I was thirty years old when I became a mother. I was married, established and secure financially and in my career, and had been used to looking after myself for years already. I planned to get pregnant, after many years dreaming of having a baby. I read What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Gina Ford’s Contented Little Baby, and dutifully attended my NCT classes. I had spent many, many hours fretting about exactly what pram was best to buy, whether I would use disposable or reusable nappies, how I was going to decorate the nursery, and what I would pack in my hospital bag. I thought that I had everything sorted.
How is it possible then that when my baby girl was finally placed in my arms, and even more when I took her home with me, I felt so completely unprepared for motherhood? I felt so isolated and as if I was the only person going through this experience, and definitely the only person who could possibly be finding things so incredibly hard.
The voice of women, and particularly mothers, have never been the loudest, the most heard. I guess in the past the voices were heard in whispers and quiet corners, one mother to the next within their communities. As young women approached motherhood they would already have seen their own mothers, their aunts and sisters and cousins and friends having babies and bringing them up. The stories and insights would be shared and a part of their lives. As our communities and families have fragmented women’s voices don’t seem to have become loud enough to breech the distances between us. Considering the fact that becoming a mother is for many women the most earth shattering experience of their lives, where are the Hollywood blockbusters, the novels, the TV series. Where are the voices of all those women becoming mothers and having their lives split apart and rebuilt into a whole new shape?
There are some cheesy romcoms, and twee parenting magazines, but they seem to very much peddle a one-sided, homogenous view of motherhood. The internet is helping to shift the balance through women sharing their truths, via social media and blogs like this. There seems to be lots of judgement out there, the mummywars, and the myth that we have to choose our clan, the all mothers fit neatly into one stereotype or another. There are also lots of beautifully cropped and filtered pictures of how motherhood is supposed to look. So I have decided to share my truth, the reality of my life as a mother, in the hope that maybe one person may see it, and for that moment not feel so alone, not feel as if they’re doing it all wrong, not feel as if their baby is the only one who hasn’t read the books. So here is my blog, my truth, my voice, just a whisper in the quiet corners, but it’s a start.