This is a post that I’ve had floating in my head for a long time. But this week I saw something that has changed the angle of this post, one that I wasn’t expecting…!
Since becoming an aunt when I was 10, I feel like there have always been kids in my life—even when I was still one myself. Both of my sisters (who are 10+yrs older than me) had kids (and are still having kids!) and as I started to get older, my friends starting having kids too.
And then I got involved in the Aussie blogosphere and have somehow found myself amongst the mummy bloggers, even though I’m not one myself. Mummy bloggers are a nice bunch, you know. Funny, intelligent and honest.
But I was wondering if being around all these mums in my real and internet life was putting me off having kids…
Cause I have a theory: back in the olden days (i.e. anything more than 10 years ago) it was common to have an “idea” of what parenting was like from family and older friends. The pain of labour, the sleepless nights, the vomiting, the nappies… but it wasn’t a REAL idea of what motherhood was like. The internet wasn’t around/sufficiently developed to feed you with all the information you didn’t want to know about parenting. The cracked nipples, the tearing, the febrile convulsions.
Not that I haven’t seen the beauty of it. I was there when my nephew was born and it was one of the most beautiful and amazing things I’d ever seen. And I watch my friends and family with their kids (on the good days of course) and the hugs and playtime and bedtime stories and I confess to catching frequent cases of the warm’n’fuzzies.
Progressively, women are waiting longer to start having kids. We’re savvier and have more personal awareness of what impact parenthood will have on our lives.We’re watching family and friends have kids and really see the exhaustion and stress it causes.
Throw mummy bloggers into the mix with their brutal honesty of their daily struggles and woah. Some really don’t hold back. And not that I think they shouldn’t—in fact, I would defend their right to do so—but I feel that the largely-negative sentiments of many a blogger’s content has rubbed off on me.
So, since getting married last year and the “when are you going to start a family” asking rate has increased by about 5000%, it’s hard to explain why we’re not clucky as all hell.
I think we know too much. I think we waited too long. We’ve spent so many hours with people who have children of their own and we’ve heard too many stories. And I’ve read too many stories online.
But earlier this week, something changed. I read Mrs Woog’s post about about the ridiculous trend of women getting dolled up for the labour ward and then on her Facebook page, all these women shared photos of themselves in their post-labour beauty. I was surprisingly mesmerised by the whole thing. It was like an extension of the experience I had when my nephew was born. You can’t get more real than the look on a mother’s face just after she’s met her baby. And while some of the photos were beautiful, natural, confronting (for a non-mother like me, anyway), there were some funny ones too. It was as real as it gets, but it didn’t frighten me at all.
But the bit that really won me over was the fact that all these women took the time to comment on each other’s photos. The outpouring of pride and camaraderie was something that I haven’t seen anywhere else. That was the piece that I didn’t know I had been missing with mummy blogs. A celebration of the miracle of life and the empowerment of women who do this every day.
So thank you, mummy bloggers, I’m no longer afraid of having kids…. but I’m still not quite ready to have my own… yet :)
And if you haven’t yet, I highly recommend Mrs Woog’s post that rounds up the photos that were shared on Facebook, and you have to scroll down to the last photo because it is pure gold. Trust me!