Closing of the Bones Wisdom
During a recent ‘Closing of the Bones’ session something came up with my client that I thought would be worth sharing here, because the heart of it carries such a powerful message for all of us.
The intention for this mother’s session was to bring an element of ceremony, ritual, and self-care to her processing of the birth of her second child. She had very deeply hoped for a successful VBAC/HBAC (vaginal/homebirth after cesarean). In the end, her hopes were dashed and she ended up belly-birthing her second baby as well.
As you might imagine, our session greatly involved allowing space for her grief and regrets to be fully expressed and felt. On the other side of riding the waves of her pain, she landed in a sweet place of peacefulness and gratitude for her body and her child.
At some point during the experience I asked what it was that she had hoped to experience by having an HBAC. In addition to the joy and exhilaration she imagined, she most deeply mourned not getting to feel the kind of empowerment she imagined that kind of birth would bring. She wanted to experience herself as powerful, and instead she was walking away feeling weak.
Look at the core desire there, to simply feel powerful.
Her process here suddenly reminded me of my own process in relationship with my desire to be a mother. At the core of my desire to get pregnant all the years we went through fertility challenges and treatments, was to experience myself as a mother. I reflected on how rather than giving me pregnancy and birth as a way to express that core desire, life guided me into foster care. And while I gave myself plenty of space and time to feel grief, life has now blessed me with the opportunity to express that mothering part of myself, first with a newborn baby, and now a 12 year old boy we intend to adopt.
I shared this with her and I share this with you to point us all in the direction of a powerful teaching.
As humans, it is natural to attach meaning to circumstances. It makes perfect sense to link birthing vaginally with an experience of being powerful. It makes perfect sense to link being a mother with getting pregnant and birthing a baby. It is natural and in fact essential to allow ourselves to grieve our losses and dashed hopes when these things are not realized. The trick is to not stop there. It behooves us to dig and drill down to the essence of our desires that got hooked to that one narrative and open ourselves up to seeing how our core desires may otherwise still be achieved.
For me it was continuing to look for the ways that my desire to mother could manifest. As a foster parent, and even in the ways I get to nurture my clients.
For my client it was to see that she could still very much meet her powerful self with every wave of grief about her birth. Like moving through contractions, her rising to the challenge of navigating the depths of her disappointment are a testament to her power. Her power and triumph shows up everytime she breathes through a twinge of regret and lands in gratitude, acceptance, self-forgiveness, and compassion, all while rising to the demands of mothering a baby and toddler in real time.
Not how she thought it would look. Not how I thought it would look. So often it isn’t. Can you see your own way to a similar story in your life?