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Column: Motherhood

Tanya Ryan's monthly column #LightSideUp
Tanya Ryan 2

I’m tired of hearing that motherhood is hard.

Not because it’s not. It’s legitimately impossible and I authentically have no idea how our species has thrived.

But because this narrative is so persistent. (Or perhaps it’s just my social media algorithms have ganged up on me.)

I understand that we’re doing our best to normalize the challenges that come along with motherhood… but I guess I just wish that we were offering some diversity to our conversations to attempt to shed light on the myriad of experiences that come along with motherhood. Because on the rough days - as validating as it is to have someone say “Yeah man. That’s hard.” - it would be so valuable to have more content available to highlight the various aspects of this experience.

I’m not talking about false positivity, silver lining, or even someone pointing out how much you love those adorable, squishy, balls of flesh. And how that love makes it all worth it. (‘Cause I’m tellin’ ya, some days it just does not feel that way.)

But what if we were to partner with one another - validate the hardships and then dig out those nuggets of empowerment, wisdom, or moments of growth and evolution. Maybe our need for self-care wouldn’t be quite so loud, if we found ways to incorporate our own sense of self a little bit everyday.

Perhaps we need to have conversations focused on unearthing the various (and amazing) qualities, characteristics, or personal experiences that we wouldn’t have if we didn’t make the tiny humans. Or maybe we need to be more loud and proud of our magical superhero moments (even if it sounds weird or trivial - like getting that little person to sit on a tiny toilet - these things are sometimes Everest, and gosh-darn-it we need to celebrate!)

The journey is difficult, not only because you’re raising this little person outside of you - trying to make the best possible choices… but you’re learning to navigate yourself too. You’re learning who you are, what you’re capable of - and not capable of. What breaks you into a million tiny pieces… and what makes your heart burst open with indescribable emotions and love.

It’s complex and beautiful. It’s horrible, exhausting, and exquisite.

There’s literally no experience that I’ve ever had that compares the transformation that is occurring for me right now. I’m grateful for the camaraderie of women and mothers. I grateful for these women that reach for my hand and say: “Okay. You ready? Me neither. Let’s do this!”

Thanks to all the amazing people out there that are making this motherhood thing look real and messy. Thanks to those of you that excavate those magical moments within some of the darker phases and for having the bravery to share all of it.

I’m in awe of the women that making ‘woman-ing’ look so beautiful. Even when they’re messy… damn you, and your beautiful messes. I’m over here feeling like the mum-version-Igor.

My goal is to envelope this experience in its entirety. The heartaches, the complexity, the emotions (the sleep deprivation)… and I pray that eventually I start to see myself and my power in a way that I never have before.

So next time we want to say how hard it is… let’s do that, but let’s also dig out a seed of empowerment. And take a moment to breathe into and take real ownership of that power.