Mother love

Each day is a little life: every waking and rising a little birth, every fresh morning a little youth, every going to rest and sleep a little death. ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Today, one of our cashmere goats gave birth to a tiny, new and utterly perfect kid. I helped, after we determined it looked like it was breech. I took those little hooves in my clumsy hands and pulled carefully, gently and consistently as the mama strained and bleated until the little one emerged.

The birth of our kid

The birth of our kid

Once out, she was not feet first. Rather, she entered the world in a perfect pike position, nose almost touching her ankles. We should name her Greg Louganis.

My beloved husband asked me later if goat midwifing was on my bucket list and my answer was no. That’s an incomplete response. It wasn’t on my bucket list because I had no idea how amazing it would be to help another mama guide her new little one into the world. Seeing the miracle of  a living, breathing, alert little soul emerge was an unasked-for, now treasured, privilege. It evoked a reverence that came from some timeless place within me.

All my life, I’ve heard women talk about how this is a man’s world. Yet, we women have the gift of creating and nurturing life. That’s a stupendous responsibility. I would not trade it – ever. It enriches and strengthens my life purpose every single day. It is something deeper and more sacred than anything I ever accomplish professionally. It informs everything I do.

Even this gentle cashmere goat has the "mama bear" instinct. Though she was afraid of our Jack Russell terrier prior to becoming a mother, she now rushes at the dog every time it is in the vicinity of her kid. She recognizes the pup as a predator, and rightly so. Her selfless mother love easily trumps her onetime fear.

Even this gentle cashmere goat has the “mama bear” instinct. Though she was afraid of our Jack Russell terrier prior to becoming a mother, she now rushes at the dog every time it is in the vicinity of her kid. She recognizes the pup as a predator, and rightly so. Her selfless mother love easily trumps her onetime fear.

That feminine quality goes far beyond motherhood. I have friends and family who have chosen not to have children. I respect their decision, and this post has nothing to do with that choice, because my childless female friends are just as instinctively, deeply empathetic with, say, aging family members or friends in need. There’s a primitive response to lean in and help, rather than turn away,  when we see people in need or pain.

Because of that instinct, loving our neighbors as ourselves was likely easier for women in biblical times to understand and master than men (had they been allowed to learn it.)  An eye for an eye may have been an approach more readily understood by men of that time, acutely aware of the need to protect their vulnerable families from the ruthless.

When Caitlin Jenner talked about feeling like a woman trapped in a man’s body,  she was asked about makeup, nail polish and her favorite designer. That’s not femininity to me. Femininity is the imperiously strong – yet deeply, warmly protective – unconditional love we women freely give to those who mean the most to us. They may be our spouses, our life partners, our children, our parents, our friends – even our pets. It is evident in all classes, all races, all women. It’s the reason that honest men sometimes say they are afraid of us, because that love can change from “love thy neighbor” to “an eye for an eye” the moment someone menaces our loved one.

A father's love is exuberant, tender, gentle and strong . His influence is powerful and lifelong.

A father’s love is exuberant, tender, gentle and strong . His influence is powerful and lifelong.

There is an equivalent masculine energy in men. It just manifests differently. A man deeply, perfectly in love with his spouse is not as uncommon as the mainstream would have us believe. When a man rises to the defense of his wife or life partner, it can be an awe-inspiring sight. Then, there is the deep connection a child shares with their father when he teaches them how to do *anything.* My love of inspired storytelling and beautiful language comes from my father, and I’ve passed it on to my son. That son is quite protective of me, in a very respectful and loving sort of way, mixed with wry and wise-beyond-his-years humor – another wondrous expression of masculine energy.

It’s difficult to write a blog, a song, a poem and believe I am creating anything new. It’s easier not to try. The older we get, the simpler it is to simply resign ourselves to the growing list of things we will never do. But, really, how dull is that? We can create – or help someone else create  – every single day. All we have to do is encourage each other. Be deliberately aware of one another and focus on our gifts and what makes us happy.

My sweet little goat is one of millions. She won’t be remembered. She won’t accomplish anything noteworthy. Since she is an angora/cashmere cross, I am not even sure her fiber will even be marketable Yet, I am deeply happy she is here. Her presence is a delight.

What if we meet every new person with that same nonjudgmental, welcoming delight? What if we engage adversaries with the sure knowledge that whatever beef we have with them pales in comparison with the simple miracle of birth my family witnessed today? What if we try something new, either because we are somehow compelled, like my baby goat (whose birth was certainly not her idea) or simply for the eventual  joy, the new life, it will bring to us?

7 Comments

  1. Sherron
    Aug 16, 2015

    BEAUTIFUL

  2. Mama
    Aug 17, 2015

    Beautifully written, San.

    • Sandra Brownrigg
      Aug 18, 2015

      Yet I shortchanged you, since we both know Dad is not the only wordsmith in the family. Yet he *is* the only one who quotes Robert Burns :-). My latest favorite quote – “Let them cant about decorum, Who have characters to lose!” – directly contradicts everything you taught me (especially since I first misread it as a call to action: “Let them cant about decorum, *we* have characters to lose!”)

  3. Kathy
    Aug 18, 2015

    It is quite a thing to witness a new life enter the world. Animal or human, it is something so basic yet so miraculous it makes a wonderful and magical impact. It is something I take very seriously in my work. I have been helping women deliver their babies for over 30 years. It never gets old and for better or worse, that excitement and reverence never goes away. I am in a position where I am not directly physically involved with the birth process, and I miss it. Every time I walk on to the labor deck I feel that rush of anticipation and excitement. It will never go away. I feel so very blessed to have a career that I love so much for better or worse..

    • Sandra Brownrigg
      Aug 18, 2015

      I thought of work like yours as I wrote this. It must be hard not to be directly involved now, yet you’ve helped – what, thousands? – of new mothers and new souls as they began the new stage of their journey together. What a wonderful career you’ve had thus far, my friend.

  4. Julia
    Aug 18, 2015

    Love this! You are an amazing writer!

    • Sandra Brownrigg
      Aug 18, 2015

      Thank you. In this case, I was present for an amazing event, and I am really happy some of that spilled over into this.

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