Throughout prehistory and history, regardless of culture, most women bore children if they were able, despite the fact that there have long been methods to prevent or terminate pregnancy. This has been true at least until the modern age. There wasn’t a question of a choice. There were no “tests” for competence to mother (other than physical limitations); the mere capacity to bear children is all that was required.
Now, as the Earth our Mother is stretched beyond capacity and together with us is changing at a hurtling speed, it seems we can ill-afford to have people parenting because they didn’t know what else to do with their lives. (Here I have to ask myself to trust that Gaia is guiding all of us, whether we know it or not.) And women are far more likely to fall into that category, because men who father children can easily disappear from their children’s lives with little consequence for their lack of parenting. Is there a way to diminish that gap between the awe-some power and the pre-reflective behavior that enables some of the least-well prepared (I am asking again, Gaia, please guide us) to be mothers?
What would it be like I wonder, if we, as children of our mothers, came to a place of gratitude for what they’ve given us, even in acknowledging the incompleteness of it?[i] I consider holding this place of gratitude, even as I reflect on my lack of an “ideal childhood.”[ii]
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