If you’re a parent, I probably don’t need to tell you that becoming a mother is profound and complex.
We talk a lot about the tremendous gains of parenthood, like love, clarity of priorities and gratitude for life. It’s hard, though, to find moms who are comfortable sharing the deep losses of motherhood. I know I spent two years of my life trying to find a play group where the mommies were comfortable sharing the hard stuff, including the losses. It’s as though we believe that we’re admitting regret about motherhood if we let on to the fact that it’s not all about chubby little cheeks, hugs and a heart exploding with love.
Sometimes, the joys of motherhood are colored with resentment and jealousy. And we’re not betraying our children by owning it. I believe we betray our children by pretending it doesn’t exist.
Recently, I asked a group of moms about the losses they feel most deeply. The responses were immediate and well thought-out, as though they’d been waiting to find a safe space to share.
- “My secondary career goals, as bad as that sounds.” Allyson W.
- “Time with my husband.” Jana H.
- “Selfishness.” Shaquatta B.
- “Personal space. Sounds like a small thing, but for me it’s a hard thing.” Casey T.
- “Sleep. Free time. Hobbies. Peaceful meals. Perky boobs (just sayin’). Capacity for extra activities or leadership in them, just to name a few.” Adrienne P.
- “The ability to just leave the house and go watch a movie, grab a drink, see a friend or get alone time — the moment I feel like it. I have also lost the belief that any amount of puke in the hair should constitute a reason for showering.” Elizabeth G.
- “Big travel plans, fancy restaurants and a lot of one-on-one friend time, without kids running around.” Angie L.
- “My body and my money.” Julie L.
- “Time to myself, running a quick errand, my body and time.” Maura B.
- “Sleep. And a certain level of hygiene. I’m clean, but I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve worn makeup in the last two years.” Annah R.
- “Hobbies, my career, spontaneity and free time with my husband.” Kate S.
- “I miss my quiet days. And alone time with my husband, most of all.” Megan L.
Do you resonate with what these moms feel about the losses of motherhood? What else would you add to the list?