By Revie Jane
Motherhood: it’s been one of the most profound and joyful experiences of my life but, like many, it has come with challenges and uncertainty. From the start, I felt enormous pressure to meet not only my own expectations of what it means to be a good mum, but society’s as well. So, I set out on a mission to add more to my repertoire as a woman – I had to be able to look after my baby, provide for my family, maintain a healthy relationship with my husband, with fitness and my friends.
Everyone and everything else was a priority – except, you know, my own basic needs. Sleep, hobbies, hygiene, intellectual conversations. I believed that by doing and being it all, I was doing what was best for my baby. Looking back, this was a terrible foundation for the biggest transformation a woman can go through.
I know so many mamas feel this way, because you’ve told me. How life has taken on an unimaginable pace, trying to keep up an unrealistic and an unattainable façade.
In saying this, I have faith because I feel we are also a generation of women who are becoming more aware of what ‘matrescence’ entails – we are sharing more, and we understand that it is not a weakness to speak of our struggles but a strength. We’ve also learnt – sometimes the hard way – that just because we can do it all, doesn’t mean we should, especially if it comes at a cost to our mental and/or physical health.
For me, societal and internal pressures eventually became too much and I broke. Thankfully my breakdown became my breakthrough. My lesson was this – motherhood in itself, although painful and terrifying at times, is the ultimate transformation that gives us an opportunity to become who we were destined to be.
That doesn’t mean it feels easy. You can feel painfully alone, frustrated you weren’t better informed, exhausted by the mental load (and lack of sleep) and confused by the ambivalence of your new role. But then, there is another powerful force… love.
As a mama, piece by piece, you put yourself back together with the wisdom, gentleness and strength you always had within you. In the aftermath of your roughest night or longest day, out rises the woman you were born to become – and she is spectacular.
I’ve learnt some of my greatest lessons in my toughest moments as a mama; that the best thing I can do for my child is be myself, and care for myself with a passion. I can’t continue to grow when I don’t give myself the time to get to know myself, but ‘me-time’ can look different for everyone. From yoga to doing your make-up uninterrupted, from a manicure date to going for a bike ride with a friend, we all need to find our own way.
It’s hard to hear your own instincts – or needs – with the noise of society telling you how to be, or when you’re scrolling aimlessly through other people’s highlight reel (we’re all guilty!).
Now, I check-in and ask myself daily, ‘How are you doing?’ I understand that one of the greatest gifts I can give my children is to strip back the layers of expectations, and rediscover myself.
The transformation of motherhood is real and hard – but the greatest one we can experience too.