Thursday, 31 January 2013

The Selkie Mother

The night air is surprisingly warm, not what I'm expecting as I stand here on the shore line with bare shoulders and feet.  The shift in air currents, barely enough to be called a breeze, lifts the hairs on my arms as I bury my feet in the soft pale sand feeling each grain trickle between my toes.  I have my eyes closed for what only seems a minute, taking in the sensations around me and I breathe deeply, filling my lungs with the sweet tang of ocean drenched air.  Yet when I open them again the moon has risen, hanging huge and full on the horizon, it's luminescence nearly overwhelming the softer twinkle of the surrounding stars.

As the moon steadily rises higher above me, it's silver moon path stretches across the lapping waves, their gentle rush echoing my breathing and the twin heart beats in my body - my own and that of the child I carry.  Beyond the moon path occasional cresting waves, or maybe sea creatures I can't see, disturb the surface of the water and spread a soft green fluorescence that seems to flicker and die before I'm even fully aware it is there.  I look up to the moon again and for a moment, held within it's glow I see my child, curled as though in the womb, sleeping in the moons embrace - my embrace.

I am drawn to the sea and step forward, the sand behind me so soft it collapses into my footprints obliterating them as though I never stood there.  At the water's edge the tiniest of waves  curl around my feet, as warm as the night air, drawing me further in.  I wade deeper and the ocean waters support me, in much the same way as the waters of my being support the new life growing inside.  I sway with the movement of the tide, the ebb and flow of water, of blood and breath, heartbeat and life.  Suddenly all is one and I'm am lost in the water's velvet darkness   I am the seal mother, the selkie; the waters open for me, embrace me and welcome me in, swirling spirals within spirals.  I am both chasing the spirals of life and cocooned in a watery sleep where time has never been and holds no meaning.

And then, somewhere beyond now, the Moon's song calls me back and I hear her and respond, the salt waters releasing their hold and carrying me back.  Still I feel embraced, but I float on the waves now, carried gentle to the shore.  And now, I find myself lying under the night sky as the ocean recedes behind me.  My sealskin caul fades and I am here again, feeling the warm damp sand rough on my cheek.  The moon is gone for now but I still feel her, as I still feel the rhythm of the ocean.  All is connected.  I breathe deeply and close my eyes.  I am home.

The above is inspired by a meditation I carried out on Tuesday evening, as part of a group of pregnant ladies, under the direction of a lovely lady called Nikki.  The meditation itself lasted nearly an hour and the guided visualisation was only a small part of it - and even then, the imagery suggested was simple; standing on a beach under a night sky then entering the sea and floating for a while supported by the waves before returning to the shore.  But, as often is the case when I follow guided visualisations, I found my inner being creating a much greater picture.

Through my 20s I was what might be viewed as 'left-brain' orientated - or at least, that's what I aimed to be.  I was a scientist, my bachelors degree being in Biology/Ecology and my Masters being in Ecology.  I tried to be logical, think only practically, I questioned everything and facts were the priority.  I treated my pregnancy with my first daughter in much the same way -  wanted to understand the biology of pregnancy, researched how it all worked, how labour worked, what could go wrong and the likelihood but I never allowed myself to imerse myself in the emotional side of it and I never created a bond with my unborn child.  In part because my daughter was unplanned and part of me was in denial (perhaps until she was maybe 3 years old - the PND I suffered didn't help) and also because I didn't have 'time' to be pregnant.  I was commuting 60miles each way to work, I was studying for my Masters degree, I was busy. Work was a priority because I never wanted to be a mother, motherhood damaged children, I was safest with a career.....

As a child I was much more 'right-brained' - I was artistic, created fantasy worlds, allowed my imagination free reign.  Somewhere between childhood and my 20s I came to believe that part was wrong - and I denied it, even though it was always there, you can't remove what's innate.  I'm not sure whether the depression I suffered through the latter part of my teens and my 20s was in part, a result of that.  You can't be whole if you deny the aspects of yourself you believe to be 'wrong' and if you can't be whole then you can't be helathy....or happy.

So now, over the last 12-18months - from when I entered my 30s - I've begun to re-embrace what was once a massive part of who I was.  I'm rediscovering the joy in intuition, in imagination and I'm letting go of the shame I've always associated with being 'emotional'.  And because of this, my current pregnancy feels very different to my last.  I feel connected to it, and I'm looking for ways to strengthen that connection and the bond with the baby I'm carrying - which is where the pregnancy meditation comes in.  And a side effect of this is I feel like I'm forging a better shared space with my daughter, I'm learning patience (slowly) and I'm learning to accept the bad days with the good (very slowly!), without feeling like I've constantly failed at a task that I was never prepared for.

I am the Selkie Mother, chasing spirals within spirals since the dawn of time.  Singing the pull of the moon tide of emotions, drawing me to the life within.

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