Mothers, Stop Moaning – really?

 In The Guardian yesterday, Bibi Lynch wrote an article entitled Mothers, Stop Moaning!  because she is sick of women complaining that motherhood is hard. It pissed me off a bit…

I feel her pain because I wanted children and I have children. I adore my children and she’s right – the love I feel for my children is like nothing else I have experienced in my life. I do appreciate what I have in my life but I don’t need to be preached at because she didn’t meet Mister Right and I did, because I wanted a family so I had one. Just because she doesn’t have her own children, that doesn’t give her the right to tell mothers that we can’t have a moan about mine when we are pushed to our limits and need to let off some steam and gather some support.

 

With the greatest of respect to Ms Lynch, unless you are a mum and are used to juggling the demands, squabbles, needs, responsibilities of your children as well as working, making sure the house is slightly presentable and making time for the husband, friends and family, you have no idea what it is like to walk in a mother’s shoes. 

Being a mum isn’t all about love and cuddles and feeling fulfilled – it’s about responsibility and worry and guilt. It’s about dropping everything when we need to because our child is ill; it’s about not sleeping whether they are a baby, a child having a nightmare or a teenager who isn’t home yet; it’s about educating and teaching and guiding; it’s about mopping up tears when they fall out with friends or don’t get invited to a birthday party; it’s about learning patience, it’s about having happy children; it’s about finding and giving our time to our children; it’s about being selfless when we would quite like to be selfish and do something for us…

And it’s not just babies who are exhausting – 11 years into my parenting journey and I am tireder now than I was when the kids were very little. Life, for me, is a chaotic mix of kids, their friends, homework, schoolruns, no you can’t have an iphone, no you can’t have a sleepover, housework, teaching, writing and then doing my admin at midnight, not to mention finding time to be with the husband. But I wouldn’t swap it for a second, it’s my life, my choice and I am happy, but I am knackered so I will have a bit of a moan ta very much!

 

I’m a bit dumbstruck by her rant actually because I don’t see the point of it – we all have issues and baggage, we all have something we can’t have, life is bloody tough sometimes.  Just because this woman didn’t meet her Mister Right and, therefore, has been unable to start a family, is not the same as being unable to have children. I know women who have had miscarriage after miscarriage and women who have had so many unsuccessful attempts at IVF that they cannot bear the emotional torment anymore. In my opinion, that is a very different place to be.

I have three children – two growing girls who create havoc, chaos, noise, frustration, laughter and love everyday and my dead baby son, who I miss and long for every day.  If he was alive he would be almost 5 now and I would be moaning about him too!

In her article Bibi Lynch writes “I can’t tell you how painful not having a child is. My heart drops every time I read a “We’re pregnant!” email”  Well, I can’t begin to tell you how painful it is not having the child I carried, grew and bonded with for nine months, who lived for three days and then whose dead body I cuddled, willing him to wake up. I sympathise with the writer because being a mum and having my children is everything to me (even though I occasionally need to lock myself in my bedroom to get some peace, or dive into the wine bottle at the end of the day) but she made her choices in life and she didn’t start a family. Not a day goes by when I don’t miss my child and my arms still ache for him, it wasn’t my choice that he left us but life is tough and painful and I pull myself up and get on with it – with the help of the husband, amazing friends, chocolate and some bloody good therapy! I don’t need to be told how lucky I am that I have children, I look at the photo of my dead boy everyday, feel that pain of missing him and count my blessings for what I do have in my life and then I’ll moan at my girls for being so messy and noisy and have I told you how tired I am…

 

 

About Janine 583 Articles
I am an antenatal teacher, doula, baby massage instructor, postnatal educator, life coach, writer, mum, wife, friend and, sometimes, just me. As an experienced and qualified practitioner, I specialise in pregnancy, birth and early parenting - my aim is to listen, inform, support and reassure when needed. I have worked with parents since 2002 and I set up Birth, Baby & Family in 2011 to provide good information, a different perspective and links to the best products and services for families. I set up the Birth, Baby & Family Centre in 2014 to provide a welcoming, friendly and supportive space for parents across Tyneside.

8 Comments

  1. Very well put! I was also dumbfounded by her vitriol, particularly because it wasn’t that she *couldn’t* have children – she *didn’t*. Big difference. But that’s irrelevant; it’s hypocritical to write a moany article asking other women NOT to moan. There is always someone out there who has it worse than you, but it certainly doesn’t mean you should never express your sorrow and frustrations.

  2. what I experienced recently and what saddens me, is that we lash out at each other over who is hurt most, or deserves more sympathy rather than supportng each of us in our choices and suffering. She has been harsh about mums complaining, and is very stuck in her own ‘loss’. It may have been her choice to not have children, but that doesn’t make it less or more painful that losing a child. Each is a tragedy for each person, and we all feel pain very deeply, and differently.
    It shouldn’t be about who had it worse, but about supporting each of us as we feel overwhelmed or challenged. We all have a right to moan, ironically her moan is about mothers, but is should be seen as that rather than a rational arguement or discussion.

  3. She’s clearly grieving for the path her life took – and is currently in the anger phase. Which is fine – that’s the path. It’s just a shame she’s inflicted that anger on so many others via her article.

  4. Sue, I agree with your sentiment and I’m not lashing out at her as a woman but as a whinging human being who has made her own choices and is now unhappy with them. I genuinely do sympathise with her because my family mean everything to me and I definitely wanted children but the tone of her article irritated me.

    Until my son died, I would have agreed with you 100% and her article may not have irritated me as much but losing a child provides a different perspective on life – I don’t moan about what I can’t have because my child is never coming back. And I’m afraid I don’t agree with your point about it being more or less painful that losing a child – she is grieving an idea of children, based on no reality or real flesh and blood, when a parent loses a child a part of them dies too.

  5. I think it is very sad that this lady is so regretful of her own decisions that she has wrapped them up as anger at those people who have a life that she now would have liked to have been her own. To admit her sadness would no doubt be too much for this lady at the moment.

    Janine – I cannot even begin to imagine what you went through. but, your words have moved me to tears at my desk and I will reflect upon my little one’s 5am wake up call in a different way (at least for today 🙂 and try and remember how lucky I am that my life is the way it is including the shitty bits!

  6. “her own decisions?” I think if she’d had the choice, she’d have been a mother. Some of you need to understand that everyone in the whole entire world isn’t as fortunate and blessed as you are. Sometimes you need to step out of your own shoes and have some pity and compassion for others who didn’t get quite as lucky.

    Meanwhile, motherhood IS a choice. You completely had the choice to not be a mother if you didn’t want to take that path in life. I don’t understand the logic of voluntarily, deliberately becoming pregnant, and then taking an “Oh, woe is me! Motherhood is sooooooo haaaarrrrd” stance.

    No kidding motherhood is hard, but so what? Anything worth doing in life is hard — do you really just expect to sail smoothly through life without ever having to do anything that’s hard? Everything good in life takes effort in toil. Anything worth doing is going to be hard. I just don’t understand the people who feel like they have a right mope and complain because “it’s so harrd!!” Guess what, mothers? Life is hard for EVERYBODY. The “hardships” that you feel you must endure are so silly, petty and minor compared to the real suffering and trouble in this world.

    If you aren’t happy being a mother and raising a family, why did you allow yourself to become pregnant and have children?

    You, like the author, made your choices in life. So why complain that “motherhood is hard?” You made your choice — shut up, and live with it. If you didn’t want to deal with all the pain and hardships of motherhood, you wouldn’t have gotten pregnant in the first place.

    Seems to me that if you ask God for a blessing, if you deliberately seek to gain such a blessing, and if God reaches out and grants you the blessing, then it seems to me like GRATITUDE is the only fitting response.

    In my mind, there is nothing more disgusting or selfish than a woman who believes that the greatest blessing that this life can possibly offer to her is “burdensome.”

    I guess, not every kid gets a truly loving mother….shame.

  7. To Anonymous – My children are my world, they are loved and cared for and they are happy.
    I think you missed the point and, as I wrote in the piece, “I wouldn’t swap it for a second, it’s my life, my choice and I am happy, but I am knackered so I will have a bit of a moan ta very much”

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