The Making of Messy Madrecita | Part 1: Why I Created My Own Happy Place
Introducing, Messy Madrecita
I have a story to tell. While many of you know me as a new mother, my story is not about motherhood. It is a story about loneliness – about my ongoing work to reframe my relationship to myself – and my dream to create a place for nourishing transformation, for all of us ♥
Once upon a time (June 2020, to be precise) I gave birth to my first child, Naya. I wasn’t raised around many babies, so aside from the making of the baby part (which I was pretty well versed in), I was utterly clueless as to what was to come in pregnancy and motherhood. So, when I got pregnant, like any typical well-educated millennial I consumed as much information and gathered as many resources as I could: Podcasts. Books. Prenatal Pilates and Prenatal Yoga. A chest freezer to hoard frozen dinners and breastmilk. A shaman for my vag (aka, a “Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist”), and a shaman for my future boobs (aka, a “Lactation Consultant”) throwing my heart, soul, and privilege at the endeavor with gusto.
You name it, I did it – and, if I’m honest, I freaking loved it. My sense of self was transforming at a blistering pace, along with my exploding belly. For some, “transforming at a blistering pace” might sound unsettling – but I’m a glutton for intensity and growth, so for me this pregnant-and-preparing-for-motherhood chapter was the absolute TITS. I was spiritually and intellectually fulfilled. I felt prepared for any physical or emotional challenge pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood might bring.
And yet, I felt…. lonely. On a hunch that community was the missing ingredient, I endeavored to connect more with other pregnant and new mamas. It helped a bit, but the loneliness lingered.
I started to get curious about this loneliness. I talked to many moms across different generations and cultural backgrounds, and I found that my experience of loneliness was shared by all moms – yes, ALL MOMS – to some degree. Naturally, I asked: Why do new mothers feel lonely? Is this unique to new motherhood? Does it have to be this way?
I found that my experience of loneliness was shared by all moms – yes, ALL MOMS – to some degree. Naturally, I asked: Why do new mothers feel lonely? Is this unique to new motherhood? Does it have to be this way?
I now have a rough theory about why loneliness emerges for many in becoming a mother, and how it relates to the human experience more broadly. Here we go:
Archetypes are a breeding ground for Loneliness
The media is keen on crafting archetypes – pregnancy and motherhood is no exception. Along my motherhood journey I’ve met: Earth mama. Power mom. Silly, don’t-take-myself-seriously mommy. Conscious mother. I could rattle off a dozen more Mama Archetypes, representing an endless range of options onto which I can project my nascent mama identity.
Yet, as diverse as archetypes are, no archetype fits my, or anyone else’s, experience. Not only do they lack multidimensionality, they are static – they are not in process, or dynamic. And yet, as new mothers, our experience could not be MORE dynamic. This disheartening disconnect between our shapeshifting internal experience and what we are presented with externally creates space for: “Why am I different? Where do I belong?” All internal dialogues that are ripe for feeling alone.
Main-Stream society isn’t down with “Messes” - or, really, humanness. I’m still working this one out, but my not-so-earth-shattering working thesis is: at some point, modern-industrial-traditional society began to hide Mama Messes because they make other people (ehhem, cis-male people) uncomfortable. I’m talking about our emotional experiences. Our rapidly changing relationship to self and others. The massive shifts in our physical bodies. Etc. Where acknowledgement of these “messes” exist, it is often couched in dismissal (“it’s just hormones”) or remediation (“The #1 Pelvic Floor Solution!”). Where’s the space to acknowledge, to honor, to hold space for the mess in the first place? Deviations from the static, pre-pregnancy self may be tolerated, but they are scarcely celebrated and embraced.
So, as women, we receive an insidious, not so subtle message: Get a grip on your Mess. Until you have it figured out, hide your Mess. As a collective of Mamas, we’ve succeeded in protecting others’ discomfort. And, in doing so, we’ve also internalized the very real, unavoidable messiness of womanhood, mistaking our messes as flaws: what we’ve been told is our mess is actually our humanness.
What we've been told is our mess is actually our humanness.
We can see how this creates a vicious cycle. Mama archetypes show us shiny, mess-free lives. We feel ashamed, we don’t talk authentically to others (not even other women) about our “messes”, or more importantly, or relationship to them – as a result, we feel alone in our experience, even though ironically what is unfolding for us is quite literally a universal experience. Blech. Yuck. F#CK.
It’s not about motherhood. Reflecting across the span of my life, loneliness is not unique to becoming a mother. In fact, all my transformational inflection points (massive career shifts, a relationships ending, trials with health, etc.) have all been coupled with loneliness.
This flavor of loneliness was not externally imposed – it stemmed from the tension between my pre-existing and newly forming identities, and the unintegrated, compartmentalized way in which I carried them (turbo-business Lauren, soulful Lauren, goofy Lauren, adventure-seeking Lauren). I was lonely in my relationship to myself – the archetype loving and non-mess loving characteristics of mainstream culture just brought to light a loneliness that was already there.
Here’s the real kick in the pants: this “alchemy of loneliness” is something all Humans experience – regardless of gender, parental status, race, or any other identifying characteristic. This is not a story about Motherhood or postpartum – it’s a story about the human struggle to find wholeness in a forever changing self, within a culture that has little tolerance for dynamic change.
This is not a story about Motherhood or postpartum – it’s a story about the human struggle to find wholeness in a forever changing self, within a culture that has little tolerance for dynamic change.
If this is the moment that you say to yourself “well thank goodness I am not a member of mainstream society or culture,” I’ve got news for you: if you are reading this post, I would bet you have some programming, conscious or unconscious, from main-stream society. And, that’s nothing to be ashamed of or deny. Let us accept these truths as an unavoidable function of modern industrial society culture, and from that neutral place create space for compassion and healing.
Look: this is tragic, it sucks, and it’s fucked up. But, I’m not shouting, “screw the patriarchy!” Someone else is singing that song, and it’s an important truth for all of us to hear loud and clear – it is just not my song to sing.
Here is MY song: Fast forward to today, and I feel less lonely and more whole in my experience more often... Not always, but more often. Yay ♥ Is it because “I suddenly found my tribe”? No. It is because I got serious about owning some simple, yet powerful tools that have helped me process and integrate the transformational changes past present and future. It is because I started spending more time with myself. It is because, above all, I started being honest with myself and others about my experience – about the challenge, the grit, and the beauty of it – instead of jamming it into a box of what I expected my life should look like.
Which leads to my song: whether you’re a mindful mama, a consciousness explorer, or a curious human – let’s create a place where you can find wholeness through exploring the full breadth of your human experience, too.
Whether you’re a mindful mama, a consciousness explorer, or a curious human – let’s create a place where you can find wholeness through exploring the full breadth of your human experience, too.
The first tool? Storytelling. Specifically, sharing my experience in a way that acknowledges we are constantly in process, and being formed. In a way that’s non-archetypal, celebrates all of my parts, re-understands “messes” as beautiful invitations for connection, laughter, and deep DEEP humanness.
Those other tools? They’re coming. Sign up for our newsletters + stay tuned on IG@MessyMadrecita and you won’t miss them ♥
I’m going to share my story through this blog at MadrecitaRising.com and on IG @MessyMadrecita. But, this song is one we will write together – so let me know what you think. What resonates? What made you uncomfortable, and why? I am here to receive it – to hold it – and to amplify it, as we sing this song of humanness together.
Interested in more topics related to conscious intention? Read my other posts -
1. Confessions from a White Mom of a Niña Mexicana
2. My Motherhood Vows - I Vow To Be Messy
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This experience has me set on a new theory about how interpersonal growth and evolution happen. New fractals of the self emerge and step ont