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Motherhood: A Paradox



I always wanted to be a mother. I'd dreamed about it from my earliest years. At 30 years old, my dream came true. It was simultaneously everything I'd hoped for and nothing like I'd imagined. The very thing I'd wanted and dreamed of my entire life was slowly killing me. Amidst the highs and joys that came with the sacred responsibility of raising precious human beings, I was losing my own soul. Postpartum depression, anxiety, and OCD partnered up with anger, rage, sleep deprivation, perfectionism, binary thinking, and religious trauma to suck the very life out of me until I no longer wanted to exist.


To be clear, I loved my children with every fiber of my soul. They have brought me joy the likes of which nothing else ever has. I simply had no idea how unprepared I was, how cruel the world was to mothers, and how impossible it would be to raise them the way I knew I wanted to.


The following words were written by an author from Womb Circle. I wept when I read them. My children are grown now, but these words took me right back to when they were little. They resonated with me in a way that made me feel connected to every other mother in the world who struggles. If you relate to these words, please know that you are seen. You're allowed to love your children AND hate the day-to-day drudge. You can feel grateful and blessed and angry and numb and joyful and disappointed... simultaneously. Truly, I see you.


Some Thoughts on Mother's Day

IG: @womb_circle


We used to take for granted

that Mother's Day was a

nice day to celebrate our

moms.


But now everyone says now

it is a hard day for many, if

not most.


Motherhood broke me.


Can I love my children

more than anything I've

ever loved and be so deeply

burdened by my role in

their lives?

I honestly don't know.


I feel so lost in it, all the

sandwich making and

carpool driving.


I don't know how to stop

the maddening mundanity

of tending to the people I

care about most while it

drains the life blood from

my body.


We say this day is hard but

we rarely are able to

articulate why.

Why is it so painful to be a

mother? Why is it so hard

exactly?


I used to fantasize about

ending my life when my

kids and I were younger.


I didn't want to die so

much as I wanted to

disappear, to cease to exist,

to just be nothing.


I could never bring myself

to make a plan, because

while I thought about

disappearing, all I could see

was the pain in their eyes as

I vanished.


My love for them was

like a cage.


I brought them here not

knowing how lonely it

would be, how unprepared

I really was.


I never wanted to hurt them

the way I had been hurt.


And yet here I was doing it and

I had no power to stop it.


It's a grotesque kind of

torture to do this to women,


to ask this of them, to

demand this of them, to

brainwash them, to give

them no other choice.


To wound them so wholly,

that they see no other way.


To bind them to these

precious humans forever

and then walk away.


To force women - by

various means but mostly

shame and mind control -


To bring these lives into the

world and then send them

home alone to hold babies

who scream at 3:00am,

while we stare at the

shadows on the ceiling

silently swallowing the

sounds of our own screams.


I have watched women

writhe and flop and squirm

under the pressure of

modern motherhood,

NEVER able to catch a

breath.


Starving, suffocating,

choking, wasting away.


Watching women I love

suffer this way and knowing

that I myself am drowning

is, again, a most vicious

kind of torture.


I have no words to describe

the helplessness I feel as we

watch each other sink

beneath the waves,

sputtering, desperately

grasping for something to

hold on to.


There is nothing.


Our society has no earthly

idea what it actually takes to

carry, birth, and raise

human beings.


We have forgotten, and

women and children are

picking up the tab in

suffering.


I am beginning to remember

what it means to truly

mother.


I am attempting to make up

for lost time, to mother the

fractured parts of myself

that were malnourished and

neglected and forgotten.


I am attempting to be there

for my friends and family in

ways I wish someone could

have shown up for me.


I am attempting to love and

tend to my children in the

way I know they need...


I am cracking open my

heart, my body, my mind

for it day after day, because

I hear the cries and want so

much to answer the call.


But this is the very thing

that has caused all this

suffering in the first place,


asking women to hold it all

together, for everyone, all

the time...


They keep asking women to

mother themselves,

mother their children,

mother their friends,

mother the other mothers,

mother the whole fucking

planet...


All while they light it on fire.


My kids brought me a

plethora of handmade cards

and flowers and paintings

this morning with such

heart rending earnestness

in their faces.


Is this enough, mama?


They feel the burden too.


It should never have been

their job to be enough for

me, to have to prove they

are enough for my love with

pancake breakfasts and

coupon books and foot

rubs.


How dare we ask this of them?


It doesn't matter how many

nice things they say to me

today, I can never give them

what they deserve.


The world is too broken for that.


So here's a big FUCK YOU

to patriarchy today.


Don't you even think about

showing up at my door with

your goddamned two dollar

candy bar saying how

grateful you are for the

work mothers do.


Fuck you.


I wish I could think of a

more hopeful way to end this...


All I know is that

tomorrow I am going to

wake up and do it all over

again, I am going to make

my kids breakfast and drive

them to school and try to

eke out some time for my

work between laundry and

dishes and picking up toys...


I'm probably going to order

some food I can't afford

because I just can't bring

myself to plan a meal and

cook and dish it up and

listen to everyone's

opinions about what I

made and stand at the sink

alone for another night

with my jaw clenched and

tears streaming down my

face.


I'm going to spend the

whole day wishing I was

alone in a clean, quiet house

sleeping and reading and

remembering that all I want

is to smell their hair and touch

their cheeks and listen to

them laugh.


Then, I'm going to tuck

them in and scratch their

backs and tell them stories

and sing them songs.


And I'm going to do it

again the next day.


And I'm going to keep

wishing and hoping and

working for a world where

mothers don't have to do

this anymore. Not like this.


Not like this.


This is why the abortion

issue is so infuriating.


We don't actually give a shit

about women and children.


It's all just control and

politics on the backs of the

most vulnerable.


I would prefer a world

where abortion is freely

accessible and generally not

necessary.


I would prefer a

world where women are

respected, honored, and so

well sourced that babies are

brought into the world

consciously, and villages of

beloved friends and family

raise children together.


We do not trust women.


We do not trust people who

give birth.


We don't care about the

people who give life with

their blood, sweat, and tears.


We don't care about

parents.


We don't care about babies

and children and the planet

that sustains our lives.


We do not understand and

we do not care about what

is actually required to be

well human beings.


We just don't. We would

prefer to stay in our

ideologies and comfort

zones and just keep our

heads down to really

make the changes necessary

to have a life affirming society.


Those who do care are

often the most

marginalized and oppressed

and systematically kept out

of the places decisions are

being made.


And none of us can do it

alone.


You are not made to do all

of this alone. If you feel

like it's too much, it's

because it is.


Care givers have been asked

to do more than what is

humanly possible.


We are pedestalized as being

super human, all while

being treated as subhuman.


You don't deserve it.


And neither do your children.


I am so sorry.


Happy Mother's Day.

@womb_circle



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1 Comment


Kim Mayer
Kim Mayer
May 09, 2022

Wow - this is amazing and resonates in many ways. Especially "This is why the abortion issue is so infuriating. We don't actually give a shit about women and children. It's all just control and politics on the backs of the most vulnerable. " We get so blindsided in our own perspective that we can't or don't take the time to see the truth - see the real issue. I am a birth mom, and people rarely see the perspective of those of us who chose or were forced to give up our babies for adoption. In many ways feel like our hearts were aborted, because that is how it felt for me for 40 years. I'm not saying …

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