On finding our way to each other
I have started and abandoned a few blogs over the years, primarily because I wondered who would care about what I had to say. It's been awhile now and I can't exactly remember what those blogs were even about, but what I do know is that I didn't yet believe in my voice and the power of speaking. Instead of using my voice, I tended towards apologizing for it. I have never been considered shy (nor have I ever been considered ebullient!), but when I look back on that version of myself, I see a timidness that kept me either quiet or at a whisper.
I suppose I say this to acknowledge, more to myself than anyone else, that it takes a certain amount of courage to keep coming back here and using my voice. The more I investigate through reading, conversation and reflection, the more I come to understand how charged the word "mother" can be. This makes it feel somewhat dangerous to talk about, because my feelings and perceptions, your feelings and perceptions, could be so different from the next woman, even if there is a lot we agree on. How do we speak and listen without dividing? How do we hold our different experiences without rejecting each other?
It's an idealistic thought, much tidier and safer in word than in practice. But it's worth aiming for, worth practicing and failing and practicing again.
Other Motherhood represents a significant piece of my journey thus far, which is a genuine desire to transcend the stereotypes of a childless woman. I want the word "mother" to be expansive and inclusive enough to hold women who are not called to have children, who are unable to have children, or who aren't in a situation to have children. It occurs to me, however, that some women without children may not identify with the word "mother," or may not want to. It's not a part of their personal experience and story, and I honor that. What I hope is that by continuing to return here, by continuing to use my voice, I will nurture a place of intersection. A place where we can feel a sense of belonging in our commonalities and learn to stay better connected amidst our differences.
If we whisper, we won't be heard. If we remain quiet, no one will truly know us. So let us be courageous and use our voices. Then we'll find our way to each other.