Yesterday Twitter alerted me to a feature in the Guardian that really caught my attention. It was written by a writer I really admire (not in a stalker-type-admire-way I haste to add), Bibi Lynch, and came with a warning that mother's may well be offended. I was quite nervous before reading the piece as a)I am a mother and b) I really enjoy reading Ms Lynch's work (not a stalker I assure you) and didn't want her to offend me.
Safe to say, I was not offended in the slightest! Hooray, I can carry on being a non-stalker-type fan and go about my business for the day. Except I couldn't, because I felt great pain on behalf of Ms Lynch and the feature, as well as the subsequent backlash, has haunted me all weekend. This leads me to here, my blog.
I have been waiting for a chance to write a response to the feature since yesterday morning. Having now got my chance I started doing some research on the feedback regarding the article. Holy cr*p people, cut the woman some slack, she can't have children! Imagine that? Can you, as a Mother, imagine that? I can't. Also, to the women reviewers who don't have children, cut the mother's some slack! We all moan, moaning is a very personal thing and we can only do it with what we know best. Ourselves. And our lot in life.
Plenty of people have taken to the 'net to provide sympathy, give moral support, express outrage and hurl abuse towards Lynch and the feature. Having trolled through a large chunk of them, I started to wonder what I could contribute? I have a child, so will never truly know the depths of her pain. I have a standard issue child*, so cannot fully know the pains of raising one with difficulties or any other defects. Plus, I didn't suffer from anything other than a scratch across the belly, sore breasts and severe tiredness after giving birth, so am out of that camp too.
So, what am I doing here then and why was I not offended? I am possibly a prime candidate to be offended:- we have a mom and dad in our family. A loud, yet adorable toddler. Dad works. Mom stays at home with said toddler. We do "family stuff", I do non-mom fun stuff, we go on family holidays and sometimes dad cooks. Bonus. I wasn't offended because the article calls for us mom's to count our blessings. And I do. Every night and throughout the day, particularly for my little girl and my family. Also, whilst reading the piece, I didn't see it as being about me for one minute. I didn't feel the need to defend my grumblings as all I could see was the pain at not being able to have children.
As to what I am doing here, commenting on the feature, I wanted to say this: firstly, the feature was published in a newspaper. Newspapers need readers and internet hits. Headlines sell papers and draw traffic to a website. It needs to be hard hitting and get a response - good or bad. Secondly, the feature was a very honest, emotional and personal piece based on one aspect of one woman's journey. Read between the lines, this lady is in pain. Following Ms Lynch on Twitter and reading any of her work from her Grazia columns, you will quickly see that she doesn't throw things at mothers in the street, she doesn't avoid children in public places and in fact knows people with children!
Lastly, she is a writer. A review of her work is one thing, a point of view from either side is another thing, but abuse is a whole other game and really, no one should be playing on that team.
*although my baby girl is standard issue, I obviously think she is perfect and the best in every possible way! Being her mother and all.