When I first got pregnant, I remember a mom telling me that now I was going to understand them (meaning she and her like) because I was going to know what it was like being a mom. I remember finding her comment hurtful because I did understand them, or so I thought! Later, I would realize that becoming a mother is like entering a parallel universe. A universe that surrounds you but that you don’t see because you don’t belong… yet!
Motherhood is the most challenging and the most rewarding journey a woman can go through. Thankfully, you get to share your journey with people who understand, because they have been there. I am not talking about your spouses. I am talking about other women who went through the same journey, maybe right there, next to you or miles away from you.
But just like you, they know how miserable or how great you can feel pregnant! How judgmental our society can be when a woman gains too much or not enough weight, goes back to work or stays at home, breastfeeds or opts for formula. How hard it is to conform to the idea of the perfect mother and wife; if she ever exists! They understand that some days you just want to run away, or scream at the top of your lungs, or hide in the toilets for everyone’s sake. That when you complain about your children, it doesn’t mean you love them less, but that you just need to vent because, once all is done and said, they are your world and you will still do anything for them!
Since sharing is caring, going through the exact same thing as another person usually creates a long lasting bond that wouldn’t be there if not for that shared experience. Besides “Frida”, I can’t really tell you how many movies Salma Hayek has appeared in. But I can tell you about this documentary I saw about her breastfeeding an orphan child somewhere in Sierra Leone, Africa, because the baby’s mother was too sick to feed her own child. Salma Hayek just had her daughter and did what only a mother would do: she breastfed another woman’s baby. She didn’t think twice, she did it because she saw it as the most natural thing to do.
And she was right! It was the most natural thing any woman could do! One of my very good friend and I had our children two weeks apart! The memo for our husbands was; if, for some reason, one of us could not breastfeed the baby for a limited amount of time, they should bring the baby to the other until a solution was found. It was a no brainer. It made sense for us. The same way it makes sense for some women to pump and give away some extra milk for others to use. There lies the beauty of motherhood. This understanding, this knowledge of what it takes to be a mother, how it feels to give birth to a human being, to be accountable for them. I wasn’t a mother yet when I saw the documentary about Salma, but I remember being awestruck by her gesture. That day, she earned my respect and consideration.
The thing about motherhood is that it this journey that you share with an infinite number of other women all over the world, even though, in terms of motherhood, all mothers are not created equal. We all have heard about the good moms, bad moms, soccer moms, waitress moms, tiger moms, elephant moms etc… Of course our socio-economic status, cultural and environmental background are factors to be taken into account when we come to define our roles as mothers. However, at some point, we all went through the same path, the one that made us mothers or moms, putting us all on the same journey, because, at the end of the day, we all share the same concerns, the same hope, worries, relief and joy. Thus, we should strive to be more accepting and less judgmental of one another, because at the end of the day, we all want the same thing: what is best for our children!