Opinion: Not Every Mom Loves Being a Mom

Elle Silver

We're fed the lie that women are supposed to love motherhood.

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Photo by Keira Burton.

As women, we're told that motherhood is supposed to fulfill us. Once we have a baby, we'll feel whole. We'll feel completed. This is what we're on this planet to do: to become mothers.

No one tells us how difficult motherhood will be, how it will affect our bodies, our finances, our emotional states. When we do find out just how hard motherhood is, we're lectured that it's sacrifice worth enduring.

Maybe it's even necessary. This is because, in the end, motherhood is what we need to feel happy.

We're sold a load of lies. No one ever talks about how motherhood might not fulfill us.

Not every woman will love being a mom.

Motherhood is difficult from the minute the baby is born.

I'll never forget recovering in the hospital, post-birth. I'd had an emergency cesarean. I was exhausted from hours of painful labor that ended in surgery. Still, I was told I had to "be strong" for the baby.

I had to sit upright in bed to nurse a crying newborn. Not only that: I had to get up to change his diapers. I had to comfort him.

Who was comforting me?

I didn't get comfort because as a "good" mother, I had to endure any pain I felt.

What's more, I was told I was supposed to feel joy while enduring this pain. I had been told this my whole life.

Motherhood was supposed to be the best thing to happen to me.

If so, why was I so depressed? Why did I feel so unhappy?

The difficulty of motherhood shocked me from the beginning.

Caring for a baby can lead to depression.

When I brought home my newborn son from the hospital, I continued to try to recover. I was in pain, still waiting for my ceasarean incision to heal.

I couldn't recover though. I was spending sleepless nights with a wailing baby.

I spent a sleepless year.

I wondered when was I going to feel myself again.

I couldn't.

I ended up suffering from postpartum depression. One reason was simply because I was sleep-deprived.

I had no time for myself. I couldn't shake this depression because my whole life surrounded around this baby.

I didn't have the space to recover emotionally. But still, I was supposed to be happy.

I wasn't.

I didn't really begin to feel happy again until my son started spending a full day in school.

Once I went back to work, I was still in charge of all the childcare duties.

Once my son was old enough for school, I could begin to work again. Yes, I slowly started to feel the real "me." But just because I was working didn't mean my work day ended at five. I still had to go home to be mom.

Do you think my husband helped with all the childcare?

No.

I was in charge of my son.

If motherhood is so fulfilling, why don't dads want to do the work, too?

Fatherhood is easy.

I ultimately divorced my husband. The fact I was in charge of all the childcare contributed to our split.

But of course, as a single mom, my life just got more difficult. Now I have to take care of everything concerning my son.

My ex hardly gives me anything in child support. Fatherhood is easy.

If I complain about this, I'm told I'm a bad mom. Worse, I'm a spiteful woman.

The truth is, my life would be so much easier if I wasn't a mother.

A career might fulfill women more.

No one prepared me for the harsh reality of motherhood. Had I known, I might not have ever become a mother.

Though I love my son, I sometimes feel like it was a mistake to become a mother. I just think we should teach women a more realistic view of motherhood.

It might not make you happy. It might not fulfill you. It might make your life far more difficult than you ever thought it could be.

Maybe we're not on this planet to make babies. We're on this planet for ourselves.

A good career might fulfill us much more than motherhood.

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Journalist and relationships expert. I write about Los Angeles as well as about dating, divorce, and family.

Los Angeles, CA
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