This is something I’ve said in person to many a friend but something I haven’t ever really talked about online. I never really noticed it until I became pregnant with Bluebelle, but after then it became a glaring blip on my social media radar (especially Facebook).
I think women get a kick out of torturing other women.
Now, I know this doesn’t apply to ALL women, and I’ve noticed that many of my friends make a concerted effort to be as encouraging as possible, but you can’t seem to escape the mommy trolls.
What’s a Mommy Troll, you ask?
If you’re familiar with the internet community, you may have heard of trolls. Trolls are people in the internet community whose whole goal is to distract you from the topic at hand by saying something that is provoking, inflammatory, and designed to bother you emotionally. There are different variations of trolls — you can often find them in any comment forum and they range from mildly annoying to incredibly offensive.
The ones that get to me the most are the subtle ones — the passive aggressive. In Christian circles, the “Jesus Juke” (a person who takes a perfectly normal topic and tries to direct it in a way that makes it serious and holy) is something you’ll see a lot.
Basically, they are going to be a Debbie Downer.
When you get pregnant or become a mom, especially for the first time, these women come out of the woodwork. They can take any comment you make about pregnancy or motherhood and turn it for the worse. Excited about feeling your baby kick for the first time? “Wait until he kicks you in the bladder and makes you pee your pants!” Can’t sleep? “You’ll never sleep again!” Don’t EVEN try to mention a birth plan — those women will shoot your hopes down with a vengeance. No matter what topic — just know there is a negative rebuttal.
This past weekend my friend made a comment about being tired (she’s in her first trimester) and wanting to see a movie but didn’t want to get off her couch. As soon as she posted it, she gets a response similar to this: “Better go see a movie now because you won’t be able to see any for years after the baby is born!”
When did motherhood become so miserable? Where does it say that having a child is the most torturous thing you’ll ever do?
Furthermore, when did it become standard to tell a pregnant woman that they’ll suddenly go from being fun and vibrant person to a milk-covered zombie?
I’m pretty sure I was awesome before I was a mom and I’m pretty sure I’m still awesome. Even if I lactate and I could use a few hours of sleep.
Sure — motherhood (parenthood for that matter) is hard. You will take some time to adjust. You will need to sleep more than you’ll actually get. You will find that your life will take a shape that you can only begin to imagine before you begin to live it. You’ll be covered in bodily fluids and you may not like your body for a long time. You may find that you rejoice over pee and poop and you stay up all night the first time your baby sleeps in his/her own room. There’s a million things you’ll do that you never imagined. It’s truth.
…but that doesn’t take away your awesomeness.
Parenthood is what you make it, and I find that the people who enjoyed life before a baby continue to have a variation of the same life. We still go to movies. We still go to the mall. We still eat at restaurants. We still hit the occasional concert. We go for family drives and we get ice cream and we laugh and have a great time. Granted, I don’t go to bars or out for heavy drinking binges, but I didn’t do that in the first place. (So you may have decided I had no life before children.) Bluebelle is an extension of us – (and we ask family to watch her from time-to-time) and she’s a part of our lives.
And our lives are pretty awesome.
Also– the mommy trolls aren’t exactly right. You MIGHT pee your pants in pregnancy, but that’s not a guarantee. You’ll be sleep deprived, but you’ll also love those special one-on-one moments in the wee small hours of the morning. There’s a whole group of normal women who will tell you the same.
So ignore the trolls.
Ignore them when they tell you that it “only gets worse.” I’ll tell you now — I’ve been told that 2 years is so much worse than 18 months, and 3 is worse than 2. Now I’m hearing that 4 and 5 are worse than 3. Whatever. Tomorrow I’ll hear, “Just you wait until the teenage years.”
How about this to the new mamas (in any capacity — biological or by heart): Welcome to the most amazing, exciting, exhausting, most fun and most emotionally heart-wrenching journey of your life. Welcome to a million changes that you can both read about and can only experience through trial by fire. There will be days you’ll feel you can’t do it… but you can. You know what’s best, deep down. Trust your heart and don’t let Dr. Google freak you out. It’s okay to complain and it’s okay to gush. Parenthood is neither totally awesome nor totally awful — but it’s mostly awesome. Except for the awful days. Take only the unsolicited advice you want and ignore the rest. Don’t feel guilty if you’re not in love with the moment you are in. That doesn’t make you ungrateful — it makes you human. Grant yourself grace, and remember to grant grace to others when they need it. Welcome to the club. You’ll never be the same.
And those mommy trolls? Yeah, I don’t get them either.
I’ll admit, I try my best to check myself because it’s too easy to become one. I’m not blameless, but we should try to be encouraging, not an instrument of dread.
What do you do when you encounter the mommy trolls?