Motherhood is this quiet, often unexplored thing, filled with a lot of love and beauty. It is also filled with pretense and performances. If we are not careful, our mothering practices can turn us into hypocrites. On the one hand, we teach our children to fight for truth, righteousness and justice. But in the very work of raising these children, many of us die slow deaths--not because our children are killing us, even though, in some instances, that is the case, but because the circumstances under which we mother prohibit us from speaking our truth, let alone from feeling it or being aware of it. We have stuffed away so much of ourselves, important and powerful parts of our beings, for the sake of raising children. Why? Because mothers should be martyrs? But why? Why is that the model we, as a society have subscribed to?,

Once I started feeling and thinking and speaking my own truth, the oppression began to lessen. Is it still there? Certainly. But there’s a face to it now. I can name it. It’s not being a mother, it’s being a mother within the constraints of conditions that do not honor me and my family. It’s mothering under racism and classism and sexism. And being able to name the practices within motherhood and the surveillance that speaks to those things, being able to look at my own experiences and say, “I’m struggling with being the mother I want to be today because oppression is playing out in my home in this way” is liberating. I know that my babies are not the problem, and that I’m not a bad mother. Suicide is not an option now (because it once was), and the messiness of mothering makes so much more sense, and I can handle it. It took a lot of bravery and maturity to get to this point because to speak out against the institution of motherhood is like to speak out against God. It’s like committing blasphemy against this perfect thing that is never meant to be questioned because in the same way the He is I AM, it JUST IS. But accepting the Just Is was killing me, and so I had to push back, tweak, and redesign a mothering practice that honored my realities and spoke my truths. And as soon as I started doing that, the thought of suicide, the heaviness, the confinement went way. Mothering stopped becoming a performance, a pretense. And it became something so much more. It became, for me, the start of a movement and my contribution to one.

 

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