Weighing in on everything from avocados to Zimbabwe

Weighing in on everything from avocados to Zimbabwe

Mother's Day 2017

posted by Leila Z. on ,

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What a difference a year makes, no? Last year at this time I was on the difficult infertility journey, this year I'm chasing around after this little guy (pretty easy for now since he's not mobile yet):

Ladies go crazy for a sharp dressed man.
While I loved the flowers and the cards I received yesterday, let's just say that for Mother's Day and me, it's complicated. Certainly I love being able to celebrate my own wonderful mother on a day solely dedicated to the exercise (this year with a hastily assembled brunch after an early morning flight). But at the same time I remember all too clearly the pain the day caused me in recent years. To every person who gave me a cheery "Happy Mother's Day!" in the airport yesterday morning because I was carrying Sam, I wanted to explain what a miracle it was that he is even here. And how this isn't my first Mother's Day, as I have parented my 10 year-old stepson for many years now. Furthermore (if I were really to bend an ear, and the flight were delayed), I might possibly explain how I wish "mother" were defined more broadly on this day to include mothering spirits of all sorts, and how I recognize the complexities of the maternal relationship for many people. Overwhelmingly, though, for Mother's Day I wish people knew how, for me -- most days -- it feels like a such privilege to influence the next generation in such an intimate fashion.

I read this description of (narrowly defined) motherhood the other day from Caitlin Moran's Moranifesto; it resonated with where I am right now, made me laugh, and seemed as good a definition as any:

"As an exercise, I'm just going to run through, once again, what becoming a mother consists of. First of all, you casually make an extra internal organ -- the placenta. Like you're some goddamn intergalactic robot UPGRADING ITSELF.

Then you spend the next nine months being a LIVING, WALKING FLESH NEST: casually absorbing your fetus's endless excreta while you're busy running an international business -- something which, in later years, you will find the perfect metaphor for raising a teenager. Then, at the point where you've grown a skull and a brain big enough to make humans the dominant species on earth -- but still just small enough to emerge from your pelvis without blowing both your legs off -- a homunculus will effortfully punch its way out of your 'special flower'.

Here -- at the point where, in a comparable exercise, a man who'd just passed a microscopic kidney stone would be wheeled onto a ward, dosed with morphine, treated like a brave hero, then left the hell alone -- you magically turn your tits into a milky heaven buffet, and start cranking out fifteen meals a day into a tiny, screaming, ungrateful creature who resembles an enraged otter in a jumpsuit.

Just to, again, get this into perspective -- when the most magic man who ever lived, Jesus, turned water into wine once, for one party, people went on about it for two thousand years, and formed a major man-religion around it.

Meanwhile, for millions of breast-feeding mothers every day, turning their bodies into lunch, the reaction is, 'Bitch, please -- don't do that in Claridge's.'

And then, of course, after the first year, the really difficult bit starts. The fevers and the ghosts and the sleeps that won't come -- the terrible falls, and the bullies, and the boy who breaks their heart, and the hair that makes them sad. And you have to teach them what jokes are, and what death is, and how to charm -- all while putting three meals a day on the table, and money in the electricity meter, and joy between every wall in the house, and never, never, ever forgetting to try and love every minute, because suddenly, ten minutes after they were born, they slam the front door for the last time, and you are sitting there, going, 'Where did the baby go? Where is my baby?'"

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