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What Is So Daring About Motherhood?

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

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?

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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.

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About the Author

Kasturi Patra

Kasturi’s debut novel, forthcoming in early 2021, had won the novel pitch competition by Half Baked Beans Publishers. She won the Runner Up Position in the Orange Flower Awards 2021 for Short Fiction. Her read more...

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