Allot of pagans follow the idea of the Triple Moon Goddess. Maiden, Mother and Crone have become a life path for all women to aspire to in the stages of growth that we attain. How does one move from one phase to the other. Despite the obvious physical markers of these changes of a woman, what emotional and spiritual changes happen at these milestones of womanhood?
It all begins with a period, unless we are discussing grammar, that is a different story. Puberty not only comes with the gifts of budding breasts, raging hormones and cramps, but also with the wonders of the Maiden. A females onset of menses is the physical marker of a female moving from childhood to adulthood. This is the beginning of the Maiden stage. The maiden is the innocent time of a woman (or not so much in many cases if we are discussing sexual prowess), a time of learning and making her way in the world. This is a time were most females go from being a girl to being a woman trying to find herself in this world. She would most likely be looking for love, finding a mate or life partner. This can be a time of struggle and heart ache, but with lessons that guide us in life.
I will always remember the time that I felt the strongest at this time. I was 24, and had paid my rent for the first time on my own with out help from student loans, my father or a roommate. I had worked my butt off waitressing and paid all 1100 dollars of my rent myself. I had received my second degree elevation and felt that I was beyond the maiden stage. I celebrated this "monument" by getting a maiden moon tattooed on my shoulder. I was moving up in the world! Not!
I had somehow convinced myself that even though I wasn't physically a mother, through my needs to nurture my friends and coven family, I had attained this milestone. I guess for me it was partially that even though my friends were in their mid 40's at the time and we not mothers, that I could consider myself "no longer a maiden".
But when does motherhood start? Is it when you first see that magic pink line on the pregnancy strip? Is it when you are filled with all belly in your third trimester aching to get some sleep? Is it when you are pushing out (or cutting) your child into this world? When?
This can tear a thinking mind in many directions. Is it at the start of life? What is the start of life. Well today I am going to officially say, motherhood begins at the point of where the woman.. oh hell, I can't even describe it. So lets start with my personal example. I was pregnant in 2006, hubby and I got pregnant right away. However I lost the baby at 7 weeks, it was devastating. At the time I considered myself a mother, but now that I look back I was still missing the key elements that make a mother truly a "mother". It took us 2 years of trying from that point to get our son. And for me, seeing the heart beat flicker on the screen was a monumental occasion. I felt like a mother, I did everything for my unborn child..I was in love. But I still did not know the pressure and have the heart of a mother. Move on to the time my son was born. I cared for him and did everything for him, I was super duper attachment parenting mother. But even now, I look back and think "that was the easiest part".
Now, lets interject some thoughts here. How do lesbians, and infertile women become "mothers"? How about mothers that do not think about their children first, such as drug addicts that would sooner buy a fix than a nutritious meal?
Well, in the end it all comes down to attitude. The wonders of giving and knowing that your child comes first. That even if you want to take a shower and go to the mall, if your child is sick or unable, your ass is staying home and dirty. The blessing of the mother is to give herself to others. When a woman takes on this responsibility and mindset, she is the "mother". And when did I realize and understand my "motherhood" stage? Well, as unromantic as it sounds, it was in the drive-thru. My husband and I had to grab a quick dinner one night when our son was around 12 months. We ordered for ourselves and then I realized my son needed to eat too. I looked back at him in the back seat and could tell he was hungry, and I felt amazingly guilty that we were going to have food and if he was going to eat that night it would end up being junk food. It was in that moment that I realized how strong my love for this being was, and that what I gave him was the best gifts he got. It was then that I knew in my heart that I was a mother.