Mothers. You need. To tell people. When you need help. You need to talk about it, scream about it, write about it. You need to examine yourself and not be afraid to see your ugly thoughts spread out before you. You need to stop trying to kill your children.
Today I read the story about the Daytona Beach mother who drove herself, her pregnant belly, her toddler and her two elementary-school-aged children into the ocean in her minivan. The ocean, people. Drastic, much? And I am not knocking the woman or saying that she should be drawn and quartered, or shot at, or pummeled to death. People are quick to judge and that is normal, especially other mothers. Words like “psycho” are thrown around and jokes – yes, even jokes – are being made about this situation. But these judgements only serve one purpose: to scare the women that do have these thoughts and feelings from approaching them and resolving them before it is too late.
This isn’t new. This happens a lot. A lot more than people are willing to discuss in any other light except negatively about the women themselves. I addressed Andrea Yates in my first post. And I addressed the idea that people should be open to hearing the trials and tribulations of motherhood and provide an outlet for these women, rather than assume that every mother in the world should be thrilled by their choices in life.
I personally love my daughter and have never even dreamed of harming a hair on her head. She is the best choice I ever made to carry her and raise her rather than return to the life I had before. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get sad, or frustrated, or extremely exhausted because, let’s face it, mothers are human beings not fucking superheroes. I thought pregnancy was the opposite of beautiful, birth with a blur both in labor and on the operating table, and when we got home, I just looked down at her in awe of not just her beauty but her very existence in my arms.
“Holy shit, there is a third person in this bedroom!”
The thing about me is I am never afraid to discuss my emotions or feelings. I have been labeled an extrovert, an empath, anything really that describes someone who confronts their thoughts and feelings rather than holding them in. And as painful as postpartum was with the crying and the fighting with my husband and family, I got it out, I figured out what I needed to do and where I needed to be and I fixed it. Without ever feeling like I could hurt my child or like I needed a psychiatric regimen of pills.
And I am not naive. I know that not everyone can do this. But there needs to be an awareness brought to the plight of a woman who is not comfortable being honest about these feelings. The women that need the pills or the aid of a nanny, even if they are home all day. You have a baby. Your life is upside down. Suddenly everything is expensive and every night you don’t sleep. You don’t see your friends that don’t have kids as much and you never get to go out on a Friday or Saturday. And, yes, this was the choice you made. But are we really a society of assholes that are just going to write it off as “welp, it was your choice, now deal with it”? Are we really going to ignore that fact that mothers are human and can have these frustrations and feelings without being a bad mother?
I am a wonderful mother. I am sorry for my pride, but I am. But I also sometimes get sad on a Friday when I know my friend is going to my favorite spot to dance and sing karaoke and I am watching the episode of Sesame Street where Telly Monster wins the triangle toss for the fiftieth time. I am not afraid to admit that. And just like the anti-bullying campaigns, there needs to be an anti-shaming campaign for mothers. Women who admit that they have real feelings more readily may not feel like driving their children into the ocean.
And back to the mothers, who I began this post addressing. Tell us. Tell us everything. Tell us your fears, your rage, your dreams, your hopes for your child’s future as well as your own. Don’t assume your life is completely over. I hate when people say that. When you have bad thoughts, tell your husband, your friend, your therapist. Get the help you need now so you can be present for your children for the rest of your life. You only get one shot. And sometimes you need help to make that shot the best that it can be. You are loved. You are strong. You can do this. You don’t have to follow this path. There is always another way.