Updated: Jun 17, 2021
Trigger warning – if you are struggling with infertility or have lost a child, this blog probably isn’t for you xx
Have you ever been Mum shamed? Who am I kidding, we have all been Mum shamed. When you become pregnant it seems to be this unconscious green light for everyone in the world to pass judgement on you and your kids.
Thankfully, I have “only” been publicly Mum shamed once. I was presenting an evening workshop for my “day job” and made a comment that I love work trips because it means I get a couple of nights off of the dinner, bath and bed time fights. A woman who would have been in her mid-sixties aggressively spat at me “I hate women who talk like you” and finished it off with “you sound so fucking ungrateful”.
Now, I was on the clock and thanks to my parents I know the difference between good and bad manners. I responded with nothing but professionalism however the more I thought about it after it happened, the angrier I got. I like to think of myself as a fairly compassionate person. In most situations, I can see both sides of a story. This woman did not have children and from her comments, I am going to assume that this might not have been by choice however I am not sure if this an excuse for her poor behaviour. Or is it?
I’ve spoken with one of my best friend’s who used IVF to conceive her children. She said that at the time of her struggling to conceive, she would have said the same thing to me as this woman. However now as a mother of two, she finds herself saying comments like mine all the time. How can we win?
I feel that those judgmental comments spat at me fuel what I believe to be almost a PANDEMIC of the REALITY of motherhood not being spoken about enough for this very reason… fear of being perceived as ungrateful. Being being judged. Where as all we really want is another person to go “amen sista, this shit it hard.”.
We are saturated with picture perfect images of motherhood. Fit, well-rested, smiling women tending to their somehow perfectly clean and obedient children in their magazine shoot worthy house with a white couch. I mean, who wouldn’t want that. But then you actually become a mother and you soon realise that the love you feel is nothing anyone could ever prepare you for however the actual reality of motherhood is VERY different.
The relentlessness of it.
The repetitiveness of it.
The never ending battles in your head. Should I use these precious 5 minutes alone to shower, eat, sleep or clean? Should I stay at home or go back to work? The list is endless.
This woman’s comments will not affect me in terms of the way I perceive myself as a Mum. I know I am a good Mum. I love my girls. Fuck I adore them. I breathe for them. However there are also times when I just don’t like them. I know for mothers struggling with fertility or who have lost a child this would be beyond difficult to hear but it is also reality.
Because what of those Mum’s who are really struggling? Feeling like a like a downright failure? We need to be able to safely talk about the fact that this motherhood gig is tough and not be called “fucking ungrateful” when we do.
So to the Mum who is coming out of her newborn bubble, feeling like your nipples have been replaced with razor blades, thinking that you will never sleep again and wondering what the hell you have done? I see you.
To the Mum with the toddler who is dealing with your tiny human’s 10th tantrum for the day because they want the sky to be pink, I see you.
To the Mum who has a child with additional needs and every now and then you wish he/she was “normal” because it would be so much easier, I see you.
To the Mum who has been told by their pre-teen that you are ruining his/her life, I see you.
To the Mum who is lying under the covers and the thought of getting out of bed to face the day is too much I see you.
And to the woman struggling to conceive or is no longer able to have their baby earth side with anymore, I see you too and I am so very sorry for your struggles.
I do not have the answer on how we overcome this but I know talking about it is the first step. If this post reaches one person who needs to hear that it is ok to not love every second of being a Mum, then that is enough.
Love Hayley xx
Please remember, if you are struggling, help is out there. If you need to talk to someone call Lifeline on 13 11 14