Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Wound in the Soul

Woman and Children by Katte Kollwitz

Let me explain why I feel so strongly that it is the woman who must make the decision to bring a child into this world and why outlawing abortion is not the answer.
I speak with authority on every front imaginable. I was adopted and know the life long soul wound that it brings,
 I was a catholic nun and came from the very faith that is fueling the oppression of women in this country surrounding womens' right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I was raped, twice, once when I was young and impressionable, homeless, penniless, and couch surfing, the second time by a former lover and therapist; a married man who made me sign a notarized letter releasing him from all responsibility if I intended to keep his baby.
I am a nurse and have studied what it means to care for a life.
 I am an anthropologist, who has studied the oppression of women and the effect this has upon our world.

Life Begins When We Wake Up

I woke up the day I became conscious of a deep painful longing. It grew worse in evenings when darkness fell and when the emptiness of night mirrored the wound in my soul. I feel it now as I write. It’s a part of me, belongs to me; I accept it and own it. It was not always so.This longing is at its core biological and energetic. My body was ripped away from the body that carried me for 9 long months. My body craved that breast, and belly. My body craved those arms, and the soft shoulder where my head should be. I feel it now as I write.

I Never Called her Mommy

This mother body is not an empty vessel where an egg magically grows into a zygote, an embryo, and then a fetus. That’s how we talk about the mother. Mothers don’t have babies; mothers make babies. This cell expands and grows from the material of the mother.  From the material … Mater+terrial,  from Mother earth. The proteins, minerals, vitamins, blood, bone, that are made from the protein, mineral, vitamin, blood, bone of the mother.  Drawn into her body, the Mother Body grows, nourishes, each and every developing cell, tissue, organ, and continues to do so for 9 long months. The expression, for every child a tooth is a tale of the calcium that is washed from the mothers mouth into the blood stream and into the babies, bones. This being is born from the body of the mother and until she draws her first breath, she is part of her mother. Until she polks her head out into the big blue world, she is part of her mother. This is a fact. Call her what you will, she is part of her mother’s substance and flesh and every cell in my body knows it. I still feel the closeness at night in the dark. I still feel the placenta at my head the walls of the womb against my shoulders, my back and feet. My body remembers being in my mother’s body. When her body says so mother and baby work together to make the arduous journey down the birth canal.  

So, the story unfolds, 

I don’t know where this sperm came from or how he found his way into this woman s body. Was it by a legitimate rape, a  God given rape, or an illegitimate rape? Was it because she let him in, seduced by the belief that she is only valuable if she is a mother? Is it because society has told her it is cool to have a living baby doll? I don't know; I only know what they wanted me to know. And that was nothing.

My mother grew up in a community that condemned her because she had a baby inside. The community said you must have this child. To end it’s life is murder. You must keep it or you must give it away.  Her grandfather wouldn’t endure the shame.  So he required her to have this baby whether she wants it or not; what are the chances that she even knew what she was getting into?  

So more often than not, the child, rejects the infant. She turns her face away, her breast and her belly. She does not want this child. She did not want a child. She gets depressed, even psychotic. There is no congruence between her desire and her condition.  She is infected with a societal dis-ease.

I Was An Unfit Mother

Before I had ever left the convent I woke up to the end of life as I expected it to be. I faced my rejection of communal life, and the next terrifying thought the most depressing I could imagine was a stale old life in Norwalk. California, with a balding husband, a station wagon, a dog and 2 children. Nothing about that life appealed to me and indeed nothing in my life prepared me for it. On this, the most terrifying night of my life, I made a solemn promise to myself, “I’ll take care of you. always”. 

So, I know the pain of the woman faced with the future she rejects. I know the pain of being the mother who does not want the life of being mother to children. Furthermore, I know the pain of being incapable of the kind of attention and responsibility that good mothers need to be good mothers. I know.

I also know the pain of feeling my body change to prepare to grow a being inside my womb. The first time I was pregnant, my whole being was laser focused on nesting, on finding and making a home. But there was no home, only a sleeping space in a dark lower room where I had a lamp, pillows, a blanket and sleeping bags and a suitcase. There was no nest, no home.

My first abortion was delayed because I was not allowed to decide for myself whether to be a mother or not. I had to find a psychiatrist who would judge me unfit to be a mother. The year was 1967, before Roe v Wade.   So for those who believe that making abortion illegal will prevent abortion. Think again. Maternal suicides will increase, maternal death from coat hanger abortions will increase and the result of both is a child who will live his or her life separate from the body of the mother who bore him or her.
We have a terrible problem in this country  - an exceedingly large number of children in foster care. Many of these children are not adopted. They often are not adoptable; perhaps they feel the pain in the soul and the rage it brings on. They act out. The prisons are filled with sons and daughters who have been forced to live and grow up in homes that are toxic. Homes without mothers who want and love them. With mothers who bathe their minds in coke, meth or alcohol to kill the pain. Mothers who are too weak to stand up to an abusive spouse. Mothers who resent their offspring because it is safer than hating the almighty god, father, mother, or church who made them mother this infant when their destiny lay elsewhere. Even homes with loving foster parents and adoptive parents who, no matter how loving they are cannot heal that initial wound in the soul.
Abortion is about breaking a link in a chain before the damage is done. Abortion is about protecting the sanctity of the mother child bond. It is about making sure that there is a nest for the egg; fertile soil for the acorn, a warm safe home for the child.
I chose twice to break this link, because in my soul I knew it was the right decision. Even in the second case when I wanted the baby, I knew it was not to be; I had a different calling.

 They call me Mother Earth; They Also Call me Wolf Mama

I was raised to be a nun; a community healer and teacher. I have a capacity for love and compassion that is huge as anyone will tell you. I also have the capacity for anger, violence, irresponsibility and carelessness. I have lived a long and productive life giving my talents and my life for my community the world and the planet. That is what I was prepared to do just as mothers are mentored to be mothers.
Forcing a woman, whether she is raped or not, to take on the life consuming task of creating, nurturing,caring for, and binding her life to another human being is wrong. It is destructive for mothers, for children, for families, for communities, and for society.  Strong supportive families create strong healthy children and adults. Our prisons are filled with the victims of forced conception: Mothers in jail for abandonment, for beatings, for infanticide. Children in jail for crimes petty and grand.  This isn’t about the stories with a happy ending, its about the millions of other stories that don’t work out for the best. Fortunately, I made the right choice and it is not yours to judge. Please share my story. It has taken me 50 years to have the courage to tell it, not because I felt shame but because I feared for my life. How dare you judge what is in the hearts of the countless women who have been holding their stories close who like Mary, Pondered these things in her heart.

""Each person comes into this world with a specific destiny - she has something to fulfill, some message has to be delivered, some work to be completed.
You are not here accidentally - you are here meaningfully. There is a purpose behind you. The Whole intends to do something through you."


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