Motherhood: An Initiation into Wholeness – Part 2

in art, maternity

A thoughtful woman is discovering her feelings.

Art by Alice Garik

This is the continuation of Jerilyn Brownstein’s thoughts about Motherhood. Again I have created art to go with these thoughts. I am thrilled that I have had Jerilyn and the other presenters at the Spirituality and Motherhood Conference share their love and light on my blog. If you click on the “Maternity” button at the right side of my blog page, articles by these fabulous women will appear!

“As not to be the only pilgrim on this journey, offering this lens to mothers has become my life’s work. I bring this process to women through individual, couples, group therapy, workshops and retreats. I see the way I work as providing midwifery to the soul of a mother—creating and making safe spaces where a woman can give birth to all of who she is – becoming. If mothering is an initiation into wholeness, then growing into our whole self means discovering all of who we are and developing the inner muscles to hold it all: the dark, ugly, scary, angry, as well as the strong, wise, intuitive, embodied parts. I know in the past fifteen years the virtual world has grown exponentially. There are chat rooms and blogs speaking to almost every aspect of the mothering experience. Those are important outlets and forums. However, from my experience and research, nothing can substitute or replace the depth of connection and support given when women meet face to face. I find the form of group work to be a powerful medium for mothers.

Often the most profound medicine for the women I work with is to learn that they are not alone with all they are meeting in themselves on the journey of mothering. The universality of the inner and outer stretch mothering asks of women is non-discriminating. A second dose of medicine is hearing another’s experience and letting it move in you in such a way that you become more awake and aware to what you may have forgotten, denied or diminished. Lastly, the culture in the groups is one that accepts that mothering brings up, points us toward, un-earths some of our darkest material. It is not enough just to name the shadow feelings or thoughts, the work of the group is excavation: to journey in and through our most difficult material in the presence of one another to collect the gifts, jewels, and hidden capacities that are our birthright.”

Jerilyn Brownstein MSW is a psychotherapist with a private practice in New Paltz, NY and in NYC.

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