In a very real sense becoming a mother is a loss of self. I am no longer just a woman. I am a woman and a life within. This inter-connected identity is the deepest unity one can know. We are separate, but we are one. This cycle of growth is ever deepening and expanding. At just 16-20 weeks gestation, the ovaries of a female fetus hold all the eggs she will ever carry. None develop after birth. The cell that made my life possible was in my mother, within my grandmother. I am a part of her, and she is a part of me.
When does life begin? What is a soul? How is it connected to the eternal? How is it separate? What is my role, as a woman, as a mother, in this rhythm, this ebb and flow of life and death?
As a mother my children come from me; they are a part of my self. As a mother, I create a space for them within my body: Expanding walls, encircling fluid, nourishing connection. This space enables growth. And this space expands as my child enters the world. No longer within my body, this space that I am is ever growing as I provide nourishment and support throughout their lives. This loss of self, this being a mother, is an expansion of self. My ego-boundaries break open and grow to encompass the lives of my children.
But how do my ego boundaries grow to encompass loss?
This week, I miscarried. I lost my hope for the life within me to grow into a baby, into a child, an adult. I gave it my love, but it wasn’t enough to sustain its life. I lost a child. My child. I feel cold and hollow.
What is there in this connection and loss? Is this hollow space a deepening of the dimensions of my self? Why do we hide from death and numb our pain? Is sorrow separable from joy? Isn’t this sorrow also a connection?
How can I wrap my awareness around my questions and live in my reality unafraid of the mystery? Expanding my ego-boundaries to encompass loss deepens my connection with others. We are all connected, both in our sorrow and in our joy. In our life and in our deaths. It is our common humanity. My loss has heightened my awareness and gratitude for the miracle of life that I have in my children. For the miracle of life that I am. That you are. That we are all, together. This wild, untamable, raw, sacred, mysterious and natural, this ever-deepening hollow space in me, is also in you. We are separate, but we are all one.
Losing a child is a loss of self. But in this loss, I find my self full of life.