My postpartum loneliness connected me…….

postpartum isolation

Next week my one and only child will be six years old, he was born a day before Mexican mother’s Day. I clearly remember my lovely Mexican mother telling me “Mija este es el mejor regalo, ser madre”  “this is the best gift ever, being a mother.” Any of you who have been raised by a Mexican mother or have been around Mexican families understand how important and central mothering is to the Mexican woman. My mom had been waiting for this day since I was born, she had now passed on her legacy and it would continue on. Rewind 20 years earlier I had given my mother many headaches, being the eldest and quite rebellious, I frequently stated that I did not want to get married or have children that it would only get in the way of doing everything I wanted to do in life. My acculturation to the American Dream was in full bloom, I wanted to go to college be successful and maybe just maybe find a man that liked to cook and that would understand and be patience with my mood swings, fierce independence, and commitment issues. But children no, being a mother no, that was never in my plan, until I turned 34 years old and met a wonderful man, got married and yes soon after,  I started dreaming about babies.

My little guy was born May 9, 2011. After 48 long hours of labor and a cesarean….. I was alone in the recovery room feeling confused. I just wanted to hold my baby, I wanted to nurse him and kiss him, sing him songs in nahuatl and bless him with sweet grass and copal. But instead I was alone in that dark and cold recovery room, I felt scared and abandoned.  I wanted my mother…I wanted her to hold me, sing to me, and tell me that everything was going to be okay, and to tell me that I was strong and courageous, that my grandmother and great-grandmothers were there to protect me and guide me through this journey, because we come from a long line of warrior women that have endured their share of colonization, oppression, violence and trauma. I wanted connection.

When I finally held my baby in my arms and began nursing him, I realized that this mothering gift would come with a whole lot of tears, frustrations, anxiety, and uncertainty. Most importantly, I realized the responsibility and sacredness of being a mother, I realized my need for healing…healing the generational wounds, the discrimination, the internalized oppression, healing from narratives of marianismo and machismo, of expectations and obligations of what mothering should be. This healing was not only for myself but for the 7 generations before me and for the next 7 generations to come.  At that moment my mind, body, and spirit came full circle feeling my womb connecting to my ancestors, feeling the presence of my grandmothers…… right there behind me telling me…… “mija, estamos contigo, siempre” (“daughter, we are here with you, always”).

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