The Silent Cry of Mothers

baby-fingers-motherWe  have seen a black US president, the UK is now governed under its second female prime minister, we have legalised same-sex marriages and depression and mental health issues are now beginning to come to the fore and slowly becoming less and less of a ‘dirty word’ attributed more to the unfortunate deaths of famous, well-known personalities than any form of social awareness.

Recently I have come across an article describing the unfortunate suicide of an acquaintance and a new mother. Rather than writing about her mental health issues and lack of medical support and diagnosis, sordid details of her death and her past have instead been published in detail in what I am presuming is a delusional act of raising awareness.

What puzzles me is why there was a need to report it so publicly online and via paper media ensuring that the details contained will remain within the public domain. She was not a public figure but a mother possibly battling the proven medical condition flippantly termed as the ‘baby blues’. Should her symptoms have been taken more seriously, she may still be here, watching her daughter grow.

Unfortunately there is such a fine line between the “baby blues” and post-natal/partum depression that many more women are suffering unnecessarily and in silence, particularly as it does not only affect ‘new mothers’. As with every disease, the longer it is left untreated, the worse it gets. The trouble is, those suffering from baby blues fear they have depression, and similarly those suffering from depression are not provided with sufficient care to have the mechanisms in which to manage their depression.

post-partum-depression

It has been proven by European scientists that pregnancy not only alters a woman’s body (sometimes permanently) but also introduces a chemical imbalance within a woman’s internal system that unfortunately also remains permanent, particularly if the new mother has a tendency for vulnerable thoughts and acts. In fact in just analysing the brain function of women, scientists were able to pinpoint which of the women were or had been pregnant and which had not. However, this was not mentioned in the article.

We need more social awareness of this condition following pregnancy and those entrusted with our care need sufficient knowledge and training in dealing with such symptoms. With regard to the sad and preventable story of my acquaintance to whom this blog post is dedicated, to have feelings of mental instability following the birth of her daughter and having previously been diagnosed with mental health issues but only being prescribed sleeping pills from her GP  is frankly a severe gross misconduct of care.

bad-momentsMore attention needs to be paid to the existence of post-natal depression so that new mothers are not living in fear of having their children taken away from them or being classed as bad mothers if they seek help. How long will it take before mothers will no longer be afraid to admit that motherhood is not a natural state for everyone? That it is a struggle and remains so for the rest of their lives? How many lives will have to be irrevocably changed before adequate measures are put into place? How many trashy, sordid and disrespectful articles will need to be written in the name of journalism, raking up feelings and hurting those left behind before a decent article is written that raises awareness of issues so many women face daily yet silently?

As a society we are proud of our changing attitudes to social issues yet depression and mental health issues remain on the back burner of our social conscience. It is as much a disease as Cancer yet sadly preventable if taken seriously and diagnosed properly. People should be treated as individual people. We should not be a tick boxing exercise and just because my acquaintance may not have had a troubling home life and had a secure and respectful job, does not mean that she was not depressed. Depression is not necessarily associated by external factors but is a mental health issue. A chemical imbalance. An unfortunate disease that can not be helped and is not the fault of the sufferer.

Due to the inadequate and thoughtless care from the medical profession and the insensitive, callous reporting, a little girl will have no memories of her mother and will grow up surrounded by the sordid details and may I say proven discrepancies of her mother’s death. If my acquaintance’s daughter reads anything concerning her mother’s death online years from now, I hope that it is this: your mother loved you and it was not your fault, neither was it hers. It was ours and I’m sorry.

Hands make heart shape

If you are experiencing feelings and emotions of post-natal depression or know someone who is, please do reach out for help.

The Samaritans 
Mind


Further reading:

www.bbc.co.uk

www.herviewfromhome.com


Opening image: www.abc.net.au

Second image: slideplayer.com

Third image: littlecackles.wordpress.com

Closing image: girlpowerhour.com

I Love You Enough…

Home made party cupcake with a number candle on topFour years ago  I embarked on the breathtaking journey of motherhood. This past weekend my little girl turned 4 and today I applied for primary schools for her. It seems wrong somehow. I still see her as the vulnerable little baby that entered the world not so long ago and later took her first vulnerable steps towards my open arms.

I make a habit of telling my daughter that I love her multiple times a day, even when she is sleeping, however every day I wonder how much she knows I love her and whether she will ever know.

So to my little four-year old girl I hope you know:

I love you enough that I would go without so you could have that extra treat.

I love you enough to always put you first.

I love you enough to always include family in our lives so the memories you make with them will last long after they have gone.

I love you enough to say “no” when I need to.

I love you enough to be the bad guy when I need to be, even though it breaks my heart to do so.

I love you enough to be hard on you sometimes to encourage you to be the best you can be.

I love you enough to not resent you when you push the boundaries but instead to respect your need to push those boundaries.

I love you enough to ignore society’s definition of  perfection  (although for me you are perfect).

I love you enough to sometimes let your father take the lead.

I love you enough to make the perfect reality for you.

I love you enough to never quit.

I love you enough to make my dreams a reality for you rather than for any self-regarding quest for gain.

I love you enough to never regard what I have ‘given up’  for motherhood as a sacrifice, but a privilege.

I love you enough to never let you forget how much I love you.

239061-when-i-tell-you-i-love-you

Opening image: sevenhillsrunningshop.com
Closing image: lovethispic.com

The Self-Publishing Struggle

sad-woman-silhouette

Writers are always told to write what they know so for my first blog post back after a little hiatus I wanted to write about my experience of self-publishing. All the articles I have come across promising to shed light on how to manoeuvre through the self-publishing process only seem to concentrate on the professional rather than the personal.

1- It is the loneliest form of writing. There is no one to bounce ideas off of, no one to turn to for advice or to remind you of deadlines and push you to meet them. Agents and publishers don’t care how much housework you have, whether your child is sick or you are moving house or you have visitors.

deadlines_you_give_yourself1-520x245

2- It is very easy to ‘miss the boat’ and so easy to push the importance of writing/publishing to the back burner in favour of family life and demands. It only takes one event to break the creative flow. Writing like many practices is only improved through practice. I so often feel I am taking one step forward and two steps back and for various reasons I have been struggling to catch up since June and feel I have missed a number of advertising/marketing opportunities for my current workload.

writing-faucet

3- If you don’t consider writing as important and part of your job, no one else will. So many times I have been persuaded to shut my laptop in favour of watching a film, a sitcom or political satire and due to my desire to please, my goals are again pushed back, it has happened so often that it is inadvertently expected of me. My husband often works from home and when he does often shuts himself away upstairs until his work for the day is completed.  On the other hand, I sit in the family room with a million and one things happening all at once and seem to forget that I am working from home as a stay at home mother and as a writer and should act accordingly.

come-out-to-play

4- In the self-publishing process, time is often of short supply and it is so easy to take short-cuts in the hope you can get one step ahead. Take it from me, sometimes long cuts are needed to save both time and money. We are so often told time and time again that it is better to take your time and complete a job well rather than rush it and make mistakes and then have to repeat it over and over again. Oh the painful truths of hindsight.

hindsight

5-  The advice I hear from writers time and time again is to simply keep going. I am currently writing this from the glow of a lion nightlight in my daughter’s bedroom as she lays sleeping beside me recovering from a stomach bug and subsequent Meningitis vaccination. (The wonderful joys of her ‘big girl bedroom’ and a trundle-bed is that we can have ‘sleepovers’ whenever we want).   Even if it means you end up editing/proofreading subsequent drafts by torch-light, keep going. I wish I had from the beginning.

quotes-nelson-mandela2

Opening image: Areadingwritr.wordpress.com
Second image: Meganolearyfiction.com
Third image: Thewritepractice.com
Fourth image: Annecharnock.com
Fifth image: Quotesgram.com
Closing image: Helpdeskja.com

Dear Mummy…

Mother'sDayThank you for the nights you spent awake with worry be it due to my first cold, difficult relationships or worry for upcoming  exams and tests.

Thank you for enduring the constant pulling at your leg wanting a cuddle or wanting to play when you were already multi-tasking a thousand and one tasks.

As a mother I now realise that sometimes it is a struggle to just get through the day and that sometimes things really are sent to try you. I understand now that when you used to lose your patience, it was not a reflection of your feelings for me but your frustration at the world outside our little mother-daughter bubble.

Thank you for still kissing me even when my growing independence meant I no longer always wanted kisses from my Mummy.

Thank you for everything you did for me, from changing nappies, to putting food on the table that I refused to eat. From waking up in the middle of the night to tidying my toys that I scattered around the house.

Thank you for all those hot cups of tea and coffee you missed or that just simply ran cold.

Thank you for those times you had rough, callous hands because you forgot or simply did not have time to massage cream into them.

Thank you. Thank you for everything. I may not have seen it all then but I see it now.

Happy Mother’s Day! 

 

Opening image: www.sugar-beach.com

The Penultimate Career

motherhoodjobI am not stupid. I have a postgraduate level education. I am not lazy, my working day begins the moment I open my eyes to the moment I close them at the end of the day, which is often in the early hours of the following day.  I have dreams and I have aspirations. I have only ever wanted to be two things: a mother and a writer. I am the happiest I have been for years. After dressing for the corporate world it is so refreshing to leave the house in jeans and trainers, it makes me feel so liberated.

I work hard and in the past two years have worked harder than I ever have. I have exerted myself to the point my health is now affected.  My only source of news is on my mobile phone usually through my Facebook or Twitter feed usually at past midnight because to refute the common assumption of stay at home mothers (or SAHMs), I do not sit and watch television all day. Neither am I on my phone during the day, except to make phone calls. I do not go out and spend my husband’s money, in fact for at least two months now I have walked around with holes in my jeans.

David Cameron’s new childcare manifesto is designed to ‘help hard working families who want to get on’ and who aspire. How does one define hard working? I am attempting to carve a future in writing and working on several projects simultaneously, I have enrolled in a home study Creative Writing course. I am taking care of my 2 1/2 year old daughter, ferrying her to her many classes and groups. Each day she has at least one event to attend. I am also educator and playmate. I am the cleaner and chef. My husband has dinner on the table when he comes home and his clothes are always washed and ironed. Even when my daughter goes to sleep at the end of the day, there is housework and of course my writing projects, my aspirations.

sahmsday

Why should my daughter and my family be penalised because I chose to stay at home and do all these roles, every single day for free? David Cameron and his government in their discrimination are preventing me and other SAHMs from achieving our aspirations. As a family we are already penalised because my husband and I are still together and my husband is working, now we are penalised because I choose to raise my own children? What is our society turning into?  A society that is more worried about taxes and money rather than the welfare of its children? I aspire to raise happy, confident children myself and not pay someone else to do it for me. Does that make me lazy? I used to think that made me a good mother. Maybe I’m wrong. According to our prime minister I am lazy.  I am wasting my education and do not aspire. On the one hand he is supporting young couples in starting a family and then on the other hand encouraging them to abandon them and return to work when they either do not have to or do not want to.

Every day I wake up with a smile and every night I fall asleep with a smile. How many people can say that? I am raising a child with good morals, with politeness. A good work ethic. I am educating her in the hope she will reach high educational achievements and subsequently will give back to her country. Why is that not commendable in the eyes of our Prime Minister and indeed the rest of society? I am sick and tired of being looked down upon by everyone and I mean everyone. I am criticised for what and how I feed my child. Yes she is a difficult eater. She only really eats the food I cook for her. but if that is her only vice, I am eternally grateful. I am proud of my daughter and I am proud of being a stay at home mother. Mr. Cameron, I am not lazy, I am not stupid. I work harder than many people I know. I do aspire, I aspire to be a good mother. I think that is more than enough.

good mother

Further links:

Wannabe Stay-at-Home Mothers Are Being Slowly Screwed by Cameron

David Cameron’s ‘Slur’ on Stay-at-home Mother’s 

Stay-at-home Mothers Deserve Some Respect From David Cameron

Opening image: Carpe Diem Mom
Second image: Alpha Parent
Closing image: Some ecards

An Open Hearted Apology

Mother and daughterI owe an apology.

To my daughter.

The day you were born, I was also re-born. Re-born as a mother. I am no longer the person I was before and that is OK. More than OK. You have enriched my life beyond any comparison. When a child is born, so too is a mother and that mother is born with a belief that she is super human. That she can do anything and everything. But she can’t.

Lately I have been so concerned with providing for you, with trying to build something that can sustain us as a family when I don’t need to. Your father is taking care of that part. I shouldn’t care what I am worth to anyone but those living under our roof.  My mind has been on the next thing on my to-do list, the next assignment I need to complete, the next chapter I need to write. I have foregone playing with you to tackle the washing up so I can give myself more time in the evening to stare at a blank computer screen, or “puter” screen as you so eloquently put it.

No more.

The job I have now, looking after you is my dream come true. Ever since I was a little girl I always knew I wanted to be a stay at home mother. Everything else I have done prior to the day you were born were mere stepping-stones. Yet I have lost the opportunity in the everyday. The opportunity to talk to a few more ants on the way back to the car. Or the opportunity to create a walk around the neighbourhood into a big adventure. Or simply the opportunity to leave the washing up for later and to play “hide and seeks” one more time. I always wanted to be a mother who was present, always there. Not a mother who shouts or who is blind to your wonderment.

So I am sorry my darling girl. I am sorry I lost my patience as we walked back to the car after playgroup. I am sorry for an “I’ll just do this” turning into you ever giving up on Mummy coming to play. I know you are nearly 2 1/2 now and you should play on your own. And you do. But you are not 2 1/2 for long. Already I stand over your cot as you sleep and see you in your big girl pyjamas, with your big girl pillow and wonder where my little girl has gone to. My heart aches because you are growing up but at the same time it is rejoicing for the same reason. The washing up can wait. Even the writing can wait. You should not have to wait. I want you to always remember me as a Mummy who had time to play and in your later years to talk, night or day. Not a Mummy who was always distracted.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow take your time. Tomorrow I will get down on my hands and knees and talk to the ants with you, I will kick that football around, walk around the neighbourhood collecting sticks and leaves. I will play “hide and seeks” any time you want, even if you do tell me where to hide. Tomorrow I will play.

I love you, Bunny.

Mummy xxx

Opening image: www.tatcha.com

I Smile…

lovemotherhood

As I crawl into bed with aching limbs and tired eyes, I smile.

I smile at the tiredness I feel, I smile at the thought of the piles of laundry, washing up in the sink and I smile at the piles of toys that scatter my floor.

I smile at the dust bunnies that collect in the nooks and cranny of my home and I smile at the hoover that remains tucked away in its cupboard no matter how many promises I made to bring it out and put it to work.

I smile at my daughter’s increasing independence as I watch her little personality break free from the confines of babyhood.

I smile at the late night/early morning cries for “Mummy” because she feels safe and loved in my arms.

I smile at the constant “Mummy do it”, “Mummy, look”, “Mummy, cuddle” because I am her go-to person.

I smile knowing as I close my eyes each night, no matter how much I plan no two days are ever the same.

I smile because she has taught me a love I have never experienced before.

I smile because she has given me purpose.

I smile because she is my daughter and I am her mother.

I smile at the tug’o’war I play each day between myself as a mother, a wife and a writer.

I smile at the late night struggle with words I fight every night.

I smile at the late nights I am awake worrying why my daughter is not toilet trained yet, what to feed her tomorrow. Is she stimulated enough, is she this, is she that. I smile because I love her enough to worry.

I smile at the thought that tomorrow I will do it all over again.

Opening Image: Meetville.com

Previous Older Entries