A few years ago, I was away doing a training course in Brisbane. When I arrived home, I had a message to see the principal at the school my boys attended.
When I arrived at school, I was told that my eldest boy had pushed another boy up against the wall (after being provoked for six or so months), & why hadn’t I been at home the day before to deal with it. I had to admit that I had been away learning the Triple P Parenting Program to teach parents how to deal with their children! I hadn’t thought of this situation in years, until I went to see Bad Moms with my fellow My Midwives staff. The movie gave a humorous insight (don’t watch it if you don’t appreciate a bit of colourful language) into the pressure and expectations we put on ourselves as mothers, and the judgements we make about other mothers.
Mothering is a tough gig, whether you have one child or 20, if you work at home or away from home, if you have a partner or not. Whichever way you look at it, us mothers have a stressful task of raising these little darlings into employable, and hopefully, likeable human beings.
Bill, my first boy, was born early at 35 weeks. I assumed that I would be fine taking this little person home, after all I was a registered nurse with a Masters in Midwifery & a Grad Cert in Child Health, piece of cake! I soon discovered that what I had learnt in my studies was nothing like being totally responsible for a dependent little blob all day, every day. I sat on the couch for weeks at a time, trying to ‘perfect’ my breastfeeding technique, with a little help from my 1000 page textbook. I made ice cream in three different flavours, I used cloth nappies, I did everything in my power to be a perfect mum. My husband would come home & ask that fateful question, ‘how was your day’? I would respond in a variety of ways: tears, screaming, how ‘leftie’ or ‘rightie’ (my breasts) were feeling, or quietly informing him of what Kochie had to say that day! Poor bugger must love me to stick with me & produce two more babies!
I ended up with four bouts of mastitis in the first six weeks & postnatal depression! I believe that I experienced all of this to make me a better midwife and woman. I no longer judge other women for choosing to bottle feed, or stay at home. I stayed at home for a couple of years, & I can assure you that it is much easier for ME to go to work. But that is just me, and one woman’s choice or beliefs will differ to the next one.
I believe that the continuity of care that we provide at My Midwives can help to ease the transition into parenthood, by providing that support that I (and many others) lacked in those first crucial weeks of mothering. As a mother and a midwife, I want to finish with these final words: be kind. What suits one family may not suit the next, but we are all aiming for the same goal: to love our children and guide them in becoming good people.
If you, or someone you know might be suffering from postnatal depression, seek help. Beyond Blue is a great resource: https://healthyfamilies.beyondblue.org.au/pregnancy-and-new-parents
If you need a laugh, see the trailer for Bad Moms here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKCw-kqo3csPost by Emma Tuner - Midwife #badmums #badmoms #hilarious #goeasyonyourself #postnataldepression