Motherhood is amazing; women get to create new life out of love and passion. They have little babies and give them all the love they can possibly give. Mothers get to watch their little babies grow, speak their first word, and take their first step. It is full of beautiful feelings and joy.
However, motherhood’s hardships are often romanticized by the patriarchy to manipulate women into doing everything on their own, let men off the hook, and make mothers feel bad about feeling tired, exhausted, and needing a break.
Why should we stop romanticizing it?
Mothers risk a lot during every part of their motherhood journey. These risks start from the time of getting pregnant and giving birth. The pain of giving birth is unspeakable. One mother shared her experience with childbirth and tried to explain what it felt like for her:
“You know that ‘stitch’ feeling you get in your side after working out too hard? It is that feeling — times 10, encompassing a circumference from the bottom of your rib cage to your tailbone. Pushing is hard if you do not know what you are doing. Imagine you’re puking, then use those muscles to push.”
Mothers may start to suffer from depression and/or anxiety after giving birth. The stress that comes with being a mother can be so damaging to their mental health. Some mothers start to suffer from Postpartum Depression after having their baby.
Motherhood takes away from women’s lives in a patriarchal society
Whenever a woman has kids, she starts to make sacrifices for her children. Mothers sacrifice their peace of mind, stable mental health, alone time, and even their fun hangouts with their friends. Their lives turn into something they were never ready to have, even if they thought they were. Motherhood is exhausting; dealing with kids, and raising them can be draining. They must be working around the clock; it is a full-time job with no breaks or days off. You do not even get paid. There is nothing to romanticize here, trust me.
Mothers will be ashamed to ask for help
When you keep telling mothers that they should enjoy every second of their motherhood, you are making them feel bad for not always enjoying it. Some mothers suffer from depression and anxiety and having children does not make it any easier. So, asking for help will feel wrong because you just told them to enjoy motherhood no matter what. Instead, we should start raising awareness about how motherhood can be full of hardships for some women and encourage them to reach out and ask for help.
If the mother can do it all, where is the dad’s role?
If we constantly present mothers as superheroes who do not need any help, fathers will feel perfectly fine being absent. I am an Arab woman. So let me tell you about what it is like to let the father off the hook.
Men tend to manipulate their wives and women in general into making them do everything by telling them how much of a superhero they are. That women can do everything on their own when it comes to building a family. That only the mother can bond with her kids, which is totally wrong. Fathers in my country -Egypt- do not participate in raising the kids. They are almost never there unless they are good men, which is rare.
Mothers end up doing everything around the house, from raising kids to cleaning, and handling their jobs as well, if they are working moms. Romanticizing motherhood is only an excuse to make men feel good about being bad fathers.
Dear mothers, you are doing great
To every mother who is taking care of her kids, you are doing great. Nonetheless, please do not forget to take care of your health. If you did not choose to do motherhood alone, do not let the father off the hook.
Ask for help when you believe you need it. There is no shame in it. Have some alone time and watch your favorite movie or hang out with your friends. You have earned it.