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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Many of us: when you love children but you don’t want to be a mother | Wellness, Feminism

The first summer with my girlfriend on the beach, I saw a boy with a hat and I couldn’t help but cry. “There is something we can’t heal from, and years will pass and we will never be cured,” says Natalia Ginzburg. At that time, why did tears come to my eyes? I write. Maybe because if you wanted to have a child you would have to plan it thoroughly? I don’t know, I think. Perhaps because the person who laughed at my side to lighten the matter was not the person I wanted to have it with? If I remembered, with my previous partner who was, by the way, a boy, had we even come to consider it, to agree on a plan…? A few days ago, and after reading Alba Muñoz’s text, “Girl 2”, two headlights lit up. The first of them, why do both Alba and myself start to cry when talking about being or not being a mother? It’s just always the same. The second? I better leave it for last. Then came a little boat with small colored lights on the sides, in the form of a heated debate. Oh, from all those readings and reflections, I only understood that two ideas were in conflict: that of being or having been a mother and that of being a mother, that is, being able to act as what is conventionally, socially and traditionally understood as a mother in a particular situation. Also that we were not talking with apples, but with ideas, that is, with abstractions that are not always transparent for those who read them, and that, of course, the publishing market had played us again, by stirring without mixing opinion with the work and the vocation with the encounter. It is clear that being a mother and mothering are exercises that run in parallel, sometimes they are even the same, and that they can happen or exist compared to those that simply exist, and that at the same time they are practices subject to a common conversation and in common among women. That is her correspondence and exchange, Alba Muñoz appealed to that epistolary model when she said that her text was actually a love letter. Every love letter is the fruit of reciprocity. Perhaps what being a mother and mothering have in common is the ability to generate otherness, the opportunity to put oneself in the other’s place. In this case, from the other. Thus the popular proverb: “When you are a mother, you will understand.” And it is true that I understood: this last season, we have been living with a niece of ours in her twenties. And I almost died! But please, what was she doing? Who I was? I wasn’t her mother, but she absolutely acted like she was. That as if —a little game that Carmen Martín Gaite loved to point out in conversations as a joke— made me ask more than I should, cooking thinking not only about recipes, but about schedules, being back from connection hours in Whatsapp or obsess over the laundry basket not getting out of hand. Well, from the hands, to me! In short, not to mention the conversations with myself that she had from home to work and from work to home with things that we would have to talk about. Matters to talk about! Me! With whom and for what? The case is, my mother-in-law, for example, she would sit at her table every day with her children and everyone who came with them while she said or thought that mother is not only the one she gives birth to. Sometimes I think we are not thinking, but we are talking. But the truth is that we cannot continue embracing the truths that others have gradually discovered for themselves. We have to find our own certainties. We must —and it is almost an obligation— to demand critical thinking, not only about ourselves in front of the world (in relation to this matter and to everyone in general), but about ourselves alone so that we can go out later and that they object to us, but not that we are censored or not listened to because we have not been able to tell each other what was happening to us or not happening to us. Many of us do not want to be mothers and we really, really like children. Many of us do not want to have children (to have them, nuance, even if it is another garden), but we do not dislike the idea of ​​being mothers, on the contrary. Many of us do not want to be mothers or have children and that is not why we are from the anti-children league or, as they say out there, we are against childhood, against landscapes with noise, against the plastic areas of McDonald’s that, by the way, do they still exist? It’s absurd, everything! We are not contemporary witches without broomsticks or bitter heartless ones without a partner. Many of us are many of us, but we are not all of us. Many other of us, who are also our friends, do not have children or any intention of having them and they make us move from table to bar near a park because they want to be on their own. Many other of us prefer a book in which there are no children or not exactly. Many of us don’t want to hear the n* word. Or a song about them, a movie. Many more of us are still our friends and have children, and those children call us aunties or mom’s best friend, the latter in a scenario worthy of Howard Hawks. Or they don’t call us anything at all and we’re just a nuisance because we try to grab our friend’s attention with our tricks, that’s why we arrived earlier. Likewise, those many others of us who have children, but do not like children, or not particularly, and want them to grow up before yesterday. Oh, those many other of us who have children and who silence the chat of the school mothers. Writing many does not imply naming the majority, they are not analogous circumstances, and it is urgent to begin, on the one hand, to talk about the fact that there is no longer such a thing, the majority, and that any useful dialogue implies or requires several interlocutors who don’t always think the same. Being a mother, for me, is something that happens or doesn’t happen, and it is precisely halfway between that happening or not where there is a margin of, let’s say, manoeuvre? that each woman graduates depending, yes, on her economic circumstances, among many other reasons, many, that make it happen and not happen. That border space is the target on which our conversations aim; an environment in which, in addition, something is housed that is not its own, such as guilt. What are we convicted of because it doesn’t happen to us or, simply, something doesn’t happen in our lives? Again, and as my closest friend says, guilt places us at the children’s table and prevents us from having adult conversations. We cannot allow moral responsibility to be disguised or confused with freedom. In my case, I haven’t stopped to think about it until now and when I say think about it, I really mean it. I’d say a few weeks at the most. In short, when I was almost thirty I had only been asked at school, what a barbarity, or some relatives had suggested it at a special meal, but I had never asked myself. Aham. And now, in doing so, I wanted to put a little care and attention into it and not fall into the cliché, into the easy: «A maternal feeling, what does being inspired by a maternal theme have to do with putting rhythm to things? We may like children, but not want to have them. And that? Are they also going to reproach us for the climate emergency, the price of watermelon?” Returning to the Italian writer: «Among the vices of our time, it is known that there is the feeling of guilt: much is said and written about it. We all suffer from it. We feel involved in a story that gets dirtier every day. There has also been talk of the feeling of panic, we all also suffer from it. The feeling of panic is born from the feeling of guilt. And whoever feels scared and guilty is silent.» “There is something we don’t think about, and the years will pass and we will never think about it,” I rewrite now. I want to think that if I cried that day it was because I wasn’t just looking at a child, I was looking at two things that were happening simultaneously and I didn’t know it. On the one hand, he was looking at a child, yes, but on the other he was looking at me, ignoring how time moved before my eyes. He looked at me avoiding sitting down to think and perhaps understanding that what fills the limit space is the tick tock, not guilt. Now I regret not having given him a raspberry with my hand in the form of a fist and for having told those Poles that yes, I was taking their picture. We must put an end to the fact that others have our time and what we do with it. Oh, and that was the riddle, the second beacon: time. It may be, or it may not be, that we have to remember ourselves better as the days go by as we live them, locating them if we want in a notebook or an agenda and not feeling a lack for something that is not happening or, if it is, it happens in another way so that we experience it according to what we want and desire for our lives. Little more can be said.

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– Article Written By @Andrea Toribio from https://smoda.elpais.com/belleza/bienestar/muchas-de-nosotras-cuando-te-encantan-los-ninos-pero-no-quieres-ser-madre/

Nicole Aniston
Nicole loves to write and works as a corporate communications expert by day. She's been working in the field for quite some time now. Her training in media studies has provided her a wide perspective from which to tackle various issues. Public relations, corporate communications, travel, entrepreneurship, insurance, and finance are just few of the many topics she's interested in covering in her work.
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