Each year, on Mother's Day, we have the pleasure of thanking our moms for being wonderful, selfless, sacrificial angels who are there for us every step of the way. And each year, mothers who fall short of this idealistic image get to spend the day in shame apologizing for being both flawed and fertile. If you fall into that latter category, I have something to say to you: Happy Mother's Day.
To mothers who gave birth, regret it, and raise their children anyway, Happy Mother's Day.
To mothers who feel guilty or like they are falling short, Happy Mother's Day.
To mothers who gave birth and allowed their child to be adopted into another family, Happy Mother's Day.
To mothers who get a never ending "you owe me" list for which they will not be appreciated whether they fill it or not, Happy Mother's Day.
To mothers with angry children who blame you for the actions of others, Happy Mother's Day.
For mothers who lost their children to Foster Care and to the Mothers who take them in, Happy Mother's Day.
Record numbers of women are opting out of motherhood. So, don't disparage the women who opt in.
As a woman with no children, I admire and respect women who had the courage to bring life into the world even when circumstances, finances, or social conditions were non-optimal. It takes a lot to sacrifice your body, health, financial stability or social position to deliver a healthy baby into the world. I find it disheartening that society takes a mother's sacrifice for granted and criticizes her for everything she does wrong without thanking her for anything she got right.
We could all make a long list of women who had "no business giving birth," but be careful. When you cross their children off of the list, you may have to cross off your neighbors, friends, cousins, community members, loved ones, or even yourself. When you believe that people have no right to be born to an imperfect mother, you believe in wiping out much of society.
While some wounds a mother inflicts can be hard to heal, it is still my hope that one day per year, every year, children can be happy that their mother gave them life. No, it is not enough, but it is something. It is a start. Honoring your mother and father, as the biblical commandment states, is not the same thing as agreeing with your mother's behavior. Honor simply means to give special recognition or respect - even when it is hard.
Over 80% of women struggle with a negative body image and there is no other place where body shame shows up as deeply as what a women decides to do, or not do, with her womb. So, this and every Mother's Day, be reminded that a woman growing life in her womb does not mean that she is perfect. It means that she is selfless enough to share her body with a growing human. Growing life does not mean a woman won't make mistakes, will have unlimited patience, or enjoy motherhood. It does, however, mean that she is a mother.
So, Happy Mother's Day...to ALL mom's. This year and every year henceforth.
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