Do you ever feel like you are in a race to the finish line, struggling to keep up with the other women around you? To get married, to have a child, to have ANOTHER child?
I did. Unfortunately, I had to experience a personal tragedy for me to slow down and catch my breath.
I didn’t think a miscarriage was going to happen to me, but it did. I am not sure why I felt like I was saved from such a misfortune. My heart still aches for that child, and it probably always will. But, after it happened, I began to think about why I wanted another child so soon after my first.
Although being a parent has been extremely rewarding, it has been hard. The infant stage is hard, getting up every two hours is hard, breastfeeding is hard, teething is hard, sleep regression is hard, sacrificing money and personal time is hard.
Would I have been physically and emotionally ready to parent two children under the age of two?
I have always wanted my children to be close in age, but was that my sole motivation behind having another child so quickly? Was I truly yearning to be a mother again?
The answer is...not really.
We are under an enormous amount of pressure this day and age. Undoubtedly, social media is partly to blame. We are constantly comparing ourselves to other people everytime we scroll through our newsfeed. Almost daily, we see engagement, wedding, and baby announcements. We also see job promotions and pictures of extravagant vacations and new homes.
We are happy to see our friends succeeding in life, but sometimes it stings a little. Without being fully aware of it, we are competing with other people. We all have so much to be thankful for, yet we are often left feeling inadequate and less than.
I also got to thinking…
Do we share all of the moments in our lives on social media purely out of excitement and because we think everyone truly cares or do we share them because we are trying to validate ourselves and prove to the world that we are important and loved? I think for most, it's a little bit of both.
I had several friends that were pregnant with their first child when I was pregnant with my son and now, they are pregnant with (or have already given birth) to their second child. As difficult as it is to admit, when I found out they were trying for their second child it only seemed right for me to follow suit.
I eventually realized that having another child right now is the path they are currently on. It doesn’t have to be my path too. At least not right now.
I once read that tragedy brings us closer to ourselves, and that is so incredibly true. Not only do I feel even more grateful for the many blessings in my life, but I have also become conscious of the unrealistic expectations that once consumed me. Each day, I am learning to be more content with who I am and what I have.
To all of the women out there who feel pressure from your family, friends, or the world of social media, just know that you are not alone -- most of us have felt the same way at some point.
Just a friendly little reminder, ladies: life is not a race. We are all moving at different speeds, and the speed you are moving is perfect for you and your life, even if it doesn’t feel like it. If social media is the main cause of the pressure you are feeling, perhaps you should consider limiting your use.
Rejoice in what you have accomplished so far.