Please Just Stop
When I was pregnant, I was one of those women who LOVED it. Yes I know, weirdo right? But I did, I loved being pregnant and to this day I miss it sometimes. I thought it was a completely magical time in my life and I felt good. By the end, yes, I felt like a whale and was pretty uncomfortable, but I still loved it. Early on I couldn’t wait for my bump to start showing and to have people tell me congratulations and give me the smiles that I always give to pregnant women. This was a whole new exciting world for me, but the reality of my pregnant world versus the expectation of my pregnant world was one that I never, ever expected…
I was ready for the people who feel the need to touch a stranger's belly, I was ready for the questions “what’s the gender?”, “do you have a name?”, I was even ready for the unsolicited advice. But what I wasn’t ready for was the disdain and regret that people gave off about pregnancy and parenting. I wasn’t ready for people to tell me that this would ruin my life, that my marriage would be tarnished, that my whole world would be turned upside down… in an unimaginable way. I wasn’t ready for people to tell me I needed to hate pregnancy and be miserable from day one. They told me these things with warning in their voice, cautioning me, almost as if to say “are you sure you want to have a have baby?” I rarely had people come up to me and tell me what I thought I’d hear, or what I wanted to hear. Things like “congratulations! being a mother is a wonderful experience” or “you look great, aren’t you loving this?” No… I got a whole lot of “it’s awful until they are 18 and leave, don’t do it,” “just wait until they keep you up all night, the magic wears off,” “every phase is equally awful.” Being told these things while pregnant and an occasional hormonal mess obviously was a super helpful contribution. I only went home crying to my husband a handful of times and started to be afraid of people talking to me… no biggy. But I did my best and went to my happy place when needed.
Now that I am a mother and I see what life is like with a baby I can see that motherhood and parenting are indeed very trying some days. There have been a few days when a glass of wine was had while a nap happened...but my life hasn’t been turned upside down, I’m not miserable, I don’t hate being a mother. My life is been made better, more complete, more fulfilling. I don’t regret having a baby, it’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. She isn’t a chore or an obstacle keeping me from my life. Don’t get me wrong, the dirty diapers I could super live without… why don’t they come potty trained?! But even when I come out of a diaper changing session with poop on my hands and a smell that won’t leave my nostrils I’m still happy… because I’m a parent and this is what I wanted. I wanted the smiles and the laughs. I wanted the moments that, although trying, create a bond that can never be broken. I chose this, I chose her and it is the best decision I’ve ever made.
So to all you people who go up to pregnant women and tell them that it’s going to be hard, that they’ll be miserable and tired… just stop. I’m sorry that being a parent was terrible for you. I’m sorry that your pregnancy wasn’t all rainbows, but no one’s really is, it’s not supposed to be. I don’t know what happened to you to make you have such a sour taste in your mouth that you go up to strangers and try and take the joy away from their experience. But please realize what you’re doing. You don’t know me, you don’t know how I feel, you don’t know what got me to this pregnancy or baby. You don’t know if it was unplanned or if it was desperately sought after. You don’t know the tears, happy or sad, that were shed. I’m infuriated that you feel the need to diminish my happiness and excitement. I worry how many lives you’re projecting negatively into. Ask me the gender of my baby. Wish me luck and tell me that I’ve got this, but don’t you dare tell me that I’m going to hate motherhood. Don’t you dare tell me that this is the worst choice I can make. Don’t attempt to rob someone of their joy for no reason at all. Let me go down this road and find my footing untainted by your despair. Because I wanted this, I am excited for it… the good, the bad, and the ugly. I want to go through rough days so that I enjoy the great ones even more. I want to appreciate it for all the good that it is. I hope I never feel the need to go up to a stranger and tell them how awful parenting is. So please, the next time you see a pregnant woman or a new mother tell them their baby is precious and walk away. Do not give your unsolicited opinions, let them find their bliss (or whatever else they need to feel) on their own. There is enough to worry about in the world without forcing a cloud on an otherwise sunny day.
A Mother With No Regrets