Let’s face it, the deck has long been stacked against mothers thriving spiritually. Our social, religious, and family structures together have forged a path that keeps us busy, preoccupied, self-denying, and obedient. These structures praise a woman who will give of herself but side-eye a woman who will belong to herself. The divine invitation is to be both women at the same time.
After all, we were women before we were mothers. But now there are days—maybe years—when we feel more like mothers than women, when the role of mothering subsumes the person we once knew ourselves to be. Motherhood is an imposing figure in the room of the soul, and womanhood often bows in deference to her. But we are women, first and foremost. We were our own before we were ever anyone else’s. And we have to find a way back to ourselves.
Not long ago I stumbled into reading about the ecological restoration practice of rewilding land, which heals damaged wilderness areas by removing all the harmful human intervention that has become so commonplace in resource management. To rewild a piece of land is to allow it to return to its original state: biodiverse and flourishing as nature intended. Rewilded land will look unkempt to the outside observer, but in actuality it is thriving—a fact proven by its self-regulatory and self-sustaining ecosystem.
When I read this something in me shifted, and I thought, What if we could rewild motherhood? What if, instead of confining women to some narrow social standard, motherhood could be the very thing to return us back to our original state as image-bearers of an untamed God? If we removed all the harmful human intervention, could motherhood rewild itself into a healing and nourishing space in which to dwell? Dare I hope that if freed from the meddling of outside hands, my soul could be its own self-sustaining ecosystem? These are the questions that I set out to answer as I wrote my book, Rewilding Motherhood.
The Mystery within you cannot be confined to a basin or a washtub or a kiddie pool. The mystery within you is miles deeper than you know, wondrous and treacherous and full of intrigue, beauty, and possibility. The narrow way forged for you by others is not the only choice you have. If you are ready to search the depths of yourself and trust what you find there, a wilder landscape awaits.