I became a new mum in 1989… I was 27, still finding my way in the world, just landed a dream job, and had not planned on becoming a mother (enter Gastro and the Pill).
I came home with this tiny boy, who would not latch on (breastfeeding is not something you just know how to do!) And who did not stop crying and did not sleep all day.
I actually called the hospital to ask if I could come back and they informed me to relax (are they out of their minds?? This child does not allow me any ability to think, let alone relax!) and have a glass of wine. We got through it.
I used to rock this baby in a bouncer all day and can recall many a night when I fell asleep and woke up with a jolt… No idea whether I had put him back to bed or not after a feed (this happened with all my babies).
I have NEVER been as tired in my life as I was in the first 6 weeks with each of my babies, and I think even with each, your mind forgets and then it's like, oh yeah I remember, I am going to be so tired! We got through it.
Being a new mum was tough - I also had to give up my dream job which I had tried to go back to full time when my baby was 6 months old (no maternity leave like today), so I changed jobs and went to work in supermarkets as a Night Control Manager (head checkout chick) part time.
I became a mum with Post Natal Depression with my 3rd baby and this is the most horrible experience for any mum, barely able to function, unable to understand what is going on, and then when I was diagnosed, feeling even lower until the medication kicked in. Also back when I was diagnosed, there was far less support for us and so I struggled with not being able to be a “good mum” and not really seeing any mums suffering as I was. I did get better though and all of my children survived, with me as a mum of 3 under 4.
It was tough being a mum with a mental illness - I had also continued my supermarket job and had my 2nd and 3rd baby with no maternity leave at all (Yep! Worked till they were born and back a week later). Sounds crazy but I did not even tell my work I was pregnant or had the baby. We got through it.
I became a single mum as my youngest started kindergarten. This was a very tough role, looking after children is a 24/7 job and their need to be nourished, educated, entertained and nurtured is never-ending (even as a mother of adult children) and there is never a time for yourself to fill your bucket. I did meet someone new and had some support with some of the chores, but the responsibility on me has always felt like a heavy weight.
As a single mum I now had to provide for the children on my own and was lucky enough to have moved to the State Office and a HR role which paid more and could provide what we needed. I had help from a local mum who needed some cash and so school drop-offs and pickups were under control. We got through it.
I become an older mother, with my 4th child, with loads of additional tests and care required during the pregnancy and at birth. I enjoyed having one child and felt more confident although also terribly nervous and things changed quite dramatically with not only the gadgets but also sleeping, feeding and milestones. This time I was going to get maternity leave and stay home with my baby... Enter in sickness and ill health and my husband having double hip replacements, so back to work I went again. We got through it.
I also become a fur child mother, which is a wonderful role as there is unconditional love and super excitement every time I come in through the door, something not guaranteed from your own human babies!
I am also the mother of my business - but that's a story for another day!
I am now the mother of adult children, and this too brings challenges and adult conversations. I am learning from their feedback that I could have done better and dealing with what that means. We will get through it.
On this Mother Day I will again remind them, that they did not come with a manual on what to do when they broke something, or got into trouble at school, broke rules, got bullied, were mean, got sick, needed me to help them work through mental health issues and so I did what all mums do, I did the best with what I knew and what I had as available resources to me. They have all survived and are happy and healthy and so for me that’s all I can want for them in life.
Wishing all you wonderful mothers a fabulous Mothers day xx
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