“You make motherhood look easy,” an acquaintance I love said to me today.
Sophie having a meltdown on Christmas Day, at 6.5 weeks old.
I was actually sad to hear this.
Motherhood is not easy.
It is the blurriest, fastest, hardest thing I have ever done.
Making it look easy may be a disservice to every other mother out there who knows that it’s not easy. Today, when almost every one of us in North America is on social media every single day, we see the best of everything. We see the best angle, the best editing, the best focus, the best moment, the best shot, and the best curated feed. This is especially true in two areas that are huge in my life right now; fitness/wellness and motherhood.
I occassionally find it super annoying and disheartening to follow people who post professional, edited photos of their smiling newborn babies in adorable outfits every single day. Why doesn’t it feel like that for me? Why is that woman so awake and happy about not being able to exercise for eight weeks? Because she’s not. But nobody likes a whiner. Nobody wants to hear how hard it is and how tired you are.
But making it look easy may be a great service to some.
I did not want to be pregnant.
Not only did I not want to be pregnant, but I was actively taking precautions to not become pregnant. Apparently I am a fertile miracle of science; what can I say? When I found out I was pregnant, I was devastated and cried for weeks.
I honestly had few fears and worries about actually being pregnant and delivering a baby. I know my body well and I just trusted it would do its thing, which it did. My greatest fears were around the next 18 years and beyond – becoming weak, being exhausted, being destroyed, feeling restricted, slowing down, and never being alone.
For my entire pregnancy, I thrived seeing Instagram feeds and TV shows where the mothers lived – where mothers exercised and went on dates and worked and travelled – all the things I was (and still am) afraid I would never do again. It gave me hope that I could still be me and do me.
I didn’t want to hear your terrifying birth story or how you become trapped and never sleep once you have a child. In fact, I think my most hated phrase during my pregnancy was, “Enjoy your sleep now, you won’t sleep again for five years.” Eff you. That’s like telling someone who is going into surgery, “Enjoy your body in one piece, they are going to cut you open and it’s going to hurt terribly and you will never be the same again.” I was most grateful for my easygoing clients and girlfriends who assured me that I would still be me, and that yes, everything was going to be fine.
When I was pregnant, I received a plethora of messages from prospective and pregnant moms telling me I inspired them to workout throughout pregnancy because I did it.
So in motherhood, I want to be real: it is fucking hard. But I also want to help others believe that if I can do it, you can, too. You can still be you and be a good parent. I would argue that being you and making self-care a priority will make you a better parent…and a happier person.
You can still breathe and eat out and practice yoga and travel and workout and shower.
Yes. Shower. Every. Single. Day.
So let’s just portray motherhood the way it really is: most of the time it is adorable and cute and rewarding, and the best thing ever. And let’s be transparent about when it is not; when you leak breast milk, when you have to wear giant net diapers for days, and when you lock the door and cry in the ensuite so no one can hear.
But let’s be most honest about this: You can do it. Because that is what I most need to hear.
What do you think? Do you just want to see the pretty photos? Do you want to see the ugly, poopy photos? Do you want to see that pregnancy and parenting are doable? Do you want to see the realness even when it is unattractive, or would you just scroll on by?