I’m often nervous before hitting “publish” on posts like these – it’s not always easy to be vulnerable, and you open yourself up to the possibility of backlash. Motherhood is a touchy subject. But here goes:
I read an article last week in which the author stated (I’m paraphrasing here – I can no longer find the post) that she was jealous of her childless friends’ ability to sleep in and go to brunch, just as she knew those same friends were jealous of her “baby snuggles.” I think the author was well-meaning, I do, but that is condescending trash.
I am personally more than drunken brunches and sleeping in, and I’m willing to bet you are, too. I’m an adult with real responsibilities and bills and a career and my life is not that simple (if only!). The author also seems to have conveniently forgotten that not every woman desires children, so her jealous remark is tone-deaf (and completely asinine). As someone who would like to have children one day, I have never experienced jealousy over any mother snuggling a baby. I think we can experience longing for a baby, but using the term “jealousy” denigrates childless women.
Of course, that was not the only piece on the subject, and, after years of reading, I am tired of being told that I don’t know what love is because I don’t have a baby. And I’m tired of being relegated to a caricature of a woman: I refuse to be seen as a drunken, immature, irresponsible, lazy woman-child many others make us out to be. I face hardships. I rarely get a good night’s sleep. I sacrifice and stress and love and fight and pray and dream just like anyone else. I am a responsible, loyal, diligent, accomplished person, daughter, partner, sister, aunt, and friend. I am not less-than. It’s true that mothers are selfless, wonderful, and hard-working. But so am I. And I am not willing to be seen as anything other than equal.
The judgement never ends, whether you’re a mother or not. When you reach a certain age you’re hounded with questions and accusations and insults regarding your biological clock and fertility. And, if you decide (and are able to) have children, the judgement continues. How much caffeine should you drink while pregnant? Are you going to breast or bottle feed? Co-sleep? Are you going to be a stay-at-home or working mother? There is nonsensical bullshit at every turn and we worsen the cycle by creating posts like the one I mentioned above. Why are others concerned about how we choose to live our lives?
I hope I live to see the day where none of this shit matters and posts concerning this topic disappear. It bothers me that this is who we’ve become, separating ourselves into two groups: moms and non-moms. I don’t let labels identify me because I am much more. I am more than a writer and lover and woman and so are you. This applies whether you’re not a mother by choice (as I am currently) or by circumstance. You’re not alone. You’re just as amazing as your mom friends. And they’re just as amazing as you.
Where do you stand on this subject?