something on a mommy page on Facebook we only hear the positive and are only expected to feel positive towards our kids. Is this expectation actually good for mothers?
Turn on any movie that shows a woman giving birth. What do
you see? A mom elated at her child the moment the baby is placed in her arms and nothing but warm gushy moments following. They may show a frazzled mom who is tired but they never actually show her having any negative thoughts. Is this reality? I personally don't feel it is. While we love our kids sometimes we have some really negative thoughts. And due to societies expectations of us we immediately feel guilty and monstrous. How can this be good for any mother?
(Side note- this blog is not justifying using negative, hurtful words to your
children. Emotions are one thing but there is never an excuse to be verbally
abusive to your child.)
When my son was born I suffered some pretty sever birth
trauma (read A Unhappy Birth for his birth story). When he was first placed in
my arms all I could think is "get it away from me". For the first 24 hours I ha
no interest in holding or attempting to nurse him. I just wanted to be left
alone. To this day people throw this in my face as a example of how horrible of a mother I am. Through talking to other mothers I have come to find that I am not alone in this initial feelings towards my newborn child.
Now lets fast forward six years to the birth of my daughter. Initially I was fine. I was tired, worn out, and sad but I was ok with engaging with her right after birth and then some. BUT due to the emotional turmoil that happened while I was pregnant and when she was first born combined with the fact that she made me so severely ill that I had to have a emergency C-section with her instead of the natural birth I planned I wasn't sure if it was all worth it. Then she had severe colic and did nothing but scream for 12 weeks. My Lillybug was 10 weeks old before I could finally look at her and say
it was all worth it. If I was to share this fact with people in my life they would look at me like I was a monster. It wasn't that I didn't love her, it was just that is was so hard and I was overwhelmed.
Now to share a friends experience. She went 42 weeks with a beautiful baby girl and had the most wonderful at home water birth. Then the crap hit the fan. Her daughter ended up with some severe health problems and was in NICU for a extended period of time. The whole event has seemed to left her emotionally raw. If she was to have a negative thought like "what I was thinking having another one so soon" or "why can't my daughter just be normal and healthy" (not saying she has vocalized these feelings just speaking hypothetically) does that make her a horrible human being? Well according
to society's expectations it does. Why? Why are we never expected to have a moment of unpleasant thought when it becomes really hard to be a mother? We all have these feelings so why do we mommy shame each other?
This isn't just for babies. My son is now seven and has
extreme ADHD and can be hard to handle sometimes. Do you honestly feel it is
evil if I ever think "OMFG please shut the hell up and sit down!"? I don't
feel it is at all. Though I am not proud of those feelings I know that I am not
horrible for having them. I am human, not a robot. I would never speak those
words to my child but yes, I sometimes think them. And some days when I am so
overwhelmed that I think I am going to burst do you honestly think I don't
daydream about being out in the middle of the woods in a cabin all by myself and
peaceful? Of course I do! BUT if that opportunity every came by do you think I
would abandon my kids? Of course not! They are my everything and I love them
I think we need to stop expecting each other to only have
warm and fuzzy thoughts when it comes to our kids. They are kids. They will
stress us out, tick us off, hurt our feelings, and test our very last limit. I
think that in being a AP parent it is a bit more difficult because we are so
careful with what we say. I would never cause my kids the emotional damage that
mean and harsh words would bring. But my mind and my emotions are my safe place.
And I should be able to share my feelings with other moms without fear of being
judged because if she was being honest with herself and me she would have to
admit to thinking similar thoughts. So maybe instead of judging we should
just talk openly to one another. Then and only then can people really help us.
If you can only tell your friends and family half of the story then you will
never get the advice that could help you to figure out the negative feelings.
Anything that is left hidden suddenly becomes the most glaring thing in your
minds eye. So stop judging and start talking. Lets heal each other and not shame