Thursday, 8 August 2013

When you first laid eyes on your first born child did you get that overwhelming sense of undeniable love and adoration? Did you feel that you were suddenly made whole and that nothing could ever be as perfect as that little person they placed on your chest? When you brought them home from the hospital did you spend hours watching them, holding them, not wanting to let them out of your sight? Did you, despite the sleepless nights, just know that motherhood was the most amazing thing you had ever experienced in your whole entire life?

No, me neither.

This is how motherhood was sold to me. And to you too I bet. It's natural, it's beautiful. Yes, it's hard, but it's so rewarding and as soon as you meet your baby you will fall in such deep love that it will all be worth it. And the 3 am screaming, the pooplosions, the vomiting would all be forgotten every time you see your baby smile.

Well nearly 7  years on, I'm still waiting to experience this promised euphoria. And I don't think I'm the only one.

It is such a taboo in our culture to admit you don't readily take to being a mother. From such a young age we are bombarded with romantic  ideas that Motherhood comes naturally to you simply because you happen to be born a woman. That once the baby arrives, you will instinctively know what to do and how to handle every surreal parenting situation that should arise.

And who are the worst perpetrators of perpetuating this fallacy?

Other women.

I call this the Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows Effect.
Men don't talk up parenthood. You don't hear new dads saying to their friends "Mate, you so have to have baby. Seriously dude, it's the most amazing thing you'll ever do with your life. Just get her pregnant, don't worry about it man. When the baby comes, you'll just instinctively know how to be a good dad."

It doesn't happen.

But women, they will crap on until they are blue in the face about how wonderfully blissful it is to be a mother. How fulfilled their life is now. How they were nothing until they had that baby.

But have you ever tried admitting to another woman that you are struggling as a mum? That you haven't bonded with your baby? That you don't particularly draw any fulfilment out of this Motherhood caper? Well I have. And with the exception of my village (see this post), the response I generally get is that of shock, disapproval and such looks that I wondered if I had sprouted horns and a tail that I hadn't noticed.

You can't say that. You just don't talk about those kinds of things. Motherhood is Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows remember? Everyone else says so. Everyone else loves being a mother. Everyone else must be right. And I must be doing something wrong.

And even if someone feels the same way, chances are, she'll be too scared to admit it.

So ladies, we need to start talking about this. To each other. We need to stop perpetuating the fallacy and start having honest dialogue. Motherhood is hard. There was a 16th Century English Philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, who said that life is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short". I think we can apply that to Motherhood… minus the short part :-)  Yes, there are many women who relish Motherhood and roll around in it like the proverbial pig in you-know-what. But I think there would be equal numbers of women who feel lost, lonely, regretful, overwhelmed and very detached from the screaming bundle of 'joy' writhing around in front of them.  And if they dare speak up about how they are feeling, instead of receiving the support they are so desperately crying out for, they are treated like lepers and cast out by their own kind.

The sisterhood really needs to step it up on this issue. Let's start talking about the good and the bad. The easy and the difficult. The fun and the heartbreaking. Let's be equally open about our mistakes, our downfalls, our fears and failures when it comes to Motherhood . Not to focus on the negative but to bring the balance back to realistic. If a woman is struggling with being a mother, she shouldn't need to feel ashamed or embarrassed, she should feel empowered to share her worries with a fellow mum. She shouldn't be treated as though she is unfeeling or unworthy, rather guided with compassion and understanding.

I know there will be ladies reading this who feel the same way as me. To you I say, you are not alone. You are not heartless. You are not less of a woman. You are not a bad mother. What you are doing is bloody hard. And if reading my post makes you feel just a little less lonely, a little less overwhelmed or a little more confident, then that is Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows to me!

So start talking ladies…..

The Captain.

1 comment:

  1. You know I've never done it. But by God, it must be the hardest job in the world. And, I reckon mothers are the bravest, and frankly I don't know how you all do it. It must be exhausting, too. No little nanny naps when you feel like it! Hats off to sharing your truthful perspective. I admire mothers who somehow manage to sustain a precious life-long bond with children, despite how tough it is, you'll do this, as is your legacy with your own mother. Xx


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