by JoAnne Dodgson
My grandmother gave birth to a daughter who gave birth to a daughter.
In my grandmother’s womb, the growing baby generated the entire collection of eggs her ovaries would naturally hold. The potential for my existence was floating somewhere inside a pair of delicate pouches holding millions of precious eggs inside the body of the little one who was coming alive inside my grandmother’s womb.
I wonder if my nana knew.
I wonder what else she carried while pregnant with her daughter who one day would give birth to me. Was my nana happy? Did she feel safe? Was she nourished and loved?
What was passed along in the braiding of the family trees with European roots, and in the migrations across oceans and lands?
What passions and dreams, unspoken stories, and beliefs about mothers and daughters flowed through my grandmother’s veins and settled into her bones, touching the little one in her womb?
Mother to daughter and mother to daughter. Birther and birthed to birther and birthed. A weaving of creation, three generations, womb to womb to womb.
The lineage of wombs flows back in time too. The potential for my grandmother’s existence was held in my grandmother’s grandmother’s womb. Our fibers of connection can be followed even further beyond to the Great Womb giving birth to creation.
What has been woven, dismantled, remembered, and rebuilt through countless generations of human existence on earth? And what happens now? What continues beyond us? Beyond me?
Because I am a daughter who has not given birth.
At a precise moment in the flow of womb cycles, one tiny seed was released from a delicate pouch in my mom’s body. Floating along a winding path, that singular egg made a remarkably impossible journey to the womb, welcomed in only one sperm, and instinctively started to grow. Momentous transformations began to take place guided by ancient blueprints and cellular knowing.
The inner sanctum of my mother’s womb was my first homeland on the earth.
After giving birth to four children and many years of taking birth control pills, my mom decided to have a medical procedure to prevent pregnancy. The process was supposed to be simple and safe. She almost died.
The doctors insisted that the painful symptoms and her declining health were all just in her head. Eventually, her uterus and ovary had to be surgically removed due to the negligence and harm. Somehow, through a long recovery, she survived.
Who is tending to the inner landscapes of women’s bodies?
How do we reclaim healing traditions that don’t leave harm in their wake?
Grieving. Loss. Woundings. Fear.
Lifeblood. Creation. Ancestral lineages. Love.
Embodied fibers of connection weaving through time.
Our wombs are holding so very much.
Six decades have passed since my birth. My body is now the home of an Elder Womb. The ending of my bleeding time was sacred initiation, a transformational passage, the opening of a doorway into unknowns.
My feet are rooted now more deeply in the earth, in rich soils of lived experience and the vast mystery. My body and spirit are joined with the moon and the spiraling dance of change. Getting close up with death heightens living.
So what is my medicine for this time on the earth, in the path of my life, with my Grandmother Womb?
What promises do I hold, what dreams do I carry, for the generations now and to come?
How am I a vessel of co-creation?
Breathing into the birthing, a quickening is felt. Waters flow, a cleansing, a clearing, as structures wash away and pathways open. The unstoppable momentum is ingeniously designed to move around and under and over and beyond any efforts to hold creation back.
Questions rise to the surface when the birthings begin. Relationships swirl around in the currents, unraveling, rearranging, while what has been dissolves away.
Give a name to the essence of who and what is being birthed, to the spirit of all that is becoming. Honor the purpose. Remember the intent.
Because seismic shifts will surely come again, with invitations, instinctive callings, and quaking, shaking, rippling waves.
Life birthing life birthing life. Birther and birthed to birther and birthed, continuing on and on and on.
A universe of potentials, sacred blueprints, and dreams are wrapped inside wrappings and held so very close, until it is time, in the lush fertile space of Grandmother Wombs.
For over twenty years, JoAnne has been learning and sharing the ways of ka ta see and living the path of the kala keh nah seh. She has a doctorate in Counseling Psychology with a specialty in Holistic Health. As a therapist and community activist, she worked in trauma healing centers and college counseling centers. She has been on the faculty in Transpersonal Psychology, Women’s Studies, and Holistic Health programs. Earlier in her career, JoAnne was a teacher in public schools and residential programs for adolescents. She also served as the director of a women’s shelter.
To share her passion for the healing medicine of stories, JoAnne has written several books including Spirit of Chocolate: A Woman’s Journey to the Rainforest in Search of Her Dreams and UnLeashing Love. She lives in the enchanted desert mesas of New Mexico.