Motherhood is a rough and arduous journey for many moms, but it can be even more challenging when you feel alone.
Sometimes, letting out all your built-up rants to someone who is going through the same thing can give you that catharsis you need once in a while. The problem is that finding moms in the same boat is not as easy as it used to be. Lately, it feels like the number of moms is shrinking.
Many women around me made very different choices than mine and opted out of the motherhood journey. Most of them have loving partners, married or not, without children, and they are perfectly content with their choices.
It used to hit me hard every time I encountered another woman my age living a childless life so different from mine, and I asked myself why I never noticed before becoming a mother.
Growing up, I never doubted I would become a mom someday. Whenever I pictured my adulthood, there were always images of my future kids giggling and running around the house. In reality, they gallop around full-blown howling and wailing rather than giggling.
The point is, I always wanted to be a mom. But once I became one, seeing and being around so many women on a different path made me uneasy about my choice.
It’s not about regret or envy. It’s about a change in the world and how motherhood can be extra challenging in this new reality.
Becoming a mom was not presented as much of a choice back when I was growing up. No one talked to us girls about the choice of whether to have kids so much as about when and how many kids we wished to have. I guess that makes me old school on this subject, but it was more or less a truth that the majority of women my age can relate to when they reflect on their childhood.
The world has gone through so much evolution since the 80s, and so have the attitudes of little girls toward motherhood–with some remaining rooted in a more traditional mindset like me, while many others choose very different paths.
As much as I am happy about their choices and content with my own, I also wish I did not have to feel so alone in my motherhood journey. I wish I didn’t have to keep scrolling to find the few who can understand my messed up desire to tear my hair out despite the heart-crushing adoration of my unbearably annoying kids—that I would give up my life for, in a heartbeat.
Why does today’s society isolate moms?
1. Choice, not a norm
Back in the old days, getting married and starting a family was the norm, and the alternatives were treated as odd or unfulfilling choices. Today, many young people decide to remain single or choose a childless relationship or marriage.
Modern society promotes self-love, self-care, and self-development, stressing the importance of individualism over being part of a group or a family. People care so much more about themselves than others today. Women consider what they will have to sacrifice to become a mothers–career, sleep, finances, time, freedom, and the countless opportunities they have as child-free adults. This is not necessarily a bad thing. This self-assessing has made women more expressive about their true desires and capabilities. There is no reason for any woman to step into motherhood if she doesn’t feel ready for it.
3. Swarming entertainment content
An abundance of entertaining content is not simply a distraction but a time-sucking black hole. People are constantly on their gadgets and complaining that they never have enough time for socializing or anything else. But this has also exposed people more to self-entertaining lifestyles and more comfortable living single or in micro families.
Moving to bigger cities and new countries is nothing new. Increasing access to instant communication and faster travel has made this more common than ever. Nearly every one of us probably has someone close to us living abroad or moving to a far-away city, creating physical distance and diluting close bonds.
5. Decreasing fertility rate
Many women now pursue education, careers, and stable finances before starting families, while their fertility suffers dramatically.
What to do when you feel alone?
1. Acknowledge the biological clock
The biological clock cannot be turned back once that window of opportunity closes. Be glad you chose to have children when you did; it’s not a decision that can wait forever. You’ve already won the lottery by having your own biological child.
2. Appreciate that you have experienced one of human nature’s greatest mysteries
Creating a life, growing it inside you, and bringing it into this world is one of the most magnificent things on this planet and something that not everyone can experience.
3. Congratulate yourself for developing greater patience
Know that as a parent, your patience is being tested and you are rising to a new level as a human being. If your child is relatively healthy and happy, you are doing something right.
4. Cherish your precious mini-me
This mini-me who shares your DNA will grow up seeking your love and approval. Your child will fill your life in completely different ways than your friends or your partner could ever do.
5. Realize that you are planting the precious seeds of life on this planet
At the end of your life, you will know that part of you lives on to continue the legacy you have left behind.
Motherhood is a never-ending challenge that makes you doubt why you signed up in the first place. Even worse, the growing number of childless people can push you into a pity party as you plummet deeper into isolation. But whenever you feel overwhelmed by the little lives dependent on your every move leaving you unable to even take care of yourself, please remember—you did not just earn a Ph.D., a fancy job title, or a luxury car. You created a life against all the odds of biological misfortune. This life will walk beside you throughout your time on this planet and be your future and forever admirer.