One of the first lessons motherhood taught me is to be comfortable with contradictions. You will love your children more than anything else and you will also want to run screaming from the enormous responsibility of being their mother. Both feelings are valid and neither are the complete story. Both will fuel and feed different parts of your motherhood journey at different times.
I love the work I get to do at Embrace, the Movement for Mothers because it allows me the absolute honour of finding ways for mothers to step into the complex and contradictory. I get to see motherhood in all its everything. I wish we could all see it. Then maybe we would stop talking at mothers from these singular soap boxes that are nowhere near their lived experiences.
That’s a difficult thing to do, I get it. Society at large is all about the singular, the single story. Even if we can’t resist this, I wish we could extend mothers the benefit of the doubt. Trust that, as far as we know about their lives (which is not a lot), they are making the best choices possible in a context that is often unforgiving to them.
Ours is not to scrutinize their choices after the fact, like some shrill armchair sportscasters. Ours is to change the contexts and widen the parameters within which those choices are made.
We deal in possible worlds, yes. But not to the complete exclusion of present worlds. What’s the point of forecasting a perfect future for mothers if you don’t acknowledge current imperfections?