Friday, January 3, 2014

Everyone is fighting their own battles..

Since just before becoming a mom, probably just before we begun trying to conceive, I became aware of the struggles that other women went through to try and create their own family. The painful struggles of months of trying, only to get a negative pregnancy test each month, the heart wrenching and painful experience of a miscarriage, the uncomfortable fertility treatments and doctor appointments to bring a bundle of their own joy home, or to still painfully have empty arms. I always told myself that I wouldn't complain about any morning sickness, stretch marks, lack of sleep, etc because I was lucky enough to not only become pregnant much faster than we had expected, but because we were blessed with twins. Honestly, for the most part, I don't complain about those things. Other things, I'm sure I do, but I those things don't bother me. The stretch marks are a reminder to me, that I carried those babies for as long as I could. A reminder of my pregnancy that was cut short.

There is one thing that bothers me, that I have encountered in this motherhood journey. I think the one thing, aside from the competition, is the guilt. Not the mom guilt. But the guilt you are given because you have children and others are childless. The "Embrace your stretch marks, some women would kill for them." remarks. Or the "Enjoy and wallow in the sweet cries in the middle of the night, there are too many women who wake to a painful quietness." Remarks like those can make my blood boil some days. It truly reminds me of a quote that I don't think many people have ever taken seriously, or really, really, thought about.
If we all understood that everyone has their own battles to fight, insecurities to face, loves to contend and goals to attain, the world would be a gentler place.
Everyone, is fighting their own battles. Everyone has a battle going on no matter whether it is extremely apparent, or not. I know I am quite guilty of judging the parents that have their young children at the store at 9:30 - 10:00 at night, but I've really tried much harder to not judge them. I don't know what they are facing at home. They could be on vacation and need a few forgotten supplies, or they could be battling a serious illness, a death might of consumed the family recently and they didn't have time to go to the store. Whatever it is, it isn't my place to judge, it is not a job I want. While my heart aches for those women who want so badly to have a child and can't at this moment, I wish that this guilt battle would just stop. Suffering from PPD was the worst surprise I received when the boys finally were able to come home from the hospital. That should of been the happiest moments, finally snuggling in on the couch, waking for feeds every three hours, bottle washing, diaper changes etc. But, instead, I found myself drowning. Because of the holidays, Erik had to work, we didn't come home as normal families do to the maternity, paternity time frame. It was back to work the very next morning for Erik and I was left to take care of two tiny babies on my own. It wasn't until a complete stranger came to help that I realized I was suffering from PPD and it wasn't until she was here that I was able to really acclimate to my new role and really gain confidence in everything. I went from having to get myself out the door for appointments, to getting myself and two tiny babies out and making sure we had all feeds ready for however long we were gone for. It was a LOT and we had a LOT of follow up appointments. I received so many compliments on being 'strong' and capable for doing it, for having these beautiful babies and that I must be so overjoyed to have them home. But the truth was, that I wasn't happy, I was miserable. Sure, I loved them. But when they cried - there was absolutely no desire to go and solve what ever it was they needed. There was dread, feeling like I had failed with every bottle that was made, there was analyzing everything I ate and did during pregnancy that would of caused the TTTS. It simply was not what anyone would of imagined. My point in all of this is that - by looking at me, when I was out with the boys, no one would of guessed the thoughts that were going through my mind. There was an invisible battle going on that was destroying me and hurting my bond with my family. Everyone is fighting their own battles.

I don't want what I'm saying to be misunderstood, at all. My heart breaks for the women who want their own families and have to fight for one, whether its through years of fertility treatments, adoption, or going through heartbreaking losses. That is a tough, tough, road to travel down, and I know not one person chooses those paths to walk. That isn't a choice that anyone makes. I would never, in a million years wish that journey on my own worst enemy. I do agree, that it is simply unfair to see deadbeat parents who don't care about their children's welfare continue to have unexpected pregnancies while other women would dream and cut off their right arm for their own child. It isn't fair to the child, or the childless.

What I am saying is that this guilt tripping needs to stop, among everyone. Organic vs plain Jane milk, homemade purees vs baby lead weaning, formula vs breastmilk, the guilt and the fight has to stop. We all have our own battles, our own weaknesses, or own insecurities, just because someone elses path is more on the bumpy side than our own, doesn't in any way make any one elses battle any easier or less validated. It didn't bother me until recently, when a friend was discussing some issues and she made the remark of  "I know others have it worse." Others do have it worse, others have it better, others have terrible battles going on, while others have smaller battles. But just because others have different battles, does in no way discount hers or mine or yours. Maybe, if we kept the fact that we are all just doing our best here to get to the next day, to keep our family feed, clothed, and sheltered, then we could all be just a little bit nicer to one another. And maybe the world really would be a more gentle place and a more forgiving place at that. 

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