What Is So Daring About Motherhood?

Posted: April 26, 2016

The Motherhood Dare on social media, which celebrates mothers, is hurtful to those women who are not mothers, or unable to become a mother.

At the very onset, I’d like to make it clear that the intention of this article is not to hurt anyone’s sentiments. I’d just like to put forth my views (like many others) and if that makes you think or help you in any way I’d be more than happy, if not, no big deal.

The Motherhood Dare

I have been observing a popular trend in the social media these days. It’s called the Motherhood Dare, where women are being asked whether ‘they can rise up to the challenge’ to post pictures with their kids.

First of all, congratulations on being a mother. Though I am not a mother out of choice, I can understand how fulfilling it might be to give birth to another human being, holding a piece of yourself close to your chest, watching them grow, sacrificing and suffering so much for them, right from pregnancy and labour pain to everything that might come later. I absolutely respect that. However, I have a question regarding this so called dare.

What is so daring about becoming a mother as opposed to not becoming one? What is this big challenge where the rest of us, the non-mothers seem to have failed? Please understand, I have no qualms if you think that by being a mother you are superior to me. But yes, I do mind when it hurts women who CANNOT take things so lightly.

Think of those whom it might hurt

Think of a scenario where a woman has been trying for years and years and yet couldn’t rise up to the ‘dare’ simply because nature wouldn’t permit. Think of those women who suffer from repeated miscarriages and have to go through hell before they can even think of healing from this insurmountable pain of losing their babies. Need proof? Do take a look at this.

Imagine how heart breaking it might be for such a woman to scroll through pictures of this Motherhood Dare and to think about how she is a loser in this challenge? Would she make any less of a mother? No. And yet, due to the unfairness of life, she failed at something without any fault of hers. Next, think about those women whose children succumbed to an untimely death? Did they fail, too?

I don’t want to blame anyone about posting pictures. I just want to remind people that every action we undertake has a lot of impact on those around us. Maybe we need to be a bit more empathetic and compassionate?

The pressure to be a mother

Just a few days back, I was having a conversation with a taxi driver in Kolkata. After the usual discussion about the ongoing elections, he suddenly asked me whether I was married. I don’t wear anything to identify myself as a married woman, so his question was justified but I didn’t like the personal question. However, respecting his age and understanding that it was just a harmless question, I answered in the affirmative. To which his next question was, “So how long have you been married?”

“More than two years.” I answered reluctantly.

“Ok! So how many children do you have?”

Now I was seriously getting uncomfortable but still I gave a short reply. “None.”

“Wow! Two years of marriage and no children?? I will pray that you have a son very soon.”

Now, I couldn’t stop myself from voicing my opinion. Firstly, he feels children are mandatory which I could still take but now he thinks without a son my life is incomplete!

I replied, “Dada (brother is Bengali), you don’t need to pray for me because I don’t want children.”

He was shocked by now. “How can you say that? What does that even mean?”

Going by his expression, I might as well have been an alien from Mars riding in his taxi.

“I meant that I don’t want children of my own. There are so many children in our country not getting enough food or an education without any fault of theirs, I want to help some of them. I also want to help those stray dogs on the street who have no one to care for them.”

By now, my words might have sounded like gibberish to him. I really don’t blame the poor guy. It was possibly the first time in his life that he heard someone say something so bizarre!

He was silent for a while and then as I was about to de-board he told me, “It’s good that you want to help others but I do wish you have a son of your own, too.”

I just smiled and left the cab.

So, basically being a mother is considered to be of paramount importance in all strata of our society–starting from our Facebook friends to the cab driver, everyone seems to be of the same opinion. I am not here to refute your priorities. Of course it can be considered an important thing by a lot of people. I am happy to be different and it does not affect me.

Let us be empathetic

But being an empathetic and thinking individual, I just feel for all those women who also considered Motherhood important and yet could not succeed in becoming a mother. Even if you don’t think about the rest of us who choose not be mothers in order to do other things, at least think about those poor souls who are already under so much pressure from the society and have no means to voice their pain.

Please let us be a bit kinder and more considerate about the statements we make on social media. Thank you.

Image source: newborn feet in mother’s hands by Shutterstock.

I read like a maniac, like my life depends on it. I also write and

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Comments

3 Comments


  1. This just echoes my views on the subject! Despite being tagged by my FB friends urging me to post those ‘daring’ pictures, I refrained from doing so because I hardly find Motherhood to be a Dare!! Yes, I’m a mother, and a hands-on, full-time one at that! But, it’s only by choice and there’s nothing daring to it. Yes, there are challenges to the path of raising a child, and ups and downs too…but that’s the part and parcel of life, isn’t it? In fact, life itself is a big challenge which we all accept and thrive on till death! And motherhood is only a part of that big challenge. And what about the childless woman who actually dares the frown of world and keep her head high despite being tagged ‘barren’ and ‘banj’ all her life? What about the woman who dares the grief of a dead child and still manages to cope with the loss and move on? Isn’t that daring? Yes, I call them daring. And I, as one of the privileged FB fraternity of happy moms, couldn’t fathom how posing for happy pictures with kids could make my motherhood daring!!

  2. I believe its media tactics to dare people to do things they might not do normally. Also those posted pictures will/most likely be used without any royalties paid, for advertisements or other purposes. If we think about it, really think about it, why would anyone start such an agenda to get the pictures of mothers and their kids? Think about it.

  3. First of all, you are completely entitled to your opinion on any matter and I respect that. At the same time this doesn’t make any logical sense to me. “Think of a scenario where a woman has been trying for years and years and yet couldn’t rise up to the ‘dare’ simply because nature wouldn’t permit.” ?

    I can think of many other scenarios too. Each time I post a picture of myself standing, I can think of someone who has lost their leg/foot being unable to “rise to the challenge or dare”. Do I stop posting pics of myself to be empathetic to that person? Each I time post a pic of myself eating a hamburger, do I stop posting because I need to be empathetic of that person who is obese and struggling to lose unhealthy weight and overcome health problems? Even the air I breathe could be reminding someone of their loved one who is no more, and who can no longer breathe. Do I stop putting myself out there just because something about me – the food I eat, the clothes on my back, the education I receive, the family I have, the children I have, the good health I have etc. will constantly remind someone of something that they don’t have.

    You yourself say that being a mother/not being one is a personal choice and not the end of the world. By talking about “Imagine how heart breaking it might be for such a woman to scroll through pictures of this Motherhood Dare and to think about how she is a loser in this challenge? Would she make any less of a mother?” you seem to be re-enforcing that thought rather than making sense out of it!

    At the end of the day, they are just sharing some good moments with their children. “Dare” might not be the most appropriate word for that. Let’s just assume they couldn’t come up with any better word and forgive them for it.
    Just my two cents! 🙂

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