Am I the only person in the world that is NOT offended by Facebook’s ‘Motherhood Challenge’ – the viral campaign that involves posting pictures of you and your beautiful children, before tagging other mothers and encouraging them to do the same?
I know I should be. Happy family photos are the bruise of a woman who can’t have children. And I’ve read some brilliant articles from both mothers and non-mothers about how loathsome this trend has become. I particularly liked Flic Everett in the Guardian and Alice Judge-Talbot in The Telegraph. Both women (who are in fact mothers themselves) object to how it fetishizes motherhood and are sensitive to how people going through the heartbreak of infertility might feel. But they also think of those who have lost a child; of those struggling with teenagers who are seemingly out of control; and of those who have become estranged from their children in adulthood and may be wondering where all those years of love have gone.
I’m glad they wrote these things. I appreciate their outrage very much. But when I first heard about the Facebook ‘Motherhood Challenge’ myself, I just thought: ‘Jessica, lean in.’ This is the world we live in. You can’t ask people to stop feeling proud and happy to be a mum. I would if I was one although I probably wouldn’t be posting pictures on Facebook. But maybe that’s just because of what I’ve been through. So don’t worry about tagging me, I’ll just send you this picture of me and my mum instead. Because these days whenever something presses the bruise, I’ve made the decision to lean in.