‘A stranger called me a ‘MILF’ and I’m ashamed to say I liked it.’

 

If you’d met me before I became a mother, and asked me what I thought about the slang term ‘MILF’ (Mother I’d Like to F***), I would have served you a million and one reasons why it was a disgusting slur.

It’s objectifying! It’s harassing! It’s derogatory!

I would have grudgingly admitted that maybe the term is a little bit of fun. It does contrast two roles which, historically, have been viewed as disparate –the mother and temptress.

Yet, ‘MILF’ is hardly a compliment. It says more about the selfishness of the person who dishes that acronym out. It’s not like they’re calling a woman a MILHMSOCSWHR, or “Mother I’d Like to Have Mutually Satisfying and Orgasmic Consensual Sex With in a Healthy Relationship”. Plus, that collection of letters is just too hard to pronounce.

But then, one day, I was actually called a MILF as I walked down the street with my 2 month old daughter strapped to my chest in a Baby Bjorn.

And, I’m ashamed to say…I liked it.

"Is this what a MILF looks like?" image supplied

Even worse, being called a MILF gave me such a huge self-esteem boost that when I came home, I was grinning. I happily recounted the story to my husband, Jeff.

“I was walking down the street with Emmy, and this young guy leaned out of his car window and shouted ‘MILF’ at me!” I told Jeff, excitedly.

Jeff smiled at me, before saying, “You’re back, baby!”

Even as I write this now, it seems like it happened to someone else. Here’s a few words that most people would use to describe me: feminist, aggressive, sensitive, easily offended. The words “enjoys being sexually harassed in public” do not form part of my personality at all.

Heck, I don’t think it’s okay to shout anything to a stranger on the street. I would get pissed off if someone screamed, “YOU’RE A GOOD PERSON!” from their car, while I was on a leisurely stroll. It’s rude and distracting to disrupt someone’s peace.

It’s even strange for me to report that my husband was happy that some disgusting youth called me a MILF. I mean, Jeff once lost his cool when I told him that a mutual friend teased me for saying the word ‘awesome’ too many times.

“Well…well, he’s just some loser who goes around talking about cheese all the time!” ranted Jeff. He was angry that someone had made a personal, possibly insulting comment about me.

"I wasn't sure if I should say 'Thank you' or 'Fuck you'. image supplied (and drawn by Carla GS - is there nothing this woman can't do!)

So, why the hell were we so thrilled that I was called a MILF by some hooligan in a beaten-up car? Any odd emotional reaction usually points to a more complex issue at heart.

And this was mine: pregnancy had made me hate my body in a way that wasn’t normal…because I’d discovered that I wasn’t normal.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, something just didn’t feel right. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew that something was wrong.

When I was hospitalised at 22 weeks pregnant with high blood pressure, swelling, headaches and visual disturbances, I realised with horror that I was right. Something was wrong with me.

I was diagnosed with a chronic kidney disease, which was the reason behind my scary pre-eclamptic symptoms. After I had taken leave from my stressful job and found myself at home and isolated, I began to hate my body.

I loathed the physical evidence of my disease - the deep purple stretch marks, and the fluid which caused my face and body to swell so much that my glasses pressed into my face, and my knees and ankles could barely bend enough for me to walk.

But the real reason why I hated my body was because I felt like it had betrayed and failed me. It had hidden this kidney disease from me for so long, and was struggling to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Every single day, I hoped and prayed that my baby would make it out alive from my horrible, diseased body.

The disappointment, anger and fear I’d felt towards my body had manifested itself into a deep sense of ugliness that was hard to shake.

Carla GS. (image supplied)

So, when that young man shouted at me and called me a MILF, I was jolted out of my thoughts, and out of my body image rut. It was as though I’d had a breakthrough. I felt attractive and young again.

And even though a total stranger had told me that I was a Mother He’d Like to F***, my husband was just happy to see that I was feeling good about myself again, as the months of my illness and depression and also taken an emotional toll on him.

As objectifying and insulting as it was to be called a MILF, it made me consider my body outside of all the tests, biopsies and hard decisions I was undergoing for the sake of my kidneys. The young man in the car didn’t see me as a diseased, damaged creature. He just saw a Mother I’d Like to F***.

And at the time, that was good enough for me.

I still don’t like the term “MILF”, and I don’t think it’s okay to shout out anything to a woman on a street. But for a brief moment in time, everything flipped for me - an insult became a compliment, and rather than focus on the word “f***” in MILF, I recognised that I was the first word: “Mother”.

My body had done it. My child was born healthy and happy, and we were walking around together outside in the sun, a mother and daughter. That happy ending was enough for me to turn any insult or slur into the highest of compliments, because I’d finally become a Mother when only a few months ago, I thought both of us would die. And that was enough – more than enough – to make me smile.

WATCH: The five things no one told Jamila Rizvi about pregnant bodies.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION