I recently bumped into different situations all related to motherhood. I started analyzing details of the matter, looking for articles on the same subject and putting things together bearing in mind my experience and that of some other mums I know.
We can all admit that bearing children and raising them as part of the new generation, educating them to be “someone” is most definitely not an easy job. And yes, I see it as a job. One that requires twenty four hour attention and commitment and it’s paid in moments, laughter, kisses and cuddles instead of money. Of course there are penalties as well and these ones are seen in tears, frustration, tiredness and anger. Like any other job, nothing is perfect and nothing goes according to plan. No pregnancy or child is the same. Starting from mother’s body and tolerance to pain, education and maternal instinct, going forward to all pregnancy symptoms that might or might not appear and moving on to giving birth (natural or by C-section, with or without pain relief); raising a newborn and coping with all that it involves, nothing is the same. Families are different, mentalities as well, and babies, God knows they are so so different from one another. Yes, there are studies that show a newborn’s behaviour is strongly related with mum’s feelings during pregnancy and I strongly believe so but there are some external factors as well.
Now, since the beginning of times, motherhood has been seen as a sacrifice. A woman sacrifices her body, mind, future, career and aspirations so she can bear children and raise them. She has been seen as a martyr and things didn’t change for a long long time. We all remember that saying: A woman belongs in the kitchen and nowhere else. She was expected to have as many kids as possible (not using any contraception method), cook and clean all day long and when the man would come home all is shiny, quiet, clean and she would have a smile on her face like all she did during the day was a piece of cake. And it’s not and it never was.
As society advanced and science developed so did ideas and mentalities. Women started getting jobs along with having children because they could, they started progressing and demanding to be equal to men. But will women ever be equal? I mean we can do things men will never do and the other way around. We are different mentally and physically so we won’t ever actually be equal. This a subject for a future post though.
I remember when I was little that my mother would always shout at me and my brothers the same thing over and over again: “I wish you to have children just like you are now so you can see what it means!” So I always thought what is she on about. I mean she raised two of us up to the age of 3 months and we were taken by my grandma until it was time to go school and we came back with my mum and dad. They were working full time and were seeing us only on weekends. My little brother stayed with us for a longer period of time but he was too shipped to my auntie and grandma so he will return in time for school. So what was she on about? If we received a bad education it wasn’t on her but on our relatives. Or it was cause she went back to work instead of raising us. Since then I swore to myself that if I was to ever have kids I will raise them only on my own so if I screw up I could only blame myself. I seen motherhood and parenting as a burden listening to my grandparents stories and my mums as well. I seen it as that “job” that only brings you stress and more stress.
As I grew up I opened my eyes and realised not every mother is the same so therefore not every child is the same. I grew up with my frustrations and dealt with them as I could.
Now, I am a mother and I can say that I wanted to become one for a long time. It just didn’t happen before. I see things in such a different light that is absolutely incredible. I am grateful for I could have my daughter and I see motherhood both as a sacrifice and privilege. I know of so many women trying to get pregnant for years with no result, wanting to be mothers and not being able to but I also know women who shouldn’t have kids (i won’t comment more as I tend to be very rough on the subject).
My daughter will turn two in April and she never been away from me. It’s a sacrifice I have been willing to make from the beginning. I knew I will have no help whatsoever with raising her but I embraced it all with joy. I see being a mother more of a privilege. Only a mother knows what she feels when she has her baby in her arms for the first time and she will never ever forget that, only a mother knows the joys of her child’s progress from first smile to first steps and all other firsts in their lives.
In the same time society makes it a sacrifice as well. I have been told at my work place that I won’t be able to progress for the time being just because I have no full time availability. So technically I won’t get a promotion because I have a child and I am being seen as incapable of mastering both my career and family life. I am definitely not the only one and I am sure cases like this will always appear. But this don’t mean that women will stop having children although it is statistically proven that they started postponing motherhood in favor of making a career first.
“When we cling to the idea of motherhood as sacrifice, what we really sacrifice is our sense of self, as if it is the price we pay for having children”
Motherhood is actually a privilege, one that we choose selfishly.
“If we start referring to motherhood as the beautiful, messy privilege that it is, and to tending to our children as the most loving and yet selfish thing to do, perhaps we can change the biased language my mother used. Only when we stop talking about motherhood as sacrifice can we start talking about mothers the way that we deserve“