Many mothers in Boston were tired. The pandemic was so debilitating that many mothers wanted to scream.
They had children to raise, careers and chores they needed to complete. They have been trapped for almost two years.
About 20 mothers abandoned their responsibilities on a night this month. They left their homes and children behind and went to a high school football game.
They emerged one by one from the shadows, and gathered at the 50 yard line.
They stood in a circle, under soft lights, for 20 minutes, according to Sarah Harmon, a therapist and yoga teacher, who organized the gathering.
According to videos, their voices, which were filled with years of pain, rage, and finally released, they merged into an angry chorus.
“It was so nice to feel out of control for the first time,” one mother told Ms. Harmon, who lives in Boston.
One of the participants, Jessica Buckley, said many of the mothers were unaware of The New York Times’s primal scream hotline, which is available to mothers who want to yell, laugh, cry or vent for a solid minute.
Ms. Harmon, 39, held the first “primal scream gathering” last year after being suggested by her clients. She counsels mothers who, just like her, have experienced varying stages in despair, anger, or anxiety as the pandemic has lingered.
Ms. Harmon, a mother of 3- and 5-year-old daughters, said that her children were driving her “absolutely nuts” during the pandemic.
She stated that many mothers were bitter at the Jan. 13 gathering.
They were curious about why the pandemic was still raging and why children under five could not be vaccinated. “School of MOM” is a website that promotes mindfulness for mothers. (Children below 5 years old have not been approved for a coronavirus vaccine.
She said that this is why the gathering was so therapeutic. Mothers could finally let go for once.
“It’s just amazing how light you can feel after you do that,” she said on Sunday. “I slept better.”
Ms. Harmon signaled at the football field that it was time for a new round. She raised two unicorn wands with light-up lights, which she now owns.
The gathering, she said, unfolded in five parts, the first four of which were a normal scream, a round of swearing, a “free-for-all” of screams or shouts, and a scream in honor of the mothers who were too busy to attend.
According to videos shared by Ms. Harmon, some mothers were very vocal, shouting, hunching over, and throwing their arms back.
The fifth part was a contest for who could scream longest. Ms. Buckley, a 36 year-old therapist and mother to two, was the winner. She screamed for approximately 30 seconds.
“I probably could’ve kept screaming,” she said on Sunday. “It’s been a really, really tough time.”
She stated that she felt left behind as a mother to two and four-year-old daughters.
“We’re still trying to navigate quarantines and stuff when the country seems to have moved on,” she said.
She is just one of the millions of American mothers who faced a mental illness during the pandemic. Many mothers have found themselves in a difficult situation as they try to juggle their children’s care and domestic work.
Everyone has been touched in some way by the pandemic, but mothers often don’t have a place to escape or time to take a break. Dr. Ellen Vora is a Manhattan psychiatrist.
Dr. Vora said that mothers, unlike their kids, don’t have the time or space to have a meltdown.
“If you have two to three years of pent-up pressure,” she said, “going and being in a community of other moms and having a big release in the form of a scream is really healthy.”
Ms. Harmon said she had received overwhelming responses from other mothers to her gathering. Ms. Harmon said that many older mothers used to shout alone in a closet.
But she says a new generation of mothers have normalized the frustrations of their roles — leading to screaming in an open field.
Ms. Harmon is now being invited to lead primal screaming groups in Massachusetts.
“The scream resonated for people because it normalized their anger,” she said. “It’s been very powerful and quite healing.”
Source: NY Times