I am continually in awe of this experience called mothering and the opportunity to evolve and grow with my child. This mama love is unceasing, expansive; one moment tender, and then, when necessary, fierce.
I have been forever altered by it. My own mama love led to the vision of the Million Mamas Movement. I find it inspiring to witness the power of women gathering together in sisterhood to support a mama giving birth and how we help after birth with nursing and nurturing. I have two friends with adopted babies who receive breast milk from other breastfeeding mamas so that their babies can have mama milk, too. It's in our DNA to gather for we have been doing so since the beginning of time. And, now, we're gathering around the globe -- activating that maternal power within, whether parent or not.
The nature of motherhood is creative and dynamic. Children thrive when raised with with the continuous generosity of an open, compassionate, loving heart. And, each day, I am humbled by how deeply transformed I am by the love that I receive from my daughter and the love that I get to give her.
So while I was sitting and taking in the stillness around me as my family slept, I decided to surf the Huffington Post Parents Section, to which I contribute. To my joy, I discovered an article and photo essay by Ali Smith, a photographer who's been working on a book for 12 years called, "Momma Love: How the Mother Half Lives." She had a publisher and then the publisher went out of business and Ali Smith decided she was going to self-publish. As I read the article and looked at the photos, I felt compelled to connect with her via Facebook and to let others to know about book! Gloria Steinem says, "Ali Smith has given us a gift with Momma Love: a fresh, eye-opening manifestation of motherhood's contemporary realities.""
Mothering is not all flowers and hearts. It can be filled with isolation, gnashing of teeth, deep frustration, joy and tears. That's why I call parenting one of the greatest paths of transformation. Ali Smith has interviewed 40 dynamic mamas, including actress Amy Ryan, and they are candid and open about their mothering experiences. One mama, Diana Colbert, in particular, had leukemia and knew she was going to die and subsequently died when her baby was 3. What touched my heart is that Diana, captured by Ali Smith's raw and brilliant photography, is pictured wearing clothes that hang off her body, rubber gloves on her hands, and a mask on her mouth as she gives her baby a bottle of water. What a mama will do for her baby! The sheer power, givingness and heart-breaking-open lengths mamas will go to feed, shelter and provide for their children is seen throughout this book. We may all mother differently but there is denying the universal desire to love our children unconditionally.
This mama sister, Ali Smith, is self-publishing this gorgeous book through Kickstarter and time is running out. Find out more about her book here.