On one hand, it’s great to commiserate with people who are going through the same experience. I shared hopes and fears, woes and queries. On the other hand, hindsight is really useful, especially from friends whose kids are a year old or more.
I’m so grateful that many mom friends reached out to me while I was pregnant–and continue to do so now that I have a newborn! I’m so thankful that they shared with me their experiences during pregnancy, childbirth, the early weeks of life, brestfeeding, baby blues, and the joys and pains of motherhood beyond the early months.
Because they shared their stories with me, I felt better prepared for however my pregnancy and birth would turn out.
I was particularly thankful that I could talk to other moms who had similarly strong feelings about the social and cultural issues surrounding pregnancy and motherhood. I hated the fact that, as soon as we announced the pregnancy, I was “mommy Rej,” as if that took precedence over everything I ever was prior. I hated the fact that people felt they had every right to touch my belly, to make assumptions about how I felt about pregnancy and motherhood, to assume this was the happiest I would ever be and that motherhood would “complete me.” Sorry, but fuck that.
Of course, these were not sentiments I could easily verbalize, not without offending someone or resorting to curse words. I was so happy to have friends with whom I could have rant sessions while I wrote and rewrote appropriate statements about how motherhood was not the be-all and end-all of my existence, and how I was a perfectly complete individual before I became pregnant, and how, no, you do not get to tell me that this is the happiest thing to happen in my life, because I decide that.
I was so happy to have friends who understood how I felt about the fetishization of pregnancy and motherhood. I was so happy to have friends who shared my disgust with how society inflicts gender stereotypes on children as soon as they’re born (stupid pink/blue dichotomy!). I was so happy to have friends who understood the anxiety attacks and depression that can happen not just post-partum, but while you’re pregnant too.
I won’t name them, because some of them shared their stories with me in confidence. Their stories and opinions are just that–theirs–and the decision to share them is theirs too.
All I can say is thank you for sharing the stories with me. ❤