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Timeless Truth from the Youngest Mothers

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Timeless Truth from the Youngest Mothers
by Alexandra Jordan

Through the lens of spiritual acceptance, homeless adolescent mothers learn to see their own strength and wisdom.

When working with patients as a clinician, a spiritual approach can open access points to deep connection, empathy, and reparative relationships. By taking a spiritual stance of non-judgment and openness to the universe, those in the healing professions can connect on a far deeper level with clients. I learned the power of this approach firsthand while working with a group of thoughtful, strong, and courageous homeless adolescent mothers.

My experiences facilitating group therapy with this population showed me how critical an open and nonjudgmental attitude is when engaging in clinical practice. Although they had true clarity of purpose as mothers, many members of this group were used to being treated by society as if they did not have the right to be parents, or the ability to succeed in the role of mother. Though they had overcome great obstacles with their children as their guiding force, they were told time and time again, both verbally and through others’ behavior toward them, that they were not good enough. Despite the fact that they had abundant strengths, these mothers were used being treated as if they didn’t. Once accustomed to this reaction, the mothers began to expect it from everyone around them.

In the course of our work together, I became acutely aware of the power of offering these mothers my open heart and mind. I saw this as a spiritual stance, one true to my beliefs that motherhood is an inherently spiritual role, and that openness to others as they are allows for deeper and more meaningful interactions than a foreclosed, predetermined opinion.

The group operated under the assumption that each member had something of value to share. When they experienced the feeling of safety that this acceptance facilitated, the mothers were able to offer their deep wisdom. Each woman’s contribution to group was different from the mother sitting next to her. Without this openness, their innate capabilities may not have been seen or heard, and their gifts to those around them—in the form of encouragement, insight, or voiced frustration—may never have come to light. It took the spiritual space within the group to allow them to feel the safety to share, and it took the bravery of each mother to choose to relate within the group setting.

Allowing myself to be present to these mothers as they were, and not as society expected them to be, was a liberating act that resulted in a far more healing space. I felt able to offer them my full presence, empathy, and curiosity, and each mother who entered the space appeared to tap into a feeling of possibility. It was beyond me, and definitely not something for which I can take credit; it was not something I did or gave. Rather, it was in the room with us: a space that we created together.

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