Women Supporting Women - a photo essay collaboration with pictures by Mama Niela
In my recent September New Moon newsletter I wrote about women supporting women and all it entailed. Our current patriarchy doesn’t support women - we are alienated from each other and isolated within our culture. Our media teaches us we have to work against each other to build successful lives instead of working together as a tribe. High school dramas teach us that popularity isn’t about niceness and community isn’t as sexy as independence.
Even so, Sisterhood is on the rise and the same women that previously told me they didn’t get on with other women, judged other women or didn’t understand other women - the same women that felt they were better than other women, bullied by other women or didn’t live up to the standards they felt other women set are now growing in their sense of compassion - we have been awakened to the spirit of togetherness and very slowly are learning how progress happens when we work in teams.
One of the most poignant parts of being a women is the experience of our female bodies, our connection to the moon, our creative blood cycles and if we so choose our ability to become mothers.
Our ancestors understood that women needed to work together - there were bleeding huts and nursing huts, we watched other women around us breastfeed and we understood how birth worked by attending the births of the strong women around us. Postpartum was a time of coming together - the grandmother, the sister, the aunt, the cousin - all working together to support and raise a new life.
The postpartum period can be isolating and terrifying. Women are now forced to do it all or feel lesser if they can’t. Depression can loom and women can feel as if they have no-one to turn to. Sometimes we don’t. The medical system seems to discard us after birth and so follows long hard days and nights with little comfort and little rest. Suddenly we are stripped of our identities, our womanhood and passions - to become baby feeders, baby changers and baby talkers. There isn’t much time for eating or washing and adult conversation can feel like a far off dream.
I love Mama Niela’s recent photographic work that shows women supporting women. What if we came together in this postpartum time - not just in the weekly or monthly support groups - but began to break down the social taboos of nursing together and working together.
“A long time ago women supported one another. Villages of women bled together, took care of each other during the postpartum months, and grew older and wiser and respected. Women trusted and supported their community, and life – and certainly parenting – were easier because of it.” Mama Niela
This work isn’t about undressing or coming together in nudity, although that is empowering for many, it is about coming together in experience, shedding layers of shame and normalizing the experiences of motherhood that have been undermined by patriachy.
WILD WMN is all about women supporting women, women standing up for women, women creating together, making together, mothering together, living together. This work depicts a strength, a tenderness, a love, a struggle. It shows a realness and a rawness. It shows women being wild.
Mama Niela will be taking portraits at our upcoming Wild Motherhood group starting on the 6th November at Ceremony Meditation in Venice, CA.
During the group we will come together as women to support women. Find out more here.