Sometimes, Facebook is about as satisfying as two-day-old pizza taking up space in the fridge. Sometimes, though, it's the kind of Facebook day when you find your new BFF and start fangirling and tearing up and yelling OMG RIGHT? RIGHT?!? at your screen.
My new BFF doesn't know me. We've never met. But when Gylisa Jayne — a 24-year-old mother and blogger from Cornwall, England — posted her bracingly honest list of things that no one told her about motherhood on Facebook on Dec. 14, she pretty much became every mother's immediate BFF.
Her post — shared almost 70,000 times, with 26,000 comments and counting — has clearly struck a chord.
I'm pretty sure that if I'd had Gylisa Jayne's warrior voice in my ear as a first-time mother, I would have consumed less Ben & Jerry's — and felt far less shame and guilt over the fact that motherhood was not the easy fit I thought and hoped it would be.
Those early days with a fragile, blinking, terrifyingly awake infant staring me down 24/7 were brutal beyond measure. Like many other new mothers, I was terrified to breathe a word of those shoot-me-please feelings to anyone. Reading Gylisa Jayne's list of all the things she didn't know before she pushed a wee human out of her hoo-hoo? I'm amazed to find it still triggered a whole-body exhale for me, a full decade and change out of the teeny-tiny baby years. (And maybe a tear or two. It's very dusty here. Allergies. Onions. Stop looking at me.)
If you've ever been a new mother ready to run for the hills and change your identity, chances are pretty good you'll relate to her words. Here are some of my favorite excerpts:
...no one told me that it's perfectly fine to admit you didn't "love" your baby when it was fresh from the minge and being thrust at you. Its ok. I felt the same way I felt when I saw my placenta in that sick bowl - morbidly interested in what it looked like - but no thanks I don't really fancy a cuddle with it.
(FRESH FROM THE MINGE. Nope, she's mine. She's MY BFF. You can't have her.)
No one told me that stitches in your vag can actually hurt way more than birthing a 7lb baby.
(Or the "checking to see" how dilated your stubborn cervix is, I might add. I yelped so loud someone coded on the cardiac unit right above the maternity ward.)
No one told me that breastfeeding DOES FUCKING HURT. Anyone that says it shouldn't is only HALF right. It is a sign of a bad latch if there is pain - but it is also a sign that your nipnop is being aggressively sucked for ( presumably) the first time. It takes a week or two for that to ease. But I swear - it does! And then your partner can take cute photos of you smiling with your cub instead of gritting your teeth and crying.
(My nipnops still have not recovered. But my life is better now that I have learned to call them "nipnops." Can we all just agree to call them "nipnops" now?)
No one told me that EVERYONE will have an opinion on your baby — how to feed it, how to clothe it, how to name it, how to rock it, why you should only rock it for 5 seconds a day else it will be a spoilt little fuck, and how if you aren't holding it 24/7 then you are clearly a Shit Mum.... and so on.
No one told me a polite way of telling said opinionated people to Eff Off.
(Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes, Gylisa Jayne.)
No one told me that I would really, honestly NEVER be alone again. This includes shitting, showering and shaving. Especially when they get older and find your shaving your fanny acutely interesting and you pray it doesn't scar them for life....
(My children still remember sitting on my lap on the toilet while I pooped. I am too afraid to ask them what they remember about the "fanny-shaving.")
... No one told me that despite feeling like I couldn't do any of this, that I wouldn't know the first thing about motherhood, actually my instincts would not fail me, and everyone is winging it. Some just make it look easier than others. Admiring someone else's way of doing things shouldn't make me question mine.
No one told me that they felt mad too after their babies. That they felt lonely and scared and weird and not like themselves anymore. No one told me so I felt I couldn't tell anyone I felt like that either, until one day I did tell someone and it all spilled out and I ended up sharing my words with thousands of you. And you all admitted it too.
And then you all DID tell me, that those feelings don't last forever. That sometimes it comes back and you want to run away, but you all said, each and every one — that it gets better. It gets easier. It will fly past. It will be worth it.
And it's not forever.
(It's not. But sometimes, it really, really feels like it is.)
When Us Weekly asked Jayne what she thought about all the attention her Facebook post has received, she said, "I think it is beyond important for women to be more open about how they felt after giving birth. It would put a stop to an endless cycle of women putting on a brave face and hiding that they are struggling."
Amen, soul sister. Carry on with your bad self. We're listening.
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