I’m partial to women who didn’t have the storybook entry into Motherhood. Anyone who’s been around the blog for a while knows this. My kids are still young and people around me are still having babies. I have a feeling this will be my trigger point for a while. And then it will become something more timely depending on our situation. Like sport related injuries or learning disabilities.
But for now, I’m partial to women who didn’t gush at the two pink lines. I want to high-five the woman who can admit the ultrasound picture didn’t make them go all gooey. I want to hug every woman who smiled an answered, “Of course I’m so excited to be a mother!” but behind that smile asked herself, “Are they fucking kidding? I have no clue what I’m doing.” I want to put my arm around the woman who planned her pregnancy, but felt like a complete fraud while registering for the baby shower. I want to tell the woman in labor & delivery who doesn’t weep at the sight of her baby, “It will be ok.” I want to bow down to every mother who got up to comfort their screaming newborn and thought, “Do I Hallmark LOVE this baby?” and then got up 15 more times that same night and gave unconditional comfort. I want to create a commune for women who can say, “Motherhood is really tough and sometimes it doesn’t live up to the hype.”
Those women suffer in silence until another Mother says it out loud. And then their flood gates pour onto the table creating a lazy river of serenity. As you can guess, I was never really quiet about it but I also didn’t have a lot of Mothers around me. I was speaking to an empty auditorium. But I do remember the first time I heard a friend talk about it. The sun popped out from behind the clouds and started singing a show tune.
It’s probably why I talk about it a lot. “Suffer in silence” might seem like a heavy phrase to you, but then I’d guess you didn’t have these feelings. It’s not PPD. It’s different and not discussed. You spend your waking moments thinking, “I knew I shouldn’t have become a Mom.” “Those women lied, everything didn’t just change when he came out.” Life as a new mom is tough enough. Not having those maternal feelings adds stress to the enormity of the new role.
Last night’s final scene in Mad Men made me forgive Don Draper for any sleazy douchebag behavior (But really? How do you not love the douche? Now I love him more). His parenting flood-gate moment finally hit him after seeing a movie with his first son.
“No. I don’t think I ever wanted to be the man who loves children. But from the moment they’re born, that baby comes out and you act proud and excited, hand out cigars. But you don’t feel anything. Especially if you had a difficult childhood. You want to love them but you don’t. And the fact that you’re faking that feeling makes you wonder if your own father had the same problem. Then one day they get older, and you see them do something and you feel that feeling that you were pretending to have, and it feels like your heart is going to explode.”
I know it’s just a tv show, but I’m partial to these types of people and grateful for the discussion. Every woman has that moment when they realize their heart will be permanently worn on the outside. For some it’s the first time the two lines appear. Other’s have it the second they see tiny heart flutter on the screen. And some hearts aren’t yanked out until much later. Some people catch a belly laugh from a three-month old and their chest gets paper thin. The laugh catapults their heart into the world and smashes it to dust. Three seconds later, the next laugh does the same thing.
And that’s when you know you’re in trouble for life.