Sunday, October 5, 2008

Grading Motherhood

Motherhood - The Journey
Adetoye Adewole Adedipe

While going through my daily read of posts on the discussion board of my association, one in particular stood out. It was someone going on about how women who endured fertility treatments were much better mothers. Now, that remark got me thinking here. Does that mean that those "poor" fertile women out there don't make good moms? How I pity them. So let's get this straight, to be a grade "A" mom you have to go through fertility treatments, endless ultrassounds, survive 2-week waits and pee on a stick every month. That's what determines how good a mom you really are. Well, given the fact that I went through that for 12 years, I guess you could give me an "A+". And if you throw in my miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies, will that entitle me to an "A++"? I have to say these remarks about infertility survivors being better moms really rub me the wrong way.

It reminds of the time when I went for my last check-up at the hospital just before giving birth to the little guy. I overheard two women discussing natural labour vs caesarian. They both agreed that you weren't truly a mother, not in the whole sense of the word, if you didn't go through labour pains. Well, excuse me...what about not having sex to conceive? Did that mean I wasn't even eligible to become a mother? God forbid a woman should even think of conceiving without the pleasures of sex! Now, that's sinful!

Anyhow, back to the post. That's not the first time I've come across women grading motherhood based on the journey it took to get there. Well, I beg to differ. I don't think I'm any better or any worse than other mothers. To be honest I probably don't even deserve the "A" grade, given the fact that I went straight back to work once maternity leave was over, when I could have easily have become a stay-at-home mom. But towards the end of my leave I had ants in my pants, ready to go back to the hustle & bustle of working life. So, I guess that takes me down to a "B". And what about all those times I just couldn't take all the crying and having to deal with a colicky baby, so I'd drop him off at my mother-in-law's so I could have a few hours of peace & quiet to myself, or head out to the hairdresser's so I could finally look at myself in the mirror without getting a fright. So, now down to a "C". And the other day, instead of following those child rearing theories that are supposed to make a top-notch parent out of you, I actually bribed my son into getting a haircut. Yup! We're talking cash. Shit! I've failed! I am an absolute failure as a mom! Moi, who went through infertility treatments. I'm a disgrace to my kind.

Now, getting a little bit more serious here. Wanting to have a child and enduring fertility treatments to get there has no impact on our outcome as mothers. The problem with infertility is that the side effects extend into motherhood with a little more anxiety at the beginning and less self-confidence. Plus it just took a little longer to get there and few more tears along the way. But I don't want another label. Infertility was enough for me! The only label you'll ever seeing me wearing is one saying "I'm the little guy's mom". And that's good enough for me.

Present /Infant

Ani DiFranco

Lately I've been glaring into mirrors
Picking myself apart
You'd think at my age I'd of thought
of something better to do
Than making insecurity into a full-time job
Making insecurity into art
And I fear my life will be over
and I will have never lived unfettered
Always glaring into mirrors
Mad I don't look better

But now here is this tiny baby
and they say she looks just like me
and she is smiling at me
with that present infant glee
and yes I will defend
To the ends of the earth
Her perfect right to be

So I'm beginning to see some problems
with the ongoing work of my mind
And I've got myself a new mantra
It says: "don't forget to have a good time"
Don't let the sellers of stuff power enough
to rob you of your grace
Love is all over the place

There's nothing wrong with your face
Love is all over the place
There's nothing wrong with your face

lately I've been glaring into mirrors
picking myself apart

1 comment:

Martha said...

Amen to this excellent post, RA. Do you ever hear guys talk about who is a better dad because he has Zero Sperm Count? NO! and HELL, No! I just roll my eyes when women say, "A Natural delivery is better." Better than what, a distressed or dying baby or Mommy? People are morons, looking to deal with their insecurities. Am I a lousy mom because Kevin and I conceived easily? Am I a good mom because I had a miscarriage? Is my friend a better mom because she has had IVF? Of course NOT! I think you are the Best Mom for your beautiful guy, I'm the Best Mom for my two guys, and so on. I think just to need to accept folks are doing the best they can when it comes to parenting. I say let's support each other instead of this bull$shi+ competition. Thank you for letting me vent. Big (((Hugs))) and Thanks for this Excellent post.