What's A-Parent

The Emotional Complexities Of Loving A Child Who Wasn't Planned

" [...] I don't enjoy being a mother all the time, but this child has been the catalyst for major growth."

Olivyah Bowen is a mom-of-two and a doula based in Puerto Rico. She frequently acts as a "virtual doula" on the @herholisticpath Instagram by sharing parenting facts, tips, and her own parenting experiences.  

In an honest post from July 29, she opened up about loving a child from a pregnancy that wasn't planned. 


"No one teaches you how to love a child you didn't plan to have," the 23-year-old begins. "No one shows you how to traverse the emotional complexity of loving a child you weren't happy about being pregnant with."

"It's even more difficult at those times when they're having tantrums and pushing you to a point of emotional exhaustion," she adds.

Bowen goes on to discuss the difficult aspects of an unplanned pregnancy, from realizing how your life will change, to worrying how you will care for the baby, to the changing relationships with family members.

"It's confusing when the same people who told you that you pretty much ruined your life are smiling ear-to-ear at your baby shower a few months later," she explained. 

This "fourth trimester" stage has made the 23-year-old look at herself through the eyes of her daughter, Zara. 

"This stage of motherhood has forced me to look at my reflection in my daughter's eyes and realize that, no, I don't enjoy being a mother all the time, but this child has been the catalyst for major growth," she states. "She is the mirror that allows me to look into my past and see the fears still controlling me now."

Bowen says that this refection has a "cross-generational conversation with our DNA that heals old wounds."

"Motherhood hasn't just healed me. It [has] healed the mothers that came before me," she proclaims.

"The reality is I don't want to be a mother every day. I don't want to feel held back from chasing my dreams and goals. I don't want to be exhausted. But I KNOW this little girl has brought me face to face with things that would have otherwise been ignored in my bubble of childless freedom."

Bowen then addresses other women who are experiencing unplanned pregnancies. She tells them not to feel ashamed, guilty, or scared. "That baby chose YOU to be its mother at the perfect time," she writes. "Surrender to the journey of unpredictability and let this new being show you a whole new part of yourself you didn't know was there."

Her honest account has since gone viral with parents from all different experiences thanking Bowen for being honest. 

"Thanks for writing out my thoughts," one Instagram user said. "A lot of us mothers hide our feelings because we are scared of what [people] might say about us being a 'bad mother.' "

"This is the most POWERFULLY EMPOWERING AND FREEING post that I have ever seen on any social media outlet. The truth is raw and unearthed," stated another. "No parent loves to be a parent all the time and if anyone says so that is crazy and a lie. No matter how much you love your child(ren) there are days that you think to yourself 'if only I had no children' and that very thought brings you joy."

"There is such a stigma that we have to love and be happy all the time and it's not truthful."

The post is also encouraging others to share their personal journeys. After the response, Bowen took to social media to thank women for sharing their stories.

In a second post, she revealed that she is going to bring to light other topics of motherhood that need to be discussed more.

"So many women have shared with me that they have hidden their emotions in fear of judgement," she wrote on August 2. "I CHALLENGE you to free yourself from what you are carrying and shed light on the misunderstood aspects of motherhood."

(H/T: PopSugar)

What's A-Parent is a series highlighting those who get real about the hardships that come with raising kids. These often untold stories help show parents they are not alone in their struggle, and are doing an amazing job.


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