This morning I had the pleasure of chatting with Lisa (one of our Suncoast Kids Directors) on Coffee Talk. I am so grateful that she was honest and open with me about the reality of having and raising a child, and here’s why: it seems like I rarely get honest feedback when I go looking for answers. I often feel like I am being lied to or tricked with all the “oh you’ll LOVE it” and “it’s different when it’s your own, you just love them so much” and “it’s the best decision I ever made” talk.
I know it can be wonderful, I get it, but I have also witnessed exhausted, unhappy women who claim they would have said “no thanks” if they could go back in time. That’s real to me, that’s important to unpack. Can a mother get wildly depressed after having a baby? Can a mother look at their child and not feel that rush of emotions that was essentially promised? Can a mother really regret having a beautiful bundle of joy?
The answer is yes, in some cases, and I think we need to talk about it.
If we don’t, we may never understand why or how this can happen, or how to help women who are experiencing it. Talking with Lisa helped me see more of the picture, and it helped me understand how common the “ugly parts” are. I am so grateful for mothers who are willing to share the “ugly parts” because it helps me feel more informed, prepared, and less likely to be blindsided by the inevitable highs and lows (should I choose motherhood). Not to mention, I can empathize with mothers and fathers when I understand their day-to-day life, not just the cute, lighthearted highlights.
Here’s the thing, I understand why mothers feel the need to sugarcoat their struggles. Maybe it’s the endless opinions and “backseat parents” casting judgments? Maybe it’s the possibility of coming across as ungrateful or complain-y? Maybe it’s the feeling of failure because their day-to-day doesn’t look like the put together blogger mommies that saturate social media these days? Maybe it’s difficult to admit to themselves that it’s harder than they thought? Maybe they are too tired to talk about it? I’m sure there are endless reasons, but I wish it wasn’t so.
I wish society never got used to the literal miracle of growing, birthing, and caring for another human life. I wish we all still had the awe and utmost respect for what mothers go through. I wish it never became normal and easy to overlook. I wish we talked more about how INCREDIBLE it is, how magical it is, how empowering it is, how difficult it is, how scary it is, and how life-changing it is. When you break it down, it’s mind-blowing.
The title of this post is intentionally click-bait but this is what I meant by it: you can be scared of things you don’t understand, and you can be scared of things you understand fully. If you do the work to try and understand the weight of what it means to parent a small human, a life that will become independent someday, you may find yourself feeling scared for all the right reasons. It’s not the kind of scared that makes you say “I can’t do this”, it’s the kind that makes you say “I know what I’m getting into, and I choose this difficult task”. I salute each and every mother, what you do is superhuman in my eyes.
You can watch our talk below, or scroll down for the Parenting Class podcast playlist:
Parenting Class podcast: