Alex, Esme and Arthur

Name: Alex

Children: Esme,7 Arthur, 3

Location: Urmston 

Expectations of Motherhood: I genuinely don’t think I had any.  I consider myself to have been quite young when I got pregnant (27) and it all happened by ‘accident’.  I had no regrets but there was a part of me that perhaps wasn’t ready for it or hadn’t really thought about being a mother – I was having too much selfish fun to consider anyone else and none of my friends had kids. I was lucky enough to have a stable, loving upbringing so I guess I just thought I could possibly offer that one day to someone if I was lucky enough to be able to.  

Reality of Motherhood:  Nothing that once was, remained.  I remember an overpowering sense of grief for what had come before Esme.  I was totally in love with her, but I knew that everything had changed /was changing in the most unexpected ways.  I felt guilt for feeling that as she was/is so precious.  The biggest thing was how it impacted on my relationships.  I am super close with my older sister (who had no kids at the time) and even that dynamic changed. I wasn’t the kid anymore.

Taking your children home for the first time:  I had a c-section and I remember I was driven the long way around to avoid the speed bumps. Sleep had vanished, I felt like I had been raving for two days and now I had a tiny creature to raise…forever. I remember a mild panic set in as I knew even though we were safely back at home I couldn’t just switch off and sleep for 8 hours.  I struggled with that thought every night.  I managed to breast feed her for 4 months and she would only sleep for 2 hour stretches.  

The best/worst advice:  This too shall pass. That everything changes eventually and not to panic.  That used to keep me in check on the darker days/nights. Also, mealtimes are an issue for us.  My daughter is fussy/ has the appetite of a bird. My son has a bigger appetite, so I don’t worry as much.  The best advice I was given was to think about their diet on a weekly basis not daily.  What have they eaten this week? ‘She’s survived solely on cheese straws today’ It takes the pressure off those moments. 

The hardest parts of being a mother: The change in relationships.  Even your relationship with yourself.  I lost myself amongst it all.  I am comfortable being a mum – I give myself over fully, but that isn’t necessarily healthy.  My relationship broke down when I was pregnant with my son.  My partner checked out. I don’t blame myself; I think he had some kind of breakdown.  I still don’t really understand what happened, but what I do know is that I hadn’t looked after myself, I hadn’t stood up for myself.  I was passive to it happening.  That thought makes me feel sick. It is something I never want my children to feel. So, for me the hardest part is being a single mother.  The kids have a great dad still, but it can be a lonely, vulnerable place. I have to step up and deal with my stuff whilst raising them.

The best parts of being a mother:  Raising two brand new humans!  How lucky am I!?  I am privileged to have two healthy, happy children.  I don’t take that for granted.  I work in a special needs school; I know what a miracle my kids are.  Things could be very different, and I am genuinely humbled by that.  

Has becoming a mother changed you? Motherhood exposes who you are and where you have come from which can be pretty enlightening but also painful. It has forced me to take responsibility for my sh$t and to better myself because I am role model for these two little guys. It’s the old cliché of ‘I don’t want my kids to make the same mistakes I did’.  (I want them to make their very own fresh, new ones)  

Has your perspective on work changed since becoming a mother?  Yes.  (Although it is hard to gauge whether this is due to motherhood or my relationship breakdown) I am not particularly ambitious, in fact I consider myself quite lazy.. However, since becoming a mum to my son I am trying to change that.  I don’t want my children growing up like that.  I mean personally it has come from a healthy ‘secure in myself place’ but I am trying to push myself, because it feels good to achieve things.  I am very creative, and I am just starting to tap back into that in a work perspective.

Hopes for your family:  That we grow together.  That we can listen to each other and be patient.  That we genuinely enjoy hanging out together/talking whatever the age (obviously disregarding the entire teenage part). That they have the ability to love themselves before anyone else. That they aren’t afraid to be different and stand up for others who may need them. That I can help to raise two brave, loving, bright and bold humans.  

What advice would you offer to new and expectant mums:  It’s your journey, no one else’s.  That even the darkest times have their purpose. To quote Mary Oliver – ‘Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.  It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift’ 

Any other info that will support/add to your profile:  I am an illustrator catch me on Instagram @draw_from_this

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