I’m over five months pregnant and have been doing a ton of research on all things labor, delivery, newborns, and motherhood. But there’s one area in which research is lacking and that area is called, “Matrescence”. The term was coined by Dana Raphael, Ph.D. (1973) and it remains a largely unexplored area of study. In fact, I conducted a survey on my social media pages and 82% of women (mostly new mothers) had never even heard of the term!
In short, matrescence can be likened to adolescence. It refers to the process of becoming a mother. The developmental passage where a woman transitions through pre-conception, pregnancy, and birth, to the postnatal period and beyond. It recurs with each child. Of course, we all know that during pregnancy a woman’s body is changing rapidly and inside a tiny life form is taking shape to be a completely unique and individual human being upon birth. But what we often forget is that the woman herself is also changing rapidly and taking shape. Not just in a physical sense, but in a bio-psycho-social-political-spiritual way.
Yes, the mother gives birth to a child. But the child also gives birth to a mother.
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh said it best, “The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.”
I’m currently working on a series about Matrescence, including a poem, which will be the first of its kind. I can’t believe no other artist has delved into this topic before! I hope that you’ll stay tuned and share this information with the women in your life. New mothers, expecting mothers, and women who want to be mothers. May we all be comforted in knowing that we’re not alone.