Today is my son’s due date.
But he won’t be arriving.
Because his heart stopped beating at 25 weeks and he was stillborn last July.
So today, instead of posting about the excitement of his pending arrival, I need to talk about something that’s been on my heart for over a year. You see, my son’s stillbirth wasn’t my first pregnancy experience. But I’m still sitting in a house with no children. I’ve done the miscarriage journey. And now I’m on the stillbirth journey. Hopefully, one day I’ll be on the newborn journey. And then the toddler journey.
The miscarriage and stillbirth journeys have turned social media into a minefield. Pregnancy announcements. Birth announcements. And…complaints about kids and motherhood.
To All the Mamas on Social Media
We all know that motherhood is hard. There are brutal days. Kids can be jerks. Life with kids is loud and messy and exhausting and can feel like you have no time for yourself.
And we all know that everybody needs to vent sometimes. We all have moments when we need to just complain, spew about how this or that sucks and get it out of our system.
But, can I ask that you don’t vent about your kids on Facebook?
I know that you’re trying to be real and authentic and show what life is really like. I know that you’re reaching out for support, a kind word, an “I’ve been there, mama” or a “you’re doing great, mama”.
But when you complain about how your kid kept you up all night, or how your house is a mess again because your toddler decided to “help” and poured an entire box of cheerios all over your kitchen floor five minutes after you finally finished sweeping up the last week’s worth of dog hair and that you’re just done and would someone please just come take your kids… it really hurts.
Because those of us who can’t seem to get pregnant or can’t seem to stay pregnant would do anything to be in that position, to have that problem instead of the one that we do have — empty arms.
So, before you post about it on social media, can you do us pregnancy loss and fertility issue mamas a favour? Can you text, call or private message a fellow mama who has kids instead? When you need to vent, can you do it privately with a mama you know will get it and who will be able to give you some words of encouragement? Will you save us the tears of seeing you complaining about something that we thought we’d have and had ripped away from us?
Pregnancy loss is more common than people think.
You might not know it, but it’s likely that at least one if not a handful of your Facebook friends are in this boat with me. They love seeing photos and videos of your kids and getting updates on your life. Your kids are adorable and bring so much joy.
But when you vent and complain about how hard being a mom is or how frustrating your kids are, it’s like a punch in the gut. One in four women has experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth. Chances are, there’s a few on your timeline that have to quickly scroll past those venting posts to avoid the tears starting.
I don’t, in any way, want to tell you that you shouldn’t be feeling the frustration that comes along with motherhood. It’s real. It’s your life. It’s your emotions. It’s hard. But what I am asking, is that you choose where and how to share that frustration. Your pain and frustration and exhaustion are real. You have every right to talk about them and to ask for help and support.
Please spare a moment to realize that while those difficulties of motherhood are real and valid, there are a lot of us who would do anything to be experiencing them and seeing people complain about them reminds us once again of our struggle and our loss. And it hurts. A lot.