Recently I read that 1 in 5 women experience post-natal
depression, which can be linked to pregnancy experiences.
Support can be on the doorstep but yet so far to reach out to.
So, what causes this fear that mothers are experiencing?
Where does it come from and why doesn’t it leave when
I believe that my fear came from my own thoughts. I
built up this image of what people would say if I asked for
support. I repeated the responses I would receive inside my
head. I was scared of not knowing what people were going to
think or say to me.
Most of the fears I had when pregnant with all three of my
children came from the areas that I wasn’t too sure about, that
everyone else seems to have an opinion on, even though all of
their views would just make me even more confused. I needed
direct answers to my questions, but everything seemed to
have an ‘if or but’ added to it.
I wanted to hear real life experiences from new mums; where
did they go for support if they needed it? Were there any
mums’ groups I could join?
I didn't have anyone to ask, so I
would visit my local library to see if there were any updates
on the local board. I wanted to know if I had to bottle feed or
could I breastfeed?
I asked my midwife and she told me to try
and see how I felt about it, but how would I know what felt
I soon realised I had to figure motherhood out for myself and
learn as I went on. I could change nappies and feed on
demand, my babies were healthy and happy, and so I was
always given the thumbs up at weigh-ins and doctor
But from my first child to my third, the changes in advice
changed dramatically. I felt as if I had slept in a bubble for ten
years and not heard of any of the recent scares doing the
rounds. Everyone would comment on how things have
changed and how I couldn’t do what I did in the past. I was
just at the stage of my parenting where I thought I was a
pretty good mum, and now I was finding my identity being
shaped into an insecure mum. I would look at my older
children wondering how they were even standing, as I had
made up the bottles in the mornings for the day which you’re
told not to do now. When I would ask what had changed, no
one seemed to know the answer. I was even frightened about
my third child having a dummy because I read on social
media pages that it was linked to delayed speech.
I took all of the new advice in, but would try and protect the
mother I had been to my two older children, by reminding the
professionals, friends and family members that I had birthed
before. I found myself questioning if this was how society was
treating all new mothers now? I understand there are facts
that need to be shared by professionals, of course there are.
However, there are also ways of educating new mothers
without them feel belittled or creating fear around their
Within some parenting groups I visited, there would be
people who thought that by pushing their own guidelines,
experiences and education onto the others, they could assert
their identities amidst this confusion. But then the other
expectant or new mums were feeling defined by how they
parented against all this information rather than who they
were. As I was losing who I was too, I would sit back and stay
I wish I had stood my ground, but when you’re unsure of who
you are, you don’t want to be noticed.
It wasn’t until the birth of my third baby, that I started to voice
my thoughts around pregnancy, parenting and life. I now
question any advice and give suggestions on what I think
would be beneficial to both myself and my children.
I learnt a valuable lesson. You can be told 50 different ways on
what you will feel during pregnancy, birth and motherhood,
and all 50 of these opinions can be wrong. Only your unique
journey will determine the experience you have. Listen to the
opinions of those close to you but never forget that you have
the last say; you are in control no matter how out of control
you can feel.
Don’t ever lose sight of that; ask the questions,
talk to the professionals, but share your opinions and beliefs
and most importantly believe in yourself. If something doesn't
feel right, ask again and again and bring your own opinions
and intuition into it too.
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Always here , Clare.