There's days where you physically want to pull your hair out, or run away, live all that you've dreamed of doing. Mothering, is not all it's lived up to be,"the most beautiful moments of your life".
This is a personal one, and also a story that can be hidden for many.
So I'm new to the mommy club. Well, my son is one years old and I was 21 when I found out I was pregnant, whereas friends and family around me conceived from 16 onwards.
My childhood years, teen years I grew up thinking our wish is to aspire to marry, and have kids. I met the "man of my dreams", we moved in too fast, I couldn't afford the rent, I was 18 at that time, unemployed and he worked and paid the rent. I thought it was right to cook and clean to make up for the cost of living. His friends lived there too, I helped clean after them too - I wasn't happy, after six months we knew we weren't using protection and the crazy thought that both came into our heads was, "guess we're trying for a baby then".
I was so naive, and young. I cried when my period came every month or every couple of months as it was irregular, I thought I was a lesser woman because I couldn't conceive. He drank, and took drugs I thought I had to live up to a standard of partying as hard as the men did, I guess this was my "revenge" or anger towards being left solely to clean and cook. I'd drink them under the table, "attitude in my head". I was fed up of his friends speaking over me, sitting on the sofa while I was expected to clean and cook for them, or go elsewhere because they dominated over me in conversations/ discluded.
I remember one night, my ex partners/ aka abusive asshole’s friends were over we were all drinking, I went to the other room to tell my ex a concern I had of a friend he always hanged out with, and I was too afraid to say in fear of his reaction, that before we got together I slept with a mutual friend of ours (someone who introduced us originally). I slowly uttered the words of my experience to him. One night out me and that "friend" got back to the house, we were in a house share. It was late at night after a few drinks we had sex in his room and after we had sex, he went to the toilet, I assumed it was him coming back into the room but it was my ex's other friend he snuck into the room and got on top of me while I was still undressed, he had his trousers pulled down, I screamed "what the fuck", "get off me". After telling my partner of this incident that happened to mel, he slapped me full force on my face.. A friend of ours heard the shouting and came into our room and he screamed at him, and picked me up off the floor, my ex stormed out of the house calling me a "whore".
Writing this, is triggering after reading on abusive relationships over the years and afterwards finding Feminism, before I used to think it was my fault, I was wrong. I didn't even know if it was an abusive relationship, I suppose I grew up around it and found it was "normal".
That relationship ended after three years of abuse, in the end he finished it, I was broken hearted and I still loved him it took me over a year to really get over him. In between that year of no relationships, I placed myself back into activism, which I mostly gave up on when I was in that relationship. I had got back to seeing people, the attention helped cover my pain or so I thought it did. This is when I got pregnant. My heart sank, I knew I wasn't ready.
That night after finding out I was pregnant, my friend who ironically (not so ironic for working class women) lived with her ex and their child with similar experiences of abuse, she was happy to hear I was pregnant. That friend assumed i'd be happy after thinking before I couldn't conceive. I wasn't so enthusiastic. I laid on my sofa back in my parent's house and cried, my father sat down and talked to me of the hardships of parenting alone, and that "I just want to say, if you have a voice in your head doubting being able to go through with the pregnancy you can have an abortion, it is ok to do that if you can't do this", I argued with him that I couldn't go through with it, I was confused, the other voice in my head saying how I wanted this before and then on the other hand that I have so much to do in my life, go to college or travel again. I started to plan my life again after my experience with an abusive relationship, how could I do this.
I felt so alone, I felt there was no support at the time or availability for advice and support. The guy who was the "father" of the child, said he would be there for me, I was honestly repulsed by the thought of him, he drank a lot, he also had other kids (later on the hard way I figured out he never really supported his kids) and I just wasn't interested in a relationship again. Months started to go past in my pregnancy and I fell into more depression. People around me tried to support without understanding, tried to make it into a positive. The only thing I saw as some positive, if I could do it alone, and prove to myself I could change all what i've seen in my life ; abusive relationships, and a mother who never was around for me, I could do it.
After giving birth to my baby, with my best friend beside me I felt a rush of emotions and love for the tiny being. Once we got home, I was still nesting, rushing around trying to make sure everything was clean, and prepared keeping into a routine. After two months,I felt a big low, I felt I was isolated again staring at the four walls and not able to attend political actions, trying to find separation. My baby started teething early, crying most nights till the morning, or throughout the day too and I felt I couldn't do anything to help him. I got frustrated, alone yet again, others around me said I could of possibly had postnatal depression. I never wanted to admit if I had, and I never went to check because parents, and society always perceived parenting as this most beautiful time in your life, as if it's all so easy. It isn't easy. When my child reached one, it was the milestone in both of our lives and achievement that I did it, I can do it, and it is possible. Opening up to other mothers, my friends I realized in depth conversations on the struggles of parenting that they too have felt in similar positions of hardships in parenting and it is ok.
Parenting is a 24/7 job, anyone who works these hours wouldn't be in any right state and would feel overworked.
In our ideal world, in a socialist anarchist society, fair working hours would be up to 20 hours a week. We need and want all mothers to have access to free child care. And abortions to be free, safe and legal.
I swear to myself, I wasn't made to be a parent some days, and if I ever had another, well society had pressured me into the idea of a family unit, of more kids and that I just personally couldn't do it and I would have an abortion. I never saw that side of abortions, I used to see if men raped and abused women then of course undoubtedly they need abortions because of these circumstances, but my personal experiences and of others around me women also might not be financially supported, or might not actually be able or have the mental health to parent. And I can connect with that so strongly, there is so many sides.
With no support for women, financially, childcare, abused, displacement - housing and society preassurizing women to grow up, get married and have kids it's all shit. We are conditioned in this society dominated by men to produce kids, stay at home, and clean and that men "provide" or no (financial support, equal or any parenting). Women don't get a choice of prioritizing, there is no question who is to parent the child? men still "babysit" their kids, and women yes, are left to think this is the most beautiful time to cherish.
The state, church and patriarchy are to blame for all of this continuing on in society and the lack of support for women.
WORDS, guest writer: SB