Honesty alert: I refused to read that article when it started circling Facebook. Yes, refused. I knew what it was about based on the responses people posted when they shared it. I knew reading it would probably lead me to resentment because this whole motherhood thing has not been all sunshine and happiness for me, and reading about how easy and how wonderful it all is for other people annoys me. Sometimes it triggers all the things that went wrong so far in my motherhood journey (especially after G was born) and I get in a funk. Don’t worry, I’m aware there is some jealousy behind the resentment and I do discuss this kind of thing with my therapist.
Every motherhood journey is different, but it isn’t 100% awesome 100% of the time. It just isn’t. This is why I can’t stand watching commercials or reading status updates and articles that give the sense the opposite is true. There are parts of trying to conceive, pregnancy, postpartum, and parenthood that are still too taboo to discuss, yet so many of us have “been there” and can relate. Things like infertility, miscarriage, perinatal mood disorders, wondering what the hell was I thinking by having a baby? I’m noticing that gathering the courage to speak up opens the door for others to say, “Woah! Me too!” which keeps us from feeling alone and isolated during the hard parts. Lets be honest, the hard parts can be hard and it’s such a relief to know you’re aren’t alone when you feel like running away from it all.
It’s knowing about and experiencing a lot of those hard things that made me scroll past Gerson’s article each time it came up on my news feed. I am sure the author’s intent wasn’t to make some mothers feel isolated. In fact, I’m sure that was the last thing on her mind. She was simply expressing her feelings. No shame in that, even if I don’t relate.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt stung by the subject matter. The article prompted Stephanie Sprenger to write a post in response titled, “I’m Glad They Told Me.” This one I did read, and willingly so, because I’d rather read about the realness of parenting. Sprenger mentioned a couple parts of Gerson’s article that might have made feel slightly depressed had I read it (I can’t tell you the last time Hubby told me I was sexy, and even if he did I wouldn’t believe it with my uniform consisting of uncombed hair, unbrushed teeth, and stained pajamas). She brought up the other side of the coin: motherhood doesn’t come easy for all.
Sprenger’s article sparked the #SoGladTheyToldMe campaign, which according to her post on Her Stories Project’s blog:
I believe that there is a way to provide realistic, supportive guidance to new mothers without assaulting them with overwhelming, negative “warnings.” With our #sogladtheytoldme campaign, we want to hear how somebody supported you, or how you wish you had been supported, when you became a mother.
Honestly, blogs and Twitter have been the biggest source of comfort for me since my miscarriage. It’s in those places people tend to be more honest about their parenting experiences. I see way more “Motherhood is such a wonderful thing and I love every second of it!” type stuff on Facebook. There are parts I love too, but it’s not all sunshine and glitter unicorn farts as some of the Facebook statuses I’ve seen make it out to be. Blogs and Twitter is where I’ve learned that my feelings are valid, it’s more than okay to stand up for myself, and I am not alone. (And for that, I thank you.)
I want to be part of the #SoGladTheyToldMe campaign, so started thinking about what I wanted to write on my sing. The more I thought about it, the more I realized THIS was the best piece of advice I received:
Okay, so this particular advice actually came from several sources not just one person. I never really thought of having to be my own advocate before G was born. It was his birth that made me realize that if I wanted a different outcome for the birth of my next baby (the outcome I had really wanted with G) and if I was going to get better postpartum care, I had to do my own research and do what was best for me and my situation. I think it’s something a lot of first timers don’t do because it’s hard to know where to start and it’s often easier to follow the advice of your caregiver. Not that that’s a bad way to go, but I’ve found in my experience that the professionals don’t always have the resources and experience to give you what you need or want. It’s another reason why I loved the Bradley Method class — it teaches you and your partner how to advocate and respectfully question what is really necessary when it comes to the birth of your child, and the tools I learned there have been used in other situations, like L’s lip tie.
What are you glad someone told you about becoming a mother?
You can check out what other women were glad they were told when they became mothers by searching #SoGladTheyToldMe on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Who knows, you might see a couple more from me!