Welcome to the Mother 'Hood
Something strange happens to a woman when she begins showing a belly with her first pregnancy. Her place in society is subtly shifted. Whereas, she was mothered by other women, advised, encouraged by other women as a single or even as a young married, she is now initiated into a whole new relationship. She moves into a new echelon of camaraderie with those who have gone on before her to bear children. She undergoes an almost instant and unavoidable initiation into the 'Mother 'Hood' as I like to call it. Instead of gang tats or colors, she sports a bulging belly and an insatiable need to pee. Other mothers, as if by instinct, nod or smile as you go past. There is a look of knowing, of understanding, and in many cases, of a need to tell you what to do. You are now open to any and all helpful hints and suggestions that they can think of. And even though you don't want to admit it, they display another trait you yourself will soon bear: an almost irrisistible urge to share their birth story.
Birthing a child is like a secret sign or initiation that mothers share with one. Another mom can understand what you went through in ways no one else on the planet can. With one penetrating look into your soul, they can see a woman who has been through the waters of trial and produced a living human being from her own body, a feat no one else on the planet is capable of achieving. A look in her eyes says, "There may be millions of us, but we are still the proud, the few!"
I am kind of excited to be initiated into the 'hood. I didn't really know I wasn't included fully in the world of women. I thought I had a deep and reverent bond with all women, despite my lack of maternal experience. I have always felt strongly included in the world of women. I am comfortable with, can acknowledge and support them and they me. But I was wrong. I am understanding that there is another room to enter in this labyrinth of womanhood. I have been shown a secret, curtained entrance and my presence is expected and respected on the other side.