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Thinking Pink!

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

More often than not, when scrolling the ol’ socials, I stumble across at least one of those thumb-stopping ‘did you know?’ posts.

You know the sort…

Comprised of some misty image or other, overlayed with a ‘fun fact’ which is either benignly interesting or…well, not at all.

Earlier this week, when happening to land upon one such tidbit of trivia, I was implored to do something somewhat unusual.

I took a screenshot!

The reason why… is that I wanted to give this particular ‘fun fact’- that flamingos temporarily lose their pink after becoming parents - more than just a cursory dose of after-thought.

I wanted to know why, how, and for how long their pink disappeared. Not only that… I wanted to know through what means these now-neutral birds managed to claw back their rosy hues... if at all.

Quite why the parenting plight of the flamingo intrigued me so much, probably had a lot to do with how readily I can relate to this idea of pinkless-ness as a consequence of juggling all the things, all the time!

I’m choosing my words carefully here, mainly for want of avoiding using the term ‘lost’ in reference to the phenomenon of parental ‘paling’ - something that is so often discussed in the context of identity, confidence and autonomy.

There is, quite rightly, a lot of social media noise on this subject, and the more books and blogs I read on the matter...the more I have come to understand that I am by no means alone in struggling to reconcile my old, fuchsia-feathered self with the comparably more wrung-out reflection of today.

Amidst all this reading and solution-searching (and believe me, there's been a lot), nothing has proved quite so sense-making - and comforting, in a way - as discovering that the molecular toll of living the thinly-spread #mumlife is actually tangible, in some species.

Without the benefit of a pigment-o-meter, we have little means to quantify these subtle unravellings, leaving us human mums in doubt that the dilution of self is even real, let alone natural… and temporary.

As far as I can glean, the flamingos DO regain their pink - but this impermanence is something that the post-partum rabbit-hole of ‘who even am I anyway!?', often neglects to remind its exhausted and self-doubting subjects of, especially when they're trapped in its muddiest depths.

This, however, maybe isn't the most important take-home from this rather David-Attenborough-esque blog post...or from where I'm standing at least.

Instead, it's that 'pink-ness' isn’t necessarily the measure of magnificence we're conditioned to believe it is.

If anything, those less-pink ‘mingos are just as splendid, and I'd like to think that far from 'paling' into insignificance after their offspring are born...they are maybe paling into inner significance - an idea which (on some level) puts those platitudes of ‘lost identities' into much kinder perspective.

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