Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rites of Passage, Transformation and Motherhood

There are three parts to a rite of passage according to anthropologists: separation, liminality, and incorporation. It is during these stages that an individual is transformed from one state of being to another.  As a bride, I was separated from others, cloistered away in the bride's room before I was escorted down the aisle.  For about fifteen minutes, I was in the liminal state of being a bride, not a wife. After the ceremony ended, I was incorporated back into society as a married woman.

My initiation into motherhood was also a rite of passage, but it took a great deal more time to complete.  The seperation phase of my rite of passage into motherhood took months.  It never escaped me during pregnancy, that I was not one thing or another. I was pregnant, but not yet a mother.  It was odd feeling of not belonging to a particular group of other.  During my brief, intense labor, I felt very much that I was transforming.  Pain, fear, uncertainty and confusion combined to change me, to challenge me physically and mentally, into a mother.  I began my reincorporation into the world days after the birth of my first child, when I had to venture, without help or the shelter of a nurse or my mother, out of the house and into public with my son.  It took years for me to comfortably settle into motherhood.

Rites of passage and transformations of any variety hold true to these stages.  At first those things being changed must be identified and separated.  Then, as the process of change begins, there are moments of being not the original material or the final product.  Finally, the process is completed and the change is acknowledged. Whatever transformation you are embarking upon,  remember that it is normal to feel separated, to feel as though you don't belong; when the process is completed, you will emerge, brilliant and new in your new role. Change takes time and sometimes it takes discomfort.  Eventually, it will end and a new journey, as a new you will begin.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to comment, share or ask questions, but please, keep comments in good taste and respectful.