If you think happy thoughts….do you dare to share them?

As is the norm, after eggs and juice with the little ones in the morning, I sip my tea and forage through my facebook feed. It appears more fascinating than usual to me today, I am seeing a common theme and I don’t know whether it is getting my back up or perplexing me. Maybe a little of both. There is a pattern of posts whereby one person states a happy thought, meme or photo to be met with comments that are quite clearly dismissive at best, scathing at times.

I, if you do not already know this, avidly document my life with children. I take photographs, candid but amateur shots and also those ones where the toddler will run over and stage it herself, shouting ‘cheeeeese’. I instagram them, enjoy prettying them up, make a little hashtag for them and send them on their merry way to my family near and far via our cyber life-lines.

I tell the world of Facebook friends when my child has a new tooth or has accomplished something so dear to her. I am constantly in awe of the blueness of their eyes, even pre-filter. I ‘check in’ and announce my contentment to be sitting amidst three little people and my husband after a Sunday afternoon roast dinner whilst we watch any old movie that takes our fancy.

When they are sending me crazy with their demands, their tantrums, sisterly squabbles, I throw it out there. I figure we are all in this together. I think that I am portraying a pretty balanced viewpoint of my life as a mama. Ups and downs, exhaustion and elation.

BUT- oftentimes I can sense something in some of those who witness my life show and it piques something in me which is dangerously close to apology.

In this world, we are not all at the same stage., quite clearly. I may be in the thick of motherhood but there are those who haven’t experienced pregnancy, do not have children, are not yet interested in being or doing any of it for a while yet or who are past that stage in life …do you have those friends? How many of you who have these acquaintances can tell me that you have felt apologetic when you have posted that picture of your pregnant belly or newborn baby or child who is proudly stepping into kindergarten with a huge smile beaming out to your camera? We wish that this would maybe just share with the women from our breastfeeding group or pregnancy pals or interested auntie’s but ain;t nobody got time to be setthing all those ‘share only with’ groups and such like. We are in a moment of joy or maybe just a minute of cathartic vents. But either way it is what we need to do right that minute yet we recoil, every now and then, in a certain sense of regret.

There is a friend of mine, let’s call her Kate, who has just found out she is having her fifth child. Five children where we live is no big deal- she is an attachment parent within our city and it seems to go hand in hand with larger than the average 2.4 children kind of family deal. She seemed very happy when she told me her news, not the kind of ‘aha!’ revelation of those speaking of their first or second experience in expectancy but she has a glint to her eye and a glow to her face. She is content. I am happy for her- yes, I know she will be busy but if I know her as well as I think I do, she’ll come out trumps for the majority of the time for this is what she feels this time of life is about for her personally; big pregnant bellies, busy-ness and more little people to be inspired by.

There is something sad in this scenario, though. Announcing her pregnancy, it sounds like she got very little back by way of celebration. Family did not particularly congratulate her or her husband, some of them actually seeming to ignore the fact completely, and these parents have instead been met with various questions, puzzled in tone, but I am sure kid enough in nature, such as ‘wow, are you excited???’ or ‘gosh this must have been a surprise! 5 kids, you’re brave!’

She told me about this and I felt for her. I wonder if she is going to feel the same emotions that I have felt when I am excited about things that are happening in my own little world but am afraid that I might be rubbing someone else up the wrong way.

That they won’t understand the joy.

This has opened up a can of worms for me. I am thinking of every woman who I have and will ever hold space for; every woman who messages me with almost confessional-type feelings that they hope to get pregnant. And those who so much want to experience natural childbirth but are faced with their Mother’s Brother’s Lover tell her it is a nigh-on impossible feat lest you are so intent on winning mother of the year award that you are prepared to suffer through the trauma of pure, high-vibrational, endorphin-filled birth.

I am thinking of all of those women, which would be every single woman in the whole world, who NEEDS a village of support. Not nay-sayers and mocking voices, not questioning and another set of worried ears. We each need a gathering of folk around us who will listen when our personal anxieties flare up rather than people who will declare their own worries to you ABOUT you. We need kindred spirits in the sense that your smile invokes their smile; your joy is their joy. Those who feel comfortable to hug you when you need it and allow you space when that is of greater value.

A village will cook soup and offer it to you when you need it but do not have the energy to ask.

A village will gather your network and bring them to you when you are too afraid or just too naïve to the fact that you require them.

A village will look at that picture of your belly, your newborn, your kindergartener, your University graduate and appreciate the fact that you love enough, love wholly enough, to share your wealth. To spread that moment of joy. To allow your belly to be filled by life again, for your heart to be pulled sideways by your teenager again, and still bring that gift to the world.

A village will look at you purely. Not as a person who boasts but as a person who basks in her happy times. Not as a person seeking to be perfect but as someone with a quest to make every day a little better than the last. And when the day is worse than yesterday, they look at you as that person to go on home and make that soup for.

I am hoping to remain loyal to myself after writing this and continue to speak my truth, post my photos, be proud of my choices and remember that my own Village is the place where I never have to recoil, regret and feel apologetic for being myself. I do not need it to be great in quantity, the fullness comes from the fact that I have those special people at all. And at any rate, the energy that you put out is what you receive. This village will grow as long as you want it to; as long as you can evaluate where you are finding your support, reach out to those whose smiles mirror back from your own and never be afraid to shrink away from anything that makes you feel that your joy is not worth sharing. You don’t always have to bring soup right to a person’s door; you simply never know whose cup you are filling just by allowing your truth to shine from right where you are, right this moment, divinely positioned.

Self-love yourself up and do us all a favour xox