I never realised quite how much my life would change when I became a mother. I was prepared for the day to day changes – the nursing, nappy changes and night wakes – but hadn’t thought too much about how it would change me personally.
Amid the haze of the newborn days I started to feel like I had lost a grasp of who I was, with all my focus entirely on this tiny human who was so reliant on me. But after re-emerging from the fourth trimester and benefitting from a slightly clearer mind and more sleep, I realised that I’m a different person to who I was before, and I’m not only okay with that, I’m embracing it. Rather than losing a part of myself, I’ve gained something new, and I’m sure this will keep evolving as my son grows.
My priorities have shifted entirely, and where I once might have worried more about trivial matters, now my focus is first and foremost on my son. Is he hungry? Is he well rested? Is he developing as he should?
But I also noticed that where people understandably asked about my baby and how he is doing, few people asked about me. How was I feeling? Did I need any support?
It’s something that I have all too often been guilty of myself. I’ve been too busy cooing over the newborn to even ask about how mum is, or to say a big well done to mum for not only growing this baby and bringing them into the world, but also putting her own needs aside to ensure this little person is nourished and has all of their needs met.
That’s not to downplay the role of our partners too, of course. Becoming a parent is a huge life change for everyone, and I couldn’t have coped without the support of my husband. But mothers also have the physical recovery from pregnancy and giving birth to deal with along with experiencing a huge shift in hormones, potentially navigating breastfeeding, and caring for their bundle (or bundles) of joy.
This is where Keeping Mum comes in. I want to create a space for mothers to focus on their own needs as well as their child’s. From self care to sleep, from relationships to recovery from the toll that pregnancy and childbirth takes on our bodies. No topic is off the table. Because mums matter too.