Dear Bibi Lynch,
I have just read your* article in the Guardian**
I’m sorry that you will never have children just as I am desperately sorry for anyone who suffers from infertility or has lost a child. In fact just as I am sorry for anyone whose life throws unexpected shit at, cancer, illness, etc etc. You can’t control for all life’s eventualities and to say one group have less of a right to complain about what is going on for them, just because they are mothers, is simply ridiculous.
Motherhood is a joy to experience and I really wish it could be experienced by all who want it when they want it. Sadly life doesn’t work like that and I have to say I take issue with you complaining about mothers ranting about their lot in life because it hurts your feelings. I think that yes your friends should absolutely be sensitive around you given your situation, but all mothers? No.
Let me tell you a bit about my motherhood experience so far. My first baby was lost as a 10week old pregnancy, this was utterly devastating, my second pregnancy resulted in Oddler the Toddler but it was a horrifically traumatic birth that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, she was oxygen deprived and in intensive care for the first week of her life and for a long time I blamed myself for causing her situation. The oxygen deprivation did cause a “neurocortical event” in her brain- not brain damage as such (we were lucky) but for a long time we were incredibly worried about her development- thankfully she is an entirely normal bright sociable toddler. Her birth left me with PTSD and tokophobia. My third pregnancy ended in ectopic and I lost my left tube (but due to my tokophobia this felt like a relief- the pregnancy was unexpected and I was terrified of giving birth again- at that point I sought help for my PTSD) and my fourth pregnancy resulted in Omble but that was fraught with anxiety and stress due to the PTSD and I had to do a lot of incredibly hard work to be able to give birth to her without needing the elective section that had been agreed from early on in my pregnancy (at one point so terrified and hysterical at the thought of having to give birth again without getting an elective section I told the hospital I wanted a termination if they wouldn’t agree to the section- I’m not sure this is a course of action I would have ever carried out in reality really but shows the depth of my terror and PTSD)
Then just as I am hoping my life is hopefully getting back on track after Omble’s birth ended up being an incredibly positive experience, my dad dies when Omble was only three weeks old. He never got to meet her and I am utterly devastated. You understand the grief of losing a parent- something you never get over. Unfortunately currently I am unable to grieve properly as the needs of two tiny entirely dependent people come before mine. I would love to be able fall apart and grieve but I have to stay strong for them so I rant in my letters and on twitter as a way of keeping myself sane.
Since then we have had lots of minor (in the grand scheme of things) parenting worries, poor weight gain, extreme sleep deprivation, tantrums, illness and currently these often feel another kick when I’m down so I rant about it on twitter and in my letters as a way of staying sane. It helps. Just as I’m sure writing your article was a cathartic experience for you.
Motherhood has knocked me sideways and then some, changed me irrevocably, and changed my life for ever. I am thankful every day for my two wonderful children but that doesn’t mean at the minute I wouldn’t often like to run away and hide from it all, just for a bit, just to get the time and space to collect myself, to grieve, to be just me again.
The most valuable lesson Motherhood has taught me so far is don’t judge another until you have walked a mile in their shoes. You will never walk in my shoes just as I will never walk in yours, those are the cards we have both been dealt, we both need to deal with what our lives have thrown at us, so why don’t we try harder to empathise with each others situations rather than getting angry and not trying to understand each others situations? My rants have no less validity than yours just because one of us is a mum.