Without a Village
The absence of a motherhood village.
As I've moved deeper into my journey of motherhood—pregnant for the second time and raising a toddler—I've realised more about the consequences of living a villageless life. It's not just a lack of free childcare that I miss. I can see how so much of my own education and opportunities for learning have been scuppered. Instead of having a village from which I can obtain insight organically, through the practice of witnessing, I am in a situation of raising myself as a mother and raising my daughter without the compass of community.
It moves beyond the expected support, the watching of little ones so you can have a moment to yourself, to clean, cook, educate, relax and connect. As my family continues to grow, so too do my needs—as a person and mother. Particularly concerning my emotional needs and the emotional burden of being a parent. I am finding that now, more than ever, the complex emotions of becoming a mother to two little humans are coming into play. And I so wish it could also be something I was able to share. To have security in knowing that there is a network invested and actively working to help keep my children safe, to help them navigate the world, to show them the many ways of love and life.
We can't thrive alone.
I see the mother I want to be with my children. At times, I can be her, but I find she often gets pulled out to sea with the waves of everyday living. A mother who at times is lost and overwhelmed by the might and ravages. She is lost within the constant and consuming nature of mothering. And I grieve for her, for the tangibility of her. But she is not someone who can thrive and flourish in the wilderness alone.
I see how, just like my child, I am a toddler in the arch of my motherhood story. Moving forward without the guidance of those who have come before me, without open displays of what it takes.
From the variety of emotions, the physicality, the ways that we are made vulnerable or fortified by the tumbles and triumphs; I see how we have such little preparation for one of the greatest undertakings as a result of living isolated lives.
In the moments of calm within, I feel that, in many ways, maybe I have been granted the freedom to traverse the undulating terrain of motherhood on my own terms and time. And I do see the gift of being able to mother without the overwhelm of well-meaning but often useless advice, pressure and examination.
And yet, especially as I leave the little island of motherhood I have called home for the last two years, towards the new destination as a mother of two, I feel so strongly the absence of care and caring that can be found within the community of the village.
Parents are raising themselves, as well their children.
More so than ever I feel that we are trying to raise not only our children but also ourselves within the chaos of motherhood. And it’s so hard to do when you are in the eye of the storm. The perspective of the village, the togetherness, providing moments of safe harbour and rest for ourselves. And normalising what we are feeling and experiencing, supporting our intimate relationships with a reduction of pressure, to connect with one another and indulge in one of life’s greatest gifts: the gift of reciprocity.
There is so much that has been lost in the disintegration of the village and the normalisation of living a villageless existence.