We are constantly being advised to ignore our lives under the name of motherhood and to live a life devoted to our children by ignoring our own needs as if loving our children is such a thing.
I do not have a mother. It’s been years without her. When I lost my mother, I was left without hands, feet, like a useless body. With wishes, with a heart writhing in pain…
My mother… Where is she not in my life? Whatever I think, which memory comes to my mind, she is somehow in that memory. For months, years I cried; every morning, every night, while walking on the road, on the subway, on the ferry, while talking about my friend’s mother in a conversation, reading something on motherhood, playing with my son… I was angry that my mother was not alive when I saw her peers. It still hurts a lot, my aching heart has never passed, it won’t, but I guess one learns to bear the pain and to live with it; otherwise, the pain isn’t going anywhere.
The thing that upset me the most about my mother was my realization that she did not have the happiness of her own. I wanted to remember her with her happy moments. Did not have! What I can remember as her happy moments were actually the happiness of us as her children. This truth hurts so much that I said the very day that I would not leave such a mother’s memory to my son. In my absence, my son should not be left with such a burden, with the guilt and sadness of a “self-sacrificing” mother who has devoted her life to him and renounced her own happiness.
We are constantly being advised to ignore our lives under the name of motherhood and to live a life devoted to our children by ignoring our own needs as if loving our children is such a thing. If we have children, it is desired our social life, political struggle, business life, loves, dreams, desires be shaped child-centered, even if possible, not be shaped at all or be within reasonable limits, that there should be nothing but responsibility, guilt and a feeling of inadequacy in our lives. The lives in which we are the acceptable and perfect mothers who are struggling to do everything in the most perfect way, and we can’t exist as a woman are being desired. No matter what we do, it’s not enough; better, more, more dedicated lives are always put in front of us to look like… Despite these impositions and facing the society, the difficulties of being a single mother, not wanting to have children, or choosing to be a mother other than a biological mother are the subject of another and long article.
While drowning in the endless voices of a choir, which has decided the best for our children and us, about our motherhood and womanhood, we and our children are turned into consumption objects in a way that will turn the wheels of capitalism. We are constantly being asked to buy for our children. It is desired that we be women who carry them from one course to the next, who are worn-down of keeping everything hygienic, busy with preparing healthy, natural foods, running after organic foods, intelligence-enhancing toys, activities to fulfill this sacred duty without getting tired, smiling all the time, without complaining. This model of motherhood, which is supposedly imposed for the happiness of our children, creates unhappy mothers and therefore unhappy children.
When there is a front around us that is always ready to judge our motherhood with memorized words, when they know what is the best for us and our child, when the sacred motherhood tales are endless, it is difficult to be ourselves, to get rid of all this, to be the decision maker of our own life by getting rid of the traps of motherhood, and to make the life we live better; I know. But being the child of a mother who has no happiness of her own and not being able to say goodbye to its guilt, the weight of this burden and its sadness is not easy either.
In short, we must close our ears to the sacred tales of motherhood and follow our own story. Since we love our child, we should love ourselves and not give up on the beauties of life. We should develop pleasant friendships, experience sharing, solidarity and struggle practices with other women. We must not give up on discovering new songs, dances, friendships, companionships, loves, desires, dreams.
Translator: Gülcan Ergün
Proof-reader: Müge Karahan