This is a letter to all the women out there who are expecting their first baby, you are a mother. Defining “motherhood” is something that is so diverse and inclusive that it can be hard to pin an actual definition to it. Dictionaries try, and the words sound nice, but are those adequate descriptions? There are a lot of people out there who define themselves as a mother, but have never physically given birth before. This could be a woman who has adopted children, one who have used a surrogate, or one who just chooses to care for a child and take that role on.
However, I have noticed that society only really names someone a woman a mother when they have a physical child in their arms. They neglect and leave out the women who are pregnant with their first. I remember when I was pregnant with my first, people would always say to me, “you are going to be a great mother,” and I was confused. I was already a mother, wasn’t I?
That’s it, a woman who is pregnant has every right to celebrate Mother’s Day even if she has not given birth yet. There should be a section in the greeting card aisle for expectant mother’s to choose from, and it should be the norm for them to get flowers, tokens of love and breakfast in bed on that day. Don’t worry dad-to-be’s, I of course think you are already a dad too, but this letter is for the mom.
See, the reason is because from the moment a woman sees two pink lines on a pregnancy test, she already feels like a mother. She is already responsible for caring for another life, and some may argue that for 9 months, that is solely her responsibility. She has to make sure that she is taking her vitamins, that she is eating the right amount of food and that she is avoiding the harmful ones. She has to make sure that she is taking it easy and that she is not doing anything that could put her body in stress. She does all this because she is caring for her child, and that is what makes her a mother. Dad is there to get the cravings and rub her feet, but she is 100% responsible for the health and wellbeing of a being, and this needs to be recognized more.
Implying that a woman is not a mother until the baby is born, can be invalidating to a woman. She has earned that title by being there for her child every single second of the day in a very tough and physically demanding way. So, when someone asks a pregnant woman when she becomes a mom, she should confidently tell them that she already is one, and there is another (sad) reason why this needs to be normalized.
Pregnancy loss is very real, and there are women all over the US and the world who lose their babies in utero before they even get a chance to meet them. This can bring so many struggles, but one of them is a struggle with feeling like they are not a mother because they do not have a living child. This is deeply rooted (in my opinion) in the fact that society doesn’t view a woman as a mother until she has the baby in her arms. However, a mother who has lost a baby in utero is just as much a mother as I am with my three living children. If they want to identify as such, we cannot invalidate who they are. They are mothers, and they became mothers the moment they saw that positive pregnancy test.
Being a mother is not easy, and it is a title that is earned every single day by caring for our children and loving them unconditionally. To tell a pregnant woman that she is not a mother yet because her baby has not been born yet, is overlooking and taking away all the hard work she has done to make sure her baby is safe. So, expecting mom’s out there, be a mother and yell it from the rooftop. Celebrate Mother’s Day by getting your nails done, or do something for yourself. You are spending every minute of every day (for 9 months) making sure that the baby inside of you stays healthy and happy, and then you will have the task of bringing this baby into the world and if all that doesn’t earn you the title of mother, then I don’t know what would.
The truth is, motherhood is hard. But motherhood is amazing!
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