How can we transform the wounds of becoming a mother into a constructive force?

by | Jun 5, 2023 | Blog

Author: by Ryszka Nóra

Annamária Szórád is a social pedagogue, coach, future story therapist and a member of the board of MotherNature – Mother Nature Association, one of the leaders of its mother circles. Talking to her, even online, has a special atmosphere, as if I had stepped into a fairy tale. I confess that I was thoroughly touched. I wondered what path she had taken, what her story was, what led her to the point where she was now studying to be a storyteller and facilitating mothers’ groups.

How did your own story lead you to become a leader of a mother group?

My journey started when I became pregnant – almost 11 years ago. The birth itself and the period that followed was a very difficult initiation, but without it I wouldn’t be where I am today. Zorán was one and a half years old when I started going to a women’s workshop in Székesfehérvár. I was really struck by the listening to each other that I experienced there: that you can say what’s on your heart and they will listen; that it’s a net you can let yourself into. That kind of togetherness helped me to move forward on my own journey. And life has brought me together with wonderful people who have seen me, whose friendship has given me strength in the most difficult moments.

At that time, I was very much thinking that I didn’t want to go back to work. I am a third-generation helping professional, but I used to work for a multinational. Finally, I returned to the classroom to fulfil a long-held dream of becoming a social pedagogue.

A képen ég, kültéri, fű, természet látható

Automatikusan generált leírás

I decided to learn something every year while I was at home with my baby. I have kept this habit ever since.  I’ve trained as a coach, a babywearing counsellor and a storyteller, and the more I learnt, the more opportunities opened up. Story Under her wing, I was taught about leading women’s circles and maternity support. It was through her that I met Eszti László, who created the MoNa cards, and that’s how I came to be close to the MotherNature Association.
In 2017, I quit my job because I felt I was just watching my life from the sidelines, but not in control of it.  I stayed at home I wanted to sort myself out, be with my family and focus on my studies. Those were healing years.

There are very great depths to be experienced when you are a mother and you start to sort things out from the inside.

Whatever crisis I am facing, I try to see it as an opportunity: to look carefully at what is no longer good, no longer moving me forward, or is a barrier in front of me. Just like when some trying situation recurs in my life… These life situations are an excellent opportunity to put right what comes up. In
2021 I started going to Martha Szentkúti to learn the Ligetszépe  story therapy  method and I think it is the one that is closest to me. Not only do we learn a methodology, but there is also serious spiritual and self-awareness work going on.

When you are broken, it is difficult to give to others.

As I look back at the age of 42, I see that everything happened at the right time and matured me. In recent months, I have been consciously working on my own biography, which has helped me a lot in understanding the events and patterns of my life, and in correcting the factors that have been holding me back.
And once again I am at a crossroads. But I already have an inner reserve of strength to help me through this threshold. I’ve healed many, many wounds, I’ve been able to work through most of my traumas – what I was ready for.
I can now move forward, physically, mentally and spiritually. From this state I can now support others.
When you are broken, it is difficult to give to others.

You say “There are great depths to be reached when you are a mother”. Why do you think mothers have special opportunities?

I have found that childbirth often brings up some traumatic experience that you don’t even remember. When there is a baby to take care of, it’s hard to give oneself the attention, and often the processing is lost.And of course many of us have heard phrases like “be happy that she’s healthy”, “someone else had a baby”, “stop whining so much, just do your job”…

While processing my birth experience, I came across a startling statistic in Sheila Kitzinger’s book [Sheila Kitzinger: In the Shadow of Childbirth – Cataract or Crisis] that one in five women are force survivors in the delivery room. And this too is rarely mentioned; fortunately, it’s becoming more and more so these days.
It doesn’t matter what form the violence takes – it could be a mother fleeing war, an abused child – whatever it is, it is with us, our bodies remember it when we bring our child into the world.

This means that childbirth as an initiation can be very diverse…

Initiation is initiation even when it is difficult, and even when it is a very beautiful and healing birth experience. Both can be very empowering. My own experience is that when you go through a difficult initiation, it takes more energy to arrive at the same strength. Either way, childbirth is definitely a transformative experience.
If the mother is held during labour, during birth; if the woman giving birth feels that she herself is in a safe cocoon and is treated with respect – which she and her baby need – then a different quality of power can be experienced.

I had about ten years of minus on this road. I needed a very long time to make up for that. In the healing process, I had to get to the point where I was no longer lubricating the wounds and constantly looking for the root of the pain. As I slowly built, I arrived at my strength step by step. Even now I’m not done, there’s always inner work to do, I have my share of old hurts coming up, memory intrusions, patterns returning that I need to look at – but I’m moving forward now.
I am experiencing everything very deeply, both good and bad. But I think that‘s why Im good at holding on to the person sitting across from me and telling me the story that scarred them.
The traumas we cannot escape are experienced differently by everyone. For some, even a small wound is very deep, and for others, a big one is no more than a scratch.

I think it’s a great thing when someone can work through the difficulties they’re facing and not get stuck. You have managed to unravel the trauma of your birth, and looking back, it seems that you have been able to transform this difficult experience into a real strength. And in doing so, you are also an authentic helper to all those going through similar things. What advice can you give to those who are going through a difficult time? Be it the trauma of a refugee status, maternal violence, postpartum depression….

I think I have now accepted my own story(s). I can see now what has been built up in me from the trauma and pain, even if it took many years. But I’m not sure I could have done it alone.
For anyone in a similar difficult situation, I would advise you to seek help from a professional/person you trust. Someone who really sees them, who listens with an open heart and an open ear, and supports them in the way they really need.
Dare to be visible.
It is not okay that although the child is healthy, the mother is suffering. It is not okay if the mother’s injuries do not heal or heal very slowly. I have had several times when I have dared to say that my baby is four months old but I can’t walk without pain because my gait is not healing: “Yeah, but the baby is healthy, that’s the point, isn’t it?” I went from doctor to doctor with my complaint, but I got no answers, no effective help. And I was standing there alone with a newborn baby, with almost no one but my husband to legitimise my physical agony.

Dr. Edith Eva Eger writes in her book The Gift that everyone’s pain is their own, that everyone deserves the same attention, and that everyone deserves help. So let us dare to accept that we experience things differently from the vast majority.
Let us turn to ourselves with great love and patience.

How many times does a child fall and try again before he or she learns to walk independently!

When someone has a huge trauma in their backpack, you can’t expect them to jump up and run the Boston Marathon. It’s important to know your own rhythm, your own functioning, your own inner story. The process of recovery is like construction. We rebuild ourselves brick by brick. And good work takes time.
Let us be as important to ourselves as our children.

Our conversation in the previous  part we talked about why it’s good to release trauma in a circle, what women’s circles and motherhood groups give us.

The discussion on MotherNature-Apenatermature  Association and MINE, Mother Centers International Network for Empowerment.

Photos by Rita Marton


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