Young Mother Writes: “No One Teaches You How To Love A Child You Didn’t Plan To Have”

July 30, 2018  |  

Gettyimages.com/mom holding a crying baby

Being responsible for the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of another human being is no small feat. And honestly, most parents will tell you that it’s not a job you can prepare for. While some women plan diligently to have children, others get pregnant unintentionally and then have nine months to prepare for one of the greatest shifts in their lives.

With unsettled hormones, lack of sleep and new, overwhelming responsibilities, what is supposed to be a joyous moment can actually be quite dark.

One woman spoke honestly about this and the realities of not wanting to be a mother every day. See what she had to say below.

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No one teaches you how to love a child you didn't plan to have. No one shows you how to traverse the emotional complexity of loving a child you weren't happy about being pregnant with. It's even more difficult at those times when they're having tantrums and pushing you to a point of emotional exhaustion. … It's confusing. When the same people who told you that you pretty much ruined your life are smiling ear to ear at your baby shower a few months later. It's hard.. Looking at a beautiful baby and being bogged down by the thoughts of how you will take care of them and how much life will change. It's so easy.. To project the pain of your wounded inner child onto your baby. It is the lethal cycle of undealth with trauma. … This stage of motherhood has forced me to look at my reflection in my daughter's eyes and realize that no I don't enjoy being a mother all the time, but this child has been the catalyst for major growth. She is the mirror that allows me to look into my past and see the fears still controlling me now. … When we heal our deepest pains we are speaking to our ancestors across the space time illusion and holding a cross-generational conversation within our dna that heals old wounds and rectifies long lost problems. Motherhood hasn't just healed me it's healed the mother's that came before me. … The reality is I don't want to be a mother everyday. I don't want to feel held back from chasing my dreams and goals. I don't want to be exhausted. But I KNOW this little girl has brought me face to face with things that would have otherwise been ignored in my bubble of childless freedom. … Dear mama, who is going through an unplanned pregnancy, don't feel guilty, don't feel afraid, don't feel ashamed. That baby chose YOU to be it's mothers at the perfect time. Surrender to the journey of unpredictability and let this new being show you a whole new part of yourself you didn't know was there. 🦋#takebackpostpartum #thefourthtrimester #motherhoodunplugged #birthofamama #blackmomsblog #milenialmom

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I’ll admit, I’m not used to hearing women speak this way. The commonly held and accepted belief is that you love everything about not only your child but motherhood from the instant he or she is pulled from your womb. But this woman shared gray area. Never did she say she didn’t love her child. She shared that doing so wasn’t instinctual or effortless for her. There 

More importantly she shared about projecting the pain of one’s own childhood onto a child. And while some of us might cringe at that thought, if we think back to our own families or families we’ve seen, we can recognize that behavior in people we know. Arah Iloabugichukwu detailed this very concept in her piece “The Strained Relationship Between Black Mothers And Their Daughters.”

As I found myself sitting amongst friends, exchanging stories about whoopings so severe they took your breath away, I couldn’t help but wonder how long we’d normalized maternal abuse in our community.  After all, this was abuse, right? Sure, our mothers weren’t locking us in the attic, but we’d be lying if we said a lot of our them didn’t use discipline as their personal stress reliever.”

Some of us had emotionally detached or distant mothers because, at the time of our births, they simply weren’t ready. The difference between so many of those women and this woman on Instagram is the fact that she was willing to acknowledge it. And while there is quite a bit of conversation about what she should have done to prevent having children in the first place—from abstinence to abortion—I think there are women who thought they were ready to have children and still found themselves acting out their own traumas on their sons and daughters. When I was interviewing my aunt for my book, she shared that she was not happy to learn that she was having a boy. She examined the feelings behind the feelings and, inevitably, they led back to her father, my grandfather. At my cousin’s christening, she had an honest conversation with my grandfather about the ways he had hurt her–so that she should be emotionally present for her son, so she didn’t end up placing her baggage onto him before he got a chance to live life and collect his own. 

Judging by the words this mother shared in this post, I don’t think this is the end of the journey for her. I think the acknowledgment can only make way for honest conversations with a therapist, with other women, with her daughters and with herself. Not to mention a more evolved, increasingly optimistic mentality toward motherhood.

What do you make of this woman’s post? Do you find it refreshingly honest or immature and callous?

Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days” and the creator of the website NoSugarNoCreamMag. You can follow her on Facebook and on Instagram and Twitter @VDubShrug.

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