By Aparna Muralidharan
People often talk about how rewarding and beautiful motherhood is. I think, in a way people tend to glorify motherhood as a concept without actually celebrating new mothers. The world tends to be in awe of the sacrifices made by a mother and forget the challenges that come with it. Those days of postpartum blues, difficulties with breastfeeding, the excruciating pain of those episiotomy stitches, and times when you were worried for sanity remain unaddressed and you are expected to soak in the glory of your newborn. Yes, motherhood is wonderful, but we need to accept that mothers are humans first and that includes being imperfect, moody, and vulnerable. When the world patronizes the role of woman as mother, it forgets to take into account the insecurities, doubts, and imperfections.
Becoming a mother I was instantly drawn to the idea of the sisterhood of motherhood. I had an entire village of strong, supportive women who I call my 'Mom squad'. Each member of this close-knit gang is a very important part of my journey. From a mother who decided to work through my entire pregnancy and delivery and still help put things into perspective, to the aunt who asked to talk about my postpartum blues. A sister who spent sleepless nights trying to get a burp out of her niece to another sister who sent thoughtful new baby gifts to sisters in law who happily shared positive parenting skills. A grandmother who taught me how to care for an unwell infant to another grandmother who spent hours trying to get my baby to sleep. A mother in law who happily played with my baby at 4 am so that I could sleep to a friend who answered my frantic texts at 3 am and cooked fresh meals, while I was soothing a teething baby.
This is my village, my people…every mother will find her squad, a group of women who will let her mistakes, a group where she will feel at home. This tribe taught me the power of gratitude, the significance of accepting help, and the humility to be fully aware of my privileges.
So world, I do not want you to sing praises of my 'maternal instinct', instead stop commenting about my decision to babywear my daughter. I have not asked for any tips on weight loss, so kindly refrain from talking about my postpartum body. You don't have to tell me that I'm making a mistake by letting my daughter feed herself, you can bring some cake instead. You don't have to offer any help, any advice... instead say 'Amma, you've got this’. Sometimes that is all a mother wants to hear.
About the Author-
Aparna Muralidharan is a postgraduate in English and has worked as a language educator for young children. She loves reading, traveling and sees herself as an in-house DIY project designer for her daughter :)
Great read Aparna. You have beautifully put together a mother’s not so perfect, yet her perfect way of child wearing or rearing experiences. And most importantly you have got this Amma
Well said, Aparna! It’s refreshing to read this essay as it cuts through the superficial barrage of glorification and unsolicited advice new moms face and gets to the real stuff. Anybody who’s going to be around new moms should read this.
Very well put Aparna!
Thank you all for taking the time to read my write-up. Your appreciation warms my heart.
Superb writeup Aparna.All aspects of motherhood which are normally overlooked ‘as we soak in the glory of the newborn’, the pains taken by all those who can never be thanked enough, the unsolicited advice… You nailed it.