numb with exhaustion. But, you have been transformed!
Here your baby is, a gift of life to cherish and hold.
And you do, of course.
But it’s not as simple as that, is it? The intense love is simple, the intuition to protect is simple, but sometimes the breast feeding doesn’t work, sometimes the caesarian doesn’t heal well, sometimes exhaustion and post-natal depression set in for the long haul. Sometimes the marriage starts to fade away as the family bed takes over, or the need for a working dad or mum means separation and rifts in communication and life-style.
Don’t get me wrong. Becoming a mother is the greatest gift, the greatest transformation, the greatest learning I have ever experienced, and I believe most mamas I know would say the same. But I want to tell the other stories.
Its easy to picture a beautiful happy family, the love and belonging are there shining out of the eyes, the tender embrace, the play and smiles. We all have those glorious days, they are many and life-long for most. But what is hiding behind? What stories are harder to tell?
Motherhood literally cracks you open, like the earth, you open to give life, and through that emergence, a lot of tough stuff, rough edges, past injury, family legacy, emotional hurdles, financial struggle, deep need to be honoured, valued…woah, a lot of shit, comes out from that dark underbelly.
Motherhood is a gift, and also a loss.
What is lost? Is it ok to talk about it?
Yes! We must talk about it! That’s what A Beautiful Mama Project is about.
Too many of us a stuck in fear or shame, or not feeling good enough. We watch parade of happy photos flow by on Facebook or int he media, and we wonder why our lives don’t measure up. We put enormous pressure on our partners to support us and fill our needs, when what we need is a village of support. The intense miracle of bringing a baby to term, and tun raising her through the first 7 years, is a profound sacrifice for most women, we don’t talk about this sacrifice much, do we? We don’t talk about who the body is leached from breast-feeding, how the back aches from carrying, how the heart yearns for love, recognition, honouring, holding…Perhaps though the emancipated women can leave her child at one and return to work, and so not ‘sacrifice’ so much. I can tell you, that for my friends who do that, it isn’t simple either. There is another loss, a loss of attachment.
In any case, Family is not simple. Motherhood is not simple.
There are plenty of murky areas, plenty of losses, confusions.
Where does sex fit into Motherhood? Did you hear a lot of that story before you had your first child? What about money? Duty? Autonomy? Hhhhmm
There is one truth that I am so grateful for though, one amazing truth. And, that is that becoming a mother cracks us open for sure, and through the cracks the light gets in.
Even through some of the most intense family struggles you can imagine, there is light, their is learning, their is growth, their is forgiveness. But it ain’t simple, thats for sure.
I’m here to tell these stories through the voice and hearts of Mamas like you and me. To tell honour and celebrate those cracks, a hold a space for radical vulnerability. Through stories we can heal, we can share experience and wisdom that has gotten lost a long the way,smothered by shallow consumer depictions of perfect families, perfect mothers, perfect lives….family isn’t perfect, but its gloriously beautiful even on its ugly days, isn’t it?
“There’s a crack in everything, thats where the light gets. Forget your perfect offering, ring the bells that still can ring.”
So I’m happy that you are here to share this journey with me, and stay tuned for some interviews with beautiful perfectly imperfect mamas ringing their bells. We can tell the stories that will weave a blanket of support. We can do it together.
Because, you know what? Sometimes Family is bigger than you thought. Just when you were feeling like you couldn’t get through another day, and you’d throw the baby out with the dishwater, you reach out and find there is someone their to honour your rough edges, to hear your story of joy tinged with loss….
This is a call to action, together we can support each other.
It takes a village to raise a child, it takes a tribe to honour a Mama. Family is never simple, but its so much better with a community of support. I am so greatful for the families, friends and community that I have had the pleasure to witness and photograph. Without you, I wouldn’t be able to do this. You are bells along my own journey of healing. Thank you for helping me find my voice and my calling. You are my Tribe, my family.
Lets open our hearts, be vulnerable, tell our stories!! Much Love, Belinda White
If you’re interested in being featured as a Mama or family in A beautiful Mama Project, please contact me, I’d be honoured to help you tell your story.