When I passed from pregnant to mum the first time, what struck me was how much I remained the same.
I read with interest our editor in chief Jamila Rizvi’s moving post on how her baby boy has changed her world.
I read it with interest but I couldn’t relate much to the sentiments expressed. Her experience was not mine.
Before my first child was born, I expected everything about my life and my identity to be transformed. When it wasn’t, when I passed from pregnant to mum the first time, what struck me was how much I remained the same. A parent, of course, with new perspectives, new sensitivities and perhaps a bit more food on my shirt than usual, but still me.
Perhaps it would be different the second time around? The second time was twins. Again, I thought it would be like stepping on a landmine. Boom. Changed forever. And again, despite the usual alterations to sleep patterns and plans for Friday night, I was struck again about how much remained the same. A parent of three. But not much else had shifted (except the waistline of my pants).
Then Mia Freedman sent me a response to Jamila’s post, a woman who chastised our beloved editor in chief for what she saw as the negativity of her story as a first time mum. Stop complaining. If you were just energetic and organised you wouldn’t be having all these problems.
This feedback is not uncommon when women choose to be honest about their lives as mothers, the challenges and the difficulties among all the joy and fulfilment. Stop complaining. You are ungrateful. You are giving parenthood a bad name. Get your act together.
When I read Jamila’s post, even though I couldn’t relate, I could respect what she was going through. Because – and this is the key – I make no assumptions and have no expectations that women will all experience motherhood the same way.