Melissa Fenton is a mom who has been through the trenches of raising four boys. Yes ma’am, she has been there and done that.
But that didn’t stop the seasoned mother, writer, and part-time librarian from reminiscing on the early days at a recent check-up at her OB/GYN’s office. Although Fenton wasn’t there for a prenatal check-up (those years are long gone, she assures us), she heard the “most magical sound in the world” coming from the exam room — a baby’s heartbeat, beating loud and strong all the way to the waiting room.
Hearing the steady rhythm, Fenton was transported back to when she heard her own baby’s heartbeat some 20 years ago. Listening to the “thump, thump” that represented a future full of hope and happiness to the parents-to-be, Fenton couldn’t help but remember how that sound had once filled her own soul with “instant and immeasurable joy.”
Fenton sat there smiling dreamily at the sound of the baby’s heartbeat — until, that is, she remembered what was in store for the new parents and her smile quickly turned upside down.
In a Facebook post that has now been shared over 3.5K times, Fenton wrote how she was troubled to consider how those happy expectant parents would soon be facing a whole lot of “soul crushing” under the microscope of modern-day parenthood.
“[That’s] how raising a child these days [is],” wrote Fenton. “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.”
The disenchanted mom went on to name literally every single aspect of motherhood and how they can become so twisted and distorted and ugly that they become unrecognizable sources of stress to parents, stealing the joy of their children right from underneath them. Everything from pregnancy weight gain to mac ‘n cheese (the chemicals!) to college choices (community college? Ugh, why even bother?).
Reading Fenton’s words, I found myself nodding right along, wanting to shout, “YES! Those things have taken my joy of mothering from me!”
It’s not that I’m a bad mother or that my kids are bad or that it was all a trap from the very beginning, but it’s the ridiculous expectations and pressures we put on ourselves and each other that crush us until we’re so burdened by their weight we can’t stand up again.
But Fenton also has a solution.
She ended her post with a plea to all the different types of mothers out there: from the first-time mom just hearing her baby’s heartbeat to the mom with a house full of toddlers, to the mom sending a kid off to college. She urged us all to think back to the first time we heard our own baby’s heartbeat and to hold on to that sound for one reason and one reason only — because it is our baby’s.
We get to shape our children and love our children and raise them how we want to raise them — and to hell with what society thinks.
“It’s time to get your mothering joy back, deep in your souls. Start now … let’s all get our joy back. One thump at a time.”
Amen to that.


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