Yesterday Mamamia, via Ivillage, posted a refreshingly honest article written by a young woman called Kyanne Cassidy. The article was a brutally real account of what the early days of motherhood can feel like. An account of the mind-numbing sleep deprivation, the guilt, the uncertainty, the fear and the sadness that can accompany the immense joy, love and contentment that you feel when you become a mother for the first time. The article was also a confession. A confession of the completely irrational and nonsensical thoughts that can creep into your mind at 3am when it all seems too much and you just want to sleep and feel like yourself again.
I read the article and I thought it was beautiful in its honesty. I was proud of the writer. I wanted to congratulate her for having the courage to write what she wrote. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to tell her that I have been there, oh boy have I been there. But most of all I wanted to reassure her that it does get better and she’s not alone.
The writer of the article admitted that sometimes, in her darkest moments she has wished her baby was sick so that she could leave her at the hospital and get a full night’s sleep. She also acknowledged how ridiculous this very thought is and qualified this statement by explaining that she wouldn’t really wish this on anyone and that her heart goes out to the parents of sick children.
So let’s get this clear. She didn’t mean it. She feels terrible for ever thinking it. She wishes the thought had never entered her brain.
But then I read the comments, the comments from other mothers. And I felt sad. I felt really, really sad.
She was called ‘sick’. She was called a terrible mother. She was called a terrible person. People suggested she should never have had a child because she wasn’t deserving. ‘Suck it up” they said. “Get over yourself” they said.
Here was a young woman who had the nerve to be honest about her experiences of new motherhood and who is clearly reaching out for help and support. And she was torn to shreds within an hour. Attacked and told she wasn’t good enough, that she wasn’t doing a good enough job.
I challenge any mother out there to honestly say they have never had anything but love-filled, completely positive parenting moments. Mothering is the hardest job in the world and sometimes, like Kyanne said, it feels like the worst job in the world. Its OK to admit that. We need to do it more often.
So to all the mums out there – please can we stop all the judgment and hate? Honestly, we are our own worst enemies. Aren’t we all just trying to do the best we can?
And To Kyanne – you are not alone. It is OK to think the things you’re thinking and to feel the things your feeling. You are doing a great job. You’re a great mum.