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The mums who are ambivalent about motherhood []


By Amanda Ruggeri, BBC, Image credit: Getty Images, November 16, 2022

Motherhood is hard – and many women have conflicting feelings about the role. Why is saying this so off limits?

Even before having her first child, Libby Ward knew what kind of mother she wanted to be. Patient. Loving. Intentional. But her hopes went beyond that, especially when she looked at the mothers in her social circle. She wanted to emulate them in other ways, too: home-made meals, pristine houses, nap schedules.

When she had her daughter in 2014, Ward found herself, for the most part, able to mother how she had hoped. Two years later, she had her son. They had problems breastfeeding. He didn't sleep for more than two hours in a row. He seemed to be in pain.

"I felt like I couldn't meet his needs for food, or sleep or comfort," says Ward, who is based in Ontario, Canada. "I couldn't live up to the standards I had set for myself. And everything just fell apart." More than anything else, she felt rage. Resentment bubbled up towards her partner, her children, even complete strangers – anyone who seem to be having an easier time than she was. Then she felt shame for feeling that way.

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