Victoria and Grace

Name: Victoria Camera

Child: Grace Cleod, 5

Location: Manchester

Expectations of Motherhood: 
I had no real expectations but always knew I wanted children, there was never any doubt in my mind. I turned 30, got married to my longtime sweetheart, and was pregnant in 2 months. It was so right, and I was so in love with my husband, that it was natural to then create our precious lady from all that love. Looking back I completely underestimated how wonderful it all was.
I was running my own consultancy business with 2 other directors and had been for 7 years. I’m not certain looking back how I thought it would impact that. I do tend to throw myself into anything that I want, so I embraced being pregnant. Looking back I had more expectations of my husband, as a father and what it would be like being pregnant. Somehow in my mind there was a romantic notion that this would be the making of me as a woman!

Reality of Motherhood: Tired, so very tired. No party life anymore. Being the first in my group of friends to have a new baby was real tough, seeing how my then husband was not stepping up to the demands of the changes in our life was a real eyeopener. He really didn’t understand the impact of our baby until that first moment of holding her. 

Not feeling myself at all, wondering where the person before motherhood had gone, and wondering if I wanted her back? Questioning everything in my life, and understanding how to reconfigure what I was now striving for. The total ultimate and all encompassing love and protection I felt for this tiny little being, so scared of how to protect her now she wasn’t inside me.
I also valued my girlfriends so much, and was lucky enough to meet a group of 5 new mums who through the fact that we were all brand new mothers we bonded like glue. Funny as we always say that in any other circumstances, as we are all so different, we probably wouldn’t have become friends.
Grace’s daddy has just died and this is another reality for which I would never have expected to face. Never underestimate yourself as a mother and what you are capable of achieving.

Taking your child home for the first time: Changing a nappy seemed so difficult, and it was so unbelievable that we were allowed to just walk out with this little baby and drive home.

The best/worst advice: 

Worst advice: Don’t worry its like shelling peas/you’ll be great at giving birth Vic, what with all that yoga you do! 
Best advice: Accept any offer of help you get and sleep while their sleeping (I never did either!)

The hardest parts of being a mother: The guilt, that kicks in the minute you give birth, down to the finest detail of delivery, to now around my work/life balance and lack of a father. Having to play both parents roles – Grace turned round to me yesterday and said ‘How can I be happy when Daddy’s dead?’ I just do not feel equipped to guide this precious being through all of this. She’s also realised that she’s getting a lot of attention and sympathy about her Daddy (rightly so), but actually, I have had to have a very difficult conversation with her about what she still has to do even though her Daddy died.

The best parts of being a mother: Suddenly everything made sense, I now have this anchor which keeps me grounded with my day to day life. She is the funniest, most precious thing in the world to me, and with everything we have been through she has been my saving Grace. Living in Copenhagen with her for 3 years, gave us such quality time, and I really feel so close to her, and she teaches me so much about how to approach the world and deal with our daily life together, including the death of her father. I can’t help but laugh at this mini me that is now running around!

Hopes for your (growing) family: That she will be happy, love herself and
find what she wants out there, whatever that may be. I also hope that one day I can explain to her about her Daddy. I would love to find another partner, but have so much baggage I think it will never happen.

What advice would you offer to new and expectant mums: Trust in yourself and your instincts. So many people have advice, but your so well equipped for it, and ask for help! Don’t be ashamed to say how tired/under/overwhelmed you are. Enjoy the maternity leave as all the cliches seem to be true (it passes so quickly)! Use your family and friends for support, and make sure you get a bit of time for yourself, whether its getting 40 winks, haircut, massage, yoga class or going for a drink, do it, don’t sacrifice your whole self. Be kind to yourself. Don’t argue with your partner over the domestic chores, honestly its not worth it, step back and remember that some people are doing it all on their own.

2 thoughts on “Victoria and Grace

  1. You sound like a very brave lady and mum. We can only ever do our best, and you sound like that is what you are doing. So sorry for your loss. X


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