Shadows of Motherhood

Posted: October 28, 2013 in Inner Journey, Poetry
Tags: , , , , , , ,

As the wheel turns, the days grow colder, the nights grow longer and shadows pervade our inner and outer landscapes. Darkness brings with it the desire for introspection, reflection and contemplation of our own shadow selves. Samhain reminds us of the deep descent into the underworld, of the thinning veil, of the influence of ancestors, and of the masks we wear in daily life. At this time of year I find myself following the dark inner spiral and reflecting upon my own shadows, a regular journey that is no longer fearful to me but instead enlightening and, eventually, uplifting. In honour of the seasonal shift, I offer two poems from deep within the shadows and push them into spotlight. They are reflections on my dramatic transition from maiden to mother, a role that brings its own joy and darkness – often in equal measure. From grieving over the loss of my personal identity, to dark and debilitating postnatal depression, these poems lay bare some of the hardest aspects of the emotional shift into motherhood.

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First Days
When you were born
I lived in days so dark
That your little light only deepened the shadows
Made the dark corners of my mind heavy and visceral
I loved you
Fiercely
With a heart that expanded and bruised with every gaze
As my heart swelled
My mind shrank
Into fear and sadness and loneliness and grief
I loved you
Overwhelmingly
With every fibre of my being
But that love seemed out of reach
Far beyond my reaching fingertips
Across the chasm of my soul
Across the abyss of my mind
I loved you
Completely
Yet could not create a pathway between loss and love
Holding you close brought aching pain
I drowned in tears and shame
So much shame
How could I fail you so in your first days?
How could I grieve at a time of joy?
I would look to your father
Beseeching
Needing
Holding you forth
Blaming myself for feeling blessed relief
When he took you from my arms
And I hid my face behind empty hands
Oh but I loved you
Intensely
I watched you grow
And my love grew
And your light grew
Chasing away the darkness without my awareness
Like the gradual dawn after a long night
My world slowly shifting
From dark to grey
To better days

Stolen Seconds
Sometimes I steal into the garden
And stand by the washing line
Laundry forgotten in my hands as my eyes search the skies
Looking for something
Seeing everything
Noticing nothing
I breathe deeply
And release one long shuddering sigh
A breath held without conscious thought
Waiting for just a few minutes peace to fly free from the constricted chest
I look down
At my trembling hands
Clutching tiny clothes
Representations of the miniature people
Who take up enormous space within my daily life
Leaving little room for me as I shrink and shrivel to give them more room
I let go
Of the laundry
Of the breath
Of the stress
Of the tiredness
Of the constant needing, feeding, reading, singing, sighing, playing and praying for peace
I let go
And close my eyes
Wondering if tears will kiss my cheeks in gratitude
For the silent still moments
Stolen swiftly
Beside the washing line

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