Having a baby is one of the most difficult things you can do–having twins is just something out of this world. Despite the fact that new mom Hein Koh literally has her hands full with her infant twins, she is still going after her own ambitions as an artist.
Koh recently wrote post she shared on Facebook describing all of her feelings–which are mixed–motherhood brought. She sets the record straight by explaining how she feels like motherhood, while a challenge, doesn’t have to hold women back in their careers:
“Becoming a #mom (of twins no less) has personally helped me become a better #artist – I learned to be extremely efficient with my time, prioritize what’s important and let go of the rest, and #multitask like a champ. I learned to function (even if barely) on very little sleep, and out of the chaos, insanity and even torture at times, a flood of new emotions entered into my work, becoming more interesting & layered as a result.
I’m also not saying that artist parents are better artists than non-parent artists, or that choosing not to be a parent will deny you access to these learning experiences. What I am saying is that parenting is like any other challenge in life – the biggest fucking challenge in my own life thus far – and if you embrace it and figure out creative solutions, you can emerge a better person. It’s important to think about the ways in which these challenges can help you move forward, rather than hold you back.”
Koh is a sculptor and artist from Brooklyn, NY. Her husband, James Horowitz, is a cardiologist. The couple recently welcomed their twin daughters Amelia (Ami) Beatrix Koh Horowitz and Oneida (Oni) Clementine Koh Horowitz in May. After struggling to conceive for six years, she became pregnant as a result of IVF treatments. Of course, this doesn’t mean she doesn’t feel “terrified” about that whole work-life balance thing:
“The art world is not kind to mothers or ‘aging’ women. I was worried that if I didn’t get my career started before giving birth, because I am still at the emerging stage, I would never be able to pick up the momentum again.
It’s ridiculous and myopic to take one’s personal experience and make a generalization out of it. It’s unfortunate when women make these kinds of statements that only perpetuate existing stereotypes that hinder our progress.”
Koh also talked about the gender stereotypes and double standards between moms and dads, stating:
“Somehow as a man you are allowed to have kids and still be perceived as driven in your career, while if you are a woman who has a child, people think of it as a huge sacrifice. The new family models are changing — mothers don’t necessarily have to be the primary caretakers anymore. With a more even distribution of responsibilities, and a support system — support is key, and I recognize it is a privilege — women can still have children and be successful in their careers.”
What I appreciated most is the fact that Koh was also upfront about the support she has, as she has an assistant and a part-time nanny who comes every morning and one full day a week–which she understands how that is a privilege others don’t have. But it’s also not something to feel guilty about either, as she observed:
“I’ve pieced together a schedule that allows me to spend time with the kids for at least a few hours every day, but also have at least a few hours to myself to work in my studio or do other things that I need to do. Childcare is a privilege, and unfortunately many moms and artists don’t have that. That being said, I understand how fortunate I am and I don’t waste time.”
Of course, it would be remiss to forget about her husband, who Koh says is an amazing partner–and truly co-parents with her and supports her career as an artist:
“He’s very encouraging of my career, and I couldn’t do it without his support. It really takes a village to raise a child, and with twins, you need a whole town.”
We could all stand to take a lead out of Koh’s book and look at what we can do, not at what we can’t.