I didn't get to watch the recent Oprah segment on The Truth About Motherhood, but read the summary here. It was interesting, and I think it's so great that we're starting to talk and admit this, how hard motherhood can be. The funny thing is, I'm not sure it's so much that "no one told me.." about how difficult the sleep deprivation would be, or all the diapers, or most of the other challenges of being a parent, but more that it's impossible to truly understand the magnitude of it all until you're in the throes of it. It's sort of like when you break up with someone, and all your friends suddenly come out and tell you they thought he was a loser anyway, and you think "why didn't anyone tell me before?" Except they probably did, and you didn't listen or believe them.
I have a friend who gave birth a few months after I did, and she confessed to me that as she read my blog in the months after D was born, she'd think to herself, "Wow, Marcy's having a tough time..." the thought never crossing her mind that she might struggle as well. Another said that before her baby was born she thought my posts were a little negative... and then she became a mom and started feeling the same things I had. I knew going into this that taking care of an infant was going to be very, very hard. I knew it was going to turn my life completely upside-down. I KNEW these things, yet there was no way to really comprehend what that all meant until I was actually going through it. Zach describes it as, in the big picture looking over the past year as a whole he's not surprised by any of it b/c intellectually he knew it would be that tough, but it's the day-to-day stuff that blows you away b/c you're not quite prepared for it.
But all that aside, knowing that no matter how hard we try there's no way to truly prepare someone for new motherhood, I think it is so very important to have these open discussions about our experiences as parents. I know there are mothers out there who have loved every moment, who bonded instantly with their babies, who never thought anything negative about them, and who think that us talking about the hard parts of being a mom is nothing but hurtful and negative and that we're ignoring the positive aspects of motherhood. The thing is, we're all aware of the good things about being a mom and a parent. It's the reason we didn't dump our kid in the dumpster after they cried for 6 hours straight. We know we are blessed, that our children are amazing, wonderful gifts, and just how lucky we are to get to be their parents. But being a parent is also draining, exhausting, and many times extremely isolating, and I cannot tell you how many times hearing, "I've been there, too!" from other moms has helped me feel ok when I otherwise felt hopeless. To those moms who have it so easy, I salute you and wish I were one of you. I'm not. We mothers can provide such an incredible support network for each other, but we can only do so if we're allowed to talk about the parts that suck without the fear of being judged.