Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Facebook status and notions of motherhood

yet another facebook status that I have seen from moms at least 3 times this week...

♥ Before you were conceived, I wanted you. Before you were born, I loved you. Before you were an hour old, I would have died for you. This is the miracle of life. Put this on your status, if you have children you love more than life itself.♥

Maybe it is just me, but mine would probably say something more like

"Before you were conceived, I never wanted to have children. Before you were born, I was terrified of you. Before you were an hour old, I was worried about how I was going to pay for food and diapers. Slowly, thereafter, I began to love you"

Sounds horrible, once I read it back keeping in mind the expectations that are imposed on mothers, but the reality is that the first statement is often not true. Many babies are not planned, and therefore not "wanted" at the time, but it doesn't mean they aren't cherished afterwards.

A lot of parents do not feel an instant connection to their children, and statements like the one from facebook above make many mothers feel like there is something wrong with them. To those of you who are not yet parents, you may not feel that bond when the child is first born, and that is ok too, it comes over time. Don't let it make you feel like you are not a good parent.


  1. Very good point. Social expectations for mothers are absurdly high. Fathers also seem to experience a lot of pressure to conform to a certain standard, but that standard is unique to their privileged position in society.

    That status update is ridiculous. The vast majority of pregnancies are unplanned. How can a fetus be "wanted" when on average, it's unplanned?

  2. Dawn, I am not a mother, nor do I want to be one, but to be fair, a pregnancy can be both unplanned and wanted. As in, I wasn't trying to get pregnant, but since I did, I am going to enjoy this kid. Now, I certainly don't think that is every unplanned pregnancy- it was not mine- but it a valid and not-unheard-of response.

  3. Hi, came from Feministe. My pregnancy was planned and wanted, but even so I was so shell-shocked from labor that my baby felt pretty alien to me for the first 24 hours. I did fall in love with her, and love her more than I knew I could love anyone/anything, but it didn't happen instantly upon her birth.

    Those kind of facebook statuses are just annoying. They're not thoughtful or personal, they're just cloying.

  4. I agree with all 3 comments, although the first two seem incompatible. It is difficult to imagine how an unplanned pregnancy can be wanted, but I'm sure that does happen to... you just didn't know that you wanted it at the time.

    And for the last comment, I have heard many mothers share very similar sentiments. My first child felt alien to me for months, probably due to a combination of postpartum depression and poor living situation that made it difficult for me to connect with her.

    Personally, I find it impossible to "love" my child when they are first born in the sense that I do not know the child- I can love the idea of the child, but real bonding began when their personalities started to develop at around 6 weeks. I'm not saying that this is "normal" or that other parents don't actually love their unborn children- this was simply my experience of it.