The Audacity of Motherhood

I’m 33 years old and I’ve become a mother for the first time on July 10, 2012.

I delivered my baby girl after a 39 week and 1 day pregnancy.

For the majority of those 39 weeks I like many other expectant mothers, was subjected to countless amounts of unsolicited advice. However well-intentioned, it became rather annoying, often leaving me with a feeling of being robbed of my experience/my journey into motherhood. I get that mothers want to share their lessons learned, but boundaries need to be set, as each pregnancy is as different as the women carrying these babies. The eagerness to give advice often takes away from the joy of learning about and experiencing the abundant, mysterious wonders in carrying a child. Further, uninvited advice can come across as condescending.  

Even now that my daughter is a whopping 15 days old (lol), the advice does not stop (not that I thought it would) and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t sick of it all by now. I’m the type of person who will ask a question and solicit opinions if there is something I want to know, therefore someone telling me what to do without provocation is beyond absurd to me. “If you want to preach a sermon, go to church” has become my new motto.

If I want to go shopping prior to my 6 week check up, I will.

If I want to spend $1000 dollars on an outfit my daughter will only wear once, I will.

If I want my child’s first language to be Cantonese, it will.

If tomorrow I want to drive myself to get some ice cream, I will.

If I want to stop breast feeding my child, I will.

If I want to home school, I will.

If I don’t want you to hold my child, you won’t.

If I don’t want my child to play with your child, she won’t.

If I don’t want my child to play with dolls, she won’t.

If I don’t want my child to watch cartoons, she won’t.

If I want my child to listen to gangsta rap, she will.

If I decide my child is better off starting a business instead of going to college, she will.

If I allow my child to watch a reality television show, that is my prerogative.

If I want to be a yellow flower in a sea of red flowers, I will.

No matter what outlandish scenario I can think of, the point is that each person who becomes a parent has tough decisions to make as it relates to the rearing of their offspring and I happen to believe most parents do the best they can for their children. While their choices may differ from yours, that doesn’t make them wrong or their decision of lesser quality than yours. Outside of her father, whose opinion I value tremendously, I really don’t want to hear what anyone has to say about the choices I make as a mother for my child. This may sound crass, however if you think about it; who put YOU in charge of telling mothers what to do? Who died and made you queen mother, hunty?!?! Lol! I’m certain that if a roundtable discussion was had, the group could think of some ways in which you could be a better mother, so think about that before you offer your two cents on another woman’s situation.

Ultimately, I’ve decided I will have the audacity to make whatever decisions I deem necessary for me and my family and I won’t allow the input of others to cloud my better judgement or make me feel as if I have to be like other mothers out of fear of being labeled a “bad mother.”

If there is an area in which I need help, I will ask. Otherwise, don’t tell me anything. This is my journey and I ask that you respect that.

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The Circle of Life

Written 02-23-12

Tomorrow is the day I’m hoping to find out if I am having a boy or girl. I’ve made it clear a want a girl, however my son would receive just as much love. Truthfully, I’m afraid of having a boy as my biggest fear is having to, as a single mother, rear a Black man. That task seems to be one I can’t tackle the way I would want to, with my Black husband by my side. At any rate, regardless of the sex; I hope to have a very healthy and loving child.

The biggest reason I want a girl is because I want to name her after my paternal grandmother. I secretly hope to have a piece of her back here with me because I miss her soooo much. I also want that unique mother-daughter bond. I want to teach her to be a better woman than I am. I envision a bright, beautiful face with a large, curly afro. I can’t wait to teach her to love her black skin and kinky hair.

I really want to alleviate from her life all insecurities I had as a young girl. I want to tell her all of the things I wanted to hear. I don’t ever want her to feel as if I don’t understand her or what she’s feeling or going through. Essentially I want to heal my childhood wounds by loving her the way I wish I was loved.

Black families don’t always verbally express love, it’s often implied. Sometimes we need to hear it.

This isn’t about not knowing I was loved. This is about giving love the best way in which the person receives it, however in order to do that; one must take the time to get to know the individual on a level that transcends the day-to-day routine. Each child is unique and it is the parent’s responsibility to lay the foundation for such uniqueness to flourish.

This can be a difficult task if there is more than one child in the household, or if you’re a single mother doing it all by yourself, or with little help. Even in two parent households, this task is a challenging feat with all of the roles each parent has. However, we owe this to our children so that when they are parents they will know how to best express love.