Sunday, 18 March 2012

For my mothers.... para mis mamas

Wall Painting at Luna Maya Birthing House SCLC where my first child was blessed to be born

I feel inspired to write this post today, not only as I sit comfortably in bed with my mother's day breakfast, listening to my children play (occasionally scream and argue) downstairs BUT because as orchestrated as this day may be I don't think it matters where or when or why the inspiration to reflect overcomes us.

As far as I know it's only Mother's Day in the UK today, but it allows me to think of all the women I know wherever they are in the world. When I want to think about what a Mother, Mum or Mummy is I cannot think  of this soley in terms of 'she who has born a life'.... Of course the very act of creating a new life biologically is incredibly sacred, special and an experience seriously under threat globally due to the way reproduction is treated by dominating capitalist forces and the medical Dire-rachy as is the usual tone of my posts. Today though, I wish to remain positive and divert my virtual activism to one of pure LOVE ...

Scheper-Hughes and Warrior 
Motherhood in my understanding is very far removed from the physical, spiritual connection to the womb, the act of being a mother (without any of the accusatory adjectives we so like to place before it) is a social act, one created from love, necessity, desire, situation - that involves the not so simple act of caring for someone or something in an unconditional manner, regardless of the consequences - something anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes has written of as [M]Otherhood. Exploring the darker side of a mother's love and quest for survival, Scheper-Hughes' celebrated ethnography of a Brazilian shanty town Death Without Weeping forces us to really explore the nature of caring and the social construction of the right type of caring we are conditioned in to believing in the UK (and associated homogenised countries). Dealing with the nature of infanticide in this shanty town context where women battle against the most extremes of poverty, starvation, abandonment and spiritual awareness, one is forced to confront the question of just how humane it is to try and survive at all costs if the only result will be further suffering.... ultimately it leads to the very deep questioning as to exactly what lives we are here to lead and for whom?  
At it's best, this piece of writing is provocative and celebratory of a specific type of motherhood that quite frankly takes one brave warrior to keep going! As with any female academic worth her publishing salt Scheper-Hughes is not without her critics - I'm finding this happens a lot with feminist anthropologists who promote activism with their work - but am of the ilk where the belief is you have to shout loudly in order to get the attention, provoke a reaction and then have the discussion about how REAL it all is. 

Today I celebrate all the beautiful women who have come before me - those of my own blood relation who birthed, cared for and laid set the high standard of unconditional love that flows through my cherished family. My great grandma, great aunts, nana and mum who have been at my side during both of my (re)births and have taught me to overcome so much. I celebrate the lives of my grandmother-in-law and my mother-in-law who have lived lives that to me seem so far removed from my reality that I often confuse them with a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel!!

To all the women and honary MotherMen who have cared for me, dried my tears, reassured me, helped me birth and filled me with so much love and desire to live sometimes I feel I could burst... Especially to th@se who have challenged me, made me stop and think and understand that as a person I am a teeny tiny spec of dust in this world... but not one without meaning...

For the love and respect of all [M]Others...... Thank you for the JOY! 

Kiki Suarez - My Head is Full of Children

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