Sunday, January 1, 2012
Women know Women
I really love the men in my life. Somehow when God sent me to earth he decided to plop me right down in the middle of the kindest, wisest, gentlest, strongest, happiest, most respectful men he ever knew. My dad, brothers, uncles, friends, and my husband, have played a huge role in forming me and my positive world view, and cultivating my interests and talents.
But I really love the women in my life.
I have been of the opinion for a good many years now that women learn best from women, and that women are loved best by women. As I've become a woman myself, I have felt the bond to my mother, my sisters, my grandmothers and aunts, and my female friends grow progressively firm and energetic. No one could understand it who has not felt it.
Every type of human relationship in our world seems to be increasingly fragmented, ironically thanks to the Communication Age which left us with screens and phones and social media. As I have studied for the birth of my first son, I have become aware that in the older world, no one had to study. Young women had seen (and likely assisted) perhaps dozens of births before their own time came. They inherited oral traditions from their mothers and grandmothers that taught them how to position themselves, how to seek relief, and how to care for their children.
Most thankfully, I have also received great counsel from all the women in my life. But in our society as a whole I think something has been lost. Women in our culture have forgotten a great deal of the old wisdom that used to be taken for granted, mostly because their spheres of influence and education have now blended unrecognizably with the spheres of men. Don't misunderstand me --- I am glad that we now live in a world of (increasingly) equal opportunity. But women have lost some of the important connectors once naturally embedded in the lifestyles and tasks that were exclusively theirs. One of those tasks, childbirth, is still exclusively theirs... only the supportive structure (of women) around it has been dissolved.
As a side note: This is one reason I am so thankful for the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which seeks to build up around every women a fortress of other women. Women from every kind of home, every kind of career, every kind of family and ethnic background continue to share their women's wisdom, and serve each other, together, as only women can.
This post is mainly to express gratitude to the women who have shared that most intimate bond with me. I have the archetypal angel mother, but along with her a whole army of mothers who have taught and nurtured me. God must have worried a great deal about how I was going to turn out, to have provided me with such a hearty stronghold of gracious, wise, light-hearted, sober-minded women.
Part of my daily legacy is to cultivate those relationships, and to be a mother myself for other women who need reassurance that their womanhood still matters.