Yesterday was Mother's Day – my first as a mother. Some people say you become a mother when you become pregnant, but that wasn't the case for me. I loved Amelie when I was pregnant with her, but she was an abstract, a concept that I hadn't fully developed. I had no idea what was to come, and how much she would change me. I had no idea how much love I could feel for someone whom I'd only just met.
That said, I was scared of losing her from the word go. I've talked before about how long H1 and I had to wait for her, and I couldn't – still can't – believe my luck. Mine was a high-risk pregnancy, but thankfully, overall it was pretty easy and both Amelie and I got through fine. I had amazing medical care, and I used to joke with my care team that I was the lowest-risk high-risk pregnancy there was. I felt cared for at every stage, and I knew that if anything turned out to be wrong with either of us, we would be well looked after.
It seems that's not the case everywhere. This story from ProPublica, about a mother who died after her child's birth, made me cry and is well worth a read (just don't venture into the comment section – people are the worst sometimes). To me, the behaviours exhibited in the story are the same ones that lead to abortion being illegal, because in lawmakers' eyes, an unborn baby is worth more than a woman. They're the same ones that literally blame mothers for climate change if they use formula (I have so many feelings on this, mostly based in rage, but for now, I think it's enough to say that if you're a man who wants to talk about breastfeeding, you need to sit down, shut up and listen to the ones who find it harder to have their say, because they're sitting on the sofa, trapped under a baby who is feeding).
They're the same ones that lead to stupid names for mothers doing things that men do, because – well, I'm not quite sure actually. Is an entrepreneur who also happens to be a mother too threatening? Do we really need to make it less scary by saying mumpreneur?
They're the same ones that lead to mothers' opinions, feelings, concerns being automatically dismissed, because they're just mothers.
That last one happened to me recently, from a nanny agency no less – a business you'd think would be used to dealing with mothers, and would take their responsibilities seriously. The shock I felt as I listened to a woman on the phone insinuate I was an overwrought mother, and that was where the problem lay, made me feel ill. I don't think I need to tell you that was not where the problem lay – it lay firmly in the lap of a negligent nanny and this woman who rudely told me she didn't believe me, despite the evidence I had. And this happens all the time, to many women the world over, with consequences much more severe than those I've experienced.
Come on. We need to listen to mothers.
Some more good thoughts about mothers: