“She looked in the mirror and saw three.” ~Jennifer
In January of 2012, I got the inspiration to begin this project. It literally was a breath of air when I felt as though I were suffocating. I had no time or space of my own. I was sleep-deprived, angry, overwhelmed, confused. I had what I would call creative laryngitis. There was so much I desperately wanted to express, but I was voiceless. During those cold, dark days and nights, I yearned for a haven. I needed a place to go for support and release. I was struggling in my postpartum body. I hoped for a safe environment where I could work my way through the rocky terrain of being a new mother. I wished more than ever that my own mom were still alive.
I had made the passage from maiden to mother, but it was not an easy one. I missed much of my former independence. I wanted my body back. I loved my husband and knew what a beautiful blessing our daughter was, but something was still amiss. Ideas and emotions were boiling within me and rising to the surface. I needed the protective embrace of a women’s circle where I could be witnessed but not judged. That’s when I invited two creative souls to join me in exploring womanhood and its three phases: maiden, mother, crone.
I avoided looking in the mirror back then. When I did, I saw nothing but an exhausted mess staring back at me. The maiden was gone. I experienced none of the joy of my former self. I couldn’t find the earthly wisdom of the crone in the distance. I felt ruined, broken, sliced into pieces.
Almost five years have passed since then. I’m now the mother of two amazing children. I’m still tired and busy, which is to be expected. I’m still finding my way through womanhood, but I know I’m not alone. I’ve waded in the healing waters of this community. I’ve been seen. I’ve seen you. And now I see more than a broken woman when I look in the mirror. I recognize the joy of the maiden. I acknowledge the ever-changing middle path of the mother and how I shift along with it. And I know the wise woman is right by my side. I might not perceive her clearly, but she is always there, ready to step into the picture. She is me, and I am three.