There’s been a lot of talk in the media lately around women who regret motherhood and it kind of amazes me that this topic still comes as a shock to some people. While overall I can say that I don’t regret motherhood entirely, there’s certainly times when I have wondered what on earth I’m doing, have wished I could have done things differently, and can completely and totally empathise with what these women are going through.
Being a mother is something we are told we are ‘programmed’ to do. It’s biological, we are meant to. But what about for those women who just don’t feel like that? Some fight it and push through, they become mothers anyway, longing for that magic veil to fall over them and feel like the mother they were told they were meant to be. But what if that never happens?
For some women they are simply told they are suffering with Postnatal Depression and their feelings of regret will go away. Other women are completely dismissed. And even worse still, some women are too scared to say anything through fear of judgement of others.
It’s like once you say the words ‘I regret becoming a mother’ you get this big neon sign on your head that says ‘unfit’.
As if you don’t feel isolated enough, and like you’re a stranger living in a different life, you’re then told that there’s something wrong with you for feeling this way.
Nothing Prepares You
The biggest challenge I faced as a mother has been that nothing could possibly prepare me for motherhood. No amount of reading or research, listening to others or talking with people could ever, ever prepare me for what life was going to be like as a mother.
Before my son was born I had a career I loved and was good at. It required me to work shift work and be on call, and I loved it. I was an outgoing person, loved being social and I loved to travel. Especially alone. I loved taking day trips to the beach and just driving for hours and hours. And I loved spending time on my own.
When I became a mother all of that was taken away.
While I was able to go back to work, I wasn’t able to work the full shifts or the roster I had previously. Plus I could only work part time thanks to the lack of daycare availabilities. I wasn’t able to travel like before, time alone didn’t exist and day trips were no longer on my radar.
Instead it was all replaced with a baby who didn’t sleep, who needed me for everything and who took up every waking (and sleeping) moment of every day.
I felt like I had completely lost who I was. I was no longer me, I was a mother. A whole new identity. And it felt like that identity didn’t fit. Like a pair of pants that were way too tight and didn’t allow you to move properly at all.
Motherhood isn’t for everyone, and it’s not like you can try it out and give it a test run. You are no less of a woman if it doesn’t suit you and in no way do I think you love your children any less.
But You Still Love Them
Oh my gosh how you love them. I love my son more than words could ever imagine. I’d take a bullet for that kid and then some. I love the snuggles, I love the way he says ‘mumma’ and I love that I am able to be everything for him.
And no matter how much you regret being a mum, you can’t just ‘erase it’ and make it all go away. You can’t undo the love you feel for them. You can’t take back the experience of being a mum. You can’t just walk away.
Because becoming a mother changes you in so many ways.
Learning To Live With It
I’m one of the lucky ones, I have only had to deal with moments of regret and confusion. And mostly these were based around the idea that maybe I became a mother too early and should have waited longer. But for me I was able to learn how to adapt.
It took some time to feel confident in my new skin. In a body that looked different to my previous body, that leaked from unspeakable places and was no longer as strong as it once was. In a role that meant I couldn’t be as selfish as I wanted to be, but one where another human relied entirely on me for their survival.
I had to let go of what I thought my life was supposed to look like and embrace what my life was. In doing so I was able to find happiness in my life again.
But for some women it’s not that easy. For some women they truly, truly regret becoming mothers and you know what? That’s okay.
You should never be expected to love every moment of motherhood, or even love it at all. You should always feel confident to be able to say how you feel, knowing darn well that there’s people out there who feel the same as you.
Because being a mother is not freaking easy at all, and you should never feel like you’re alone.