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I'm Jemma, Cambridgeshire, HR Business Partner, single, living with my 7.5 year old 50% of the week. Work hard, studied my under grad and post grad degree whilst in full time work; the latter whilst in a pandemic and having my daughter home from school and being single!
What were your expectations of being a mum prior to becoming one?
All lovely cuddles and kisses, playing and enjoying motherhood. Lots of mum friends and play dates, groups and fun!
How did you feel when you found out you were pregnant?
How did you feel during your pregnancy? How was your physical health and mental health?
Sick! Very very sick .. I had severe morning sickness the whole way through; up to labour and actually in labour. I was sick 3 times a day, every day and was on medication. I was exhausted and big, I struggled to concentrate and work.
How was your experience of your baby’s birth?
Traumatic! The birth was tough and resulted in a hospital stay, blood transfusion and almost bleeding out on the delivery bed.
How did you feel emotionally/mentally after the birth?
Tired, like I’d failed myself and Mia, I was sore and felt like I wasn’t being listened too by anyone; I felt weak and my iron levels were rock bottom.
Did you experience any postnatal mental health difficulties?
I did, looking back now, but I didn’t seek help for it at all.
How are you feeling now?
Good days and bad days, parenting is hard work and I sometimes feel like I’m failing Mia!
How have you found parenting during the pandemic?
Like trying to swim through concrete. It’s been hard balancing her needs, mine, work and cooking all the time! Her education has suffered and my mental health has suffered too.
What helps you feel like “you”?
A good night sleep, a happy child and time away from work!
What has surprised you about being a Mum?
The school years! How tough are they?! Balancing your child’s needs, plus your own, trying to balance friendship groups and children being nice to each other. It’s such hard work being a mum; plus all the judgement.
Do you think that social media affects you as a woman, and as a Mum?
Yes! Both! The expectations are too high around body type and the norm, and the norm around your child and how/ where they should be in life.
Do you think that social media during the pandemic has helped or hindered you as a woman, and as a Mum?
Hindered completely. I often take social media breaks, it’s damaging to my mental health and addictive. Makes me feel bad about being a woman and mother.
What advice would you give a new mum?
Be yourself. Do not get hung up on everyone’s expectations and what you ‘should’ be doing. You know your baby and if they’re happy and healthy, you will be too!