Hellena Post - Creatrix

I've tried on so many uniforms and badges that now I'm just me - mother of 8 children and all that entails, flowmad, and human animal parent. Writer of this living book of a blog, philosopher, and creatrix of hand dyed and spun crocheted wearable art. I gave up polite conversation years ago, and now I dive into the big one's.....birth, sex, great wellness, life, passion, death and rebirth.

Monday, July 18, 2011

On having a big family.....

So now that we’re expecting our 7th child together, and my 8th child all up, I’m really starting to notice the big balls of juicy judgement that come bouncing down the street towards us from folks eyes, as well as getting reactions from people when we tell them like “Oh, I’m so sorry” (?????????), and similar sentiments from people who look like we’ve just announced one of us is dying. Not to mention the odd snide comments from acquaintances about how many we have already, and the direct approach from ‘friends’ like I talked about in my last blog post.

As it is, I’ve developed a radar over the years for all sorts of reasons, for people on the street to look at and smile with, and people to avoid looking at, especially not making eye contact with, cause it’s likely to not be pretty. And basically, that radar picks out all indigenous folk from the world around, any ‘differently abled’ folk, any kooky folk, and people who look like refugee’s, as being safe to look at and smile with – essentially the other fringe dwellers in the world – and any mainstream looking one’s are the one’s my radar avoids. More often than not, these are the folk looking at me with ‘deadbeat parents’ and ‘she must do that for the baby bonus’ and ‘those poor grubby children’ and the like coming like daggers from their eyes.

And after spending a day sewing and constructing arguments for the rabidly anti-big-family-people who have already made their opinions clear in my life……..I figure it’s time for me to tell you, the universe, and anyone who cares to listen, our reasons for having so many children.

• First and foremost is that they’re utterly gorgeous, vibrant, envigorating, life enhancing, funny, cuddly, and the best people I’ve ever known, and we’re both honoured that they live in our family, and we get to know them for the rest of our lives. Every day is an adventure, and their unique takes on the world are pure gold. They teach us more than anything in our lives has ever done before. They are the reason to constantly strive to be better, and to make the world a better place. They are the motivation for nearly everything we do. They are friends and teachers and people that bring out our fierce protective and guiding instincts, and mirror ourselves and our behaviours in a way that means we have to deal with them, to make our combined world a better and healthier place to be.

• It took me three babies to realize that they’re nothing to do with me. Apart from the obvious of course, they’re completely their own people, born with their internal natures and distinct fate and destiny intact. With my first baby, I was convinced that my continuum parenting was the reason she was so funky, and if anything, my judgement about other parents increased……”If I can produce such perfect progeny, then it’s obvious that if everyone in the world would just do like I said, we’d have perfect people and perfect harmony forevermore….” My second baby perfomed just as well, as well as the third, but the fourth and fifth have blown that theory completely out of the water. All my tried and tested tricks and parental lore completely failed with these two. They are the ungovernable forces of nature that are best just to leave alone. And not take personally. And appreciate for their own unique contributions to the world. (We were warned about lotus babies…) And then there were the sixth and seventh that provided a whopper of a birth story, and rolled on just about all the other tried and true methods I had left for my parenting approach. All my other smug assumptions and judgements have been thoroughly discarded after they came into my life. Children, (people), are who they are, and can’t be expected to be certain things just because of who their parents are. I reckon Kahil Gibran puts it best…….

”Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love, but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward, nor tarries with yesterday.

--Kahlil Gibran

It’s taken me this many kids and pregnancies to really get the great mystery of conception, birth, and the individual journey of the soul. And to just get out of the way and surrender into trust for my own life as well as theirs. I reckon I’m lucky, cause I’ve been enabled to discover that birth and all of it’s surrounding energies can truly be a path of spiritual transformation and enlightenment.

• Between all my births, (and there’s still one to come) I’ve experienced just about everything. I’ve had a disempowered, interventionist hospital birth, an empowered, almost unassisted hospital birth, a beautiful homebirth with disempowering after experiences and mismanaged bonding, an almost unassisted homebirth (with a sage, midwife observer) with a hugely empowering and transformative bonding experience, an attempt at a homebirth that became an emergency caesarean, that was respectful, empowering, and positive, an amazing homebirth of twins two days apart, and the intense experience of early life with twins, and the story is yet unwritten for the next one. I’ve learnt so much about birth. And have developed a healthy love and respect for both homebirthing and hospital birthing, and how important both of them are. And also have a unique perspective on how you can transform your birthing self, and are not just lumbered with a birthing self that can’t change. And I’ve borne witness to many other birthing women, who have had the great rewards of birth kept from them, by disempowerment by both the hospital birthing scene and the homebirthing one. I believe I have a valuable contribution to make to birthing lore from all of my experiences, and some suggestions about how we can all approach birth in a more empowered way. I really like having such a wholistic toolkit about birth within me.

• Contraception sucks, and in my experience anyway, babies are made from great orgasms. I refuse to do the pill, (synthetic bleeding? You’ve got to be kidding!) because I love my bleeding and what it brings, and IUD’s have problems, and I honestly don’t have the internal discipline to do the mini-pill or a diaphragm, and I’ve never been good at condoms (surprisingly, neither is Currawong). As far as I’m concerned, you don’t have a monogamous, loving relationship for 12 years, and have sex with plastic between you. But more than that, our sex and smell is one of the most important aspects of our relationship. Our deep trust and honesty have led us on a sexual journey that has never yet stopped….it keeps getting better and better, as we keep getting further into each other and deeper into our sexual experience. And there’s a certain animalistic nature to the procreation dance that is absolutely exhilarating. When the time is right in my cycle, and the smell’s align, and the planets with them, sex can become a mind blowing, transformative, and conceptual experience that is the equal to any great spiritual experience or great mystery of life. This is why we’re both loathe to get a vasectomy, and mess with our alchemy. But at some time we may have to face this one…. Other people may remember great holidays, or dance parties, or trips, but we remember our great sexual adventures. And we remember every great session we had that created life. We’re addicted to the danger zone, and prepared to take responsibility for the consequences. As many mystics and spiritual folk have noted during the ages, babies born from and into great love are very special……and we seem to have this particular magic DOWN PAT!!

• And now that I’ve mentioned responsibility……we consider that we take a huge amount of it with our children. We may be income challenged at times, but we always eat mostly local and organic foods gorgeously prepared by the wonderful Currawong, as well as enough sweets to make sure they wont grow up sugar addicts. We give them enough media to do the same thing, but none of the really damaging (in our eyes) stuff that will mess with their unlimited imaginations and natures. You know how lots of adults spend their whole adulthoods trying to unlearn a lot of the shit they learnt from their childhood conditioning, and trying to become themselves?? We’re trying to short track that process, by giving them the freedom and confidence to be who they are from the start…..so maybe they can spend their adult lives doing something else!! And we’re doing our best to give them as many stories and experiences we possibly can, about all the varied ways that a person can do life. As well as having as many adventures as we can along the way. A friend told me there was an article in the local newspaper about a woman who’d reached her 100th year, and was asked about the biggest differences she saw around her now, compared to when she was growing up. And what she said, was that the children today had lost all their freedom. That really sat with me. And on our forays into the city, and to parks, and libraries, and museums, and all the places that children used to inhabit, I notice more and more the great disappearance of unruly kid energy and laughter…… And where have they all gone?? Poor little buggers are stuck in front of televisions, the internet, and DS9’s, getting madly advertised at and conditioned, and desensitized to death and destruction, while losing their freedom to be just what they are…..children. To play, and ride bikes without helmets, and sit on swings without hovering parents, and make up imaginary worlds, and build cubbies, and play dress ups and all the other kooky and possibly dangerous things that the kids of today are being kept from. Our kids are still free…..very free…..in fact I’d have to call them all free range kids. And as we roam around and find people increasingly impatient with their noise and childlike abandon, I feel sad for a generation of kids that are so quiet and entranced by media and the need for ‘stuff’, that they’ve stopped training the adults around them how to accommodate the needs of the free kid.

• As for practicalities…….I’ve got two siblings that never had children, so I figure I can take their quota of two children each, which means I’ve got ‘permission’ for 4 of my kids, and I’ve come across many folk in our travels that have told me directly that they’re not going to have children, so I can have the one’s they never will. So I have obtained enough sanction from the world around me for my liking anyway, about the amount of children we have. And for those people who think that the poor little mites are missing out on the valuable one on one attention that every child deserves……let me tell you a story. For years I’ve been saying that my first and second born babies got the best out of us, and the most attention, and felt slightly guilty at the moments that I don’t have for the young ones, ( which isn’t as much as you may suspect, as I’m rather proud of my recent effort of giving the same amount of attachment parenting care to my twin babies as I did to my single babies )……until Griff, my second born, pulled me up the other day. He reckons, that the young ones actually get MORE attention than he did, because they’ve got all their older siblings to play with, be smiled at by, and to take care of them, as WELL as us big people that try real hard to make sure they all get equal amounts of our love and time. And when I look at my twin boys, and the difference between them hanging out on their own, and the joy and how much they light up when they join the rest of the gang, I reckon he may be right. And Jess, my firstborn, reckons from her perspective, we’re much better parents, and much more patient, and just better at it all the more we have, so this is nice to hear too. I also think there’s a case to be made for the fact that children who are only one or two in a family, feel the weight of expectations from their families far more than kids who can share it with a big mob.

• If you want to talk about the impact on the environment, I’ll paraphrase Currawong, (without the swearwords). Look at the ridiculous amount of money we spend on warfare and western society in general, (V8 super cars, rampant consumerism, housing estates, mass media, tabloids, etc, etc, etc, etc,) and just try and tell us that our children are going to harm the planet. In the time it’s taken you to read this, there have been millions of dollars spent on weaponry and earth destroying practices. I’ve often thought that all those conscious and earth aware people that vow not to have children for the sake of the planet, are the very one’s who SHOULD be having them. Our kids are amazing people that are going to do amazing things with their lives, and the one thing they all have in common, is a deep love and respect for the natural world and it’s creatures. They pick up rubbish wherever we go, and we can all be stopped in our tracks on busy streets by an amazing spider, or bird, or cloud formation. They may not have Santa Clause and the Bunny Rabbit and all the other trappings of western capitalist life, but they have huge imaginations and a vast repository of knowledge about animals and the natural world. We all value handmade with love creations above that of two dollar shops. And our kids are aware of the impact on the planet that many of our consumables take. Which is not to say that it’s not possible that one of them will become the CEO of Coca Cola one day, but if they do, they’ll do it with style. And we’ll still love em.

• And quite simply…..I came from a big family and loved it, and due to great sadnesses and misunderstandings we none of us talk to each other anymore, and I’m really glad to be part of another big family in this lifetime. Which will hopefully and most likely be a big family that I get to keep, and holiday with, and love for the rest of my life. The hubbub of a big family is awesome. Going out with the family pack is a hoot. Watching them stream along through the central markets, and leap and bound and skip, and the amazement of people as they wonder when the stream of kids will end, is a real crack up. Having endless energy, and ideas, and playfulness, and kid aura’s all around us is just one of the most amazing, liberating, funny, and loving things I’ve ever done in my life. Birth and all it’s inherent attendants can truly be a transformative and enlightening journey worthy of any spiritual quest. I’m doing so much more with my life with them than I ever did without them. The lessons I’m learning about tolerance, compassion, selflessness, and destiny are incomparable. And I wouldn’t give any of it or them up for quids.

So next time you see us on the streets, and maybe next time you see a big family, CELEBRATE with us!! Don’t think about how we do it, and how you couldn’t do it, and put a whole heap of judgements on us about our choices……if we weren’t coping and didn’t like it, we wouldn’t be doing it!! Just say ‘yee ha!!’ and soak up some of that increasingly rare big family energy. And give the parents a shock by giving them a really positive reaction to the way they’ve chosen to do their lives.