Tag Archives: women

We Have a New Mantra, Ladies…

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You know the scientific symbol for female, the one that’s the circle with a cross coming down from the bottom.  And then, there’s the male symbol, the slightly more wonky circle with an arrow flying out of the top.  The female one is steady, anchored down, because our reproducing tidbits stay put.  It’s the male bits that leave and fly all over the place, hence, the wonky arrow.

This is how they define male and female in organisms with different more unrecognizable features.  The male flower spreads, the female flower stays, anchored and waiting, in fish, in mosses, in humans.

In some ways I feel like this is accurate.  I stay … at home.  Daily life mostly revolves outside me, kids leave for school, husband leaves for work and I am anchored somewhere in the middle.  People return to me.

But in most other ways I feel that this is highly inaccurate.

Because if there is one thing we women do, it’s change.

We get our periods.  And we keep getting them. Then we have babies.  Our bodies change and our bodies go back, or don’t quite, as the case may be.  Then we lose our periods and, according to many trusted sources, continue to deal with ebb and flow of hormones … FOREVER.

We change. And most of this volatility is within us.

Pregnancy for me is pervaded by a sense of betrayal.  My body becomes a mysterious stranger waiting to sabotage me with a heavy club of nausea around any appropriately smelling corner.  Three times now have I been amazed anew at the way my body stretches, the way it opens, and stunned at how stinking long it takes to get back to normal!

I say it when I’m pregnant.  I say it at least once a month, “What is happening to me?!”

I’m a woman.  I change.

Perhaps this is why men are known for their distinct mid-life crises and women are not.  We do it by bits.  We aren’t overthrown by time all at once.   We get it in phases.

Phases!  Everything since my first son was born has been a “phase”.  Sleepless nights, clinging babies, teeth razoring their way to the surface have all been “phases”.  I have been beset by so many phases that I don’t think I’ve had a lick of normal in six years.  Do we talk of phases to make each other believe that there is a normal somewhere?  Thinking that there’s a normal somewhere that I’m missing is rather depressing. Do we want to believe that things will go back?

I can never go back to many things, my old bra size, my ability to sleep through anything, my ignorance of four other peoples’ bowel movements.   I am more efficient, more ambitious, and I’ve learned how to work.  I don’t want to go back.

I, then, hereby vow that I will not utter the deceptive phrase “It’s a phase” to any Momma, anymore.  I will instead choose to believe that we are in a boot camp of the most intense kind.

I will learn to duck and weave and roll.  I will become a delicate ballerina.  I will let it make me a master of change.  Like anything else in life that’s well practiced it will become a habit with me.  So, when the gray hairs come and I find my shirt still clean at the end of the day; when it’s finally time to get off this crazy monthly roller coaster of fertility, I will not be overcome.  I will be anchored in something steadier than myself.

It’s what we’ve been given to practice, Ladies.  Let’s do it well so our sisters, daughters, and daughters-in-law can do it better.

Our new mantra can be, “Normal is not a thing!”

Meaning…

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A friend from Mom’s group gave me this book to read called, “Freefall to Fly: A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning” by Rebekah Lyons.

I don’t normally get sucked into this type of book. But I totally did.

It’s a woman’s story about uprooting her three kids in the suburbs to move with her pastor husband to the city. I felt an immediate kinship. Of course, she moved to New York, which is a significantly higher level of urban than San Francisco.

One page in particular jumped out at me.  The emphasis is hers:

“Even more shocking is the number of women suffering depression. The more I dug into the problem, the more I realized its vastness. I discovered that we as women are 70 percent more likely than men to experience depression. One in four women will suffer some form of depression in her lifetime. From anxiety attacks, as in my case, to mood disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and so on, women are under siege. And the majority of women who are wrestling with depression fit nicely in the twenty-five- to forty-four-year-old age bracket.

We aren’t depressed because we are getting old; we are depressed in the prime of our lives.

During the years when we ought to be making some of our greatest contributions to others and to the world, we are stuck. Caught in a quagmire of confusion, hardly able to put one foot in front of the other. What is going on? And why now?” –Freefall to Fly by Rebekah Lyons p.67

It’s no mystery to me that my best energy is required to foster new life, namely my beautiful babies. But sometimes I feel like I’m undergoing a long slow death of self while I’m busy making sure this mothering life gets done.

I wonder whether this “death of self” is healthy or unhealthy. I do have moments where I feel fully alive. But is it so inconceivable that I feel like that all the time?

Most of my days are spent with a nagging sense in the back of my brain that something is being left undone, something more than the laundry and my to-do list.  Is there more resistance at play than just my full mommy schedule?

I know I am more than a mother.  I know the world needs something from me outside of my useful womb.

But how? And what? And when?