When I started writing my blog post about the anxieties and reservations I had about ever raising a child, I thought for sure it would be inappropriate to share for a Mama's Day blog carnival. After all, I wasn't touting the inevitability of motherhood, I was questioning it and mentally running for the hills.
But after reading the amazing, inspiring, and honest posts that were written for Mama's Day 2012, I have some new thoughts about what it takes, and what it means, to be a mama.
Here's what these posts reaffirmed for me:
1. Motherhood can be a terrifying experience—filled with so many unknowns and variables that we can't necessarily anticipate. It also seems to be incredibly rewarding. In the words of Jaime Jenett, who wrote a truly beautiful response to my post, "sometimes loving so much it hurts can break us so wide open that we find delicious pieces of ourselves we never knew were there."
2. Motherhood should always be a choice—we should be allowed to parent on our own terms, and raise our children with humanity, and dignity. But despite the restrictions that are placed on our ability to care for our families, mamas still have an incredible capacity to love.
3. Motherhood can come with stigma, shame, and struggle—mamas of all kinds need our support. They need support from our communities, our families, and our policies. Embedded in our language and our laws and our advertisements are negative attitudes about mamas on the margins. But there are a lot of people out there who are demanding change.
4. Motherhood is emotional. At the end of the day, this is what has stayed with me after Mama's Day, and will linger for months. So many of you poured out stories of love and loss and acceptance and anger and fear. These stories hold power because they are our personal truths—they lift up our experiences and tell the world that we will not be ignored or silenced. Together, they form a tapestry of motherhood, creating an image of love, of strength, of Strong Families.
I'm still wary about ever being a mom. I'm still unsure of whether I'll be able to take on mamahood, or if I even want to in the first place. And I'm still worried my kid may not like me. But I've learned to keep my wariness in perspective—to be grateful for having the opportunity to parent on my own terms, in my own time. I've learned that even if life doesn't go the way we planned, it can still be incredibly fulfilling. And I'm even more in awe, even more proud of the women in my life and in this world. They are doing the work every day, moving forward for the generations who came before them, and for the generations to come.