“So, how do you like being a mother?” somebody/anybody asks me. I pause slightly and look up to the sky. I’m trying to formulate my words. The somebody/anybody eyes start to glaze over and they begin fidgeting. I am not answering fast enough for them. I am suppose to be happily extolling the virtues of motherhood, not pondering it deeply. Finally, I say it’s “interesting.”
I love my baby, I do. But like many new mothers I got the baby blues after he was born. There have been many late nights I have wrapped myself with my arms, rocked back and forth and muttered “what have I done?”
Becoming a parent means sacrificing your time, money, goals, etc. It’s not that you will never have these things again, but it will be harder. And when you become an older parent like I have (over 40), you really wonder if you will make it. While other folks will be done with raising a child, you will be dealing with a moody teen in your 50’s/60’s. Oh joy.
For mothers of color, there tends to be the typical parent concerns, plus cultural/community expectations. In the article “An Honest Conversation With Women of Color About Postpartum Mood Disorders,” mothers of color talk about their struggles with motherhood. There are not a lot of opportunities for women of color to share these kind of stories. For many it’s the fear of not living up to stereotypes of being a “Model Minority” or a “Strong Black Woman.”
The article was a moving read and made me realize how important it is for mothers of color to build a supportive network. Having a child can be a wonderful thing, but it should never be at the expense of our mental or emotional health. It’s okay to tell folks that being a mother is “interesting.” We shouldn’t have to fake the funk to keep other folks fantasies of motherhood alive.