When I started writing about my struggles with infertility, I constantly felt isolated and saw all people with children as homogeneous and part of one large happy (albeit exclusionary) club. I could not have been more wrong. As the famous saying goes, “the grass on whichever side I am on sucks” – from the inside this club is ridiculously claustrophobic and strangely isolating at the same time.
Motherhood is peddled to be THE most magical experience, the MOST satisfying, the 42 to your life’s questions. I don’t think people are necessarily colluding to lie and convince others to have kids to ruin their lives; but at the same time I cannot help wonder why does no one talk about the banality of this experience with slivers of joy when you are awake enough to spot it. What keeps us from being honest about how fucked up it really is and admit that it is horrible at times without having to constantly caveat that we don’t necessarily hate our children. Why doesn’t anyone talk about how it feels to be trapped in a never-ending saga but hopelessly in love?
I have complained before about how exclusionary it is when people with children constantly say “you will not understand until you have kids”. I am going to try and put my experiences into words to bridge this divide. I think the more people we can have understanding how messed up all of this is, the better. This is not to say that I am the gold standard on anything and of course you can be a part of the #notallmoms camp. Maybe you felt you were born to fill this role, maybe your milk ducts were always your friend and maybe your child self-soothed to sleep. But I find the misery in the commonality of our experiences a lot richer than the uniqueness that we believe we are born into. So here goes nothing.
I will be writing about the non-existence of this instinct that I am supposed to have as a mother, what it means to secretly fear that your partner is the better parent and your child loves him more, the feeling of total inadequacy that began even before I was wheeled out of the labour room and dealing with the guilt of knowing how you ought to be grateful but instead are angry most of the time.
Other topics of conversation could include how most parenting websites seem to be written by white people, what it means to read about French parenting and realizing that it may not work in India, the different sounds of a breaking heart when your baby pees on the paper you wrote his day schedule on and most importantly small handy tips on what not to say to other parents. For example – suffering is not a competitive sport. If a new parent is complaining about lack of sleep or difficulty with feeding, it is not necessary for you to offer a worse story or remind them of terrible twos. Listen and offer coffee or something stronger. Be a friend.
Hop on! We have a lot of ground to cover and the same rules as before apply. Save your advice for another forum and your angst is always welcome.