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Motherhood - "enjoying every moment"

How often have you heard someone say to a new mother "enjoy every moment"?  I have to admit I have not only received this piece of advice, but also been one to dole it out in an attempt to connect with a new mom.  However, over the past couple of years as I have worked with new moms in the perinatal mental health field, I have realized how much that phrase can be damaging.  

Usually when a mom is looking back on the days when her children were smaller, she tends to view the experience through rose tinted glasses.  It is quite a wonder to see how biology works in that way to ensure the survival of our species.  It seems that this phrase of "enjoy every moment" comes out of that nostalgia of longing to return to that time period when your children were small and cuddly.  However, we know that if you asked any of those moms to go back and relive that time in their life on a never ending loop (like something from the movie Groundhog Day) they would likely choose to decline the offer.  But the reality is, that for most moms who are in the thick of the "4th trimester", surviving on low quality, fractured sleep, with little to no personal time or space, that their life can truly feel like a never ending cycle of the same thing every day. 

It can be so challenging for mothers who are in the thick of it during those early days to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  So what might it mean to a mother in this position to hear that she should be "enjoying every moment"?  Could it cause her to think that she is doing something wrong if she is not enjoying this time?  What might she think of herself with regards to feeling like her emotions are valid and normal?  Might she imagine that she must be doing something wrong if she is not, in fact, "enjoying every moment"?  

As a society, why do we feel so uncomfortable admitting that being a mom to a helpless human being who is dependent on you for their every need might be challenging?  How can we change the dialogue and allow all mother's space to feel all of their feelings?  Perhaps it might mean asking a mom how she is feeling and actually waiting for an answer more than "Im doing ok".  Perhaps it might mean sharing some of the vulnerable and challenging memories from that time in your life so she doesn't feel so alone.  What would it be like to support and validate each other along the way like the more experienced tour guide who points out the loose rocks and acts as a cheerleader along the way?