• Becca

This is Motherhood: Rose

This post contain subjects which you may find triggering; if you have been affected by any of these issues, please do seek help. Resources for support can be found here.

Hiya! I'm Rose, 34, living in South East London, walking distance to my mum (who looks after my son 2 days/wk) & partners brother. Changed careers just before the pandemic & moved from charity/hospitality to managing a participatory theatre company. Been with my boyfriend for 11 years & we have a 3 year old son together.

What were your expectations of being a mum prior to becoming one?

Honestly, I was nervous about a whole life change - the friends I mostly hung with were not having kids & we had an open house sort of for friends & gatherings.

How did you feel when you found out you were pregnant?

I was excited & felt really ready. My friends & family were amazing & really supported me throughout

How did you feel during your pregnancy? How was your physical health and mental health?

I felt fine for first 5 months - nausea but no vomiting, still went out & did sober activities, the odd bout of absolute meltdown 'biscuit crumbs on my jumper tears. However, I spent a week in hospital at 28weeks after being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (straight off the bat, not gestational). I was exhausted and thought it was just regular pregnancy but no, this would be forever. While I was I hospital, my regular Dr rang to tell me I had Group B Streptococcus. That was a low point- kick me while I'm down. So in all honesty, it was exhausting and now I'm left with a chronic condition.

How was your experience of your baby’s birth?

Due to the T1 & GBS, I was induced at 38weeks, with drips either side with insulin & antibiotics. However, my experience was pretty positive and thank god for gas n air!

How did you feel emotionally/mentally after the birth?

After birth I had the usual baby blues 5 days after where I cried uncontrollably (embarrassingly the house was full of friends & family). But generally fine. Great support.

Did you experience any postnatal mental health difficulties?

My biggest difficulty came a few years later. Everything got too much - trying to buy a flat, lack of sleep, trying to navigate career, dealing with constant medication & condition - and I had a breakdown. Cut off everyone around me, work suffered, relationships suffered, couldn't cope with my son much. After a week of terrible thoughts, I sought help & was prescribed some beta blockers. They helped with the immediate symptoms & I started talking to those around me again. I think focusing on my son had provided a distraction but balancing everything became too much.

How are you feeling now?

There are still days when it feels overwhelming - the balancing act is constant & all encompassing. However my friends know when I'm getting insular & talk me back round.

How have you found parenting during the pandemic?

Positives - potty training in early pandemic was hard but also the only time in our lives where we'll be stuck inside for 2 weeks!

Negatives - out of work musician partner playing the violin 4 hours a day in tiny London flat.

What helps you feel like “you”?

Seeing friends/family; going to the pub with my partner; new hair colour; swimming...I've lost a few things along the way too so I'm still finding replacements

What has surprised you about being a Mum?

The chats - now that he's 3, we have the most interesting chats & he's constantly surprising me with his kindness & insight. Also, I suffer with massive anxiety but looking back to maternity leave, there's loads of things I did that just seem so far out of my comfort zone. I think it felt pretty natural to me (hard but natural).

Do you think that social media affects you as a woman, and as a Mum?

Definitely, but in the past year I've started following positive (or funny) parenting/female accounts - like BirdisPapaya, MamaStillGotit, Knee High in parenting, Victoria Emes- and they've really helped to change my social media scrolling.

Do you think that social media during the pandemic has helped or hindered you as a woman, and as a Mum?

Probably spent way too much time on it in the evenings however, as above, it's also provided some connection.

What advice would you give a new mum?

You are exactly the mum your child wants. Roll with it.

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