My Mother-Work as Woman Warrior

I married young in order to have somewhere to shelter my siblings, as we came from parents whose parenting consisted in religion-prescribed punishment. The matriarch whom I chose as my mother-in law was happy to include me and my family under her huge heart and in her powerful arms. Tragically, she was taken by cancer before the birth of her first grandchild, a girl. During her dying, my husband was also dying; his manhood was dependent on his mother’s strength.


I was still an innocent, even though I had been tasked with mothering responsibilities of my younger siblings from the age of four. My mother had no sense of strength other than through my father and the priests, though my father garnered his strength from the love of my mother’s mother and his own mother. In deference to her religion, against doctors’ orders and the wishes of all her support network, she continued giving birth until her uterus finally failed\ for the last time.

My husband wanted a child to please his mother, but resented that I couldn’t take her sacred, strong place in providing protection for him and his family after the birth of our own child. The family attempted to discard me and my child, but I stayed until the birth of our second child, a son. I knew that the family would destroy me and turn my son against me, so I took my children and left the family to look after each other.

My charisma drew many to me, but most wanted me to abandon my primary responsibility to the children to whom I had given birth. I saw them as a sacred trust that was lent to me for safekeeping until such time as they were strong enough for their own mantels of leadership. That time has come, and I am now speaking in ways that I dared not while others could punish me by harming my children.

My daughter is blessed with her maternal grandmother’s matriarchal strength, and my son with her huge passion for celebration and inclusion of all who come into his home. I have three granddaughters and one grandson. My mission is to help assure a world in which we all have equal access to the strength of The Sacred Spirit with which humanity is singularly endowed.


I Am a Woman Warrior

I am a woman warrior, not by choice, but by calling.
I never knew that motherhood would be my call to arms.
I assumed that my man would protect me and my progeny,
But the world that preyed upon us proved too daunting for him.

My words became my weapons in the fight for justice;
I honed the edges carefully in order to inflict little pain.
The Sacred Spirit that I invoke is in the eyes of others;
Every wound that I inflict, I also seek to soothe.

This is the challenge of being a compassionate parent;
We are often led to take happiness with one hand,
And with the other, provide a sacred path to peace.
Passion must be responsible in order to be productive.

Many fear me and my pain-tempered world of wisdom,
But the rage that they see is toward injustice, not toward them.
I willingly place myself between innocence and seduction
And I would rather die than stain one sacred soul.

Many is the time I’ve had to walk away from success;
The world stage allowed no room for my motherhood.
The success I sought is in my compassionate children;
May the children that come after them continue in the quest.


Yvette Autin Warren
Author: Our Tennessee Mountain Home
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