Why I Think The Motherhood Challenge Should Not Have Hurt Anyone

Posted: May 13, 2016

Here is why I think why we should not be hurt by the Motherhood Challenge, why we should take it in our stride.

Last week I read a post by Ms. Kasturi Patra about how the ‘Motherhood Challenge’ chain of posting a picture with your child may hurt somebody who is not a mother by choice or one who wants to be a mother but can’t. I am thankful to Ms. Patra for speaking out about this as the same thought of hurting people came to many of us when we first saw the challenge.

The article emphasizes the need to be careful and empathetic while posting in social media. I agree with her. But I would like to put forward my views as one of those who joined in the chain and posted a pic. I should clarify that this is not a reply to the article but just a response from one who participated in the chain without the intention of hurting anybody.

When I was nominated, the word ‘dare’ seemed misfit as there is nothing to dare when I post a picture of me and my child.  We do that anyway whenever we feel like it! But one of my friends changed the title to ‘Motherhood Magic Touch’ and feeling better, I went ahead and accepted the nomination.

But for me, motherhood is not just me and my child. If I have to define motherhood in my life, I have to start from where I was born – my mother. I cannot be a mother had I not been a daughter to a very wonderful lady I call ‘Maa’. The next level of motherhood was the birth of my brother who is three and a half years younger to me. As any other elder sibling, the first maternal feelings were stirred in me by him. And now, the birth of my son made me realize the immensity of being a mother. My post spoke of all this and I put the pics of my mother and brother along with me and my son.

Having said that, I can understand very well the feelings of such posts on women wishing to be mothers but are not able to because of some reason, medical or otherwise. I had had a miscarriage due to an ‘anembryonic pregnancy’. Even the most sensitive person in the world cannot imagine the sense of loss one feels after a miscarriage unless you go through it yourself. You can understand the loss but not what the person is going through. No words, no actions are enough to make her feel better.

Think about the beginnings of the biology of motherhood – periods. I was just wondering how the sight of menstrual blood gives different feelings at different stages of a girl’s life. At the beginning, we actually do not even fully understand its importance and because of all the uneasiness associated with it, we just wonder why we have to even go through it.

Later, the cycle actually brings the most bizarre irony of our life. Every month, if it comes we are like “Oh God! Here it is again. Why should only girls face this?” If we miss the date, the thousands of doubts that pop up in your mind are so scary that you wish you had that stain as soon as possible. A married girl, not willing to immediately enter pregnancy, wishes for the cycle to occur regularly and another who wants to be a mother cries at her regularity every month. As a sign of miscarriage, it is devastating especially when your body still shows all the symptoms of pregnancy. I have gone through all of these. From puberty to menopause, this natural physician visits us every month analyzing and signing our health card red.

To describe this is such detail was needed to make the reader aware that I speak from my experience. During the period when after miscarriage I was trying to get pregnant but wasn’t, there was this chain of posting pics of our children on a whatsapp group of friends. I knew at least two other members who just like me were struggling to be a parent. The flashing pics of cute children on my mobile screen brought tears to my eyes.

Yes, those were tears of loss, tears of the feeling of failure and guilt (why these feelings, do not ask me), also tears of jealousy. But as the tears rolled down the cheeks, a smile spread on my lips. That was a sweet feeling that any smiling kid can bring to your life. I felt hurt because of my situation but at the same time I blessed each and every child in this universe and their parents. I preferred to keep quiet while one of my friends blessed them in words and another one posted the pic of her husband saying “As of now, this is my baby.” The blessings that came from our hearts were genuine and even God cannot put a question mark on that. That’s it and we moved on.

Social media is filled with shared and chain posts which are bound to hurt someone or the other. For example, ‘vote for the cutest baby’ is going to have the same impact as this ‘motherhood dare’ chain. Every child is cute, why compete for that? Additionally, what will the mothers whose babies didn’t win the contest feel? Does it make them less cute or seem like a failure?

Then there are some posts doing rounds every other day saying “Hit like and share if you wish your mom/dad/sis/bro live for 100 years”. Somebody who recently lost a parent or sibling is bound to feel a stab in the heart. And a friend didn’t talk to me for one whole day when I questioned her post of “My husband is the best husband in the world” asking “How many did you try?” Some unmarried friend will be hurt by this, isn’t it? So, should all of these be stopped? Should they be made to feel guilty of hurting someone’s sentiments? I don’t think so.

Nowadays, social media is a platform for varied people with varied intentions and there are some who post things just like that. Everybody wants to be there and share the stage. It is up to us how we take it, use it, follow it or simply ignore it. The best thing about the virtual world is that the click of a button can delete everything and another click can just help you avoid unwanted things. Make use of those buttons as and when required.

Coming to all those who did post for the Motherhood Challenge chain, we celebrated a moment sharing something we felt good about. Nothing wrong in that I suppose. We do announce the birth of a child to everyone irrespective of their parental status, don’t we? Here I am talking about real friends not the virtual ones. Do we screen out those couples who are not having a child from our list on those occasions of birth and birthdays and so on? No, we don’t.

And, on second thought, usage of the word ‘dare’ is not altogether wrong because motherhood is the scariest thing in a way right from pregnancy till you die. It is like climbing a steep unknown mountain trail where one wrong step can make you slip and fall, but you rise up with every step you take in the challenge of raising a life.

This is one challenge where the victory is not in the final step because there is no final step. Every step is a dare and win step.

Image source: happy mother and child by Shutterstock.

A woman who is trying to improve herself as a person, a mother, a researcher,

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