In this post, I reflect on how Women’s Circles can be a place to feel and connect in ways that aren’t readily available in our everyday lives.

Audio – I’m trying out offering an audio version of my blog. What do you think?
Drop your feedback in the comments. This is unedited so go easy!

What does it take to hold space?

What does it take to be held?

Bravery, vulnerability, tenacity. Maybe some ignorance. Because if you knew, would you still do it?

As I enter my second year of holding Women’s Circles, I’ve come to the point of reflection, about the value of my service, to myself, to the people I hold and to my family.

Sometimes I want to turn away from the bloody hard work that is self-reflection, self-compassion and self-determination. Sometimes it can feel like it might swallow me up. I understand why people choose to numb, in the many ways we numb ourselves. Because facing yourself, accepting yourself and raising your voice is hard work. And it’s never done.

I sought out one of my mentors when reviewing my offering this year. We spoke about how people come to space holding in different ways and with varying levels of integrity. We discussed what it meant to do this work with integrity. Ultimately, we concluded it relates to our ability to reflect and ask why? 

Why are we drawn to this work? Why do we do it the way we do? What do we ask for in the exchange? What does it take and give to do it?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been someone who thinks a lot. I’ve also felt deeply, and at times I’ve been told I feel too much. And I’ve tried to think and feel less in response, and it hasn’t worked.

But why do we reward feeling less, and why are we so frightened to feel more?

Feeling less got us into this mess. We have an epidemic of loneliness that is damaging our health. Our disconnection from Earth will ultimately lead to our destruction. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report says our last chance to mitigate the worst effects of climate change is now. Our hope comes through feeling and connecting to something bigger than ourselves.

Creating places for connection is why I started Middle Ground Motherhood. It’s why Women’s Circles are central to the work I do.

Women’s Circles can be a place you come to be yourself. Not the best, most polished version of yourself, but yourself. Sometimes that means the “ugly crying” part of yourself that we usually confine to private spaces. 

Sitting with the discomfort of being witnessed as your full, authentic, and vulnerable self is terrifying for many of us. Often it means when the going gets tough, we turn away from the spaces and people that could hold us, if we let them.

For me, the easier thing is to hold. To be held, much harder. But my teachers tell me that if you hold space, you need someone to hold it for you, and I know they’re right. I seek many layers of support to enable me to do this work: mentors, therapists, bodyworkers, and Circles.

Doing “the work” is by no means an easy option. It can be difficult to remain open-hearted. But for many of us, it’s the only option. The alternative is to abandon ourselves and others as we try to contort to whatever we’ve been told we should be. We run from the feelings instead of turning toward them and asking, “why are you here?”.  

I’m having a break from my regular Circles in April and May as I delve deep into my Master’s thesis, which is about matrescence and public policy. We return in June for a six-month season I’ve called ‘Matrescence and Transcendence’.

Transcendence means exceeding our usual limits.

Motherhood has pushed me in wild and wonderful ways beyond my usual limits. When I hold my babies, I’m in awe and disbelief. They are made from my flesh and bones. My body made theirs. And I’m helping guide them every day, which can feel like a gift and a burden, depending on the day.

To do mothering the way I want to do it, I must transcend. To do life the way I want, I must transcend. Do I know exactly what that means? No, but I aim to be brave and curious enough to explore it. I invite you to join me.

You can book your place in the Circle here.

Here’s one of the anthems I turn to when I’m feeling “too much”.

Feist – I Feel It All


  1. Claire

    Love this! Thank you Sarah. Thank you for holding space 🙌

  2. Tess

    I loved hearing your words spoken Sarah. Beautiful, thank you 🙏😊


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