I am the mother of two young children. They are my world and I love them more than I could ever imagine loving anyone or anything. That being said, it’s hard. Sometimes, incredibly hard.
I don’t want to gloss over the difficult and uncomfortable conversations any more. On this website you will find my honest and real stories about what it is really like to be a mother. It isn’t all bad of course, I celebrate the joys and laugh at the sweet and funny moments. I also safely share the hard parts, knowing that this is a place without judgement and guilt.
For many years I worked closely with mothers of newborns. In my time as a Newborn Care Specialist, I visited many parents who reached out to me for help with the sometimes terrifying reality of bringing home a new baby. One thing that every mother has in common, without exception, is that they were completely blindsided by just how difficult it is. The lack of sleep, strain on relationships, loneliness, physical discomfort and unrealistic expectations of what birth and what they thought motherhood would be like.
There is so much focus on caring for the baby. You are told how to swaddle and feed and settle. All of the advice and guidance you receive is focused on the baby. What if we focused instead on mum? What if we asked mum how she is doing more often?
Let’s remind her that it’s meant to be hard. It’s normal to be awake all night. It’s normal to not shower for three days. It’s normal to reheat a cup of tea 10 times because you keep forgetting about it. It’s normal to cry over everything and nothing some days. It’s normal to have no idea what the hell you are doing.
Mothers need to come first.
Women have never had to do this alone. We are living in unprecedented times. There used to be an entire community of people helping a mother care for her new baby and for herself. There were grandparents, aunties, friends, nurses, nannies, community members. All there to help with feeding and bathing and settling. People would bring meals and clean your house. Now, you are lucky if someone drops off a coffee once in a while or sends a quick sms to check in.
It’s not just about newborns either. Fast forward a few years and suddenly we are dealing with an entirely different set of challenges. We have children with anxiety, sensory processing disorder, autism, hearing and vision problems, braces, bullying, periods, friendship dramas, emotional outbursts, eating disorders, learning delays, behavioural difficulties, food allergies, toileting problems…the list goes on. We can’t stop talking. We must keep sharing and letting each other know that we aren’t in this alone.
After spending months growing a human and giving birth, which, lets face it, doesn’t usually happen to plan or without complication, we are sent home. No time to recover slowly or heal. Straight into caring 24/7 for a new human with little to no support.
Mothering Me simply means taking care for ourselves as we would want our own mother to. As we care for our own children. We must check in on ourselves and on each other. It isn’t selfish, it is vital.
Lets start asking for help. Those who already have children, lets start being honest about what it’s like. Give women a fighting chance to be prepared.