How was Mother’s Day for you? Is it a day of celebration or a day that causes upset or stress? I find it sad that a day that’s meant to be joyous can become so painful for some people. I hope that the day was positive for you.
Following on from my post last week about Inspiring Women I’ve been thinking a lot about the women I personally know and how they’ve helped me as a Mother.
Around Mother’s Day I usually find myself thinking of the women that have come before me. My own Mum, my Grandmothers and my ancestors before them. I also love watching the TV show “Call the Midwife” (and I loved Jennifer Worth’s books too) – I find it fascinating to see how childbirth and motherhood has changed even within a couple of generations.
My experience as a new Mother
My experience of being pregnant, giving birth and raising a child in those early years all took place in New Zealand and I feel that there’s probably a significant difference between New Zealand and the UK. For instance – I feel lucky to have had the same midwife support me through my pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum care. But I was also far away from family and my Mum.
“We have a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.” – Laura Stavoe Harm
I found the above quote when my baby boy was a few weeks old. It became a mantra in those early days when I was sleep deprived, full of emotion and struggling with my new role as a Mother.
I found those early days and months unbelievably hard. Everything I knew about myself and life was thrown up in the air and fell in a messy array on the ground at my feet. It took me a long time to pick up those pieces and shape them into a new belief system about my life. I’m still doing it! I loved my baby boy (still do 7 ½ years later!). And it was wonderful to have the support of my husband as we both learnt about caring for a new human.
That quote reached out to me and helped me understand that women had been doing this since the age of time. A lot of them in much worse conditions then I was doing.
“It takes a village to raise a child”
– African Proverb
I am grateful for the support network that supported me as I was learning how to be a mother…
My Mum arrived from the UK to New Zealand (where we were living) 3 weeks after my baby boy’s arrival. She was like a Guardian Angel arriving. She swept in, tidied the house, fed us (including the poor neglected dog), provided cuddles and a steady support.
My antenatal group became a lifeline. We were all experiencing motherhood in our own ways and at slightly different stages. We would meet up weekly and it was wonderful to listen to others stories and not feel alone.
My friends and colleagues who had children were there if I needed advice. I can be bad at asking for the advice to be fair but they were willing to share their views when I wanted them.
I am so grateful for all the strong women I know. My grandmother who has birthed 7 children, family members for supporting me at times in my life when I needed their support, friends who have bought me a hot drink and asked me how I was feeling, my mother-in-law who raised my husband.
This has turned into a post about how awesome the support of women can be!
I’ve held off publishing this post as it seems unfinished. I guess that’s because I still have so much to learn and experience as a mother and parent.
The advice that’s probably resonated with me the most is:
“Enjoy the season you’re in” and “these are the good old days!”
It’s so easy to get caught up worrying at various stages of your child’s development or feeling guilty you’re not doing enough. It’s so important to find the good in each stage as it comes along. Being a mother has been both my biggest challenge and my biggest gift.
I think this post may be updated with more great quotes as I come across them. If you have any good parenting quotes to share I’d love to hear them.