What if motherhood helped you become the person you were meant to be?
Many women struggle at some point with difficult feelings related to mothering. Emotions such as anger, rage, shame, guilt, fear, boredom, doubt can unsettle and overwhelm us. Many mothers worry that if they find motherhood emotionally challenging, they must be failing at it. In fact, the opposite is true. Grappling with the difficult parts of motherhood helps us become clear about what matters most to us. Such a struggle challenges us to know ourselves better, step into our authority, and lay claim to our creativity. Motherhood is the ultimate confrontation with yourself. Whatever is there to discover at the bottom of your soul, whether dross or treasure, motherhood will help you find it.
This website aims to create a space in which to explore the difficult but transformational aspects of motherhood. Few other life experiences provide an opportunity to know ourselves like being a mother. Being a mother will tire us out, fill us with dread, and move us to tears. It will inspire joy, self-doubt, hilarity, contentment, rage, terror, shame, irritation, inadequacy, grief, anxiety, and love. We will probably see ourselves at our very best, and our very worst. If at the end of the day, the point of life is to be made larger by our experiences so that we know more of ourselves, motherhood provides a rich arena for self-understanding. Gaining this self-understanding will require us to have both compassion and curiosity. Examining our experiences through the lens of myth and fairy tale can help us cultivate both.
Myth and Fairytale can illuminate the depths of motherhood.
A wise person once said that a fairy tale is a story that is false on the outside but true on the inside. Myths and fairy tales are a rich storehouse of universal psychic patterns. They illuminate life themes we may struggle with at one time or another. When we recognize ourselves in a fairy tale, we know we are not alone. Others have been there before us. Maybe we can see our plight a little differently, or maybe we can see more options for ourselves. At least, it is a balm to our worried heart to know that whatever struggle we are engaged in is part of the universal human story. Hearing our concerns echoed in the beautiful, timeless language of fairy tale and myth is deeply healing.
There are many myths and tales that can tell us something about a woman’s process of growing into wholeness while being a mother. We can turn to these to make sense of our experiences, to reassure ourselves that we are not alone, and to connect our travails with their universal expression so that suffering becomes soul-making. I have been collecting and studying motherhood fairy tales for over a decade, and psychological interpretation of fairy tales and myth is both a passion and an expertise of mine. I hope you will allow me to share some of my favorite motherhood tales with you as you spend time on this site.
Like motherhood, this content is not always pretty.
Feel free to browse the free content. Sign up for a free email workshop that will guide you through an exploration of some of the beautiful ways motherhood defeats us. Learn about my upcoming book. Consider signing up for a virtual workshop that will provide rich content and the opportunity to interact with a community of other mothers. The stories you’ll find here aren’t always pretty or reassuring, for this is a journey into the depths. But if you take the plunge, you will find many opportunities for rich discoveries among these pages.
About the Author
Lisa Marchiano is a mother to two children, a clinical social worker, a certified Jungian analyst, and a nationally certified psychoanalyst. She is in the process of living her own mythic journey of motherhood and has companioned dozens of patients on theirs. In addition to work with mothers in her clinical practice, she also runs fairy tale groups for mothers. Marchiano picks a different fairy tale each week to highlight a parenting challenge. The fairy tale opens up a non-threatening way for participants to discuss their struggles.
Marchiano frequently writes and speaks on parenting and other topics. She is the author of “Big Picture Parenting,” a regular blog on the website PsychCentral.com. Her writings have also appeared in Quillette, PSYCHED, and Psychological Perspectives. She blogs on Jungian topics at theJungSoul.com.
Marchiano is on the faculty of the Philadelphia Jung Institute. She is a frequent speaker on Jungian topics locally and further afield. She has been a featured lecturer at the New York Jung Foundation’s summer series and presented to over two hundred attendees in Portland with Oregon Friends of Jung. She has taught on fairy tales and dreams for the Philadelphia Jung Institute, the New York Jung Foundation, Round Table Associates, and the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work.
Marchiano holds a BA from Brown University, a Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University, and a Master’s in Social Work from New York University. She trained to be a Jungian analyst with the Interregional Society of Jungian Analysts.
She is a member of the Interregional Society of Jungian Analysts, the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis, and the International Association for Analytical Psychology.
Marchiano has had plenty of opportunities to experience and reflect on the challenge of being a mother. For the past ten years, she homeschooled her two children, now 12 and 14. Though being a mother is a source of continual joy, hilarity, and meaning, there are days when Marchiano does have a fleeting impulse to drop one or the other of her children down a well.