I see it all the time.
I felt the same way regarding my initial introduction to mothering.
“I had no idea how hard this was going to be. Why doesn’t anyone tell you these things?” Or, if someone is particularly courageous, “Maybe I shouldn’t have done this. Have I ruined my life?” “What if I don’t feel love for my baby or close to my baby?” I applaud this honesty and long for more of it.
Guilt and shame will tell us that having these types of thoughts means we are a “bad” mother. They will convince us we’re alone in these types of thoughts, that we can never tell anyone, and that maybe – just maybe – we’re not cut out for this mothering role at all. Well guilt and shame can fuck off!
So, let’s clear this up right now: having these feelings and thoughts means n-o-t-h-i-n-g about who you are as a parent, or that you love your child any less! Many parents can have feelings and thoughts like this, especially as they are transitioning and growing into having their first or subsequent child.
I firmly believe being radically honest with ourselves and our loved ones brings freedom. So, let’s be honest when we feel badly and honest when we are loving it! As unexpected as it may be, all of this gets to exist within us as mothers despite our own desires for perfection.
Many of us come into mothering desiring to be the best mother and person we can be, for ourselves and for our children – which is important, of course! We have dreams of our children thriving, and feel responsible to do it all perfectly so the outcomes can be perfect. This is too much pressure! If I could ease any of this responsibility for mamas, I would. I see it so often these days –mamas carrying an oppressive weight of responsibility, control, fear, and perfectionism. This has been a huge part of my journey as well; getting free from these burdens so that I can enjoy mothering and enjoy my children. Perfect does not guarantee good outcomes.
The truth is, parenting is a powerful invitation to the FULLNESS of life. The beautiful and messy humanity of it all. That’s why we have such BIG thoughts, in all directions. We can’t contain our new reality. There are so many things out of our control!
Remember how before we had our babies, we had convinced ourselves that we were in control? And yet each step of the way – whether it be trying to conceive, pregnancy, birth, or raising tiny humans, we are shown just how utterly out of control we are. No wonder we have anxiety and fear in this season of parenting (or for many, through many seasons)!
So, when these negative thoughts arise or we feel out of control, just know you are beautifully HUMAN. You have good times and hard times and that’s okay. Your children need real mothers, not perfect mothers. Let me repeat that: your children need real mothers, not perfect mothers. Let’s invite them into real life too, not perfection, allowing all of them, they already teach us so much about being fully human without shame.
Instead of self-judgment that creates guilt and shame, I invite you to allow yourself to be just who you are – ALL of it – with tremendous self-love and self-assurance. From that place, find your people that help you remember that you aren’t alone and that can witness your highs and lows with compassion and celebration. Because ultimately, taking this path of surrender, awe, and curiosity is a beautiful journey.
So today, if this resonates with you, I invite you into radical honesty with yourself and others. I invite you to uncouple some of your thoughts from guilt and shame and know you are a beautiful human mother. As you embrace all of yourself, I wonder what will open up for you? Xo, Nicole