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Maren Tonder Hansen 74 On Mysteries Of Motherhood


Mike Kilen


Maren Tonder Hansen ’74 became more aware of feminine values during pregnancy and the infancy of her three children. In her book, MotherMysteries (Shambhala, 1997), she finds the values of creativity, nurturing, emotional touch, and caring about the future of society through the mysteries of having children. Below is a summary of some of those mysteries.
The mystery of creation. Creation isn’t a disembodied, abstract idea to a woman. Pregnant women experience creation in their bellies: Sperm joins egg, evolves for nine months in the womb, and climaxes with an awesome event, an adult pushing out of her body a baby human being. The mother is a vessel for the creative forces of life. She has a front-row seat witnessing the miracle.
The mystery of motherly love. A pregnant woman doesn’t just grow a baby; she grows love. She will do anything to protect her baby and all babies of the world. Love sustains the hard day-after-day work of nurturing and caring for a new life.

The mystery that the deepest spiritual truths are woven into the fabric of the mundane. The “spiritual realm” isn’t just “up there.” In daily ordinary acts of tending a baby, we come to see the meaning of life.
The mystery of the reversal of Cinderella. Becoming a mother is a reverse permutation of the Cinderella story. As maidens, women wear lovely gowns to go out at night, stepping out of a fine coach to meet a prince with whom to dance and fall in love. When the fairy godmother grants our wish to become mothers, we are magically transformed into tattered servants, mopping up spilled milk and making peanut butter sandwiches. “If the shoe fits,” Hansen says, “wear it.”

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