Transitioning out of Motherhood.
Updated: May 27
I recently asked my oldest daughter if she would like to rent my room. It’s a light, spacious room with large blue framed arched windows that look onto the quiet tree lined street and a private door that leads onto an overgrown garden. She is between houses and looking to move into the area. She happily agreed to move in for a few months over the summer, giving me the opportunity to catch up on some debt. Instead of paying rent to a stranger and living with people she doesn’t know while she looks for something more permanent, she would be helping me financially and moving in with her two youngest (young adult) siblings, whom she adores.
We considered all kinds of combinations to figure out what to do, but while the kids are still young, between the army, university and more permanent jobs, the family home is still an active and vibrant central hub of family activity, and besides it’s a great house and a solid investment, in these uncertain times. So this seemed like a good option. Tomorrow I move out and she moves in.
I know you never really leave motherhood, but I do feel like I am transitioning out of something and even though it’s temporary and I’m only moving - to stay with my partner, a few suburbs away, something inside me is feeling very fragile. As I clean the house, possibly for the last time, hopefully for the last time, (for a few months anyway), I feel confused and conflicted by a sense of both freedom and heartbreak. It does feel like the end of something and I’m pathetically not good with endings.
Dreaming of Pomegranates, 1912, Felice Casoati.
It’s not quite empty nest syndrome, since I’m the one moving out and the nest remains quite full, but it feels like something of a transition, a preparation perhaps, for the next phase.
My darling children, I write in my head, I hope you enjoy our home as much as I have. (I’m a home body by nature - a sourdough-bread-baking, sauerkraut fermenting, glorified washing woman, and my clinic is also at home). I’m not too attached to anything in the house, apart from T’s ceramic bowls, grandpa’s paintings, the cats and the bamboo kitchen blinds I ordered from China. When you open them in the morning, please tie them up so the chords don’t dangle in the water of your unwashed dishes. Please feed the cats, water the outdoor plants and lock the house at night. I’m not far if you need me. Though I do have fantastical visions of traipsing around India, for now, I ‘m just in Remez.
“Should we make a WhatsApp group so if you need milk or toothpaste, you can just text me?” I suggest. And they look at me like I’m mad. “Sure”, my younger daughter says, “if that will make you feel better mom”. It will, it will. “How about we make a day, like every Tuesday I’ll come and clean the house”, I suggest, witnessing myself from a distance cringing at my attachment to being of service. I hate cleaning. But my moon in Virgo presses on. “And I can bring food and check on the cats every few days”. I catch myself and breath into the fear, like a teenage child about to embark on a solo year trip around South America without enough money. But I never went to South America without enough money, instead I had babies.
At nineteen, I sat my parents down and said, I want to move out. My father said, “I thought this day was coming, I just didn't realise it would be so soon”. And so it was. With all the naïve enthusiasm of a nineteen-year-old without a job, I joined my boyfriend and a friend and moved into an apartment, and so began my adventurous life. I went to university, got a job on the weekends at a day care-center in a local hospital, and then before I finished my degree, I fell pregnant, got married, had a baby, went to live in the country, came back, finished my degree and had another four. Now, I have been washing children’s clothes for more than thirty years.
I pack away my winter clothes and throw my summer dresses and a few pairs of Havianas into a large straw basket. I throw my make-up and some earrings, my toothbrush, my homeopathy kit and a few essential books into a box and now, it seems, I’m almost ready to leave home again. I’ve scrubbed the bathroom, washed the sheets, and tidied the kitchen. I made three bottles of granola and some fermented sauerkraut. There’s milk (and oat milk), and eggs and tomatoes and onions and fruit and chicken soup in the fridge.
Should we have a family breakfast at the house tomorrow? I think to myself, or should I just quietly disappear into my unknown future. Would they even notice if I just left? Or would they just continue to play their guitars outside on the deck in the sun, laughing at things I can never understand, like tick-tocks and gangsta youtubers whose lyrics both escape and shock me. I’ll buy salmon, and I’ll make bread. It will be the last time I make bread in the house. I’ll have to put my starter to sleep in the fridge for the summer, and somehow that just floors me.
They would all gather around the big wooden kitchen table, between rehearsals and the local markets and boyfriends and fresh water springs that call, and they would eat sour dough toast and scrambled eggs and Mediterranean salad and tahini and they would hug me and comfort me and tell me that it’s all going to be ok. I know it is, of course it is. But still it makes me cry.
I will take a dose of Ignatia, so that I can breathe.
A little about Ignatia
Ignatia is a leading grief remedy. Usually prescribed for patients suffering from unrequited love. It is a remedy needed when the emotional body dominates, leading the otherwise sensible patient to histrionics, emotional excess, hypersensitivity, hysteria etc. In this case, it is also my current constitutional remedy. The patient needing Ignatia has trouble catching a full breath. The effect on the vagus nerve create a supression. There may be a feeling of a lump in the throat. She sighs a lot and may have an aversion to fruit.
The well balanced Ignatia is sensitive, passionate, and refined. She feels deeply the beauty of the Earth, the depth of her love, and the thrill of achievement. Her intellect is usually sharp, but it is not her dominant mode of expressing herself and her environment. This is more emotional, intuitive, and passionate. The healthy Ignatia girl is very open to the wonder of life, and more keenly perceptive than most. She is a deep person who appreciates beauty and thinks profoundly. She is likely to be quiet or shy when young because she does not like vulgarity, and so she protects herself from the world to some extent. Like Silica and China, she will respond enthusiastically to those who are sensitive enough to understand her, and to those who, though less sensitive, have demonstrated their good intentions. The healthy Ignatia is warm and affectionate to family and friends, and is more outgoing and spontaneous than other sensitive refined types. - Phillip M Bailey MD, Homeopathic Psycholgy.
Rebecca Bermeister is a certified Classical Homeopath available for online consultations or treatments from her home clinic in Pardes Chanah, Israel.
She can be reached via her webpage www.rebhomeopath.com
email - email@example.com
Whatsapp - +972(0)547793606
Her book, A Very beginners Guide to Homeopathy and Family Health can be purchased here.