A few months ago, a friend made a comment that stuck with me. I don’t remember her exact words, but something to the effect of “you make making raising twins look easy.” And I don’t want to put words in her mouth, but the feeling I got was that she felt inadequate because of it. All of this in a very light-hearted friendly way. This friend has twins…plus three other children (or more, she fosters)…and most of them have special needs. I think this woman walks on water. Sometimes when I’m having a rough parenting day, I think of her and tell myself to suck it up.
I assured her that was not the case at all. It’s been a challenge. A crazy wonderful one. One that I wholeheartedly signed on for and one that I love, but a challenge nonetheless.
I think she was probably gleaning her take on the situation from Facebook. I post cute pictures of my kids and talk about their firsts, etc.
I couldn’t shake what she said. It kept pinging something, but I couldn’t really figure out what or why. So I let it roll around in my head for several weeks.
First, I realized that I feel that exact same way about seeing others’ lives as they play out across the screen. The moms that seem to cook every night and come up with elaborate crafts and games and take their babies everywhere. It’s the outside looking in and it’s not a full picture. I know that and try to tell myself that when my own feelings of inadequacy creep in.
And, more introspectively and importantly, I realized that I’m terrified in any way, shape or form to “complain” about my kids. But, I’ve also been afraid to talk about them in general, especially here on my website.
Life with twins is difficult sometimes, but I never feel like it’s ok to say that. So, yea, my life must look rosy on Facebook, for example, because I omit some things. Like, that poop in the bath tub the other night. Or me flooding the kitchen trying to warm a bottle. Or me losing my mind over never-ending screaming. I haven’t really shared those things.
The other thing I thought about was how while we were expecting, several friends told me that parenting is hard and it is ok not to love every minute. I’m so thankful for them telling me that because I would have beat myself up way worse on difficult days if not for hearing their voices in my head. Maybe there are some moms that have everything figured out, have endless patience and never have a bad day…but, that’s not me. We put too much pressure on ourselves and I’m so thankful that they had the courage to be so honest.
I hate to think I might have contributed somehow to this unrealistic view of motherhood.
This will be a big shock….Wait for it….Because of infertility, I feel incredibly guilty to even hint that parenting is hard. I mean, who am I kidding? Who would think that raising twins would be easy? That’s just not realistic. Parenting IS hard.
It’s like my brother and sister-in-law told me when we were expecting, “Having kids is the most amazing thing you will ever experience and it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do.” I think they were spot on. Kids are a beautiful package of juxtaposition.
Part of the guilt is just in general. Outside of my closest family and friends, I don’t feel like I can admit there’s anything slightly hard about having two babies. I mean, what kind of terrible person would I be if I did? I prayed for these children for eight long years and now they are here. How dare I even hint of anything less than perfect? And, how dare I be anything less than perfect? God finally answered my plea and entrusted these two amazing children to me. I begged to become a mom. BEGGED, pleaded, bargained, prayed. And, it’s glorious and spectacular, beyond my wildest dreams.
But, I feel an immense weight to do better and be better because I wanted children so badly. One time, I thought to myself, I bet God is rethinking his decision. I’m a terrible mom. Why did I get to be mom? Oy! Thank goodness I stifled those thoughts. God doesn’t make mistakes and God didn’t want me to think that.
And, the other part of the guilt is survivor’s guilt. Infertility survivor’s guilt. Ahhh….there it is rearing its ugly head again.
I remember when I used to hear people complaining about their kids, I would think to myself, I would give anything to have their problem.
All of those comments, which were innocuous enough, were a knife straight to my heart at the time. Everything from, “Ugh. I can’t believe I can’t have a glass of wine because I’m prego” to “I’ve had it. I’m giving my kid away. Any takers?” They were obviously joking on that last one…right?…right?
Now I’m a parent and I’m so lucky. I love being a mom. I love talking about all the amazing and wonderful things about my kids, but I want to be able to be honest about some things if I so desire.
I’ve been an open book about my life and my struggle with infertility and now I no longer seem to have a voice in some ways because I’m too guilt-ridden to use it. Especially in this space to use it at all. I just don’t talk about them much. What hurts worse? Seeing the magical moments of having kids or hearing someone vent about parenting? Both, but this is my website about me and my family. I have got to get over that, IF I ever have time to write and want to.
Once again, infertility can shove it. I’m done with it messing with my head.
I hereby declare that I’m giving myself permission to be real about my life and about parenting – the good and the not so good.
And, for those that are still struggling to have a child, I’m sorry. I’m sorry in general and I’m sorry if I’m the one with posts that might be a trigger for you. But, I’m just keeping it real. I just want to be a “normal” parent and I’m trying to shed as many of the hurtful layers of infertility that I can.
See ya, infertility guilt. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.