What influenced your view of motherhood growing up?
For me, it was my mom, her friends, my aunts, seeing mothers in public, watching them on TV...that type of thing. Kids learn through observation, right?
I grew up watching all these wonderful women be so loving towards their children and thought it was such a beautiful thing...and I would imagine myself doing that one day with kids of my own.
My view of motherhood was simply formed through what I was physically observing in the real world.
For young women nowadays, motherhood can also be seen from a perspective of what is shared on social media...and it’s not as positive as it used to be (or to which you may have hoped).
Not Having Kids Is Trending
I don’t know if you’re on TikTok (yet), but it seems like everyone else I know is lately.
Trending on TikTok recently was a video of a young woman sharing her “list of reasons I will not be having kids.”
After her video went viral, many other women that were similar to her age group began posting the same type of video, sharing their particular reasons for not having kids.
The lists all contained similar reasons such as:
Negative body image during/after pregnancy
Kids are messy and loud
Kids cause financial stress
The world is a bad place...so is it ethical to bring a child into it right now
Negative mental health effects from pregnancy and postpartum
Growing up, some girls DREAMMM of the day they have kids of their own, they know 100% without a doubt that they want to have children of their own one day.
Other girls are on the total opposite side and know 100% that they do not want kids.
The rest of the girls are somewhere in between, either not thinking about it yet or just seeing where the wind blows them and considering their options.
As a mom of four of my own little ones, I’ve become recently more and more concerned about the narrative around pregnancy and motherhood that is being pushed onto women in the millennial generation.
Negative pregnancy and motherhood experiences are being shared all over social media and are going viral.
Moms are sharing videos surrounding their experiences with vaginal tearing during labor, and we see a ton of posts about stretch marks, emotional changes, hormone imbalances, “losing” their personal life, sex being different, financial stress, and so much more.
Don’t get me wrong, these things do happen and they are totallyyyy normal and valid to talk about it.
What I’m concerned about is the widespread sharing of negative motherhood experiences rather than the widespread sharing of all the incredible, joyful, and truly magical aspects of motherhood. Because there still a A LOT of those too!!!
Trending TikTok videos are portraying motherhood as depleting, relentless, and straining, and although motherhood can feel this way at times, these videos make it seem like this is what motherhood feels like all the time, which is simply not true!
It seems to be getting harder and harder to find positive portrayals of motherhood on social media that show the love, joy, and connection between a mother and her baby.
It’s incredible that women are starting to talk about the not-so-talked-about parts of pregnancy on social media, but let’s not take the light off of the positive ones too!
All Too Real Concerns
On a whole other note than what’s being shared on social media, there are a few other major concerns being brought up by the millennial generation as to why they are dreading having to make the decision of becoming parents or not. Again here, totally valid.
One major concern that is brought up often is the financial stress that comes with having a child.
And tbh, in the current state of our economy this is a completely fair concern!
Skyrocketing living costs, student loan debt, and a competitive job market make it difficult for many millennials to achieve the financial stability they desire before taking on the added responsibilities of a baby.
The other day I was getting ice cream with a girlfriend and we overheard a young woman, about 21 years old, say to her friend “At this rate I won’t have my student loans paid off until I’m 38! I'll be too old to even think about having kids by then!”
It broke my heart to hear that because that is such a fair concern and it is devastating that financial struggles may prevent people from raising a family.
Another concern seems to be mental health.
Millennials are placing a strong and growing emphasis on mental health and self-care (in general) which I am personally thrilled about because this is just sooo important to ever overlook. Awareness on both these topics is also the highest it has ever been; however, awareness of the toll that parenting can take on one's mental and emotional well-being is a significant factor in contributing to a woman's hesitancy to become a parent in the first place.
The fear of losing personal time, time for self-care, and the potential strain on one's mental health are all crucial considerations for women when prioritizing their well-being and considering bringing a little one into their life.
So many Mom's on TikTok show their “day as a mom” videos, and their days are 100% centered around their kids and their kids only!
Although a lot of a Mother’s day is usually centered around her children, moms should also be encouraging the downtime they take for themselves in their videos too!
Of course, kids become one of your top, top priorities when you become a mother, but you should always be one of your top priorities too!
Another concern is imbalanced parenting expectations.
Young women considering becoming moms are worried that most of the pressure and responsibility will fall on them because they are the 'woman'.
I actually saw a TikTok the other day of a mother venting about how she feels like she is raising her husband at the same time as she is raising her child. The comment section of this video was flooded with comments along the lines of “This seems like a nightmare”, “I hope this never happens to me”, or “This is why I won’t have kids.”
Some women are also very concerned about their careers shifting if they have kids. Of course after having a little one, moms need time off for their bodies to heal and to be with their newborn miracles, but this doesn’t mean your career is over by any means.
With millennial women breaking barriers in the workforce and pursuing ambitious career paths, many women in this generation fear missing out on achieving their work goals if they become "distracted" by a baby.
The fear of sacrificing professional goals and the challenges associated with balancing career and motherhood are prominent concerns. Many women worry about potential setbacks in their careers and the societal expectations that can hinder their professional growth once they become mothers.
TikTok is also FLOODED with videos about social and political issues.
Not just TikTok though, have you turned on the news lately on your TV?
It just seems to be getting worse and worse. Every day there is a new devastating story on the news, which is why the social and political climate has become an escalating concern for millennials considering parenthood.
Concern about the state of the world, including environmental issues, political unrest, and economic uncertainty have led some women to question whether bringing a child into such a world is even ethical right now.
With all these possible concerns, the hesitation among millennial women to embrace motherhood is increasingly multifaceted.
And while these hesitations don’t apply universally to all millennial women, it does shed light on the changing dynamics and priorities of a generation that values autonomy, career success, and mental well-being. Times have certainly changed.
As societal conversations continue to evolve, understanding and addressing these concerns will be crucial in shaping a more supportive environment for those navigating the complex journey of parenthood in the 21st century.
Until next time, sending hugs,