#MoreThanAMutha is all about celebrating the things that women are, as well as being amazing mothers. In a world where many women feel like they lose their identity when they become a mum, it is important to celebrate and shout that we might be mums, but we are not only that and we are still a force to be reckoned with.
What makes you more than a mother?
I fought infertility for four years to fall pregnant with my rainbow baby twins. As a couple we endured multiple pregnancy losses, countless failed cycles and underwent six fertility treatments. I researched every little detail and took all the vitamins and supplements needed to make my body the perfect incubator for our baby, or as it happened babies.
During that time I lost and found myself. There were depths of despair and real gut wrenching pain and jealousy over pregnancy announcements. I fought anxiety throughout my pregnancy, convinced it would all end in tragedy.
When our little miracles were born. I thought we had fought the war and won, that the battle was over. We could be the perfect little happy family. Except life is never that easy. Violet had feeding issues from the start. This worsened over time, development delays started to emerge rapidly, no one listened to me. I felt alone, scared and angry. I went to war. I pushed, I harassed, I complained, I did everything in my power to make them listen. I gave up my career and became my daughters carer full time.
The diagnosis journey was hard, getting the answers felt like a relief but also like a huge sledgehammer had smashed my heart into tiny pieces. Even with diagnosis after diagnosis, there are so many unknowns still attached. The, will she ever sit up, will she say mum, will she have independence as she grows older.
This is all coupled this the heart wrenching reality of having a constant comparison with my incredibly healthy son. He has saved my soul. Their twin bond is amazing and their love for each other is immeasurable. Often not giving my son the same level of attention as my daughter means a constant quota of mum guilt being filled on a daily basis.
I never imagined I would have to go into battle for everything that my daughter is entitled to. That it would all become such a stressful and emotional rollercoaster on top of day to day life. Things need to change.
My health is faltering with all that I am being given to my family. That has gone on too long, it cannot continue. It’s time to put me first too. After all I can’t do it all if I’m not physically able.
I am a mother, I am a carer, I am a physician, I am a therapist, I am a PA, I am a red tape warrior, I am an awareness advocate, I am my daughters voice, I am me.
Are people surprised when they realise you are more than a mum? Does that bother you?
Yes, they often are taken aback at the prospect of me being a twin mum and also having a profoundly disabled child too.
I get a lot of comments along the lines of “I don’t know how you do it”, “supermum”, “you are such an inspiration” That doesn’t upset me but I don’t agree. I’m a mother, I love my children and do my very best for them. I do no more than I expect any other mother to do. You just do it, you have no choice in the matter. I’m not a remarkable person just because I have twins, one of which is disabled. I think it’s just a reflex reaction for most people to offer a compliment when they don’t know what else to say. Disability is still quite a taboo subject, especially concerning children.
What challenges do you face when you’re juggling motherhood and being more than a mum?
Time is my massive issue. I’m desperate to setup a support network in my local town and wider throughout the county. There is such a desperate need for parents to be able to talk to others in the same or similar situation. There are no groups locally for special needs children, no way of finding other mums and dads who you could meet up with for play dates. I have so very little time when I am without the twins to update my blog, let alone take on such a project. I will do it, it’s just when that is niggling me.
Childcare is a massive one, I had to give up work as I couldn’t get shifts that worked well for us as a family it tied in with getting adequate childcare. Even now the twins attend nursery twice a week but my income from the time they are at nursery would only cover the nursery fees. There is no financial benefit and I would lose the only “me” time I have.
How long did it take you to remember you were more than a mother after you had your child(ren)?
Honestly it was only in the last six months, my twins were two and a half. We had been caught be in a whirlwind of IVF, pregnancy, my daughters diagnosis journey and then wham bam, it was like someone had released me from a darkened room. I had a massive reality check in a lot of ways, my husband and I had focused so much on our children, that we had let our relationship slip. We set about rectifying that.
I realised that I needed to stop being so blinkered and enjoy life. It also dawned on me the monumental amount of life experiences we had been through in such a short space of time. That I had been completely changed, that my role wasn’t just as a mother but so much more.
Who, or what, helps you to make time for yourself? What do you do to escape the stresses of motherhood?
My husband is great at reminding me to take time for myself. When the twins are at nursery I often plan numerous errands. He will tell me to just relax, hop in the hot tub or binge on Netflix. I struggle to take time for myself even when it’s handed to me on a plate. Why I feel guilty about it, I do not know. It’s crazy right?
A favourite of mine is to take a long, hot shower, IN PEACE. Drink copious amounts of HOT coffee and watch anything that isn’t CBeebies or Paw Patrol. Snuggles under a blanket on the sofa in comfy clothes, with chocolate close to hand.
What advice would you offer a mum who might not be feeling like they are more than someones mum right now?
You are always more than a mother. You are a mother, an individual, a woman, a warrior. Embrace each of your beautiful facets and you can overcome anything.
Any advice for someone who is going through the same things as you are right now in their quest to be #MoreThanAMutha?
Find time to embrace who you are, enjoy the little moments and plan things to look forward to if you are feeling down. Take time for yourself, allow yourself space to breath, to recharge. You will face battles along the way, many, many battles. You need to be fitting fit to succeed.
Who would you like to see featured next in the #MoreThanAMutha series?