Sustainable motherhood

This past night I dreamt that I got pregnant with my third child. In the dream, the decision was made from an impulse that I didn’t think through properly, and when it was too late I realized I do not want to have a third child. It’s funny that I dreamt this, because right now I am away in my family’s cottage in our village together with my partner and we are both writing on a piece of work – mine is on Motherhood. It’s a delicate topic, because it is an area in life that I have struggled with a lot, in many ways. Writing about it is sometimes bringing me sadness and other difficult emotions, as the struggle is something I experience still (sometimes have experienced previously – but haven’t fully processed) in my real, lived life. It’s raw, in other words.

Like in the dream, I don’t want to have a third child in real life because I find Motherhood to be exhausting and I don’t think I could cope with looking after another one, since I already struggle with my responsibilities as a mother of two. I am not saying that I don’t also find the experience of having children as rewarding, wonderful, meaningful, beautiful and all kinds of positive sounding words one can think of, of course it isn’t a black and white, either-or situation. But I can identify Motherhood as one of my weak spots in life, an Achilles heel if you like. Usually when this is the case – at least I find it to be so in my life – it is an area that I will find myself exploring, unearthing. There is something to be discovered here, and I am exposed to life lessons that I feel called to first unlock, then describe. And I am sensing this is what’s at stake here. I can sense an insight not yet in place, but in the process of becoming. I don’t get it yet, but it is pulling me closer.

One thing that I know I have already identified though, and that I have already touched on in my writing, is that there is something deeply unsustainable in the very construct of Motherhood. I am not only talking about the actual life conditions of mothers in society, but the way we understand ‘Mother’ and in particular the sacrificial nature of Motherhood that I personally can’t really make sense of. I feel as though there is a false logic at play, something that can’t be right, and it’s kept my attention on this topic for many years. At the same time, I still don’t feel like I get it yet. What I do understand though, is that whatever is unsustainable needs course correction – and if Motherhood, which in my mind has to be about birthing and sustaining New Life – is on an unsustainable path, then there is a need for an intervention of some kind. However, what that intervention will look like is still unclear to me, but I am open and willing to receive new experiences that will enlighten me.

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