We Are All Mothers
“I found the adjustment pretty easy into mothering. I struggled juggling all the balls, working, keeping the house clean ect. I could do the mothering easily but couldn't keep up with everything else by myself.”
I met with Kaila when she was in her last trimester of pregnancy. She was pregnant with her third baby, and they were so excited to meet him. Kaila told me a bit about her story, and as I was her Doula as well we got into chatting about her previous births and labor and what motherhood was like for her.
If you met Kaila, right away you would love her laid back personality. She is so down to earth, kind hearted and just a very relaxed person. She has the ability to calm a space just with her presence, and has a heart of gold. Her laughter is contagious and the way she lights up when she talks about her family is just beautiful.
In Kaila’s previous relationship, she carried most of the load. While her partner was away, she not only did all the mothering roles, but all the household duties were placed upon her as well, on top of working and raising two kids. While the mothering role came easy to her, the vast amount of responsibility on top of the children was definitely overwhelming at times.
I think we all can relate to this. Being a mom is a full time job in itself. We don’t get sick days, we don’t work a 9-5 job, our work is constant. And no, I’m not complaining about this, but it is reality that being a mom can be really difficult on top of all the other jobs we may indeed do at home, or at work. This goes for fathers as well!
I want to emphasize the importance of a village here. Finding your village, whether that be family, friends, aunts, uncles, sisters, mothers, nurses, midwives, doulas, you name it—is so crucial to making it out of motherhood alive! Make sure you have a village you can trust and rely on in times of need. Sometimes we can isolate ourselves by playing off everything as “A OK” when behind closed doors we truly are struggling. It doesn’t make us weak to ask for help, it doesn’t mean we are failing, or that because Sally next door works full time and always appears dressed to the nines doesn’t mean that she isn’t struggling as well. There is such an emphasis in society that mothers must be put together. This generation of mothers especially has so much pressure to eat healthy, don’t use technology, exercise, etc etc. Sometimes its okay to eat chocolate for dinner. It’s okay that you haven’t showered today. It’s okay that your kids aren’t wearing Guess clothing. It’s okay that you don’t work a full time job and parent and do every other household chore there ever was. It’s okay that you work full time and are struggling managing the other household duties, let alone having the energy to parent. Most importantly, it’s ok to take time to yourself. This here is actually a necessity. And no, I don’t always mean taking a bath — yes if that is your hour of self care, great. But I mean, check in with yourself. When was the last time you had a glass of water, or a bite to eat? When was the last time you got out with your girlfriends? When was the last time you went to the dentist? These are things we so often shove to the back of our to-do list.
If you’re struggling, reach out to those who care. Join a mom and baby group, join an exercise class, put yourself out there and make friends. Confide in someone you trust. Just make sure you aren’t struggling in silence. There are always people who care and who love you. Remember that.
These are the responses Kaila has shared in regards to the project questionnaire. As always, be mindful, be respectful and remember that Kaila has chosen to share her story with us, and for that, we honour her.
Kaila, thank you for sharing these details of your life with us. You are strong, you are brave, you are beautiful, you are loved, you are worthy and you are enough. Never forget that.
Did you have a traumatic birth experience? Ex: emergency caesarean, neonatal resuscitation, stillbirth, miscarriage, etc.
Nope, just super fast labours
Did you experience any anxiety or depression during pregnancy? If yes, did you feel comfortable sharing with your health care provider or close family/friends about these experiences?
With my first I was a bit anxious but I was also 19 and had just started college and had a partner who travelled the majority of the time. I was lucky I had moved close to my Mom and Aunts so I had a good support system and ended up with the easiest baby ever.
Did you struggle with breastfeeding or feel pressure to breastfeed or formula feed?
I didn't struggle with breastfeeding itself but I went back to college when my first was 6 days old and pumped for her the first 11 months of her life. I struggled when I switched her to formula for the feedings she was missing when I was at school because my body just wouldn't produce enough to pump a bottle during the day anymore. She self-weened at about 2. I also felt guilty when I weened my son at 17 months because all he wanted to do was nurse all day long and didn't want to eat real food. I remember telling people and feeling like I had to justify my decision to them even though we had a good run.
Did you struggle with body image after the birth of your child(ren)?
Yes! For the first year after both kids.
Did you struggle with any postnatal mood disorders such as Postpartum Anxiety or Depression?
Did you have a good support group during pregnancy or postpartum that you felt comfortable sharing your personal experiences in?
More with number two, I was so busy with my first and school. My family has always been very supportive though.
Were you aware of the resources available within the community of Powell River and Regional District for new moms and pregnant mothers?
I am now with this one (#3) I moved back when Bo was 3 weeks old and didn't really know what was available and didn't access anything other than play group in Lund.
Did you and your partner struggle relationship wise after the birth of your child(ren)?
Yes, my partner at the time travelled a lot and wasn't home very often. I think he resented the time and energy that went into the children. We separated a year after my 2nd was born.
Did you find the adjustment into motherhood easy and natural or did you struggle with finding your identity?
I found the adjustment pretty easy into mothering. I struggled juggling all the balls, working, keeping the house clean ect. I could do the mothering easily but couldn't keep up with everything else by myself.
As always, I like to share a few resources in the community here for new parents.
If you are looking for some great resources for mom and baby or dad and baby groups check out
The Family Place - on Facebook
Family Friendly Powell River - on Facebook
PRYCFS - on Facebook
These pages have a bunch of great resources available to families in the community. Reach out—its worth it.