Best intentions

2/23/2018 07:53:00 pm

I'll start with a disclaimer: this is about me, it's not about you. It's not directed at anyone personally, especially not any of my lovely friends who have only the best intentions, and who are supportive and positive when I am being a black cloud of doom. I appreciate you, and I appreciate that you are trying to help. It's just that sometimes, with my disposition, it's not always helpful. 
I'm not depressed, right now... Well, I don't think so anyway (been there, done that, got every single postcard going), but I am struggling (sometimes).

This isn't me being judgemental or being a martyr, but it's a plea for recognition that everyone reacts to parenthood differently, and it's ok to want your old life back. My very wise friend Helen just reminded me that it's ok to love your baby, but hate parts of parenting. I would like to remind you that it's ok to voice those feelings. 

Also, can you believe it's almost a year to the day that sosaidellie has said anything? I guess I was waiting to drop a bombshell, hah. 

Second also, I wrote this when I was having a really bad day, and so some unfiltered truth spilled out. I'm sorry that I am a bitch when I am tired but man it felt good to bash this out. 

Here we go.

Somewhere along the way I lost my name. It became replaced with mumma. Not a pronoun, but a noun. Person, place, or thing. All of the above, and only those things.

I lost the ability to vent frustration with events in my life. It results in a single word response, laden with an unspoken reprimand: “motherhood”. Not “parenthood”. It’s not an affliction that affects men and women equally. No one has responded to Rob’s tiredness, the inability to eat a meal uninterrupted with, “fatherhood”.

You aren’t allowed to be frustrated. You aren’t allowed to be bored. You are allowed to be tired (and to proclaim loudly that until someone has had children, they don’t understand what tiredness is), but you’re supposed to suck it up, because… motherhood. You aren’t allowed to have feelings anymore, unless they’re to gush about the joys of motherhood. Better if you do it on social media, so that everyone is aware of just how good at it you are. (I’ll admit here that I do post about my baby on social media, but I categorically do not gush about the joys of motherhood; I post because my baby is cute, and that is all.)
In general you aren’t supposed to answer questions honestly. When the checkout chick asks, “How are ya?”, you aren’t supposed to tell them how you really are. (That's why when I worked in retail, I would greet people with a smile and a, "Hi there", as I reached over the counter. I am bad at pretending to care.)
And so, when someone says to you, of motherhood, “Do you love it”, it’s not a question. It’s an instruction. You should love it. You must love it. You are a woman and your job in the world is to be a mother and enjoy motherhood. When you answer honestly, “no”, a look of silent horror is returned.
If one more person tells me to cherish this special time, I will scream. If one more person tells me that it gets easier, I will scream. If one more person gives me an unsolicited opinion, I will scream. I will scream, just as I scream into the pillow whilst I’m being screamed at by a small creature that is only able to demand my constant attention. Who is hungry, but will not eat. Who is tired, but will not sleep.
Forget that I used to have hobbies and interests. A job that was challenging and rewarding, and framed me as an intelligent individual with actual skills beyond the production of milk and the changing of nappies. The washing of laundry. The cooking of food. The housework. The appointments. The plans. I have become a housekeeper, a nanny, a wet nurse, on top of being the PA and the travel agent.

No, I am now a mumma bear, and my former self no longer matters.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll see myself out. I got a baby needs feeding.

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1 comments on this post

  1. Hey Ellie! I recognize every single experience you expressed in this post. Having your body claimed by someone else is tough. You will of course manage and expressing your experience will help you do that! All the best from Uppsala to you and the family. /Lisa


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