To think that saying 'you can never truly understand what it's like to be a Mother until you are one' is not offensive?

(506 Posts)
Bluewhiteandgold Sat 17-Apr-21 22:29:42

I found out I was pregnant with DS a year ago today and just put a post on Instagram with little one to commemorate the day. I wrote a little caption to reflect on how my life changed from that moment and in it said how I had never truly understood before what it means to be a Mother and that I've realized you really can't understand it until you are one.
A girl I used to go to school with but don't really know anymore commented to say that I was being very insensitive in saying that to people who can't have children for whatever reason. I didn't engage with her at all because I didn't really know what to say. I'll apologise if I'm in the wrong but am I? Is that offensive? Or isn't it just kind of a fact? Whilst I feel incredibly sorry for anyone who wants, but can't have children of their own and I sympathize with them, I don't pretend to know what that is like for them. I don't claim to know what it's like to have a brother as I only have a sister, or to have a pet because I've never had one or to live in a bungalow because I've only ever lived in houses. You can think you understand what something is like and think that you want that thing maybe, but surely you can never really understand anything until you have actually experienced it yourself, both good and bad.

I should point out as well, I don't have a lot of followers or anything; most of my followers are people I genuinely talk to regularly with just a smattering of old friends that have lost touch but we still stay on each others social media. My account is private and I don't put hashtags on my posts so it was simply meant to be a nice photo of my little boy and a caption to reflect on the importance of the last 12 months for me to share with my friends and family. If people like it that's lovely but if not, fine. I didn't mean to offend anyone with it and that certainly wasn't my intention but I really can't see what was so wrong with what I said.

OP’s posts: |
Aquamarine1029 Sat 17-Apr-21 22:31:55

Your "friend" can jog on. She's probably offended by things 100x a day.

TheGumption Sat 17-Apr-21 22:32:43

Yanbu. It's true

1Morewineplease Sat 17-Apr-21 22:33:14

Just ignore her.

SquirtleSquad Sat 17-Apr-21 22:34:34

It's so true. She's ignorant and trying to piss on your cornflakes.

OppsUpsSide Sat 17-Apr-21 22:35:28

You’d have to be a bit thick not to realise it is entirely true, you don’t know what it is like to experience something you haven’t experienced!

Mugginyouleftrightandcentre Sat 17-Apr-21 22:36:26

I think it's true, but I wouldn't say it out loud, especially not to people who don't have kids.

AnneLovesGilbert Sat 17-Apr-21 22:36:45

Your feelings are completely valid and it’s not clear why she felt the need to criticise it. You don’t have to apologise.

ChocolateBarry Sat 17-Apr-21 22:37:55

Whilst I guess it's true, I think it was a bit of an odd caption though tbh. Can't really pinpoint why I feel that way to be fair but it just comes across as.... patronising perhaps? But maybe that's just me.

TokenGinger Sat 17-Apr-21 22:38:15

YANBU. I agree with the sentiment. I never knew love like this could exist until I had DS. I never knew one person could mean so much to me. Not an hour passes without thinking about him, checking his nursery journal for photos, checking on him when he sleeps. As well as love, I never knew fear like it could exist. My absolute biggest fear is losing him. I never thought twice about car journeys before, now before I start my engine I always worry, what if we're in an accident. What if I wake up one morning and he doesn't. What if he gets ill. Again, I never had those thoughts before I became a mum.


Margotshypotheticaldog Sat 17-Apr-21 22:38:43

It's definitely true, but it is not something I would say to the child free women I know. It's a sensitive point for some of them, not all.
I don't post on social media, if I did I'm sure I would often offend someone or other.

mocktail Sat 17-Apr-21 22:39:15

It's true but insensitive to post it on Facebook.

Parkandride Sat 17-Apr-21 22:40:16

It's probably true but it's pretty cringey to read. It's not like the "never known true love until parenthood" line in terms of offensiveness to those who are childless though.

GreyhoundG1rl Sat 17-Apr-21 22:40:48

It's absolutely true, but it's not really something that needs to be said?

Trambledoo Sat 17-Apr-21 22:41:29

It's not offensive, but it is patronising and insensitive.

Persephoned Sat 17-Apr-21 22:41:36

I think her response is OTT and she is unreasonable to have posted it but I guess that where she’s coming from is this...If - as you say - it’s universal that you can’t really know what something is like until you’ve experienced it yourself doesn’t it go without saying and why choose specifically to post it about this? Have you made posts saying this about having a sister and living in a house? I think the fact that you only point this out about parenthood means for the child free it’s part of a regular refrain from those with children to express how the child free can’t possibly understand what it’s like, which just feels a bit unnecessary and dismissive. Saying ‘you wouldn’t understand’ to someone never comes across v well as it puts people’s backs up.

Congrats on your little boy

Chloemol Sat 17-Apr-21 22:41:45

Whilst it is probably true it’s extremely insensitive to post it on Facebook, or indeed say it to anyone who is childless. For many who can’t have kids it could be triggering

HareIsland Sat 17-Apr-21 22:41:51

Well, it’s true you could say the same of lots of things, that you can’t understand having a life-limiting illness/being racially discriminated against/running the Pennine Way/ being an amputee/falling in love/living on an uninhabited island,unless you’ve done it/had it happen to you.

But people say it far more about motherhood, in an irritatingly pious way. The same people often go on to say their grey pre-child lives turned Technicolor when they had children.

ChocolateBarry Sat 17-Apr-21 22:42:09


It's true but insensitive to post it on Facebook.

I agree.

It's the same when people say 'you don't understand love' I find that equally annoying.

I am a Mum by the way so I'm not offended by it myself, but I just think it sounds smug personally and it's not something I'd want to put on SM where I don't know who's reading it.

lidoshuffle Sat 17-Apr-21 22:42:25

It's probably true, but comes across as very smug.

GreyhoundG1rl Sat 17-Apr-21 22:43:37

Oh, get away with your "triggering" hmm. That's not it at all.

Margotshypotheticaldog Sat 17-Apr-21 22:44:02

In my case I'd go one better and say I have never before felt anything like the pure unconditional love that my children have for me. It's what keeps me going some days, and if I ever question my place in the world or my worth, I just look at them and see how they look at me, and I'm filled with certainty and peace.
But I wouldn't go posting that on social media 😉

LaurieFairyCake Sat 17-Apr-21 22:44:42

Well I've never given birth but I know what it's like to be a parent (with adopted children)

bushhbb Sat 17-Apr-21 22:44:43


Whilst it is probably true it’s extremely insensitive to post it on Facebook, or indeed say it to anyone who is childless. For many who can’t have kids it could be triggering

A childless person could be upset by a pregnancy announcement. Arguably that's insensitive to broadcast too. Like come on. It's most likely a cringe thing to post but op is not being insensitive.

WhoNeedsaManOfTheWorld Sat 17-Apr-21 22:44:45

It's true but it doesn't need saying
You can understand a lot of things if you are not
Disabled, an adopter, ASD, deaf, blind
It really doesn't need posting

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in