This Mother’s Day, we polled our community and we're showcasing the variety of experiences people have with motherhood. By sharing different versions of this intimate and life-altering experience, we normalize the challenges, alongside the beauty.
Have you ever asked yourself?
- How will I relate to other mothers if my experiences differ from theirs?
- What will I do if I’m unable to conceive?
- What will others think of me if I choose not to have children?
- Why wasn’t I told more about the fear/doubt/guilt?
- What if I make mistakes?
- How do I stop from comparing myself to others?
- Why is motherhood often painted so negatively, undervalued, or dismissed as not real work?
- Will I be able to do this on my own, if I reach a certain age and don’t have a partner to share the experience with?
- Can I afford to freeze my eggs?
- Can we afford children? How will it affect my marriage?
- Why is something that we’re constantly warned of (getting pregnant) so difficult for my body to do?
In speaking to a variety of people on the topic of motherhood, there were many unexpected realities they had to share about becoming a mother.
Here’s what you said...
On being a new mom: “I felt like no one would care about me now because they would only want the baby.”
On my body after giving birth to a child: “I thought I would love and respect my body postpartum, because of the work it did to grow my babies.”
On infertility: “I worried for so many years about getting pregnant, but then when it came time to try to conceive, it wasn’t going to be possible for us.”
On deciding whether to mother: “I grew up thinking we all became moms—now I’m not sure it’s the right fit. What if I change my mind though and then it’s too late?”
On being an adoptive mother: “I was told we couldn't conceive, so we embarked on the arduous process of adoption. Another mother told me, “You’re so lucky you get to take the easy route.”
On choosing to be a mother: “I thought that the second the baby is born, a mom is born.”
On gender-affirming terms for motherhood: “We’re moving away from calling all pregnant people “mom”, “mother”, or any gendered term unless we know for sure that they identify as a mom. Dads get pregnant. Non-binary folks get pregnant. Or sometimes people just don’t want to be called “mama.””
On the negativity around motherhood: “I thought my life would be over once I became a mom. No one told me to get excited for what was waiting for me. Holidays are filled with magic, love has a whole new meaning, and I enjoy how wholesome my life is!”
On losing a mother: “I always thought my kids would have my mom/their grandmother around. But now that she’s not, I like to think that she leaves her mark through me in how I choose to raise them.”
On raising a child and seeing them grow old: “I knew being a mother was hard work, but no one told me it eventually gets easier. The best parts are when your little one reaches for your hand or wants to sit on your knee—but then when they’re old, you can be friends and learn from them too.”
The selfless love we learn in any journey to becoming a parent is unparalleled. There are many ways to give being a mother meaning—and whatever form that takes for you, is valid, life-changing, and full of unconditional love.