There's been a furore around an article written by Jacinta Tynan last week about Motherhood, and how her experience has been one of ease and happiness:
http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/lifematters/is-motherhood-really-that-hard-20100802-1131y.html (cut and paste to your address bar)
A friend of mine blogged about it and another posted an article another journalist has written in response:
http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/motherhood-a-piece-of-cake-youre-kidding-20100807-11pec.html (again, cut and paste please!)
A related article about model Gisele Bundchen was posted not long before this and also created all kinds of anger and disapointedness in Gisele's apparent ignorant, flippant comments about making breast feeding compulsory to 6 months old....
I've just now also watched on tv Jacinta Tynan and Mia Freedman speaking about the article, with Jacinta defending her position and Mia, I guess, trying to clarify the different positions and ideas people seem to have on the issue.
Now, I'm not a mother, I have no children yet, I barely even have pets! But I do have lots of friends who have children, friends who are pregnant, and I have my own mother, aunts, grandmothers and other people I know who have and are experiencing motherhood.
So I wanted to weigh in with my opinion, not so much on motherhood itself but more on how everyone seems to feel about it.
Motherhood IS hard. It has to be! There are sleepless nights, a loss of 'me' time, its more difficult to leave the house to do things, and there are so many more things to do. There is a little person (and subsequent little people often) who depends on you for EVERYTHING, and their only way to communicate this is to cry, scream, or be quiet.
But Motherhood also has lots of perks. There is this little person that you love and that loves you back, unconditionally. They make you laugh, they are amazing to watch growing and learning everyday.
Some women's experience is one that is a lot easier than others. Like Jacinta, they have an easy baby, a minimum of issues with conception and childbirth, no mental health issues (honestly, the number of times she mentioned that annoyed me! You don't have to suffer from Post natal depression to get upset or feel overwhelmed, I would have thought that was normal!), and who knows whether she even breast fed!
Other women really struggle, through no fault of their own. Constant morning sickness throughout pregnancy, difficulties conceiving in the first place, then the need for emergency Caesars, mastitis, colicky babies, ongoing sickness, husbands who have to work away, toddlers......things get hard.
And I think sometimes these women maybe worry for their newly pregnant friends and want to prepare them for this. Because you don't really need to be prepared for the good stuff, but you might need to be prepared for the hard stuff. Forewarned is forearmed, right? These women know there are positives but they aren't as important to warn their friends about.
It makes sense to me that women want to warn their fellow expectant mothers about how bad things could be. But in a way it is a little sad, because I KNOW that every single one of these women would have SO many positive things to say about their choice to have children, and I believe that every one of them wouldn't have it any other way.
So, here is my challenge to the mothers that I know - you don't need to say that motherhood is easy, because you know that isn't really the case. But remember to tell all those women who are pregnant, trying to fall pregnant, or are just waiting for the day when they can, about the good stuff as well as the hard stuff. About the fun stuff as well as the yucky stuff. About the amazing stuff as well as the really tough stuff.
You are all amazing by the way!!!