And How Are You?

Imagine that 'Motherhood' was a hot new concept being pitched to women around a boardroom table. That you were trying to convince these ladies to get on board with it and give it a go. Words would be used like "magical". Phrases would be banded around like "life changing" "you can have it all" and a powerpoint would show photos of beautiful women breastfeeding whilst laughing at their toddler who is happily playing LEGO in the corner of an immaculate house. If I was in that meeting I would be like "SIGN ME UP!". As on paper? Being a Mum sounds the best thing ever.

And for a lot of us? It is. Since becoming a Mum to my two beauties I can say that I have felt no love like it. It's animalistic. It's pure. But in all honesty I have not been the picture perfect Mother that I thought I would have been. There have been times when I have stood at the back of the garden crying on the phone to my husband begging him to come home. Or occasions when I have lay on my bed in the dark face down just to grab two minutes to myself. And I am happy to be honest about this. I have come to terms with my journey and writing about it has helped.

Smiling...but so very very very tired

Also bizarrely when I have been criticised for being honest (I have been told I should be shot, my children need to be took off me and so on) this didn't make me lose faith in myself. In fact this made me want to fight harder. Harder for those people who don't feel like they can be honest. Who may sit in baby groups with a smile on their face but their heart breaking inside. It makes me want to stand up for the women who DM to say that they have struggled but don't want to write it on the public page as they don't want people to see what they have been through. And as it's World Mental Health Day today I wanted to talk about how we as Mother's should be there to help each other. That by being a bit more open we can encourage women who are struggling to ask for help.

PND affects 1 in 10 women. So in your Mother and Baby group there may be two women who are finding it REALLY hard. And whilst we are happy to chat about weaning and if our babies sleep through the night it's rare for us to go "And how are you?". In fact I think only my health visitor asked me and that was in the first fortnight. I remember in playgroups making the odd joke. Probably about sleepless nights and wanting to kill my husband to other new Mums and they looked at me as if I was mad. As if I was breaking this taboo. The taboo that not all Mothers are perfect. When all I wanted was someone to go "ME TOO". 


So next time you are faced with a friend who has just had a baby, or are sat in a soft play and notice a lone woman desperately trying to entertain a three month old in a ball pit when it is clear they just wanted to get out of the house. Just say "And how are you?". They may just shrug and go "fine everything is great" but if we keep doing it enough. If we keep the dialogue open then one day someone might go "you know what I had a sh*t night last night. I'm knackered" and you can reassure them that that's totally normal. Tell them how beautiful their baby is and that it will get better. That the struggling and overcoming all the tough bits it what makes us so kick ass. And I would rather be kick ass than perfect any day.
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