In Family Support, Locals Talk, Parents Recommend
suki-wessling-professor-athenas-academy"It sounds so hard!"

Suki Wessling, May, 2024

There are many wonderful things about modern communication, including the fact that you could find this text and read it! Social media in particular has been instrumental in creating awareness of important issues around the world. But the dark side of this awareness is that for some essential human tasks, it might be better not to know all the details.

Case in point: mothering.

This month’s Babblery episode delves into a common refrain heard from young women contemplating motherhood: “It sounds so hard!”

Indeed it is, and the mothers featured in this episode don’t hold back. From sleep deprivation to making the choice to put a child in residential care, motherhood is full of experiences young women would rather not face.

“I was one of these young women who didn’t particularly like babies. When a baby came into the room you know, other women and girls would fuss over the baby, and I thought they were kind of homely and squirmy and not to my liking.” (Author Rickey Gard Diamond)

“The doctors were overwhelmingly male and told you what to do. And the whole protocol around childbirth was, you didn’t have any control over anything. They just, you were like, at least I was, a body that upon which the doctors acted.” (Feminist scholar Bettina Aptheker)

“[It’s] tough to watch your kids go through where you just want to, you know, strangle the other kid. I went into the principal’s office, like, ‘hey, heads up, I may have just called out a fourth grader, but that’s because you’re not doing anything, so I’m gonna do it,’ so, there you go.” (Chief Marketing Officer Kristi Melani)

But what young women see too little of is how this struggle is not like other struggles. The pain of childbirth is not at all, for example, comparable to the pain of shoulder surgery. In childbirth, you get a baby out of the experience, and there is nothing, any mother will tell you, comparable to that.

In this episode, Babblery guests in all walks of life talk about the difficulties of pregnancy, adoption, birth, step-parenting, and parenting. But we focus on the reasons that for almost every woman on earth, the pain, frustration, boredom, stress, and anger was all worth it.

“It’s incredible to learn every single day from someone…. especially patience and how to advocate for myself. He has so much life and love and it’s amazing to just feel that. I think we often have all these big thoughts, but I was going through life and I had never had this kind of love before.” (Mathematician Candice Price)

“When I saw my baby, Christine, I fell in love and it was just the best feeling. It was like a whole world opened up for me and then as she grew older and it became clear she liked me too. She loved me. I thought it was marvelous.” (Rickey Gard Diamond)

“I started hemorrhaging and I could feel the blood leaving my body. And it was fundamentally a life changing experience because it made me realize how fleeting life can be. Something that came out of that is this intense appreciation for life, for every moment, for time that I have, time with my children, time that I get to spend on a job that I love so much, time that I get to spend with my friends, things that I love to do like sports, and so it is an enhanced sense that I have now that I gained from that really negative experience.” (Professor of Herpetology Jessica Hua)

[Click for transcript]

No time for a full episode? Click here to listen to our Mother’s Day Minibabble!

For more information:

The Babblery features conversations with and about women in the 21st century. In each episode, we explore women’s experiences, discussing how our physical and social gender informs our experiences at work, at home, and in the wider world. Rather than focusing on issues, we focus on lives: working, parenting, playing, voting, advocating, and creating as women.

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