There’s been an uptick of new moms on my Facebook newsfeed and I’m not the only one. Part of being in your late twenties is accepting the onslaught of “She said yes!” and “New edition coming soon!” that starts coming at you from every direction. For many of us single and childless people this can be a stressful and pressure inducing situation; and while seven (count it people, SEVEN) of my friends have gotten engaged since November, six have welcomed little ones into their lives with three more expecting sometime this year and I am happy for them.
I frequently “like” the many pictures of smiling newborns that grace my social media pages and feel all warm inside the way someone who eventually wants babies of her own should feel- it is after all a very happy thing to celebrate even though I am no where near ready for that kind of responsibility right now.
However, along with adorable pictures of sleeping babies and videos of infants playing with their feet, there seems to be a growing trend of hyperbole about the joys of motherhood from a lot of women my age out there.
Now, far be it for me to try to understand the emotional and mental feelings that come from growing a human inside your body and then pushing it out through your yahoo. I am, after all, a single and childless person who can’t even fathom that kind of self sacrifice at this point in my life.
What I do know, and I think many like me would agree, is that this kind of sharing on social media is the reason a lot of people feel pressure to be “a perfect mother” and a mother in general and that’s not really fair.
What new moms should know is that not every new mother is in love with their child at first sight, and that’s ok.
Not every mother automatically thinks, “this is the love of my life and the best thing that has ever happened to me.” Not every new mother is Chrissy Teigen, sharing openly and unfiltered one of the most venerable moments of her life with every superfluous friend on Instagram and Facebook.
It’s great if you are, especially if you have family far away who are desperate for any glimpse of the new addition to the family. I myself am expecting a new niece or nephew in a few month and am beyond exited to share my joy at being a first time aunt when it happens. But I also understand that Postpartum Depression is a real thing, that for many mom’s the constant reminder that their experience is different from a majority of women makes those suffering from it feel inferior and like a failure at being a mother.
What new moms should know is that while this is the thing that completes you, many women never have children – some because they can’t, and some because they choose not too, and that’s ok. That doesn’t make those women any less whole or any less of a woman for not choosing your path. Many of us are happy for you, if for no other reason than being a witness to your happiness makes us more confident about the good things that come with adulting.
But for many, parenting comes later in life, and they are not failures for taking the long way toward financial, mental, and emotional stability before sinking their teeth into parenthood. While you are #blessed #grateful #soproud motherhood is not the only way to achieve those feelings.
What new moms should know is that some mom’s stay at home, while other have to return to work within 6 – 12 weeks (damn you US maternity laws) and that’s ok. We don’t need your long Facebook rants about the mom at the store who judged you or the Mommy & Me class you missed because you were busy doing other important things.
Because there are other important things in life beyond your baby. While that may seem harsh and banana’s to some, everyone outside of the mom bubble just wants to know how YOU are, what YOU’RE doing, and if there’s anything else in the world you might care about even a fraction of the amount you care about you’re new baby.
What we really want new mom’s to know is that while this baby may be, “your world” and your “reason for getting up” there are other things that should inspire you to get up everyday and become your world, and it’s ok to admit that too.
You were able to do all those things before you were pregnant, and while for a short time you should be consumed with this new little person, this new stage of life you’ve just entered, you are also still you and motherhood doesn’t define who you are, just a part of it.
One day I will better understand what happens to your brain and your heart when you have a child, I don’t presume to understand any of it now, and that’s ok. Because at the end of the day I am just what one single, childless person from the other side of the chasm with just a few thoughts on what others like me want you to know.