Look at the faces of mothers- you will see Maternal Fright. Balkan War 1991-94
Maternal Fright and the epigenetics: how we live through the choices we make and daily life is influenced by the catastrophic violence women continue to face. My work with South Slavic women over a ten-year period investigated the devastating impacts of war on women contributed to what I term “maternal fright.”
In my words, “The Slavic term ‘maternal fright’ is carved from chronic wars and violence towards women and is a form of transgenerational trauma.” One more piece of the puzzle of how life experiences shape individuals, and are passed from one generation to the next. A 2018 article – study is inclusive of female biology but still had a male divorced language of her uteri systems biology. Should we be ok that? Are we to settle for the ‘at least’ the male science model study is researching the placenta?
When I review my field work and research (for the Kolo Self Trauma Care) the maternal fright is palatable and metabolized. Having returned from Afghanistan for the second time, I witnessed how Afghan woman are removed from society and face violence daily. However, this removal and appalling absence
of scientific studies inclusive of her womb and her mothering language is observed as violence against women. The same is true on women’s daily life- it is the same track of violence. Women’s soma- living body- listens, adapts to what is found in daily life.
When I review the Kolo Self Trauma Care fieldwork and research findings, the maternal fright is palatable and metabolized. This is where we realize how our genome and epigenetic properties are influenced. At a detailed level – the women’s soma metabolized via the communication systems in our bodies between mind and body (messenger molecule receptor dynamics CNS, ANDS, neuropeptide and immune system) are the psychosomatic network that is coordinated by and actually serve the adaptive relationships for stress and healing.
Maternal Fright was not known in the ancient past. Artifacts show evidence of reverence and full knowledge of her capacity to bleed without dying and to birth new life. This is not so in today’s world. Venus of La Poire 25000 BC Brassempouy France This is a reconstruction of the fairly fractured original. Discovered in 1892 it is carved from mammoth ivory.If you note the word ‘culture’ the true definition of culture is that woman’s soma- living body and her biological life giving process is the creator of culture. We can see how the word culture is hijacked into male dominate violence societies- it is not culture. What has occurred is culture is hijacked into patriarchal domain and purposes. The real judge and jury in the end is woman’s soma and the epigenetic and genetic alterations on the fetus, on the infant and the child. It is the place where we do not solve the catastrophic violence but evolve into peace and reverence for woman’s soma, her spirit, her soul and mind/body rich relationships.
The first-person stories captured in Blood & Honey: : The Secret Herstory- Balkan Women War Crimes and War Survivors are raw, disembodied whisperings of the female holocaust, filled with symbols and icons that define trauma. A woman’s trauma is the wounding that cannot be forgotten, indelibly written upon her DNA and that of her children. The field of psychology recognizes herstory as a mode of representing and sharing intergenerational trauma and its psychological consequences, such as Post Traumatic Stress. Blood and Honey contains pages of storied instructions from the Bosnian women with whom I have worked since 1999. While the stories do not follow the typical masculine epic plot, the written pages are the women’s individual secrets, their herstories. They provide intimacy and a sudden knowing as opposed to understanding, an epiphany rather than a simple recognition of fact. What will be pages of tears at moments will become joy, and sometimes laughter, as we foray into herstories.
Keywords: maternal fright, oral memory traditions, healing practices
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