I’ve wanted to write this blog post for ages and now seems like the perfect time.
Yesterday I posted a very honest and quite soul-bearing picture on Instagram of my almost-18-week bump. (And me obviously, we come as a duo right now.)
All I was saying was how some days I struggle a bit with how quickly I’ve gained weight this time around compared with last time, and how it’s not always easy to like photos of myself. Something that is so common in pregnancy.
I didn’t feel the need to preface the post with “of course I’m blessed to even be able to have children” – because that goes without saying, and quite frankly – if we applied this need to preface every little thing we say each day with a disclaimer, nothing would ever bloody get done.
But of course there was one person – the delightful ‘Annette’ who just HAD to leave a comment that said;
“Just thank your lucky stars you can have children.”
Thanks Annette – your wisdom has truly enlightened me. I’d never realised how lucky I was before you drew my attention to it.
Annette then got a little ratty with some people on my page who jumped to my defence, and I can now report that Annette is blocked. Never mind.
But this kind of attitude throws up two issues for me.
1.It’s very dangerous to try and silence people when they express feelings or emotions. I’ve already had a major rant about this on my page so I won’t say much – only that this is the VERY reason that people find themselves scared to admit they have mental health problems. In case they get told “But you have no reason to feel sad or depressed – you have two lovely children / a house / a good job” – BLAH BLAH BLAH – BORING. (I am not saying I have mental health issues by the way – I don’t.)
2.The other issue is this ridiculous and again, dangerous notion – that when you become a parent you have to ‘cherish every bloody moment of every single day.’ No, just no.
‘Cherish every moment’ is in fact a popular Instagram hashtag used by people on their family pics. To be honest, it’s probably used just as a way to attract followers more than anything. But I still strongly disagree with the message.
Yes us parents adore our children. Of course. We made them and we’re obscenely biased.
Of course they are the loves of our lives and our absolute main priorities.
Naturally, they are the best things that ever happened to us …
BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN WE HAVE TO CHERISH EVERY FRIGGING MOMENT, AND STOP TELLING ME THAT I SHOULD!
No I didn’t cherish sick in my hair three times a day and often in my cleavage. (That gets stinky very quickly, let me tell you.)
No, I didn’t cherish the 6 months of watching my baby scream in agony with silent reflux.
As much as I can laugh about it afterwards I don’t cherish the tantrums on the supermarket floor – you know the ones where their whole body goes limp and you lose all control over the whole situation?!
I am sure I won’t cherish it when my teenagers keep me awake at 2am because they haven’t come home or called to say where they are!
I think you catch my drift. I am a very positive person, but I am also real and honest.
By telling mums and dads they need to ‘cherish every moment’ because it goes so fast is actually detrimental once again to people being able to vocalise their true feelings. And that is often when things like postnatal depression are missed.
By casually telling parents they need to value every single second of every day, we’re indirectly communicating that it’s not OK to have sh*t days.
Anyone, parent or not, who says they never have sh*t days is either lying or not human.
We all have them. And we need to talk about them, to share them. To laugh about them.
It doesn’t make you a bad parent to admit you don’t cherish every moment.
It makes you a real one.