June 26, 2020
This dream came to me in September of 2010, about a month after my mother’s death. It was such a powerful dream, that I can still remember it 10 years. I cannot recall most of my dreams after 30 seconds.
For most of my life I had longed for and grieved the lack of the mothering that I had never received. There were many reasons for that lack – my mother’s poor physical and mental health, as well as having two siblings with schizophrenia – these were the main ones. You can imagine how the dominos fell from there.
Mothers and daughters naturally experience a reversal of roles as they both age. Ours happened very early. I mothered my own mother, as well as my younger siblings.
I felt the lack of nurturing and guidance most acutely at major transition points:
My first bra.
My first period.
Beginning high school.
Having my first child.
I have heard it said, that becoming a mother, is the time at which a woman most needs her own mother. I think this may be true. Fortunately for me, my wonderful mother-in-law stepped into the breach to support us, as we became new parents. Thank you Nancy. None-the-less, I can still feel echos from 1985, of that longing for that deep connection with my own mother, as women and mothers.
This dream came to me at a time when I was realizing that I had new freedom from my lifetime of responsibilities. Our children had both left the nest, and my chosen duties to care for my mother at the end of her life were discharged.
One morning I awoke with this little dream-movie in my mind:
One day, as I walked through the woods, I was surprised to find that I was pregnant, fully pregnant, and going into labour. So I walked to the seashore where I found myself alone on a beach. I realized that I was going to have to go through labour and birthing this baby without anyone to help me, so I lay down on the sand, near the lapping waves, and proceeded to deliver my own baby. As I gathered the baby in my arms, I looked down, and was astonished to see that the baby was… me. I had given birth to another me! I had become my own mother. I could mother myself.
There are so many ways that this message was important to me:
I could be my own mother. I could provide my own mothering, providing nurturance and guidance for myself, as well as seek it out from other women.
I now had the freedom to reinvent my life. I could now have a new life of my own making.
I had a whole lifetime ahead of my. My life was not over – it was just beginning.
I’m sure there are many more layers to discover.
I share this now, so that, perhaps, someone else might be inspired to give birth to something new in their life. Becoming your own mother.
One thought on “P.S. Becoming My Own Mother”
Thank you for sharing this touching account of loss and then the courage to move forward to build a life different from the parent. The archetypal dream points to the capacity we all have to reparent ourselves and give birth to our own splendid uniqueness. I may be a product of gens from my parents but my job is to learn and grow ,to become my own person. What a victory!