I am currently reading the book The Red Tent and I read a line that has stuck with me, and I am finding myself still thinking about it.
“The more a daughter knows the stories of her mother’s life – without flinching or whining – the stronger the daughter.” The Red Tent, Prologue pg. 2
I was really struck by this. It is said in this book that mothers wanted daughters at this time in history because otherwise no one would hear or tell their stories, and they would in fact die with them. How have times changed now? Do we speak our stories out loud? Do our mothers? Do/did our grandmothers? Our aunts? Our friends> What do we know and don’t we know about their lives?
This resonated with me so much because I very much feel the holes in my soul of the stories I haven’t heard from the matriarchs in my family. Some stories are still salvageable, they may still live on through my sister’s and my ears, some will never be heard. Others, still make me flinch.
How does this relate to birth? I often ask my mom to tell me the story of her pregnancies and birth, particularly my own. I think understanding the circumstances within which we came onto this planet, the feelings our parent had, what happened during the birth, how did they feel…it may give us some clues as to feelings or fears we may have, anxieties, maybe we have a fear of hospitals, or we feel really comfortable about birth etc.
Every time I hear the story, a new detail comes out. To be honest, this is one of the stories that makes me flinch. I feel sad because as a person who will birth in the future, and as a doula supporting families through this time now, I feel sad that I couldn’t be there for my mom back then. Or that someone else similar couldn’t be. The stories of my grandparents’ births are completely lost to me, perhaps one day I will be able to hear some of these stories.
We are still healing the wounds of patriarchal systems and lost stories of our female bloodline I think. One thing we have lost, and that is female gathering spaces. In my eyes, this has influences birth culture today. Those lines of communication are not freely open, and people are going into birth blind sometimes. That is why I feel so strongly about the work we do as birth workers.
Each time women gather in circles together, the world heals a little more.
I talk about this often with my own circle, about how I think we have lost those spaces where it was safe and conducive to share ancient wisdom with each other. I mentioned it again recently with my counsellor and she said something that I will not soon forget. She said, “perhaps there is a creation process in that for you, perhaps you have to create this space for yourself that you so yearn”.
I don’t know what that would mean or look like, but it sparked something inside me now. I have no clear path ahead, but manifesting powers are brewing inside me.
I wonder, how connected do you feel to the stories to the stories of the women in your family? Have you heard the stories that they feel they want to survive through time? Do those stories make you wince, do they still illicit pain? How are you creating female space for your future generations and for your community? I want to hear from you <3