We might be a week removed from Mother’s Day, but some of us are still showering the much-appreciated matriarchs of our home with love. After all, our moms deserve it – every mom does. It’s often been said that, for their unconditional sacrifice, mothers should be celebrated every day, and not just on a dedicated holiday.
What’s not been talked about enough, though, is how motherhood is a concept too often forced upon women. Being the family-oriented culture that we are, Filipino women are thrust into wearing a ring and bearing a child way too often and way too soon.
Since we’re not talking about it enough, this recent tweet by Alessandra De Rossi should echo the frustration of Filipino women loud and clear enough:
De Rossi then follows her tweets up with a rude awakening to all those who think that being a mother is the end goal for all women: “Stop feeling like you’ve made it because you’re there na and I’m not… And I seriously do not care. Whatever God gives me, I take it. Because I never asked for anything but my family’s safety. I never prayed for a man or a career.”
Indeed, motherhood is shoved down women’s throats too often for them to say anything otherwise. It’s as if it’s a rite of passage for the entire female population whose maternal advice is always preceded by “when you have children,” and not if.
What makes it worse is that sometimes, it’s their own mothers who drill this faux-destiny to them at an early age. Young women are often groomed to be proper mothers, skilled at the task of taking care of children. And when women affirm their stance to their mothers that they want to stay child-free for as long as they could, they are taken for anything but serious, and are given the rider to “give it time, honey, you might still change your mind.”
While society has steered slightly away from this skewed mindset, we still have miles to go to change it. For example, women who refuse to be mothers are still prejudiced to be lesbians, children-haters, or irreverent to the teachings of Christianity. They’re likely not, and if they are, what about it?
We need to realize that sometimes, a choice is just a choice. They don’t need to be justified to be respected, and they certainly don’t need to make sense to anyone else to be valid.
We also need to realize that being a mother takes many forms besides just bringing a child to this world. Let’s remember that assigning childbirth to biological or genetic mothers borders to being transphobic, and can be hurtful to those who resort to other means of being a mother such as adoption or surrogacy. Women’s bodies are theirs. Thus, leaving them to decide what’s best for them is a big nudge towards change.
Remember, the true mother is a myth, and ample room must be made for all kinds of parents who love their kids just any good parent would. Heck, you can be a cat mom and buy yourself a cake on Mother’s Day if you’ve done a great job at it!
Choosing to be child-free isn’t an alternative, because motherhood isn’t a given. It’s really simple: having a kid can be cool. Not having a kid can be cool too. But most of all, it’s having the option to choose what’s best. And right now, being the filthy-rich, well-dressed tita in family events sounds like the perfect plan for us.