Why am I driven to provide a blogging platform for authentic and honest-to-the-core storytelling of Motherhood?
It all started four years ago. I was nine months resplendently round and expectant. I had bought the newborn baby-gros and moses basket. I padded it out with softest white cotton. I had been to my pregnancy yoga classes and studied endless breathing techniques for having a baby. I held other people’s newborns with eager readiness. Like every first time mother before I was totally and utterly unprepared.
I was sent home with the wrong baby. Ok, it was technically and definitely genetically mine. That little frown on her forehead was unmistakably mine. But it was not the baby I had been expecting from the beautiful and glamorous Ok magazines, and it certainly wasn’t that sweet quiet baby from all those TV adverts, cooing and sleeping. Mine didn’t sleep and it didn’t stop crying for the first twelve weeks. ‘I’ve broken the baby!’ ‘I’m a terrible Mum’, I would wail to my husband. Whatever manual I had been using for life pre-baby was now analogue when everything else had gone metaphorically digital on me.
And it’s not just the baby who I didn’t know how to operate. I didn’t know how to operate this new Mum-body; The nips, the bodily fluids, the unexpected leaking below whilst the bulgy bits started escaping on top. A deep thank you to the cashiers at Boots for never blinking twice at my basket loads of embarrassing ointments and pads.
Once all ointments and pads had been applied I then didn’t know what to do with this new Mum-mind I had. The one that worried about every little thing, the brain that wasn’t sure who ‘Antonia’ was anymore. Overnight my sense of identity and self-esteem changed indefinitely and I wasn’t getting enough sleep or sense of come to terms with it. My ego came crashing down in spectacular fashion. I used to work in Film and TV and I had a pass that hung from neck that read, AAA. Access All Areas. It felt pretty cool, I won’t lie. Now I had a buggy and baby vomit around my neckline I couldn’t even get a seat in Starbucks.
Suddenly I felt like I was just another, ‘Mum’. All the amazing and accomplished stuff I had done and all the interesting places I had been in my lifetime meant nothing. Now I was just another Mum walking down the street pushing a buggy, doing ‘Mum stuff’. Apart from I wasn’t doing anything other than trying to get that damn baby to sleep.
For a while I struggle on quietly (apart from the all that crying and yelling I was doing). That was until I found other Mums who were speaking out with their authentic and downright funny voice. I found sassy Mums online, writing blogs, articles and books. I found compassionate and honest Mothers in care practitioners, receptionists, shop keeps and doctors. I remember one kindly Doctor asking me if I was still breastfeeding – a perfectly innocent question on her form, and the tears of mine that instantly flooded out as I confided in her the difficultly I was experiencing. She nodded sympathetically and said the same had happened to her and I wasn’t to feel guilty. Her girls were thriving and it’s not that big a deal. She has no idea how those simple words helped me heal a raw wound. Suddenly what I was reading and hearing was reflecting my real-life experience. For the first time I was starting to feel mildly reassured that this WAS hard and that it was ok and perfectly normal to struggle.
These smart female writers weren’t big embarrassing clichés of womanhood. They became my role models. They were witty, sharp and observant. They made me laugh. I would let out a rogue chuckle. What was that sound? I hadn’t heard that in a while. I went back and found more women that inspired me and made me laugh. I marvelled at their talent, their rawness and openness. I thanked them for speaking publicly, holding up their hands and telling me how it really was for them… And when they told me it was going to get better, I actually believed them (and it did!).
Over the months and years my life changed dramatically. As one of my heros, Brene Brown says, “vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”
Since I’ve become a Mum the words have just come tumbling out. I’ve overshared in every context you can. I’ve embraced my feelings of failure and difficulty as I have my huge successes and joyful achievements. I have lived by the Brene motto and been raised up by a community of fun, smart and compassionate women. I love reading about the highs, the lows and the bits in-between, because that’s real and that’s what my life is made up of too.
If you have something on the tip of your tongue you want to share it, then send me an email with your blog post and some photographs. Use your MumVoice to share your experience of Motherhood. Motherhood is a messy contradiction of feelings, let’s be honest with that. It’s in all that mess and chaos that the magic happens – Motherhood.