This mum’s excitement for some new parents she spotted in her doctor’s office, quickly turned to worry, and then some bigger thoughts on mum and dad life.
Mothers, your souls deserve more.I had an appointment today with my OB/GYN. (Nope, not pregnant- I’m well beyond child…
In a heartbeat
Writer (and blogger) Melissa Fenton was at her OB/GYN appointment when she encountered a couple of joyful and obviously first-time parents.
When she went in for her examination, she could hear the muffled voices of the couple, chatting to a doctor in the exam room next to her. She could also hear the amazing “thump, thump, thump” of their baby’s heartbeat, as their scan got underway.
“As I listened, I took a deep breath filled with gratitude that I was once lucky enough to hear that sound from my own womb, then I smiled – remembering how 20 years ago I first heard the sound of that sweet beat, and how it filled my soul like nothing else had before. It filled my soul with instant and immeasurable joy.”
“My smile faded”
Naw. Many of us have been there too, and it’s an inexplicably joyful moment when you hear that little heartbeat and realise there really is a tiny person on board.
But then, Melissa’s mood dipped, because she realised that a rewarding, but confusing, road may lay ahead for these idealistic parents.
“In a split second my smile faded, replaced with a frown and thoughts of all the soul crushing things that modern mothering has in store for that first time mom in the room next to mine.”
She’s got a point.
“That how raising a child these days – days full of sanctimonious social media and ever vigilant mom shaming-of being under the scrutinizing and suffocating microscope of anyone and everyone – is going to crush her spirit and her soul,” Melissa worried.
Look, perhaps that’s taking things a little too dark and deep, but we really get where she’s coming from in these competitive, curated times. No matter which parenting choices you make, there’ll be someone ready to steal your joy, as Melissa explains:
“Had a labor full of complications or a c-section? Your body failed you, and your baby.
Formula fed? Baby will have low I.Q. and be sick all the time.
Breastfed for only six weeks? Quitter.
Nursed into toddlerhood? Freak.
Back to work? Neglectful.
Staying home? No ambition.
Boxed mac and cheese? Poison giver.
Homemade mac and cheese? Obnoxious overachiever.”
Melissa sent an open message to the parents she encountered – and others like them – via Facebook.
“Don’t let the motherhood soul suckers of the world take away one second of your joy of mothering. Not one single second.”
Choose joy. Start now.
Reflect on your baby’s joyful heartbeat, and know that tiny thump signals something special and meaningful that nobody can take the shine off.
“Remember it’s YOUR baby’s heartbeat, not society’s baby, or social media’s baby, or some parenting study’s baby. Remember it’s YOUR baby, toddler, child, young adult, and college student. YOURS.”
“You made that damn heartbeat (or had the privilege of adopting it), so you get to raise it, the way YOU want to raise it. Nobody else.”
Melissa urged mums to ignore the critical haters and seek some well-deserved joy, instead.
“It’s time to get your mothering joy back, deep in your souls. Start now.”