A little backstory: Since I was pregnant with my son, I struggled with some depression issues– particularly after he was born. I didn’t realize there was something ‘wrong’ or ‘off’ with me though until I started to feel better when he was going on a year old. Now 2.5, I still have some problems with motherhood. I have felt a disconnect of sorts since he was born. Our immediate postpartum bonding period was spent apart (which for those of you who don’t know, your levels of oxytocin– the love hormone– is highest during labor and in the first 1-4 hours immediate post-birth. It is imperative to keep mother and baby together, encourage skin-to-skin and breastfeeding during this time. Those who don’t experience this critical time undisturbed have higher incidences of postpartum baby blues/depression, impaired mom-baby bonding, and difficulty with breastfeeding), and I blame that (as well as my not-so-pleasant labor and birth experience) on the distance felt between me and my son, as well as our initial difficulty with breastfeeding– though I can say with pride that at 2.5 years old, we are just starting to wean. But it was a hard road. Over the last 2.5 years I have struggled with depression, severe anxiety, and anger issues. I have fought the urge to just leave, feeling like my son would be better off without me because I have little to no patience for him and I am so quick to anger. It doesn’t help that he behaves completely different around me than he does his father, Midnight.
The other night I had a breakdown. The last straw fell and broke mama’s reserve. I totally detached, I yelled and tried to walk away. He slumped his shoulders and cried. I was heartbroken. Midnight quietly took him to Nana’s for the night and I sat down and cried. I spent the next three hours sipping a drink and watching a French movie, trying to distance myself from everything and calm down. The next night I did something I hadn’t thought to do before, for whatever reason. I turned to my herbs, and to my spirits for help.
I took the Eastern Cedar (a juniper in actuality) and Lemongrass, bound together by hemp twine, and an owl feather. I opened the doors and windows throughout the house and I went along, starting in our bedroom where the three of us sleep, and worked my way through the rest of the house wafting cleansing smoke into every corner and around every frame, ending with myself. Lady Brighid of the hearth and home, let strife be no more in this house. Let only happiness and the sounds of laughter and joy be in abundance. I went outside and, after asking, snipped a sprig of our small rosemary plant and used it as a switch to flick melted water from last Winter’s first snow throughout the house, and then over myself. Lady Brighid of the hearth and home, let strife be no more in this house. Let only happiness and the sounds of laughter and joy be in abundance. I lit a candle at each of my altars, then went and put a pot of water on the stove, peeling off the rosemary leaves and dropping them in to steep. Pouring the resulting tea into a glass cup, I placed it on my Wyldwood altar. And then the strangest thing occurred. I experienced an energy release.
It started as a swaying, than a bobbing of my head. Then my shoulders began to loosen and my arms swing. Then the movements became more jarring and quick, my hands flicking quickly. I could feel the energy flowing into my arms, but it felt stuck. I realized I had on my copper bracelets and removed them. I again began to move and flick and shake, the urge uncontrollable, and I could feel the energy move down my arms. But it wasn’t enough to push it through. And so I knelt at my altar, and placed my hands around the cup of rosemary tea, and I breathed in the pleasant smelling steam down into my lungs and my belly and pushed the energy down my arms, out my hands, and into the cup. After a few repetitions, I stood and got the energy flowing again, then sat and tried emptying the rest of the energy. Once I felt I did all I could, I called on those spirits who I could feel standing by, waiting.
- Virgin Mary, Mother of God, please hear my prayer.
Yemaya, Mother of Us All, please hear my prayer.
Lady Brighid, of the hearth and home, please hear my prayer.
Mothers and Grandmothers before me, my Disir, please hear my prayer.
Please help me to be a better mother.
Please help me to be the best mother that I can be, the mother that my son deserves.
Please help me to have patience, please temper my anger.
I cleansed my copper bracelets with the tea and placed them back on my wrists. Afterwards I went and looked for some offerings. I took three decorative jars and filled them with local blueberries and drizzled with raw honey from the hives that were being harvested when I brought my bees home from the Romanian beekeeper, wise in her years. These I placed one each on my Ancestors altar, Brighid kitchen altar, and my Yemaya altar. Late next night I poured out the tea into the yard under the light of the full moon after a few minutes of moon-bathing followed by some moving meditation, my bare feet brushing the cool grass damp with dew. After the initial cleansing and ritual and the next day, I felt calmer. More at peace. I was able to pay more attention to my son (though I wasn’t able to do anything else). However in the following days, the ill-temper and impatience returned as I needed to get things done around the house and couldn’t play all day with my son. So, there is still work to be done. But it is a start, at least.