The Parenting Secrets No One Shares
By Aruna Bewtra
Over the years I’ve had many mom friends exclaim, “Why does no one ever tell you […]?!” Those sentences almost always end with a description of whatever is the newest parenting challenge in their homes. Although the sentences end differently, the sentiment is universal. There really are so many things about the challenges of motherhood that are never communicated to new or expecting moms.
For example: That “pregnancy glow” so many people talk about – it is usually caused by nausea and the fact that an expectant mom is essentially walking around with a bowling ball strapped to her stomach. The post-birth rush of hormones is a more potent cocktail than any recreational drug available anywhere. And the idea that breastfeeding will come naturally because it is a bodily function – it is only true inasmuch as any bodily function comes naturally at first (which is to say, not at all).
We so often gloss over the fact that breastfeeding hurts at first, and that, at some point, most moms will likely resent it (and then feel guilty for resenting it). Or that breastfeeding is not possible for everyone and some moms will likely have to bottle feed … and then feel guilty for that. And that the sheer sleep deprivation of the first few months of your child’s life will change the way you run absolutely everything in your life, and you will most likely at some point resent this as well (and then, naturally, feel guilty). In fact, many moms I know spent their first few postpartum weeks vacillating between shock and guilt.
No one ever told me just exactly how much mischief my toddler could cause in the time it took me to use the loo. Or just exactly how disgusting diapering post-solid food introduction is. Or that a two-year-old’s tantrum is similar to a preteen meltdown, except that the preteen has the verbal abilities to insult you.
No one talks much about the fact that throughout your parenting years, you will continually disappoint yourself. And that a parenting failure is one of the most humbling experiences in the human experience. Or that a child’s ability to forgive, adapt, and love unconditionally can only be measured using astronomical quantities (and is only matched by a parent’s ability to forgive and love unconditionally).
None of these things are told to expecting moms. If these issues were discussed more freely, with all of our collective wisdom, we could lift each other up. We should talk about the love and the joys and also the trials and tribulations, and do what we want to see our children do: help each other.