We need to talk to others, share our stories, show the world what motherhood truly is, warts and all, celebrating the individual glory and the messy chaos that often follows.
Becoming a parent is a life changing moment, but often the transition is not really discussed. One of my favourite quotes about motherhood is from Osho, “The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new’.
So why do we not really discuss this transition to motherhood in our society? I so often hear mums say that they’ve lost their identity when they’ve stayed at home or feel mum guilt if they’ve decided to pursue a career. If the house is messy, mums apologise, if it’s too clean other mum’s comment on how they should focus more on letting their children freely express themselves. The list is never ending and there is really no way a mum can perfectly execute the idealistic mum image that we seem to have created in our modern era. The mum that has it completely together all the time, has lost the weight quickly, eats healthy, spends just the right amount of time raising her children, has raised her children with all the correct regulations in mind, looking fashionable and totally organised.
With this in mind, it’s not surprising that Beyond Blue state that 1 in 6 women in Australia experience post-natal depression, with many more reporting feeling overwhelmed and unhappy with their new role, mum guilt and like they just can’t seem to get it right. Chances are you either have felt this or know someone that has.
I recently read an article in the New York Times by Alexandra Sacks titled The Birth of a Mother. She discussed how “instead of focusing on the woman’s identity transition….. research is focused on how the baby turns out.” The identity shift to becoming a mum is one of the most significant transitions experienced by a woman in her life. There is a real need to start focusing on normalising and validating motherhood and how new mums may be feeling. I’ve heard some mums comment that they shouldn’t complain that they’re not coping because there are other mums worse off or with post-natal depression.
It is a normal part of motherhood to be learning, feel overwhelmed, have a bad day or a great day. It’s a roller coaster of emotion and a shift in dynamics for many relationships in a mother’s life. Motherhood is individual and we need to start embracing the fact that what is totally normal for one mum is not for another. Celebrate what makes us special, unique and individual as a family unit, as mums and for our children.
So, what now I hear you ask? Well if you are a mum or supporting one, then ask for help if you need it, give yourself some slack and understand the Instagram perfect mum you often see, doesn’t exist. It’s ok if you need a break, if all the housework isn’t complete or if you need someone to take over minding your child for a little bit so you can sleep. We need to talk to others, share our stories, show the world what motherhood truly is, warts and all, celebrating the individual glory and the messy chaos that often follows.
Having a deeper understanding of yourself and a realistic expectation of motherhood will help ease the transition. This is your motherhood journey, your story and your life. You are discovering a new chapter, new emotions, new skills and venturing at times, into the unknown, possibly even out of your comfort zone.