Wednesday

Before She Became a Mother She was a Woman

Before she was a mother she was a single, working woman. She enjoyed her carefree life. She went to work, came home, made herself something to eat, chatted on the phone with friends, and went out wherever she wanted at whatever hour. When people asked her if she would marry and have children one day, she may have said yes to marriage, but no to children. The mere thought took her to a time when she cried far too often as a child wishing nothing more than to escape her dysfunctional family. She just didn't want to be bothered comforting a child that may or may not grow up with the same worries and fears that she had, it was a gamble that she never wanted to take.

But then along came a man whom she fell in love and unexpectedly she became pregnant. It was then that she said goodbye to everything that she had ever known. Now she is embarking into a new journey, all the while persuading herself to accept motherhood despite her bitter feelings about it. "A mother says this, a mother does that," she tells herself. Then she looks to other women, books, TV, and radio for every answer that mother's intuition doesn't give her.

This realization of having to crucify the old her and become the new her was the start of her crisis. There are those women who suffer with midlife and menopausal crisis, but there are others like the new mother in this story who go from being a single, career-oriented, independent super woman of sorts to becoming a single mother vulnerable, lonely, and confused. A young woman who thought of children as nothing more than "cute", now has to face the reality that spreadsheets, books, meetings, dating, and entertaining will have to be replaced with parenting books, doctors' appointments, diapers, baby bottles, bibs, and much, much more!

Her family that she had no time for when she was busy studying for exams, winning accolades, and hanging out with friends, is now an all too important support system. Without her family, friends, co-workers, church, government and strangers, she thinks, she could be like some of the women she read about or watched on television talk shows that became so emotionally and physically drained with the responsibility of caring for their children that one day they just snapped!

The mother who loses her job because of her pregnancy, the family who doesn't like her choice in a man, the abusive partner who didn't want a baby, religious leaders who will not accept childbearing outside of wedlock and so many other issues have sent many mothers to the mental institution or to their graves with broken hearts and tears.

As her baby becomes bigger in her womb, she reflects on those simpler days when it was just "Me, Myself and I" like a chocolate craving, she yearns for the life she use to have. Her friends tell her, "Get over it." She goes into hiding, "they are no comfort," she tells herself. So she doesn't bother answering the phone anymore, they no longer have too much in common with her these days anyway.

The crying child, the unsupportive partner, the negative attitude of relatives, and the distance of friends have all contributed to her motherhood crisis. Other mothers like her never planned on having children either, but had them anyway knowing that they had yet to get over those very serious feelings of resentment, something that a mother who has accepted her role will never understand that is why she says things to unhappy mothers that cause more harm than good, "You should be happy. Children are from God. Just think of all the women who can't have children..." While these mothers act as if they don't have a clue as to why the new mother feels depressed about how drastic her life has changed, some of these well-meaning mothers forgot or failed to mention how they struggled when they too first heard the news about their own unplanned pregnancies, they put on fake smiles too, all the while thinking, "I don't want this."

Unlike her sisters who could bravely undergo an operation to rid themselves of something they couldn't handle, the new mother on the other hand, had her child and wished she hadn't. Although she doesn't look like the type, whatever "the type" maybe she doesn't want children, she quite honestly doesn't want hers so she is weighing all her options. But she can't tell anyone, because no one would understand. She is a mother crying on the inside every day, because she didn't want children. She doesn't feel the honor of being a mother, the love of a mother, the insight of a mother, the compassion of a mother, she feels nothing but numb. She almost feels like she has been raped by a God who made her a mother even though she prayed, "Please don't!"

People around her mistake her eyes of tears for eyes of joy. What does she feel joyful about when it's hard for her to see the goodness of motherhood? The same God she feels has raped her will have to be the same God who will have to open her eyes to the joys of parenting. Many mothers are pained inside that they even feel this way, but it's hard when all they can see is another mouth to feed, another invite they have to pass up, another job offer they have to turn down because of childcare hours, another man who doesn't want to date her because she has a child, another memory of a past she would rather forget, and so many "anothers" too long to mention here.

What can you say or do for a new mother whose mind is in this state without being critical or bragging about how great you feel about being a mother? She isn't you or maybe you are her and have only been deceiving yourself for years. "I love children, but they can't touch my things, play on my furniture,or bother me," some women say. "I love children, but don't expect me to watch my grandchildren," some grandparents say. "I love children, but I can't wait until they get older so they can move out of my house!" many mothers say. Get my point?

Now that the new mother has given birth to her baby, she feels somewhat at ease, but still subconsciously she is hoping to have a speedy recovery and get back to work. Her child makes her disgruntled mother open her eyes more and more to the world around her, she starts to see other mothers like her, still disappointed with the choices they made in life including letting their unborn children live. She questions those spankings mothers give their children, "Could it be that they really aren't disciplining them, but hating them for their very existence?" What about those curse words they bestow upon their children, "Could it be that the child reminds her of a poor choice she made years ago while dating?" What about those evil stares she gives her child when she thinks no one is looking? "Could it be the child represents her lost freedom?"

While I, you or anyone who knows a mother similar to the one in this article grappling with her role, avoid the temptation to pass judgment, some of us could be considered delusional look at the way some mothers talk the talk of loving their children, but aren't walking the walk. Maybe this disappointed mother is representative of our truth and we are just too scared, busy, worried, or ignorant to bother with it? I would have said too content to worry over it as well, but it wouldn't make sense since this article is not written for content mothers.

Maybe our depressed sister in motherhood is more in touch with herself than we think and all she needs is someone to show her where she can find her peace of mind.

(This is an excerpt from a new book on motherhood coming out in 2009 on Amazon entitled, "When Mothers Cry" by Nicholl McGuire. You can reserve your copy simply by sending an email request to the writer of this article.)
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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media

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