Mothers, stop moaning

Bibi Lynch wrote an article Mothers, stop moaning which recently appeared in the Guardian. The synopsis is “Bibi Lynch is sick of women complaining that motherhood is hard when the pain of knowing she will never have children is so difficult to bear.”

In my opinion the article is a pretty bitter read. It highlights a fact I know personally only too well. The fact being that those without children just do not understand the challenges and emotions faced by those with children. Even those who’ve had their own, now left home children, struggle to remember & often can’t empathise with motherhood in the 21st Century. Frankly, they just don’t get it. This lack of understanding is exactly the same that those with children have of the challenges and the emotional roller coaster that is faced by those with infertility issues.

This mutual ignorance stifles communication and there lies spark. The spark that starts the fire that smoulders, then takes hold and becomes the inferno of resentment. Putting pressure, creating guilt, holding resentment and being angry towards mums and mums-to-be is simply not fair. I have felt all that and more, a palpable envy, at times an aggressive resentment for over five years since becoming pregnant with Lil’ H. The root cause in my opinion are medical advances and the expectations they elevate. Medical advances never cease to amaze but now the bar of expectation is set so high that conception and family are wrongly viewed as a given. The only population crisis in this world is one of over population, never has everyone been able to have children, technology can’t solve everything.

I am honoured to be a mummy to Lil’ H and Diva G. I believe children are a privilege not a right. Enjoy life. Enjoy the journey it takes you on, it might not be the one you thought you were getting but it’s yours. Don’t take time to resent those that have what you wanted, what you thought you would have. Make the most of it for what it is.

What do you think about the clash between motherhood and infertility? It’s a tough subject one I’d love to hear your thoughts on.

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Category: Parenting | Tags: , , , , , 16 comments »

16 Responses to “Mothers, stop moaning”

  1. julesey10

    I totally see where you’re coming from. Its wrong to be made to feel guilty for complaining when you’re having a rough day, because much as we long for motherhood it certainly doesn’t mean we should be smiley happy people 24/7. On the other hand I grew up around a close family friend (like a 2nd mother to me) who was infertile after TB as a child. She and her husband were amazing people and all she longed for was a child to complete her family as did he. I saw every step and devestation of every round of IVF and every failure, every rejection for help and after 15years of expense and heartache they finally were accepted for adoption.
    They ended up with 2 beautiful babies and I’ve never known anyone dote so much on their kids and having said that they were never spoiled too much except with love. When I fell pregnant at 21 she was never resentful just happy for me and shared the experience with me all the way. And like every other mother when she’s had a bad day with her 2 she moans but like we all do still counts herself lucky for her lovely (now grown up) kids. They’re 2 wonderful children to be proud of.
    Slightly off the point here but hey ho. Lol :) xx

  2. Harriet

    I’m sorry but I mostly disagree, in the same way you say she can’t know what she is talking about as she has no children, you cannot know the all consuming pain of infertility until you have experienced it. No motherhood is not a right, but it is a true blessing that many take for granted.

  3. geekmummy

    I’ve experienced infertility first hand, and I only have my two children today because of the miracle of IVF. When it became clear that our journey to parenthood was going to be difficult my husband and I sat down for a heart-to-heart chat. We decided that we had to face the possibility that we might never have kids, and we had to decide how we would live our life if that happened. We decided we didn’t want to become bitter, to begrudge our friends their families, or to hide away to avoid coming into contact with more fertile couples. We threw ourselves into being the best Aunt and Uncle, the best guide-parents, and the best friends that we could be.

    Not everyone can be that logical. Infertility is an amazingly emotive subject, and each person copes in their own way. Some people don’t cope. So whilst I agree with your attitude, and it was very much the way we tried to behave, I can’t begrudge others who aren’t as well adjusted as we are.

  4. Bex

    I recently had lunch with 4 friends. Two had IVF to conceive their children and the other two tried to get pregnant for 5 years. I managed to get pregnant whilst on the contraceptive pill. I felt guilty in conversation that everyone else had longed for children and one just fell into my lap, but on the other hand, they were all ready to be mothers. They all had husbands or long term partners, and nice houses, and they had done what they needed to do before giving up their lives to a child. I was ambushed with a pregnancy, and I wouldn’t change it for the world, but I think we all envy the other.

  5. admin

    Thanks for commenting Harriet, I have recognised the mutual lack of understanding: “This lack of understanding is exactly the same that those with children have of the challenges and the emotional roller coaster that is faced by those with infertility issues.” I do agree with you, very sadly, that not everyone values the children they are blessed with.

  6. admin

    @Geekmummy: it’s very true words and it must have taken great great strength to be so positive. Your friends & family are lucky you are you x
    @Bex: perhaps it is just the grass is always greener? X

  7. Kelloggsville

    The pain of infertility is like the pain of bereavement that never goes away. Please don’t tell me not to be resentful. Because it is an uncontrollable feeling that wells up. I understand both the struggle of motherhood and infertility and they are not congruent emotions. They are not comparable. People can try to understand how others feel but they will never really know the deep feelings experienced by another and sometimes all the communication in the world won’t fix that. Tolerance is possibly the only solution, but life isn’t fair.

  8. The frozen fairy

    I completely agree with you. I have friends with fertility issues and since I had my first child, I am unable to maintain a honest conversation with them. They cannot understand what you give up when you have a child and I feel unfair to moan about the sleepless nights, constant tiredness, etc. They do not understand that you give up your life for your children; they only think of how good those words put together sound. It seems that their ‘issue’ is more important than ours and I should only be thankful for the gift I was given. I am sorry, but even though I love my baby to bits and couldn’t imagine my life without her now, I secretly envy their luxurious lives of trips around the world and immaculate houses. Please, stop saying that we cannot moan when they do not stop criticizing.

  9. Muddling Along

    What struck me about that article was how brave she was being showing the world the deep pain of infertility – and for an awful lot of people that is something they just have no idea about, yes it is easy to be a good aunt / god parent / friend but the loss of the hope of a child is something it is very hard to understand. And it is a remourseless process that goes on every single month until you can’t face it any more

    Yes parenthood is hard but what she was brave enough to say is that she finds it hard to cope when parents complain about something she couldn’t have. Ever.

    Hard to judge until you have walked a mile in someone else’s shoes and that goes both for the author of the article and some of the people who have commented on it

  10. Susan Mann

    I agree with every word you say, most of my friends I grew up with don’t have children and do not understand my choices, don’t want to listen to me talk about my children and don’t understand why I can’t still come out clubbing every Friday and Saturday night. I think parenting is hard and sometimes we have to have a moan to get it out there. Sometimes a sympathetic hear is all we need to carry on. I know it’s difficult for those who have not been blessed with having a child and want one so badly not to want to hear about us who have go on, but it’s not all plain sailing for either side of the fence. Lets lend a sympathetic hear to all xx

  11. Tasha Goddard

    I think, as with so many things, it’s very hard to understand both perspectives, except for those who’ve been infertile for many years and finally had a child, of course.

    I don’t think you can help feeling resentful of those with children, if you’ve been unable to conceive, or unable to bring a child through to birth. I think you can try hard to not be but, deep down, whenever you hear a parent chastising their child for something minor or complaining about not being able to do something or being tired, part of you will hurt.

    I wasn’t trying for too long – one miscarriage and one ectopic pregnancy and about four years before RoRo came along – and I loved spending time with my friends with children, but I really couldn’t help feeling sad and, yes, resentful, even while being sympathetic when they complained about the trials of parenting. And, of course, it’s very true that I had no idea whatsoever of what it really was to be a parent. Of course, I thought I wanted children so much that I would be the perfect parent if only I had one. Of course, I didn’t end up being a perfect parent – far from it, though hopefully not an awful one.

    I think you’re right that we none of us can truly understand the feelings of the other. Even now, I forget what it felt like.

    And, yes, we need to accept where we are and embrace it.

  12. admin

    @Kelloggsville – Thanks for commenting. I think tolerance is easy to say but as you rightly say it doesn’t stop resentment building and I also think it is difficult with a higly emotive subject like fertility, especially with as is mostly the case family and close friends. I wanted to say never said not to be resentful, I would never tell anyone how to feel. My point is people with children, without children or experiencing secondary infertility issues all feel resentment. Its not the exclusive right of the infertile. The challenge is how these emotions are managed. I totally resent members of my family for the pressure they have placed on me and my children from only just pregnant with my first child because of their infertility issues. There is no recognition that I have any reason to feel this way, but I do. People with children are allowed to be resentful and complain too. One complaint does not invalidate another. There is no winner in the pain olympics because like you say, life is unfair. Thanks again for commenting. Claire x

  13. admin

    @The Frozen Fairy – thanks for commenting, I agree one complaint does not invalidate another. There is no winner in the pity olympics only pain sadly. Cx

  14. allotmentmum

    I agree that motherhood can be incredibly hard and that women without children don’t always understand that.

    HOWEVER – even on my worst day I know I would never swap my life for one of infertility. And I think that is the difference. A woman who is infertile, would swap her best day for the chance to have children – to be in our position.

  15. Vanessa

    I had infertility issues myself and have been blessed twice by pure luck, so I have been on both sides of the fence. I can understand the sadness and fustration of infertility, but also I can honestly say it’s something that I wouldn’t wish on anybody else so I’ve never felt bitter about my friends pregnancys but relief that they don’t have to go through the same. Perhaps it was just a bit of an off day for Bibi Lynch and we should just forgive her, as it is a hard and lonely road with infertility.

  16. Tom Brennan

    A tough one indeed, and an issue that I’ve had to really be on the fence about.
    I’m a father myself, and I love talking about my child to anyone who will listen – however this does throw up a problem, especially when talking to close family members or even random strangers who have infertility problems, or in some cases who have miscarried.

    I sympathise with anyone who has gone through a miscarriage or is unable to get pregnant, and am very careful not to unintentionally ‘rub someone’s face in it’ by talking extensively about my child.

    Equally though, I think it is unfair for those who cannot have children to judge and resent those who do have children. I totally agree with you Claire when you say that we should all be glad and grateful of the life that we each have. I hope that whatever life throws at me I can keep smiling and not be resentful of others.

    Thanks for the post, really thought provoking.

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