While I was in Sydney this past week I came across an article by Jacinta Tynan. Jacinta caused controversy last year by writing about how she found motherhood easy. The article that I read was a follow up to this first article, after Jacinta had experienced motherhood with two children.
The article has once again caused controversy. Particularly when she says things like:
As someone who relished her foray into motherhood – I found it to be easily the most joyful, meaningful, rewarding thing I had ever done – there was plenty of room for error. When I wrote about it last year in Sunday Life in an article called “The Big Easy”, it was from my blissful baby bubble – sleeplessness, timelessness and all.
But to be honest I find her article quite refreshing. I particularly like the section:
It’s double the effort and sometimes I don’t get time to eat, but there’s nothing I’d rather be doing. Yes, with two healthy babies, a supportive partner and no trace of postnatal depression, I do think I have it easy. “How come you like it so much?” asked one mum recently.
Because I have decided to. Rather than being worn down by exhaustion and frustrated by my complete dearth of spare time, I have made a conscious choice of how to react. I am aware of how quickly this time will pass and I don’t want to miss it by resenting it (even when the camera winds up in the griller or the remote control is dunked in water). These are the moments – the food slinging, car-seat wrangling, pre-dawn rocking – that we might long to have back one day. Pinning down a writhing toddler to get his shoes on, being woken every two hours by a crying baby; it’s not a bad problem to have. And so worth it to have a heart bursting with love.
Why has the article caused so much controversy? Perhaps because motherhood seems to have become almost a competitive sport. How hard you find it, how easy you find it etc causes strong emotional reactions amongst other mothers.
My experience has perhaps been similar to Jacinta’s.
Motherhood in my experience so far is simultaneously joyful, tearful, challenging, exhausting, energising, isolating and social. It is a mix of emotions, and is the hardest, busiest job I have ever had in my life. With two children so close together and another on the way my day is often a marathon of multi-tasking. But my children haven’t been “hard” as such. I am blessed to have no problems with infertility, healthy and mostly happy children. There have been “moments” but I guess hindsight is great for making you forget those worries at 2am when you have no idea about what to do with that screaming baby and how to fix that problem. I guess it shows how quick it all goes and that soon enough my babies won’t be babies and I will have to remember back to it all.
But like some comments have said about Jacinta’s article, it isn’t worth comparing experiences and who has found it easy or hard. Every mother gets a different baby, with a different disposition, in a different combination of birth order, with different health, with different homes, incomes, assistance, appliances etc. What we are all blessed about especially is having good medical etc help for whatever problems arise in living in a first world country such as New Zealand. What would really make things “hard” is living without adequate food and care, or in a country with high maternal mortality rates such as Somalia, Afghanistan or Niger, where the chance of maternal death is 1 in 7. And thats only the mothers. The infant mortality rate is a whole other subject. So anything is easy when you know that you are at least going to survive to be a mother. I’m sure that mothers in those countries are just as dedicated and have just as much love to share. Perhaps more since they go through such risk.
So having a third child doesn’t phase me too much. It will come with challenges, and I’ll probably be stretched with more than I think I can cope with. But it is all worth is to have another “heart bursting with love” to fill my “heart bursting with love”.