“If you want to understand any woman you must first ask about her mother and then listen carefully. Stories about food show a strong connection. Wistful silences demonstrate unfinished business. The more a daughter knows about the details of her mother’s life – without flinching or whining – the stronger the daughter.”
― Anita Diamant, The Red Tent
My Grandmother has 14 children. Each Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and well, basically any other reason to get together she happily brings together the legacy of her life. 14 children, 14 in-laws, 32 grandchildren, three great grandchildren … She sings and whistles as she moves familiarly through her kitchen. She pours her heart and soul in measuring cups, stirring them in alongside her spaghetti sauce, her secret cheesecake recipe, her coveted coffee cake that we’ll share over coffee and political debates around the crowded dining room table.
For as long as I can remember I’ve loved listening to these voices. Sharing stories of when my mom was young, sharing the latest books they’ve read, recommending new doctors, churches, books. I would fall asleep with the plastic couch protector sticking to the side of my face as the conversations spun deep into the night.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I had a lot of changes in my perception of myself and the world. But one of the most impactful was a sense of community with other mothers. I had been the first grandchild – entering the world in my own special way, the “doll” for my doting aunts and their girlfriends to play with, the flower girl to many weddings. I was the one paving the way, the awkward high school years… the first to go off to college… the first to get married. But this time was different. I am the oldest daughter of an oldest daughter, and giving birth to my first born – a daughter – somehow made me feel connected to a lineage of women before me.
I recently went to a Red Tent event hosted by the lovely, Katrina Galbraith of Graceful Birth and Families. It was this wonderful opportunity to talk and connect with other women – as well as celebrate my womanhood. We shared stories of child birth, but the broader theme was our own self acceptance and power. I wasn’t planning on staying long and I only knew one other woman there. But the bond was immediate, the conversation flowing freely, a few tears and laughter. The moon was high and the stars shining before I left.
The Parent Coop and Graceful Birth and Families have teamed up to provide Red Tent events, Mother Blessings, as well as Hypnobirthing education to the Chicago and North Shore area. We invite you to join us for our first quarterly Red Tent event. Share stories of what has made you rejoice in your womanhood, or what has burdened you. In this first quarter of 2017 we want to release those burdens and will go forth into the new moon with renewed power and strength.