Mother spirit warrior
It’s Mother’s Day 2018, so of course I will write about mothers. But not in the way you would expect. I’m actually going to write about tattoos. Well one of mine specifically.
The above photo is me preparing for a speaking engagement I did last month. I share the photo because it’s a good one of Hehuwuti. She is the name I gave to my tattoo. It means Mother Spirit Warrior. I wear her as a constant reminder of the brave, warrior spirit within me, within each of us, and for me, within my role as a mother to my four children.
For me, motherhood didn’t come naturally or easily. I grew up with a mother who’s passion was and still is children so I was always surrounded with kids- my two younger siblings and the various kids my mum would mind during our entire childhood. We had a lot of family friends with kids and knew all the neighbourhood kids, so I was surrounded with children. I was part of a faith community full of families and when I was old enough, began minding other people’s kids and working in the children’s church, then the youth group. It was no surprise when I considered becoming a teacher. But there was a very obvious difference between my Mum and me. She had always wanted a family: to be a wife and a mum, and didn’t return to the paid workforce until after we had all left school- and then she went into a childcare centre! While life, right! And she loved it. And she was and is amazing at it- kids gravitate towards her, and she always knows what to say to brighten their little hearts even if she only speaks one sentence. Amazing. And that’s how I was raised. Knowing I was loved, encouraged and supported. Her joy of being a mother flowed out of her into my identity as a child. It gave my mum joy to be a Mum.
So when I fell pregnant at 20, after being told I probably couldn’t have kids, having had surgery and medication throughout my teen years for endometriosis and ovarian cysts, I was thrilled. As was my husband. It was confirmation of a miracle I had experienced around my healing, and, although it was much earlier than we had planned, we were excited. Because it was before we had planned, we had only been married a few months, we were both studying at uni, we lived in a tiny one bedroom unit and had barely scraped together enough money to second-hand furnish our rented home. I give that context, because perhaps my age, our young marriage, our studying schedule, and our financial circumstances had to do with how absolutely hard I found being a Mum. Like hard. I’m terrible on no sleep, and although my first born was a dream baby, she really was, it was hard. I was tired. Looking back, now more than 14 years ago, I don’t remember many joy-filled moments. It’s a blur. To be honest, so were the next four pregnancies, births of my other three children, miscarriage of one, and the early years that followed. I suddenly realised, it wasn’t as easy for me as it was for my Mum, and that was the standard I had made for myself. My perfectionism stole the early years of my motherhood.
I had believed the lie that I was not a good mum. That my children could tell it wasn’t enough for me to be their mother. That my anxiety and lack of self confidence in my role as a Mum had seeped into their identities, and that any issue they had or displayed in their emotions or behaviour was a reflection on my shortcomings as their Mum. Lies. They were all lies. But a lie we believe becomes our truth. And I believed it. Completely.
A lie we believe becomes our truth. It doesn’t make it true.
I don’t need to go into further detail here, that’s a book I’ll write one day- you can hold me to that- but I will say, I no longer believe those lies. It took a lot of intentional, conscious healing work of my sub-conscious, a lot of soul searching and self reflection and a whole lot of truth seeking, but I am now free of those lies. Most of the time. They certainly don’t attach as truth anymore when they sometimes randomly pop up again.
So I say all this, to get back to my point for today’s blog. My tattoo.
Mother spirit warrior.
I had to fight for my freedom as a Mum. To challenge what had planted as true around my identity as a mother. To understand my own mind and the protective mechanisms that it had created to protect me from harm, so I could choose my own helpful truth. Consciously. From wisdom and Truth, not fear and shame.
I fought for my new truth and here is what I found to be the Truth: that
I am a good mother. That I’m doing the best I can in this moment, and if I’m not, I can choose to change something and try again. There is no version of this that is failure, it’s all just learning. My children are secure in who they are because they know they are loved just as they are. I am enough. I am a good mother.
If you are a Mum, that hasn’t yet believed that truth, that read it and thought ‘that’s not true of me’, please go back and read it again. Out loud. About you. Because it is true of you. Even if you don’t believe it yet or it doesn’t feel true. And on that, feelings can’t be trusted. Only Truth can. Not what feels true, but what is True. Truth. Truth with a capital T feels good, it makes our soul and our spirit within us smile, it’s what we really want to believe to be true. We do have that choice. To choose our beliefs. It’s not about feelings. It’s about choice. It’s about Truth. Truth doesn’t change when feelings or circumstances do. It holds steadfast. It fights for us when we are not strong enough. It makes us strong because Truth is strong.
I hope that has encouraged some mums out there today. It’s a journey. Fighting for truth is a battle simply because it’s against our mind and fear fights to remain. But it need not be hard.
Use Truth as your weapon. Rest in Truth. Rest assured.
You are a mother spirit warrior. She is in there. You love your kids. Now love yourself as a Mum. Keep going. This is the most important Truth you may ever need to fight for. After all, your kids were gifted to you, so Truth believed you to be adequately enough for the role of their Mum. Now believe it as true. Because it is.
Much love, from one Mum to another, fight on beautiful mother warrior spirit.
Reminded mind health clinic, Noosa.
Grant and Sally Harvey