Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Natural Woman

This is a guest post from Kimberly Zook, editor-in-chief at The Motherhood Muse. One commenter will receive a free subscription (see below).

In the first issue of The Motherhood Muse literary magazine, we published an essay titled “The Natural Mother onus,” written by Caroline Poser. This essay came from her book, MotherMorphosis, and after reading the essay and book I began to ask myself “How is a natural mother different from a natural woman?”

My first introduction to the idea of a ‘natural mother’ came well before when we were living in Canada. My husband and I arrived at our prenatal class reunion with our 1-month-old baby. The nine other moms and I were first shuffled onto a patio deck with our little ones to get a group photo. Every mom stood there beaming holding happy, quiet babies while I stood there smiling with uncertainty as I held on to my screaming, colicky baby. As we moved indoors to the next room our daughter’s cries drew curious, confused and concerned looks from all the newbie parents. My husband and I did not know any different as our daughter had been crying from colic since the day she was born. We left soon after arriving to calm our baby. On our drive home I looked at the photos in our digital camera, and that’s when it hit me: the other moms looked like naturals. I, on the other hand, looked like I was barely hanging on.

I still see moms at the playground who have it all together: polite kids in clean, matching clothes, a stroller packed with snacks and sippy cups, a humorous comment about last night’s date with her husband to another mom, abundant energy to chase the children, coordination to speak in coherent sentences while changing a diaper and keeping an eye on the other children, a body resembling pre-pregnancy, a face glowing of health, and an overall aura of togetherness. A natural mother.

I usually sigh, tuck my disheveled hair back behind my ears, avoid eye contact with the spit-up stain on my shoulder and bend over to continue digging in the sandbox with my two daughters. I’m lucky if I get a shower every three days, find matching socks for my daughters, remember to pack clean diapers before leaving the house, get my older daughter to eat any of the snacks I brought and recall what my husband and I talked about the night before. Motherhood is a work-in-progress for me.

I should be honest that parts of it have felt natural for me. Like nursing, cuddling, protecting and loving. But I struggle with everything else.

After reading “The Natural Mother onus” by Caroline Poser I decided to create the feature in The Motherhood Muse literary magazine called “A Natural Woman.” I created this feature for all moms who struggle with motherhood and feel unnatural at it.

I decided to call this feature “A Natural Woman,” because in the moments when I am feeling stressed, tired, or frustrated as a mom I often seek that deep, often lost and forgotten part of me that is just me. Me before children. Me as a woman. Who was I? Who am I now?

It is nature who helps me reconnect to that hidden, former part of myself.

After a day of tantrums, unfinished laundry, unanswered emails, crumbs stuck to the soles of my socks, no naps, a frozen dinner, and too much chocolate, I find the only way I can calm down is to open the front door and stand outside in the night air. Sometimes I only get the time and space to only think about nature, but in so doing it centers me. Nature still nurtures me, me as a woman. In the peace that it brings my mind and heart, nature gives me the chance to think about who I am.

The goal of The Motherhood Muse is to help mothers reconnect with nature for many reasons, one being for ourselves. The literature published in our magazine aims to do so by connecting readers to experiences of parenting and nature. Readers, however, may not always put themselves in the shoes of the author, which may not bridge a personal connection to nature. To do so, readers will find the feature “A Natural Woman” helps them to question how nature nurtures who they are and how being a mother influences their relationship with nature. I hope this feature will help every mother find a way to feel the natural connection we have with our environment.

“The Natural Woman” feature is open to anyone who wishes to write about themselves or interview another individual. If you are interested in being featured in this piece in our magazine or know of someone who might be, please email me at editor@themotherhoodmuse.com

Thank you for joining us here today and we look forward to your comments! One winner will receive a free subscription to the 2010 issues! To continue on this blog tour with us, please visit themotherhoodmuse.com for our blog tour schedule.


Charlotte said...


Barb, sfo said...

Thanks for devoting some time and thought to the reality that motherhood is not always an easy road.

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

Charlotte won the free subscription. Would you please send me your email address at ekgeroldmiller@gmail.com and I will send it to the editor. Thanks!