Though I am in my sixties now and well past menopause, I still dream from time to time that I am nursing a baby. These dream babies, however, are able to talk — and so we converse. I awake with strange, inexplicable feelings of connection. When a child grows in the womb and is then born into the world, the process of individuation begins — the separation of the One into the separate soul, traveling through one particular lifetime.
As mothers, we are blessed with the earthly experience of Divine Oneness through the miracle of carrying, birthing, and nursing a child. I have dear friends who are Catholic sisters, and though they have never been mothers, they too revere the Oneness found in a mother’s embrace.
It is the ability to dissolve separateness that allows us to care fully and deeply for other creatures and for the Earth herself. Now that my children are grown, I respect their separateness as adults, and I turn my mothering instincts toward the entire universe, my family.
Michelle Dugan is a retired reading and writing teacher, mother, and grandmother, and a lay associate of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. She has been married 37 years and is a lifelong resident of the Philly, PA area. She is currently involved in environmental advocacy and also with volunteer work, sharing her love of poetry with the elderly.