There are some things about becoming a mother that aren't spoken of while you're pregnant, they're generally not the prettiest part of birth or your postpartum journey but all the same should still be talked about, I mean I'd rather be more prepared than surprised, am I right? Now, don't worry I'm not about to get gruesome with you and dish out all the gory details, I'll bring you in gently (for now *enter evil laugh*). But in all seriousness there are somethings that could do with sharing to prepare the new mum and for us experienced mums to not feel like we were the only one going through it at that time. Are you ready? It's time to talk about survival mode.
I was 20 years old when my eldest was born, Nathaniel James Taylor Russell, I had an amazing birth in a birthing pool, I didn't need stitches and my pregnancy had gone pretty smoothly too. I'd moved back home from drama school and my partner at the time and I were living with my mum, step dad, sister and two brothers. Throw in a cat and a dog too and it was an absolute mad house. After I had Nathaniel I didn't realise the type of underwear I was going to need to 1. hold everything in and 2. be giant pad friendly. My mum sent my stepdad to the supermarket to get 'sensible black nickers' when he rocked up home sporting a packet of what I can only describe as either granny pants or 'Bridget Jones' pants, they were bloody massive and along with my? mum we laughed (not too much though or I might pee myself I've just had a baby - yes that's a thing too). Jump forward almost 7 years and actually at the time we laughed 'Oh men are useless at shopping' but those bad boy big black granny pants have been used more than I'd probably like to admit. They've seen me through 3 postpartum journeys, many a period, those days when you've run out of underwear because you always wash the kids clothes and forget to chuck any of your stuff in and those days where I just want to be comfortable because I need to survive the day ahead. So well done Jerome, that was probably the most useful shopping trip you've ever taken in the whole of your life, well in particular your purchase for me.
So let's discuss this 'survival mode’ when you’re a mum, you wear so many different hats, cook, cleaner, laundry lady, referee, etc. you’ve got to balance everything going on in your life plus keeping however many humans you have alive, happy(ish), healthy(ish) and clean(ish). Being in ‘survival mode’ is doing whatever you can to get through the day, here’s my message to you…
It’s also okay to be unsexy, to be comfortable, to wear the big granny nickers and the comfy bras. It’s okay to dress down and have no make up days. It’s okay to have a day where you do anything just to make it to bed time. It’s okay to get to the end of the day and have a glass of wine, or two, or have a piece of chocolate, or ten! It’s okay to be in this ‘survival mode’ where there’s no time to think of you, the house is a tip and you haven’t had time to brush your hair let alone put make up on. It is okay! What’s not okay is to spend your whole life in this state, you can be a mother and a real person too. You’re allowed to have passions and hobbies - we do totally forget this being a mum, can you actually think of any hobby that you enjoy off the top of your head? Wiping bums and having ninja skills at nappy changing cannot be one of them!! We need to remember that we are people aside from being mothers. Being a mum is the most amazing feeling but it’s also stressful as hell, seriously exhausting and majorly time consuming. Having time out to do what you enjoy, going on to pursue your career or work towards your dreams are not selfish. I repeat this is not selfish. Not one bit. You can be the stylish woman, you can be the super star sports lady, you can be the career girl, you can be the sexy partner and you can be the doting mother. You can be it all, or bits of whatever you choose. Remember to take time for you, to reclaim your identity.
With love & gratitude,
Ana Louise Bonasera
Confidence & Clarity Coach
P.S. If you’re struggling with your body image and you’re ready to take some positive steps towards loving your body come and join our new challenge “12 steps to a positive postpartum body” find out more by clicking the button below. I can’t wait to watch you blossom girl.
Ana Louise Bonasera, mum of 4 boys, girl power enthusiast.