“All my worries about everything I didn’t know kept
building up when I was pregnant making me irrational and all
over the place. I was like a child after eating a bag of Haribo or
a lollipop - completely uncontrollable and knocking anything
that gets in their path into space heights - but without the
buzz or enjoyment.” Amy
Have you ever experienced the overwhelming sensation that
you aren’t good enough for anyone, including yourself? I
believe that any mother can feel like this when they find out
they’re pregnant, whether it’s their first or fifth child. Each
time is like being a new mum, because you never know quite
what to expect, and it’s this fear of the unknown that can
affect all of us, if we allow it to.
Even just those words written down ‘fear of the unknown’,
can invite irrational thoughts to race around our minds. The
‘what if’ factor of every unknown scenario of motherhood was
a frequent visitor to my mind. All of those thoughts build up,
overtaking any rational ones trying to calm us down.
I’ve read so many times in magazines, online, in pamphlets
and in shared posts on social media that even the most
knowledgeable and experienced professionals agree that
when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood there
is still so much we can learn as a society. Opening ourselves
up to every opinion and claimed fact that crosses our screens,
papers and hospital notes can leave all women feeling very
vulnerable, not to mention confused. Is it any wonder we
question ourselves? I questioned myself every time I saw a
new mum smiling from a magazine article and looking
physically fit in what seemed like days after giving birth. Was
I happy enough? Was I lazy?
But I learned to look in the right places.
There are lots of opinions of what motherhood should look
like, and what you should be experiencing. I find the more
the years go on, the more information can sound like it’s
turning into opinions, so I no longer felt like I had to believe
everything I read. I even found supportive influences that
took away my fear.
When I first became a mother, things were slightly different. I
had my first two children before the internet became what it is
today, and scarily before any social media platforms or many
relatable pregnancy and parenting books were available on
the shelves. Sometimes I think I’m lucky that I didn’t have
those influences, but then I feel that I missed out on the choice
of support and knowledge that new mothers are getting now.
Those first two times, I was dependent on the knowledge of
the professionals who surrounded my pregnancy, my birth
and the first years of motherhood. Yes, family members and
friends gave me their advice, but it was always clouded with
the positives, so that they didn’t scare me. My mum would
remind me that she would be there for me every step of the
way because I would need all the support I could get. It was
so lovely to feel supported but of course in my head I was
thinking, wow is it going to be that hard that I need so much
assistance? My mum has always kept to her word through the
good times and the tough times. I appreciated that at the time
and looking back it makes me smile because of how much of
the reality of motherhood she sheltered me from before I
began my journey.
I often meet women who feel claustrophobic from all the
advice that is shared with them, and I also meet mothers who
wish they had support like that. They all feel lonely, unseen
and unheard. The pain and confusion of these women is real
and it’s probably happening to someone close to you.
Always here Clare
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