What does the word ‘Maternal’ mean to you?
I have pondered this a lot lately. It’s different things to different people, right?
I thought I would start by looking at the google definition of it. The synonyms it gives are as follows: Caring, nurturing, loving, devoted, warm, comforting amongst others. This was kind of what I expected to see. It follows everything you see perpetuated in the movies and TV. Those images of the woman just after giving birth staring lovingly at her child.
I then decided to have a look at what it gives for Paternal. And here are the words it gives patriarchal, protective, vigilant, concerned, benevolent. Surely dads are loving and warm and caring in the same way mums are protective and vigilant. In fact, most of the mums I know (and trust me I know A LOT) are all those adjectives rolled into one. As are the dads.
We need to stop perpetuating this myth of what Maternal looks like. Is a mum who loves her career and is working hard to be a good role model and provide a better standard of living for her child seen as less devoted because she isn’t at the school gate? Does that make her then less maternal? Less of a mother?
So much of the negative bullshit we tell ourselves is because we buy into this myth that we must be a certain way to fulfil what society tells us makes a ‘good’ mum.
It is bollocks. You do you babe.