Our Biggest Sale of the Year is Here!🎄 ➔

I had an appointment today with my OB/GYN. (Nope, not pregnant—I’m well beyond childbearing years.) 

With me in the waiting room sat a couple—clearly eager first time parents—flipping through pregnancy magazines and looking anxious and excited. When I got to my exam room, I realized they were in the room right next to mine, as I could hear their muffled voices and nervous laughter.

And then I heard the most magical sound in the world.

Thump thump. Thump thump. Thump thump. Thump thump.

It was the loud and unmistakable sound of their baby’s heartbeat coming through on the fetal doppler.

As I listened, I took a deep breath filled with gratitude that I was once lucky enough to hear that sound from my own womb, then I smiled—remembering how 20 years ago I first heard the sound of that sweet beat, and how it filled my soul like nothing else had before. It filled my soul with instant and immeasurable joy.

And then in a split second my smile faded, replaced with a frown and thoughts of all the soul crushing things modern mothering has in store for that first-time mom in the room next to mine.

That how raising a child these days—days full of sanctimonious social media and ever vigilant mom shaming, of being under the scrutinizing and suffocating microscope of anyone and everyone—is going to crush her spirit and her soul.

Crush it.

That joyful sound will soon be a distant memory, replaced with this . . . 

Gained more than 25 pounds during your pregnancy? You’ll never lose it fatty.

Had a labor full of complications or a C-section? Your body failed you, and your baby.

Formula fed? Baby will have low I.Q. and be sick all the time.

Breastfed for only six weeks? Quitter.

Nursed into toddlerhood? Freak.

Back to work? Neglectful.

Staying home? No ambition.

Boxed mac and cheese? Poison giver.

Homemade mac and cheese? Obnoxious overachiever.

TV watcher? Tablet user? Ignorant. Both you and your preschooler.

Private school? Elitist.

Homeschooler? Religious nut, unsocialized kids.

Public school? Oh, I get it. You’re average.

Raising an atheist? You’re going to hell.

Raising a Christian? Family of bigots.

Raising a Republican? Blasphemy.

Raising a Democrat? Are you insane?

Kid playing outside alone? I’m calling the police.

Kid never allowed to leave the house? I’m calling child protective services.

No sports? Your kid will never be able to compete in life.

Traveling sports teams? Waste of money.

Piano? Dance? Cheer? Scouts? Brownies? Your kids are overscheduled neurotics.

Do your kids laundry, make their breakfast, and pack their lunches? You’re raising incompetent future adults.

Don’t do anything for your kids? Selfish.

Low standardized test scores? Your kid has no future.

High standardized test scores? Your kids will arrive at college depressed and burnt out.

Zero extracurriculars? Yea, good luck with college applications.

Fifteen AP courses, president of everything, headed to Ivy League? Give me a freakin’ break.

Regular classes, 3.0 GPA, state school? Your kid is totally screwed.

Community college? Why bother.

And just like that, SOUL. SUCKED.

Thump thump. Thump thump. Thump thump. Thump thump.

Hey first time mom in the next room, mom who just had a baby, mom who has a house full of diaper-clad toddlers, mom who will have a first time kindergartener in a few weeks, mom with school-aged kids, and the mom who is getting ready to embrace the final years of high school or send a kid off to college—please remember one thing for me . . . 

Remember that sound of your baby’s heartbeat.

Then remember it’s YOUR baby’s heartbeat, not society’s baby, or social media’s baby, or some parenting study’s baby. 

Remember it’s YOUR baby, toddler, child, young adult, and college student.
YOURS.

Don’t let the motherhood soul suckers of the world take away one second of your joy of mothering. Not one single second.

You are the mom. Period.

You made that damn heartbeat (or had the privilege of adopting it), so you get to raise it, the way YOU want to raise it.

Nobody else.

It’s time to get your mothering joy back, deep in your souls. Start now.

Share this and let’s all get our joy back.

One thump at a time.

This was originally posted on Facebook at 4 Boys Mother – Melissa Fenton

To the Tired Mom in the Middle of the Night

Why Tired Mothers Stay Up So Late

But Mommy, You Were Too Busy

Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here! 

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Melissa Fenton

Melissa Fenton is a freelance writer, adjunct librarian, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Awareness Ambassador. She writes at http://www.4boysmother.com/. Her writing can be found all over the internet, but her work is mostly on the dinner table.

Sometimes Growth Is Tangible, and When It Is You Hold On Tight

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom putting bike helmet on child

I never expected my sign to come in the form of a plastic bag. As a parent, you’re told over and over how fast it all goes, to cherish these times because they’re gone in a blink. You see the gradual changes in your kids as they move through milestones. One day, they can hold their own spoon. They begin stringing words into sentences. Their ages are counted in years and no longer months. You watch these things happen every day, but I didn’t realize some transitions would come in tangible ways, like a grocery bag filled with wet swim...

Keep Reading

Some Nights They Need You a Little More

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy sleeping, color photo

Some nights they need you a little more, mama. Because of the bad dreams or the bogeyman they are adamant is under the bed. Because firefighter daddy’s schedule leaves him missing goodnight tuck-ins and bedtime stories several times a week, sometimes leaving them a little needier and more emotional. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. RELATED: I’ll Lay With You As Long As You Need, My Child Because they are sick. Because they feel safe in your presence. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. It’s not always easy. It’s not always (okay, hardly ever)...

Keep Reading

Sweet Babies, I’ll Be There

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two children lying in bed, color photo

When your world is calm and peaceful, I’ll be there. When your world is chaotic like an ice cream shop on the hottest day of summer, I’ll be there. When you need a Band-Aid applied and a boo-boo kissed, I’ll be there. When you want to perform in your Frozen microphone like you’re performing for a crowd of 20,000 people, I’ll be there. When you feel lost and alone, I’ll be there. When you feel you have nowhere to go, I’ll be there. RELATED: I Will Always Be There When You Need Me, My Son When you need a pep...

Keep Reading

I’m in the Big Little Years

In: Kids, Motherhood
black and white photo of little boy and little girl standing in a window together

I’m in the big little years. It’s when you’re no longer in the tender season of babies and toddlers—those sweet, smothering, exhausting years of being constantly touched and needed . . . . . . but you’re not yet in the big kid years—navigating boyfriends and driver’s licenses and bracing your heart for the impending ache of an empty nest. I’m somewhere in between. I’m in the years of having littles that aren’t so little anymore, but still need you for so much. They have big feelings. Big ideas. Big dreams. But they have mostly little problems (even though they...

Keep Reading

1-Year-Olds Are Wonderful

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
1 year old baby smiling

Newborns—who doesn’t love them?  The captivating scent of a brand new baby, their fragile little bodies laying so delicately on your chest. Everything that comes with a newborn baby is just absolute magic. But have you ever had a 1-year-old? I used to think the newborn phase was my favorite, nothing could ever be better than having such a tiny helpless little human rely on you for absolutely everything. I could hold my newborn for hours, soaking in every tiny little detail before it became nothing but a beautifully distant memory. But I’ve realized it’s 1-year-olds who have a special...

Keep Reading

My Kids Are All in School Now and It’s a Little Lonely

In: Kids, Motherhood
Woman looking out window alone

I had just dropped my children off at school. All of them. My youngest has just started full-time. It was my first full day on my own since she began, and I had really been looking forward to it, so I took myself into town to do a bit of shopping and grab a coffee. Just me. The kind of days dreams are made of, right? I could suddenly breathe again.  I only had myself to answer to.  I got my latte and something to eat. And then I cried.  My eyes filled with tears as I sat in the...

Keep Reading

I Love You Even When I Say I Don’t

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter touch foreheads

“I love you even when I say I don’t.” These words came out of nowhere from my 5-year-old. I was standing in the bathroom with her (we still don’t like to go potty without mommy standing right there), and she wouldn’t look at me while talking to me. You see, my 5-year-old and I have been in more spouts than ever before. She’s found this new attitude in her first couple months of kindergarten, coming home with new phrases including, “No, I don’t want to–you do it.” It hurts my heart, makes me frustrated, and leaves me asking myself where...

Keep Reading

Big Questions at Bedtime Don’t Require Perfect Answers

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and child at bedtime

Last night at bedtime, my son asked why everyone has to die one day. The thought of my sweet 7-year-old grappling with the weight of such a question hurt my heart. He looked so small tucked under a fleece blanket, clutching his favorite stuffed panda. How could the same little boy who just started second grade wearing a space backpack stuffed with bright, wide-ruled notebooks ask such a thing?  Perhaps my children are more aware of the inevitability of death than other kids their age due to the passing of various family pets over the past few years, or perhaps...

Keep Reading

If Someone Needs a Friend, Be a Friend

In: Friendship, Kids, Motherhood
Three kids with backpacks, color photo

“If someone needs a friend, be a friend” it’s the running joke in our family. My husband will say the phrase to our four kids when discussing certain life situations in a lovingly mocking type way. They’ll all look at me and chuckle. I giggle a little myself at the corniness of it. But I always add, “It’s true.” It’s a phrase I’ve used more times than I can count. To teach them all to be includers—the kind of kids who look for the kid having a bad day and seek to brighten it, the kind of kids who stand...

Keep Reading

I Hope My Daughter Always Hears My Voice

In: Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
Toddler girl putting on sock, color photo

“Dots on bottom. Stretch over toes,” she mutters to herself while independently putting on her tiny toddler socks. I must have said those words to her about a thousand times and responded to “Mama, help” even more . . . modeling how to correctly put them on until the moment she finally pushed me away and insists on executing this task herself. When I believe I sound like a broken record, what I’m actually doing, as it turns out, is imparting wisdom . . . “Uh oh, try again,” she declares when her tower topples. “Chew first, then talk,” she...

Keep Reading