It’s my first Mother’s Day here in Australia. I was in the UK for Mother’s Day a month or so ago too so I’ve had a two opportunities to see and feel this day for what it is as a woman with a child.
What I love about waking up today (for the third time mind you) is the fact that I don’t need anyone to celebrate or reward me for having a child. Instead all I can feel is a huge amount for love, respect and awe for women the world over.
Before I had a child I was convinced that I had some idea about how hard it was to be a mother. I saw so many women seem to ‘breeze through it’, juggling jobs, babies, partners and homes like they were part of Cirque de Soleil. I figured it was challenging but not impossible.
When Mother’s I knew confided they were tired, didn’t feel supported, or anxious about their child’s wellbeing, money issues or their relationships I would try offer advice and support. Looking back on these moments I cringe because I can see that I did not have the slightest clue what these women were going through. And the worst thing is, I was convinced I did.
When looked after other people’s children I did it believing (and sometimes even expressing out loud with a chuckle) that I could “give them back”. I walked around high and mighty, backed by the belief that a child is a choice and responsibility for that choice lies with the parent alone.
When I heard mothers say they’d never felt love like this before I thought they were expressing gratitude for a wonderful feeling that we all crave. Now I know that these words are often code for “I am suddenly painfully aware of the extreme level of brutality in this world.” or “I’ve never felt so fragile, so afraid and so fiercely protective of something in my life” or just “I’m trying so hard to hold it together and say something palatable to the rest of the world so I don’t get clobbered with everyone else’s issues too”.
Of course I’m some mums out there do find parenting easy. I know a few mums who seemed to enjoy every last second of being a parent and honestly when I look at them doesn’t seem challenging at all but this scenario isn’t the norm in my experience. One thing I have learnt from ob
I don’t feel great about Mother’s Day because I feel like it’s just a marketing ruse that distracts us from truly addressing women’s wellbeing in motherhood. How can we celebrate Mother’s Day when a woman (many are mothers too) is murdered in Australia every week? Not to mention the absolutely huge financial cost borne by women who have children. And this is in a truly lucky country. I can’t even to begin to imagine the horrors that mothers face in places like Syria and Mozambique right now.
A world without children would be a disaster. It would in fact be the end of us all. It took me to have a child to realise that it is not a job that can be done by parents alone. I’ve eaten so much humble pie it’s enough to turn me off pies altogether.
Pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period have been incredibly challenging for our family. We’ve had a lot to deal with and I don’t know where we would be if people had not stepped in to support. All I can say is Thank YOU to all the truly incredible people that have been there for us when we needed it more than ever.
Elliot is a gift and we will do everything we can to support him to be himself in a world that needs this more than anything. One thing I’ve well and truly learned so far is that we can’t do it alone.
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