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Jun 02,2023 | Chicco Malaysia Madre/marta-perego-essere-mamme-contro-ogni-stereotipo/Marta Perego-16_9.png

We live in curious times in which the need to overcome stereotypes is invoked on many sides, on the other we end up creating others, slipping into a spiral of hashtags, Instagram stories, the need to give a name and a label to all things: mother hen, mother manager, mother instagrammer. Moms who go back to work after three months (are you crazy? So small?), moms who take more time (are you crazy? So you forget who you are), moms who try to chase after themselves and that when they look in the mirror they see nothing but the black hole of guilt. Because how it goes and how it doesn't go finding the right path between selfishness and cancellation is a magic formula whose secret seems impossible to know. When I found out I was going to be a mother, I had no ideas or models. Motherhood happened to me in the folds of a life that went towards something else (my job, study, master's degree, books, philosophical research). That screen that showed me: pregnant 3+ was the biggest twist of my life and as often happens with twists, it put a strain on the heroine of the story, namely me.


Since the first months of pregnancy I have noticed a huge discrepancy between what is said (and can be seen in the photos on social networks) and what is. Photos of mothers with graceful and smiling bellies, while I was dying of tiredness and stomach twisting on itself for the first three months and then the strangeness of seeing my body change, grow out of proportion, without me being able to control it. I did diets, exams, gymnastics on pilates balls but nothing to do. I was scared of not being able to go back to how I was before and, above all, I felt guilty: how was it possible that I wasn't grateful and enthusiastic about my 20 kilos (which then became almost 27 at the end of my pregnancy...) which represented life and - that what do they say - the greatest joy?


I was convinced that I was the only one, the wrong one, the usual one not able to appreciate the simple beauties of life ... but one day, particularly stoned by the up and downs of the ninth month, I published a post on my Instagram page in which I told how the more authenticity I felt I could convey my emotions. And I discovered I'm not alone. For me, waiting had been an ambiguous moment divided between expectations, happiness, but also reflections on myself that I could not silence: what will become of me when we become two? One of the biggest lies that are told is that not only motherhood is an unassailable joy, but also that your mother will certainly be a different you than she was: drunk by the wonder of her son, she will let her priorities get distorted, happy and immediately satisfied with the little creature she gave birth to - with pain, yes, but she forgets it immediately.


The first three months with Orlando were one of the most tiring periods of my life. The delivery required more recovery time than expected. Breastfeeding - which is narrated on social media as the most "beautiful and natural" thing a mother can experience - was a great effort for me. Becoming a mom put me to the test, it broke the mould. Not only because "you can't sleep", but because having a child robs you of time and energy to a level that was impossible to imagine before. I discovered new degrees of fatigue, anxiety, the need to have a network around me that wouldn't leave me alone. I who have always loved loneliness found myself terrified by moments of emptiness.. when it was just me and that baby that I still couldn't understand.


We still live immersed in the stereotype of the "mother" who is perfect, inimitable, incomparable. That she wants nothing more than to cancel herself for the baby, that even if she struggles, she doesn't weigh on her because she is compensated by love. The truth is that there is love, but also the effort. There are no magic formulas or rules. There are mothers who hate breastfeeding, others who love it, mothers who feel breastfeeding when they see the dash on the test, others who have to wait a little longer. There are women, who are also mothers, but above all they are people, who serenely put their work on hold for a while, others who instead - for their mental health - need to recapture all the facets of their identity in an arc of not too long time.


The journey of parenthood is an obstacle course that requires breaking rules, barriers and mythologizing. Each is a mother in her own way. In its form of freedom, awareness and desire. In that path that is wonderful but also stormy, ambiguous and ambivalent, like all love stories.

Martha Perego


Born in 1984, she is a journalist, author and television presenter.

Since the beginning of her career she has been involved in culture, art and entertainment by conducting various TV programs. She is the creator of the Flaneuse project, with which she recounts an unprecedented and feminine Milan, and of the Case di Carta podcast, she is very active on social media, where she recommends books and films and interviews successful writers.