Margaret and Rebecca, Gemma, Lucy and Alice

Name: Margaret 

Children: Rebecca 26, Gemma 16, Lucy14 & Alice 8

Location: Preston

Expectations of Motherhood: I never really thought about this when I was pregnant with Rebecca. Being only 17 it was all a bit unexpected! But I think because I came from a big family with 3 brothers and 2 sisters I had quite realistic expectations of motherhood. I remember my Health Visitor commenting when Bec was a few weeks old that I’d taken to motherhood “like a duck to water”.

Reality of Motherhood: Each time a new baby has come into my life I have realised how to begin with a tiny person can take over your entire life and turn it upside down, dominating everything you do. For those first few weeks with a new baby even the fundamental things you take for granted like going to the loo, having a shower or cooking a meal become unbelievably complicated. 

But after the first few months it all gets easier and the baby just slots into your life. Since I have been a mother for all of my adult life I have never really known any different. My children are my life.  

Taking your children home for the first time: When I had Rebecca it was back in the days when you had to stay in hospital for 5 days. One thing that was good about being in hospital for so long back then was that the babies were all taken away at night to the nursery so the new mums all got at least 5 full nights of sleep before they went home. I’ve only got hazy memories of taking her home for the first time but my main memories of those first few days were my sore stitches and the horrors of breastfeeding for the first time and spraying breastmilk everywhere. I do remember that I hadn’t quite mastered the breastfeeding by the time we went home.

With the other three I was only in hospital for 24 hours each time, but I couldn’t wait to get home. If I’m honest I didn’t like all the noise from other people’s babies and it was always impossible to sleep on the postnatal ward. I vividly remember the day we brought Lucy home – her head was blue for days because she’d had the umbilical cord wrapped twice round her neck. Gemma, aged 21 months declared “mucky ‘ead – needs a bath”.  

The best/worst advice: I’ll never forget what a neighbour once said to me when talking about her family: “If we’re all in bed at the end of the day and we’ve all survived then I know we’ve achieved something”

The hardest parts of being a mother: Having to juggle everything constantly. I’ve always worked as well as being a mum and this has always caused an inner conflict in me between being a mother and having a career. I had postnatal depression after my youngest 3 daughters were born which was very hard for me and my family each time.

The best parts of being a mother: The little things. Watching them grow. The things they say and do that make you smile. Their achievements. Being there for them when they need advice or a shoulder to cry on. Seeing them grow up – and have their own children. 

Hopes for your (growing) family: That they get whatever they hope for out of life and that they are happy.

What advice would you offer to new and expectant mums: Enjoy motherhood. Enjoy your children. Don’t worry about doing everything perfectly.

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