twisting the top off my bottle of vitamins, and shaking a big, smelly prenatal-like pill into the palm of my hand this morning, i thought about the hell that was pregnancy to me (and the heaven it seems to be to so many others). something occurred to me — something hugely important that had somehow taken me half a decade of mothering (and half of that scrolling through perfect insta-mum after perfect insta-mum after perfect insta-mum) to finally get.
as a mother —
it’s okay not to relish pregnancy. it’s okay not to want to celebrate your stretch marks. it’s okay not to buy into the “magic of motherhood.” it’s okay not to romanticise the little things. it’s okay not to enjoy every stage. it’s okay not to believe creating a life is the single most wonderful thing a person can do. it’s okay not to feel fulfilled by mothering alone. it’s okay not to be ceaselessly positive. it’s okay to mourn the loss of the child-less life you left behind. it’s okay to reach your breaking point. it’s okay to want to quit. it’s okay to ask for help. it’s okay to speak your truth. it’s okay to crave time away. it’s okay to take time away. it’s even okay to regret the choice you made to become a mother.
as a mother —
it’s okay to feel however you feel — and it’s okay to cut people from your life who tell you otherwise.
and while motherhood does look and feel different to everyone — and while perhaps there really are women out there (unpressured by the mentally toxic little app we all know and love / hate) who genuinely feel that motherhood is magic and who believe it is rightly romanticised by society — every time i scroll by an over-the-top, sunshine-and-rainbows, motherhood-focused account, i can’t help but think they filter their every word just as they do their every photo, with the less-than-glamorous bits never quite making the cut, and the “magic” they feign fades.
but try as they might, motherhood isn’t a fairy tale. it’s real, and surviving it hurts. getting through it entirely unscathed is not something i am prepared to believe is possible for anyone — no matter how many mushy hashtags they tack onto their too-good-to-be-true caption.