The super cute (often over-the-top) poems and sugar sweet gifts, all things pink and sparkly and macaroni necklaces, for many Mother’s Day is a day to reflect on how lucky they are to be a mum and how blessed and glorious motherhood is. The reality is that being a mum is not always moonshine and roses and some days it is just really difficult and challenging. We all struggle sometimes and some of us more than others, did you know 1 in 7 new mums are diagnosed with postnatal depression? Here are some facts to get you thinking:
Belinda Horton, CEO of PANDA, shares her thoughts on Mother’s Day:
Have you ever wondered what you were thinking when you decided to become a mum? Questioned the sanity of your choices when you think about the chaos and havoc this little person has created in your ordered life? Do you try to remember the last time you could just lay in bed, with nothing to think about except what you were going to have for breakfast?
Well, as I’m sure you know, if you are already a mum those carefree moments are long gone. The warm and fuzzy images of motherhood we see are so far from the reality we know as mothers. So why do we celebrate all this chaos and uncertainty on Mother’s Day? How is that a sane thing to do, especially if it is your first Mother’s Day? It would probably be better to mourn the loss of your old life, the seemingly sane you and the surety you had in every part of life.
So why do we have Mother’s Day? Perhaps it is for the children in our lives and for us as children, not so much for the mum. I know that it teaches our children how to show their gratitude and thanks, to show their love and care for mum as ‘the’ special person for one day in the year. Sometimes you have to grin and bear it, to love and accept the handmade cards, the gifts bought at school and the cold toast and tea for breakfast.
I suggest it is important for you to write your own script for the meaning of your Mother’s Day and every Mother’s Day to come. I think we should declare Mother’s Day to be the day when we reflect as mothers, take stock and start afresh for the year ahead. An annual tune up to re-evaluate the part of our lives we live for ourselves. All of this assumes that you believe it is OK for you to have a life that is separate from your baby or being a mum. Crazy I hear you say? I barely have time to shower and never go to the toilet by myself and you think I should be evaluating the things I do for myself? Well, yes is the answer to that question. Who said that women need to cease to exist when they have a baby? How does a baby get to suspend a life that existed well before they did?
I do get that in the early weeks and months after your baby arrives there isn’t much room for anything other than the baby. It is really important to be able to heal, focus and adapt without the demands of your previous life. But this doesn’t need to be indefinite. When you are ready it is time to plan, to dream and to bring to life new visions of things to come that will bring you back to yourself. Mother’s Day is a wonderful time for new mums to check in and see if they are ready to do this. Not being able to do this may be a sign that your life needs re-balancing with time to yourself and more emotional and practical support.
Mother’s Day is also the ideal time to think about the amazing wisdoms that we learn as mums. Like how to focus on another human being, not because of what we gain from doing this but because this little human being demands it. Also learning how to trust ourselves, mother’s intuition as many call it. You know those times when you just seem to know and perhaps for the first time in life you are able to hold firm for another person. And lastly, to marvel at what we have achieved. A new life in your baby, and a new life for you, one that may not feel like it fits yet, but it will. Take the time to think for yourself, about yourself and what you need to stay well and happy. It can only be good for your baby now and for their celebration of you on future Mother’s Days.
PANDA has been raising awareness of postnatal and antenatal depression for over 28 years and has helped tens of thousands of Australians get much-needed information, support and treatment to aid their recovery. If you or someone you know is concerned about postnatal depression visit www.panda.org.au or call PANDA’s National Perinatal Depression Helpline on 1300 726 306.
For your chance to win 1 of 5 PANDA Bracelet Double Packs visit www.millionmums.org.au and answer the following question: What are you most looking forward to this Mother’s Day?
Competition ends June 12, 2013. Sorry, Australian entries only. By entering you agree to our Terms & Conditions.