Doula observations · Postpartum

Motherhood is a Zoo

I am a worthless mother. That’s what the media keeps telling me. This scary thing happened where a kid fell into a gorilla’s enclosure at the zoo, the gorilla was startled and then shot so he couldn’t hurt this kid.

People are up in arms, talking about how stupid it is to kill an endangered animal, and how we’re the most violent and deadly species. Fingers are being pointed at the zoo staff for their reaction, zoos in general, and, oh yeah, that stupid mother.

That mother who was probably scared to death as she looked around and didn’t see the child that was just right there. The mother that thought about jumping into the enclosure to be with that little boy as her world stopped. The mother that gathered him in her arms later, tears streaming down her cheeks as she just held him and wept with relief, as she whispered to him,  “I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry. I love you.”

Thanks to the Internet, she now gets a daily reminder of how stupid she is. If she wasn’t already doubting her parenting choices (and let’s face it, who doesn’t doubt from time to time), she certainly will be now. She gets to see comments like “if she didn’t want to take care of him, why even have kids?” and “is it really that hard to watch your kid?“.

Yes. Sometimes it’s that hard. Sometimes despite our best efforts, kids test their boundaries and end up hurt. AM did a full somersault out of a shopping cart. She could have ended up with a traumatic brain injury, a broken bone, or a concussion. Thankfully she was okay, because her mommy was a wreck. I still can’t think about that without tearing up and feeling like the worst mother in the world.


I’m fortunate that my “dumb mom” moment didn’t go viral. I’m already fighting postpartum depression, and there have been many times where I feel like my family would be better off without me.

I’m stupid. I’m worthless. I don’t deserve to be a mother.

Kids get hurt, and even “perfect” mothers mess up sometimes. Accidents happen and this mom deserves our compassion and love, because you can bet your boots she’s struggling right now.

I don’t know her name, but I know that she’s a mother, and she’s worth something more than what the Internet has been dishing out to her. Can we please be gentle with ourselves and each other?

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7 thoughts on “Motherhood is a Zoo

      1. I keep making the same comment about how my three year old is a runner away er. I’m am very careful to watch him and where I take him. He has still gotten away from me a few times. This could be anyone on the right day.

        Liked by 1 person

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