To celebrate Mother’s Day, the MIRROR WATER team is tapping into our online community to explore the concept of motherhood like we’ve never seen before. Here at MIRROR WATER, we understand that motherhood can be complex, challenging, and non-traditional – qualities that are all-too-often left out of media representations or conversations surrounding Mother’s Day. Now – for the fourth iteration of our “Reflections from the MIRROR WATER community” series – we’re spotlighting our community’s experiences and opinions surrounding motherhood, in an effort to shine light on what it looks like for real people, from all different perspectives.


Here, by collating anonymous responses from our Instagram, we will explore a wide range of topics that we feel represent the rich complexities of motherhood – from non-traditional matriarchal figures to societal pressure to become a mother, and unexpected aspects of becoming a parent. 


Before we get into the results, we at MIRROR WATER understand that motherhood is different for everyone and can often be a difficult topic to discuss. In this article, we’ll be discussing themes including loss and trying for a child; feel free to browse our previous “Reflection” articles on side hustlers, nakedness, and self-care instead, if needed. 



While mainstream media’s representation of motherhood seems to land somewhere between Claire Dumphy and Lorelai Gilmore, we know that IRL, motherhood can be untraditional, complex, and different for each person. In fact, our community’s definitions of motherhood showcased the uniqueness of each person’s own experience. “Metamorphosis,” shared one community-member, highlighting the way that for some, motherhood can transform your identity or self-view. “It’s a constantly evolving role of raising a child to be happy, healthy, kind, and loving,” “Divine opportunity to be ripped open repeatedly to giving and receiving unconditional love,” and “An optional transition,” noted others.


Meanwhile, some responses shared insight into the responsibilities and rewards that motherhood often centres. “It is the most meaningful and rewarding role I’ve ever had,” one person shared, while others noted: “Unconditional love from a choice to dedicate your life to someone else,” “Role model, protector, guide,” and “Caring for and shaping young hearts.” 


Elsewhere, 16% of participants reported that their matriarchal figure is untraditional in society’s understanding of motherhood and 22% noted that they do not have a close, matriarchal figure in their life.

"Everyone's journey is different. Try not to compare yourself to others. "



According to traditional gender norms, women are often taught at an early age that motherhood is a required step of life; however, topics left out the discussions usually include the difficulties of conceiving a child, the pressure faced if you decide you don’t want to have kids (or the option of not having kids at all!), and shame felt by those who are struggling to have children. Here, we invited our followers to share their thoughts and experiences on these all-too-often taboo subjects.


According to our survey, 55% of participants have experienced pressure from others to have children, while 14% have experienced pressure from themselves to have children. Meanwhile, 23% of participants have decided that they don’t want to be a mother, 48% are or plan to be a mother, and 28% were unsure on the decision. 


“Life can also be fulfilling without being a mother,” one community-member shared. “Everyone’s journey is different. Try not to compare yourself to others,” noted another. While reflecting on the unexpected experiences of motherhood, one participant shared: “A lot of people don’t realise that most people don’t get pregnant easily at first. That can feel shameful because it’s not talked about a lot!”



For many people, experiences of motherhood can often include feelings of grief and loss – whether involving a mother or mother-like figure, miscarriages, or losing a child. While often unrecognised in conversations about motherhood, 19% of participants shared that loss plays a role in their experience of motherhood.


For those struggling to become a mother – one specific aspect of motherhood often viewed as taboo – participants shared advice based on their own experiences. “There is more time than you think there is,” said one community-member, while one stated: “I found it is a grief process, allow yourself to feel that.” Another wrote: “Everyone’s journey is different, try not to compare yourself to others.” 


Meanwhile, others discussed the multitude of options available to those who might need them. “You don’t need to be biologically related to be a mother, it’s about love and kindness,” one explained. Others wrote: “Keep an open mind to options if you feel you can’t take your approach any further,” and “Life can also be fulfilling without being a mother.” 

"I didn't know I was capable of this much. "



Whether you’re watching a film or scrolling through TikTok, it’s likely that the depictions of motherhood are displayed through joyous, glamorised highlight reels. Meanwhile, motherhood IRL – while rewarding, joyous, and comfortable at times – can include a number or challenges, from loneliness to feeling overworked or guilty.  


On Instagram, we asked participants to share one aspect of motherhood that isn’t normally talked about. “How hard it is to manage time for your family, work, responsibilities, and yourself,” one participant wrote. Similarly, others shared: “It’s so much harder than it looks,” and, “You will feel like you’ll die from sleep deprivation, but you won’t.”

Others, however, shared how motherhood – through its complexities and challenges – taught them more about themselves than they’d ever known before. “Parenting yourself is part of the journey,” one participant wrote. “I’ve grown so much as a person, putting my kid before myself,” said another. “I didn’t know I was capable of this much.” 

Want to catch up on more MIRROR WATER reflections? Check out our full body of articles here, and keep an eye out on our Instagram stories in order to participate in future community discussions – we’d love for you to join the conversation. To those who shared in our motherhood survey: thank you for your response.