“Mothers, your souls deserve more. I had an appointment today with my OB/GYN. (Nope, not pregnant- I’m well beyond child bearing years.) With me in the waiting room sat a couple- clearly eager first time parents- flipping through pregnancy magazines and looking anxious and excited. When I got to my exam room, I realized they were in the room right next to mine, as I could hear their muffled voices and nervous laughter. And then I heard the most magical sound in the world.
Thump thump. Thump thump. Thump thump. Thump thump. It was the loud and unmistakable sound of their baby’s heartbeat coming through on the fetal doppler. As I listened, I took a deep breath filled with gratitude that I was once lucky enough to hear that sound from my own womb, then I smiled- remembering how 20 years ago I first heard the sound of that sweet beat, and how it filled my soul like nothing else had before. It filled my soul with instant and immeasurable joy.
And then in a split second my smile faded, replaced with a frown and thoughts of all the soul crushing things that modern mothering has in store for that first time mom in the room next to mine. That how raising a child these days- days full of sanctimonious social media and ever vigilant mom shaming-of being under the scrutinizing and suffocating microscope of anyone and everyone- is going to crush her spirit and her soul. Crush it.
That joyful sound will soon be a distant memory, replaced with this…
Gained more than 25 pounds during your pregnancy? You’ll never lose it fatty.
Had a labor full of complications or a c-section? Your body failed you, and your baby.
Formula fed? Baby will have low I.Q. and be sick all the time.
Breastfed for only six weeks? Quitter.
Nursed into toddlerhood? Freak.
Back to work? Neglectful.
Staying home? No ambition.
Boxed mac and cheese? Poison giver.
Homemade mac and cheese? Obnoxious overachiever.
TV watcher? Tablet user? Ignorant. Both you and your preschooler.
Private school? Elitist.
Homeschooler? Religious nut, unsocialized kids.
Public school? Oh, I get it. You’re average.
Raising a Christian? Family of bigots.
Kid playing outside alone? I’m calling the police.
Kid never allowed to leave the house? I’m calling child protective services.
No sports? Your kid will never be able to compete in life.
Traveling sports teams? Waste of money.
Piano? Dance? Cheer? Scouts? Brownies? Your kids are overscheduled neurotics.
Do your kids laundry, make their breakfast, and pack their lunches? You’re raising incompetent future adults.
Don’t do anything for your kids? Selfish.
Low standardized test scores? Your kid has no future.
High standardized test scores? Your kids will arrive at college depressed and burnt out.
Zero extracurriculars? Yea, good luck with college applications.
15 AP courses, president of everything, headed to Ivy League? Give me a freakin’ break.
Regular classes, 3.0 GPA, state school? Your kid is totally screwed.
Community college? Why bother.
And just like that, SOUL. SUCKED.
Thump thump. Thump thump. Thump thump. Thump thump.
Hey first time mom in the next room, mom who just had a baby, mom who has a house full of diaper clad toddlers, mom who will have a first time kindergartener in a few weeks, mom with school aged kids, and the mom who is getting ready to embrace the final years of high school or send a kid off to college- please remember one thing for me.
Remember that sound of your baby’s heartbeat. Then remember it’s YOUR baby’s heartbeat, not society’s baby, or social media’s baby, or some parenting study’s baby. Remember it’s YOUR baby, toddler, child, young adult, and college student. YOURS. Don’t let the motherhood soul suckers of the world take away one second of your joy of mothering. Not one single second.
You are the mom. Period. You made that damn heartbeat (or had the privilege of adopting it), so you get to raise it, the way YOU want to raise it. Nobody else. It’s time to get your mothering joy back, deep in your souls. Start now.Share this and let’s all get our joy back. One thump at a time.”