If you’re lucky enough to have kids, you should shut up and quit your moaning.
That’s the general thought of UK writer Bibi Lynch, who recently wrote an emotional piece for The Guardian about why mums should ‘open their eyes and see what they’ve got’.
Bibi has come to the realisation that she’ll never have babies. She was unlucky in love in her younger years and now, at the age of 46, she’s left it too late and is unable to conceive.
“I will never be pregnant, never be protected by the father of my child, never be loved as the mother of his child, never love like you love, and never be loved as you’re loved. I will never mean as much to anyone as you do. Imagine that, mums. Believe me, you don’t know you’re born,” she writes.
The story starts when she receives an email from a pregnant friend who is disappointed to discover her third child will be another boy. She writes:
Enough. Enough already. I don’t want to hear any more. I am sick of reading about mums feeling desolate, how hard motherhood is, and how some women can’t quite cope if the perfect child in their womb has a penis. Seriously? The joy around Victoria Beckham having a girl after three boys was as ridiculous as her heels. Thank God! Yes, her life making frocks in LA with David and three gorgeous boys must have been torture before.
I don’t want to mum-bash, but I do want mums to open their eyes and see what they have. At the risk of being lynched – or, worse, incurring the wrath of Mumsnet Towers … give it a break. Give me a break. Give women like me, who wanted children but don’t have them, a break. You mums do not know how blessed you are – so please just be happy and quit complaining. You got the prize. You have the child. Rejoice.
Mums are the luckiest people on earth, she writes. Careers, by comparison, are insignificant. The same with “aunts are loved too” platitudes. They just don’t compare; they’re not the same as having your own and the legacy those children bring.
I can’t tell you how painful not having a child is. My heart drops every time I read a “We’re pregnant!” email or a “maternity leave” one. I even have to psych myself back to composure if I read about a pregnant celebrity. (I took myself off Twitter for a day when Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s baby snaps were released.) It physically hurts me. Right where a baby would grow.
The reason I’m so upset – and the reason mums should be so grateful. We’re told the love between mother and child is the most beautiful, fulfilling emotion in the world – the feeling that finally makes sense of our existence. I don’t know because I haven’t experienced it – but if the agony of knowing I won’t have it is any yardstick, then I would change every decision I ever made that led me to this horrible place.
Does Bibi have a point? Is it okay for women to moan about the hardships of motherhood when there are women out there who would give anything to be in their situation – despite the bumps and hiccups?
Author, blogger and mother Kerri Sackville says yes – it is okay for mothers to moan. Kerri doesn’t agree with Bibi’s premise that life has no meaning without kids. She wrote on her blog:
I know several women who are childless, either by choice or accident, and they live lives as fulfilled and happy as anyone with kids, just in different ways. I’m sure there are times when they miss that particular experience, perhaps with a fierce sadness, but each of these women lead lives filled with love and significance.
But still, it’s very easy for me to say that, as a mother of three. And I acknowledge my incredible good fortune at having my beautiful, healthy children. Having said that, I strongly, passionately believe that this good fortune does not and should not preclude me from also acknowledging how hard motherhood is. From ‘moaning’, if you will.
Telling mums they shouldn’t moan is like telling kids not to talk about their feelings. It simply forces women to swallow down their emotions, forces women to pretend everything is okay when they might be dying on the inside. The best thing to happen to women was for the walls to come down, for permission to be given for us all to talk about our experiences, and share the difficulties – as well as the joys – of the hardest job on earth. Doing so doesn’t mean we don’t love and appreciate our kids. It just means we’re human.
You can read Kerri’s full post on her blog here.
So what do you think? Do mothers moan too much? Is it REALLY the hardest job on earth? Or is it important to be able to vent?