The self criticism was louder once I became a mother. Souls have been entrusted to me & I've felt that their is more to be critical of. How could I be a good mother when my heart still aches for the physical & emotional nurturing that was lost when my own mother abandoned me? How could I trust my abilities as a nurturer when I feel so detached from myself due to childhood sexual trauma? How could I express love & affection openly with my children when it is a constant reminder of how my innocence as a little girl was violated?
I am faced with these questions daily, with intrusive thoughts moment to moment. Children are insistent, motherhood is demanding & my anxiety felt as if it all was crashing down on me. I felt myself emotionally checking out. I could not put off the healing work any longer. My children needed me. I was gasping for air. I needed me.
I've felt withdrawn as revisiting the trauma seemed to magnify all of my imperfections as a mother. Discovering that I express some similarities as my dysfunctional parents filled me with so much anger towards them. Unlearning those deeply embedded traits is one of the hardest things to take on as you're trying so hard to be a better parent than they were. Motherhood has been the most triggering, has me feeling so exposed with no where to hide. But the very resilience that helped me to survive my childhood is still within me & refuses to give up. Once I began to see my motherhood journey as the healing medicine my soul needs is when I began to live with intention & see the sacred in everything.
With motherhood came reparenting myself. One way that I nurture my inner child is with ritually prepared baths. Here is where I make time for self reflection & empowerment. Where I enter into sacred ceremony with myself. I play soft music, or meditate to the sound of crickets. I sip herbal tea as I dry brush the self critical chatter off of my body, revealing my inner beauty. I bless the waters with my fingertips while repeating loving affirmations. I pray that the healing properties of essential oils & bath salts cleanse & sweeten my being. I enter my bath with the intention that it will unclench & soothe my soul. I massage my body, shed tears, take cleansing breaths & release. I feel grounded as I sink more into my skin. I feel deep renewal. I encounter myself whole. Affirm that I am healing.
A gateway of gentler, peaceful (re)parenting opens up. I emerge softer. I gaze at my naked body in a full-length mirror & affirm that my soul is clean. I am beautiful. A channel of light. I am holy. I hold more space for self compassion & forgiveness. I thank myself for birthing joy. Whenever I feel that I've reached a crossroads, I know that I can always choose my sacred path of self care.
-Tennille Graves @lovemamatea