Society’s view is quite clear on what makes a mother, South African law is quite clear on what makes a mother… it’s the woman who gets pregnant and carries a child in her womb, she is a mother. But what of women like me? Am I less of a mother or not a mother at all?
I’ve always had self-esteem issues and there have been plenty of times where my confidence in my ability to mother a child has been knocked or where I have questioned it not least of all because of my own bodies inability to carry a living breathing baby within it. Even more so when I log onto Facebook and see these status updates:
“I’ve carried a child within my body, I have nourished and comforted a baby upon my chest. My body is not magazine perfect, but when I look in the mirror I am happy because I see a mother and there is no greater honour or blessing. Make this your status if you are proud to be a mother. <3 ”
And then an hour later I receive an email from Circle Of Mom’s titled: How Did Your Find Out You Were Pregnant?
Of course I realize none of these statements are made with any kind of malicious intent but that doesn’t mean that they don’t sting a little bit, that, somewhere deep inside me, they chip away a little further at my self-esteem, that they reinforce my feelings of not really being a real mother.
We all pay lip service to what really makes a mother and of course we all believe that a mother is not necessarily the woman who births a child and yet, when there is no conscious thought behind what makes a mother, statements about carrying a baby in the womb are made as encompassing part of motherhood. And these leave me feeling… less and remind me of what society really thinks a mother is and that those of us on an alternative path to motherhood don’t quite fit in.