Recently, (I do NOT know why, I hope to God this isn’t an omen of some sort) I have come across lots of ‘mummy’ articles, where mums around the world describe what it is really like.
One mother described how after she got married the young girl within her was suppressed because she had ‘other’ duties and responsibilities; i.e. her job, her spouse, her child, her home. Another mother talked about how she loved her body, warts, blobs and all, (which is perfectly normal and something that should be endorsed, and something I fully agree with, by the way). She then goes to on say that pregnancy and motherhood completely transformed her body. She lost control of her bladder, she had accidents, she just didn’t go back to normal; and that was okay.
I am not disproving this line of thought. I am just, at my ripe age of twenty years, having a mild episode of panic! So, it appears that having a child means suppressing one’s inner self? It appears one must keep silent about how one feels, and shoulder the burden of being a ‘woman’ because it is expected of one to be able to go through months of pregnancy, hours/days of labour, years of care and motherhood, without a second of complaint. It seems as though one has to turn up one’s mouth into a pretty little smile and keep a laugh ready, waiting, to show those one loves that one is completely and utterly fine, whilst dying on the inside because one has not expressed one’s inner passions, dreams and hopes as much as one wishes to.
It looks like one has to get used to a life of having no control over one’s need to use the toilet, of looking like a perpetual blob and of hating oneself because one is not the perfect airbrushed body the media lies one will be after having carried a child in one’s womb for nine whole months. Golly, that’s almost a year!
There is no sarcasm in this post. Only anguish and panic and complete terror.
Does this mean I can never have kids? Oh I so want to (not now, of course). But I don’t want my inner child suppressed. I have a whale of a time prancing about with other people’s children, running around like there is no tomorrow, laughing like I have lost all sense of myself, and my surroundings. Does this mean I can never do the things I have always wanted to, or even pursue my dreams, if an accident were to happen now and I was to fall pregnant!?
This is terrifying. It is actually absurd.
And yet I am seeing living proof of it with my own two eyes. That is not to say, of course, that my mother doesn’t have a good time. My mother knows how to have a good time, and she goes about getting that good time. But is she truly where she wants to be in life?
I have heard her say many a time that if it weren’t for ‘you kids’, she would be travelling the world and helping poor refugees in dreadful camps in countries ravaged by war, starvation and evil dictatorship. I heard tales of how she wanted to study again to be a doctor, instead of a chemist.
I just never thought about it too much because she is my mother and her place is here, with me, and my siblings. To lend an ear when I need it. To tell me where my missing tights are. To yell at me to wash the dishes and have a delicious dinner ready to eat when I get home from a long day at university, even though she has been working her socks off all day and chasing after two little brothers who just will not get up for school.
And I never realised before how odd her life must look, because she is almost blind in one eye and I couldn’t go one day wearing just one contact lens.
And I am not even blind in one eye!
And I watch how she caters for everybody, and hosts like an angel, and never sits down or eats until she is sure everybody else has. I complain because she complains that nobody has done anything without noticing that she has done so much and nobody has told her to please sit down, to please have a rest, “and mama I will make you a cup of tea and wash the dishes because you have been out all day sorting out the boys and paying the bills and cleaning and gardening and teaching and loving and being the heart and soul of this whole family and all the strings that attach it together”
Because she has, and she is. And I have never ever appreciated this before. And here I sit worrying about what sort of life I will lead if I ever become ‘lumbered‘ with children and all I am thinking of is, where is her reward? Where is her break? When does she get to say, ‘oh, I am done here, I am going for a nap’.
Because if she left today this whole family would fall to pieces.
And I know for a fact that lazy, selfish, irritable, procrastinating me will never, ever be able to fill half her shoes. And so I panic. There’s me thinking I will be the perfect mum because some celebrity had a child and she now looks gorgeous and so does her baby and she looks epically happy. Frump that you are, Lenora. That’s not real life. THIS is.