Becoming a mum was the most eye opening experience of my life. My world changed in that I couldn’t comprehend how the human race survived if that was what had to happen to populate the earth. Nothing about pregnancy, birth and babies was like one movie had ever made it look (Gremlins, the exception). But also, like any other mum had made it look. Pre-kids, I hadn’t caught on from the mums around me, how exhausted they were. I didn’t pick up on the unspoken words in-between their obvious adoration for their children. I couldn’t read the truth behind their sighs. And I could not even imagine the discomfort of pregnancy, the shock of birth or mind-blowing love that follows.
I’m so lucky to be a mum and so grateful I could. But how hard and trying it is can leave even the best of us feeling beaten — and I say this as I sit in my mortgaged house with Netflix on our flat screen, my kids asleep in their own rooms, filled with unnecessary toys, and me surrounded by piles of washing even though all of our wardrobes remain full.
So the idea that life could be harder… is embarrassing.
But the truth is, we don’t often see the mums who are parenting in a version of life that we can’t even imagine – and don’t want to. Mums who are homeless, Mums fleeing domestic violence, ones hiding from unsupportive family. Mums so financially disadvantaged that the skipped meal is far more of an issue than the lack of the best pregnancy vitamin the chemist has to offer.
These Mums don’t get to ponder if they’ll go private or public. They aren’t scoping Pinterest for nursery themes. They aren’t doing Calm Birth classes or upgrading to a bigger car. They are just having a baby and using every bit of faith they can muster to hope things will be okay, that not only can they manage to birth a healthy baby, but that they also get to raise it safely and happily.
My own fears were legit. But they certainly look weak compared to how much braver and courageous some Mums need to be.
Mother’s Day, we acknowledge what Mothers do. How we came to exist and be us. How we got to wherever it is we did. How much they help us. How much women sacrifice.
But we can also consider Mums out there whose hurdles won’t be found in What to Expect When You Are Expecting, and we can help.
Community is at the heart of everything we do at the The Green Elephant Learning Centre and with the help of your children, we have designed and printed greeting cards in support of the #LoveAnotherMother campaign. Cards are available for purchase in packs of 4 and all proceeds will go to Karinya House, a service that supports vulnerable mums and infants who are living in crisis.
Please help us support them by buying the cards for the people that you love and #loveanothermother — because mothering will never be easy, but it shouldn’t be unsafe.
More information can be found on Karinya House here.
Deborah O'Ferry is a mother of two. She attempts community work by day and staying calm by night, as she trips about in the crazy and beautiful world of parenting. Writing is her way of staying sane and she hopes to reach other tired parents by being honest about her own not-always-successful experiences and try to level out the ideas of perfect parenting to just trying to be good people. You can follow Deborah at Deborah O'Ferry on Facebook.
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