Why the Internet makes me terrified to have children

I know about 10 women who have given birth to their first child this year and an overwhelming number have shared links to articles about the trials of first-time motherhood. These articles, such as “The Truth About Being a Parent” and “Before I Forget: What Nobody Remembers About New Motherhood,” argue that being a mother is the most difficult task you will ever encounter in your life. Basically, you’ll want to die every day—and no one, no one, adequately prepares you for it.

These articles make me extremely stressed out.

I understand they’re essentially pleas for understanding and function as a way of consoling the utterly frazzled new mother and telling her, “You’re not alone.” They open up a topic for discussion and likely strengthen a kind of solidarity between women who have just given birth.

But what about the women like me who think about having babies at some indeterminate point in the future—say, in three years or five years or 10? Now I’m freaked.

Before reading the sad mom articles, I wouldn’t have thought I was considering my options blindly. I mean, after listening to my parents complain for 26 years, I understand that I’ll never sleep again if I have a baby and I’ll basically spend the next 20 years as a chauffeur, driving snot-nosed children from hockey practice to dance class to swimming lessons. I know my kids will ask me for money and act completely ungrateful when they get it. They’ll get sick and I won’t know what’s wrong and I’ll feel helpless. I already know all these things.

But all sad new mamas now insist that no one told them: Having a kid is really hard. As Jennifer Hamady says, “The sleep deprivation, the often unending crying without knowing why, the never having a single moment to yourself even to pee, much less take a shower and wash your hair…. It is relentless.” But she also insists that no one told her how hard it would be before she gave birth.

I want to yell: Are you delusional? Obviously having a kid is hard! Didn’t you listen to your parents every day of your life? Didn’t you ever babysit?

These articles make me feel that I’m missing something. I already knew having children was the hardest thing ever. Now you’re telling me it’s even harder than I can ever imagine? Why don’t we all just go back to bed.

Photo by aberdasheri on Flickr