Marriages and Mothers

Ed, Calla and baby Heather

Ed, Calla and baby Heather

CELEBRATING WOMEN AS MOTHERS: We celebrate mothers today. Families, mothers, husbands and children celebrate their own way. It’s one of those universal moments where we enter ritual space – stop time to pay attention to something we respect or treasure…something I think of as being on the continuum of caring which is love.

A Calla Lily for My Mother, Calla Lily Carlile.

A Calla Lily for My Mother, Calla Lily Carlile.

MARRIAGE BEFORE AND AFTER CHILDREN: Over my years as a marriage counselor, I have been privy to so many stories about how children and wanting children changes marriages. As usual, the influences can be joyful and enriching or seriously stressful and discouraging. So few couples experience pre-marital counseling and fewer pre-baby mentoring. Often I find that the new parents must grieve the loss of the pre-child marriage relationship. That time of finding their stride as partners in intimacy, home and life is a journey of learning and joy. That part of the relationship can be partly or completely displaced by the necessity to build the roles of parents.

Carlile Parenting  Relationships Model

Carlile Parenting Relationships Model

But, new parents aren’t thinking of grief and loss; they are wanting the wonder of their child. When I mentor couples about how to appreciate these complexities, I remind them that, yes, there is loss and grief which is sad AND  there is also the happiness and excitement. It is important that we embrace both for, with wisdom, we understand that both are sacred and are born of love.

MOTHERS GIFT US WITH ALL OF THE ROLES: Girls can become young women, become damsels, become women, become wives, become mothers, become step-mothers and, eventually, grandmothers. Or not. Moving through all the stages of growth may be unavailable to some of us. But, it is my opinion that women who love mothering can ensure that we enjoy the experience of all of them. And, in my case, since I never gave birth, my mother was that source of sincerity, intelligence, gentleness and grace who placed such love in my life and, thereby, gifted me with a role model which taught me to honestly love the children and grandchildren and ex-wives of my husband.

WOMAN-TO-WOMAN: I lost my mother early. Sometimes I wish I could take her for tea or travel with her the way she dreamed about or work on another quilt together. Those wishes teach me to plan and live my love today with the beautiful women close to me. Much mothering is that “tending and befriending” which women and girls naturally share with each other.

As always, I invite your response, questions and conversation.

One Comment

  1. Dear sister. Reading your notes today I suddenly realized another beautiful truth about Calla Lilly. She also gave birth to me, and because of that, I am also one of the luckiest girls alive, but I am persuaded that, as manifested in you, this physical tie would not have made any difference in how much we were loved. We could have as easily all been adopted; as the baby chicks she encouraged to find refuge with her favorite hens. She would smile watching the brooding mother spread to accomodate offspring from several families. another of her gifts to you.

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