Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sins of a Mother - What Instagram Doesn't Show You - *Nudity
The article on Elephant Journal, Motherhood Uncensored: What We Don't See on Instagram had me thinking about my time as a young mother and as I looked at the uncensored, artistic and raw photos of Elinor Carucci and her family I felt remorse, guilt and even some shame for a number of reasons. I will share two.

First - I was reminded of a discussion that took place on Facebook regarding women being allowed to have the same right to go shirtless as men. I was not part of this discussion, it was actually something my partner had showed me when he decided to defend his friend for her beliefs. His friend is currently a breastfeeding mother who has other children to take care of, (from my understanding anyway). This woman was attacked by many who claim to be religious, god-loving people who would preach about not judging others in one sentence as they judged her for her beliefs and very honest and raw feelings as a mother. My partner reminded those people that the only reason this is even an issue is because our culture has overly sexualized women's breasts and their value as something erotic has surpassed their value as life sustaining and nurturing gifts that only women have the privilege of choosing to experience - or not (in so many words anyway). I immediately imagined a woman having an orgasm strictly through nipple stimulation eons ago and she was meant to feel shamed for it and it quickly became something shameful for a woman while it simultaneously became, for a man preaching wholesomeness and purity, something to secretly long to experience; kind of like early day porn. Of course, this is all just me and my overactive imagination but still, you have to wonder.

If boobies make you uncomfortable, if realness of life in it's purest and rawest forms makes you uncomfortable or if you fear you may twist these images into something sexual, then please save everyone the trouble and don't view them. Read the Elephant Journal version to feel safe. If you want to experience a glimpse into the realness of motherhood and can observe without offense or judgement - including observing your own reaction physically, psychologically, spiritually or emotionally - then click and learn.

Second - As you may have surmised from the first point, society in general (including myself) made me feel remorse, guilt and some shame. Then those feelings hit closer to home as I viewed images of frustration and exhaustion in the mother's face. I only had one son and I have regretted my role as a mother almost his entire life. This is not fair to him or to me but I find myself reflecting often on how unprepared I was to be a mother at such a young age. I had not known life, I did not know how to be married and I especially didn't know how to be ME. I am often flooded with memories of moments that where wrapped in opportunity to connect with my son more, to learn how to be interested in his interests, to help him feel like he mattered to me as much as he really did.

It's so hard to remove one's self from the personal drama and connect with your children when anything in your life is riddled with the bullets of poverty, abuse, trauma, neglect or everyday stresses we bring home creating trauma, and then you realize that your inability to know how to change it only delivers the same toxic bullets to your children. Even now that he's a young man, whenever I see him I can FEEL my old feelings when I was with his father and he was so young and I have to consciously remind myself to be present; present in time and present in mindfulness with my son. I look at these images and the time I have with my son now as an opportunity to not change what's done but to start a new chapter and make new and healthier memories.

Social Media doesn't always share the realness of life, more the idyllic version of life, almost like an online vision board whose reality we feel close to reaching with every post.

What about you? Anything you feel compelled to express when reading the article or viewing the images?

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