A few days ago, one of the writers and editors of a Zimbabwean online paper Ilizwi 263, who goes by the name Jera wrote something on Facebook which shocked me. I found his post more insulting because he once asked me to write a piece for his paper, and at one time he celebrated me on his Facebook page, saying I was an inspirational fit mother of 4 when I still had 4 children. He had praised me saying for a mother of 4 children, I did well in maintaining a healthy fit body. So he is someone I thought celebrated women and motherhood which is why I was rather shocked by his post, it seems he has changed his mind.
He wrote, and I quote,
‘My grandmother squeezed to 9 children out of her uterus, and not once did she claim to be a superheroine on Facebook. Shut Up.’
Obviously, women and men were very offended by his post, and some women commented about their difficult pregnancies. One woman came on his insensitive or rather mean post to share about her experience of giving birth to a stillborn baby.
Jera went on to explain his insensitive post to mothers who were responding to his post,. He went on to write, and I quote,
‘There is nothing special about giving birth, women have been giving birth since the beginning of time. But they never bragged about it on Facebook. Social media has made people are over share stuff. Things that should be private, ‘like having children’ is now being over shared on Facebook.’
I literally could not believe that there are human beings on this planet who actually thought like this. I am all for freedom of speech, and I respect Jera’s right to think that women should not be celebrating motherhood on Facebook. But it’s beyond sad that a man who was born of a woman, who is supposed to be a writer, can come out and publicly say that there is nothing special about giving birth, all women do it anyway.
What a horrible thing to say, considering the pain and trauma we go through when carrying children for 9 months, and the miracle of giving birth to a living baby. A lot of women’s babies don’t make it.
This man is so arrogant and spiteful of mothers on social media that he has ended up insulting his own grandmother in the process. How horrible. His poor grandmother didn’t squeeze 9 babies out of her uterus like he insinuates, she birthed each one of them through hours of gruelling labour. She would have cried and gnashed her teeth in unimaginable pain as she opened her legs to push out a living baby. Her babies didn’t just pop out, they were birthed through pain and agony.
During his grandmothers time, especially in Zimbabwe, women gave birth in the most hostile environments where they were normally beaten, literally, by midwives and also verbally abused as they ‘squeezed’ their babies out. I grew up fearing the thought of giving birth because I heard so many stories of how women were abused by the hospital staff as they gave birth. Most lost their poor babies just through the incompetence and negligence of the midwives and nurses. Childbirth is a very traumatic experience without having to go through abuse whilst doing it, but many women in Zimbabwe had to endure abuse whilst birthing. Some still do today.
His grandmother would have given birth without a birth partner rubbing her back or telling her that she can do it or had to be strong. She most probably had nurses beating the crap out of her whilst she ‘squeezed’ the babies out of her uterus.
Then you have a grown man, who had no idea what his grandmother went through, coming on Facebook to insult his grandmother that she just squeezed 9 children from her uterus and it wasn’t such a big deal because she never claimed to be a heroine on Facebook.
No woman gives birth to even one baby and doesn’t feel like a heroine.
Even the Bible often speaks about the sacred pain of childbirth, describing the end times as such. One scripture that often encourages me is , John 16:21, ‘A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.’
So I will never understand a human being who mocks, insults and undermines the pain and celebration of childbirth. It’s inhumane.
Jera’s grandmother probably shared her birthing experiences with her whole village. I am sure if she was in the Facebook era she would be sharing her birthing stories left right and centre, considering she had 9 of them. Something tells me that Jera’s grandmother would have been one of those women who pose for nude photo shoots whilst pregnant just to celebrate their womanhood.
I am one of those people who use social media to ‘overshare’ stuff as he called it. God knows where I would have been today was it not for me over sharing stuff. I may not even be alive. I know many people committed suicide in the past era because they were lonely and could not share anything at all with the world. I met my Boaz because I ‘over shared’ on social media. Oversharing changed my life.
I am grateful to have given birth in the era of Facebook and social media. I know I have encouraged so many women about having a lot of children. Celebrating my motherhood on social media has been a positive and liberating experience.
Though it’s hard to understand, I know there are a lot of people like Jera, who believe that women like me should just shut up and not celebrate our superheroism of motherhood.
I gave birth to 6 babies, and I am one of those women who is on this earth to celebrate my motherhood. I don’t need to claim to be a super heroine, I AM ONE.