Feature - What I have learnt since becoming a mum

This weeks 'what I've learnt' comes from the lovely Polly (or pixie polly as I have come to know her from twitter). I can't remember when Polly and I first started our twitter friendship but I'm glad we did, her attitudes to motherhood strongly resemble my thoughts and feelings on how I want to raise my own family. And that hair!Amazing! 

What I've learnt since becoming a mum
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I'd never planned on having children. If somebody had of asked me 10 years ago, I'd have said there was not a chance! I had spent years struggling with anorexia and depression, made several failed suicide attempts, and I was filled with self hatred. I had also spent most of my teen years locked in an abusive relationship, and the future didn't look bright.

Then in February 2001 I met my husband. By the April I was living with him. We spent that summer getting stoned, chilling out, watching movies, and just being together. We eloped to Gretna Green on the 23rd August 2006 - and two weeks after we were married, we found out I was pregnant.

After the initial shock wore off, I slowly began to see what a gift this was. Just 6 months earlier I'd wanted a way out of this world, my body had endured years of abuse (and in fact I had been told by my doctors that there was a chance I never be able to have a child). And yet here I was, alive, married, pregnant, being given a second chance.

I knew how important it was that I looked after myself so that the baby would be healthy. So my old habits of surviving on coffee and cigarettes went straight out of the window. I learnt to eat healthily, to listen to my body, to embrace my curves and to not obsess over every pound gained. I saw what a wondrous thing my body was, and slowly my self-hatred began to lessen. I focused on the baby, I knew that now I came second to her needs.

When I first held my daughter in my arms I was filled with a rush of joy, happiness and peace. She stared into my eyes, totally trusting that I would be all she needed. That this little person was fully dependant on me gave me a reason to keep going, a reason to get up in the morning, a reason to be happy. She showed me what it is to be loved and what it is to love.

On those days when I felt down, I knew that I could never do anything which would hurt her. For all the mistakes that I had made in my life, she didn't care. I knew that I didn't want her to grow up hating herself as much as I did. I vowed then to be the best role model that I could. To stop hating myself, to stop hurting myself, to treasure this life that I had been given, and to take care of this body.

9 years later and I am now the mother of three daughters. Those three pregnancies have left their marks on my body. Every strechmark is a reminder of them having been nourished inside of me for nine months. I have come to love each and every mark, every curve, every extra pound that I have gained. They are the symbols of my life, the signs that my body has nurtured life within, they are my battle scars.

My daughters have been my saving grace. They have given me a purpose in my life, they have helped me overcome my self-hatred and begin to accept who I am. Without them, I have no doubt that I would not be here. That isn't to say that life is all a bed of roses – of course there are still times when I feel down, after my second daughter I suffered with post-natal depression, and recently I have gone through another bout of the blues. In the past I would have allowed these times to consume me, I would have sat and wallowed in my misery. Being a mother doesn't allow you any sick days, regardless I have to keep going, and that has proved to be the best medicine I could ever have found.

The greatest lessons that becoming a mother has taught me is self-acceptance and self-confidence. That there is no 'perfect', no 'normal'. We are all capable of being loved, just the way we are. We don’t' need to change, to be someone else. As a mother I am capable of so much – I filled with a confidence that I never had before, I am not afraid of spending time alone {or as alone as you can be with 3 kiddos!} I do not worry what other people think of me, I do not sit and dwell on all the difficulties that I have gone through.

I am grateful for this blessed life that I live, and so incredibly lucky to simply be alive and so loved. Being a mum has shown me that life is worth living, and that all you really need is to love and be loved.

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abigailemily said...

i love this. what a beautiful story, thank you so much for sharing polly. I can't say i can even begin to emphasise with your experiences before having children, but can agree with everything you said about becoming a mother.

Your daughters are beautiful, and you are a truely inspiring mumma!

Joanna said...

I loved this and that's exactly how I feel about my body, post-pregnancy, as well. You are all so beautiful and your daughters are very lucky to have you. x

Anonymous said...

such a lush, open and honest post...it makes you want to hug polly and tell her what an amazing job she is doing! x

Anonymous said...

what a lovely post and very inspiring!
wishing your family all the best for your joint future!

Jess said...

nice story, beautiful kids and just what I needed to read after hearing some pointless moronic celeb say not being able to get her jeans on at four months was "excruciating" and how the first thing she will do after giving birth is have botox ;/

Tigerlilly Quinn said...

its lovely isnt it :) xx

Miss Moopette said...

Very wonderful and very true.

And how did she get her hair so marvellously red??!! I want red hair!! :~}

Adele Jarrett-Kerr said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous post!

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