Saturday, 1 March 2008

The Experience of Motherhood

I listened to something tonight far enough in advance that I can post about it before the podcast is gone!! And it's Woman's Hour (from BBC Radio 4) so I think it stays available to listen again to(that link will stream the show in whatever media player is default on your machine I think) beyond the 7 days after broadcast.

Tuesday's Woman's Hour was a special devoted to "Experience of Motherhood". It's about our expectations and realities of motherhood, questioning whether it's idealized and whether woman/society downplay how hard it can be. Questioning whether that could be a factor in causing depression, difficulty bonding with baby and/or transitioning to a new identity as a mother. Really interesting to listen to. Of course there's a lot of ground that isn't covered or even touched upon, but it's only a 45 minute show after all. The Wednesday edition was a phone-in follow-up show which I'm looking forward to listening to also (podcast same place as above, listen again here).

Thought I'd mention it in case any of you out there would like to give it a listen too. It's interesting to my how what is difficult for one woman about motherhood is not going to be the hard part for another; how a lot of that seems to have to do with what you know you're letting yourself in for and what you don't; what you can and can't anticipate.

I always knew I wanted to be a mother. By the time my now 19 month old daughter was born I was better prepared than a lot of people I know in terms of understanding what hard work it can be especially at first. (I love the newborn stage so I think the mind numbing parts of the early weeks and months were offset by that along with my mum being around to help out for the first 6 weeks and a husband who adored the baby and helped out a lot.) But still there's a lot that I don't think you can understand until you're actually doing the mothering -- a lot about finding your new identity and finding out whether you're going to be the mother you envisioned or one that's quite different...

I love being a mother, I adore my daughter and she makes me happy every day, but she also drives me nuts at points everyday as she's becoming this wonderful person who we invited to live with us without knowing what her personality would be! The constant need from another person can be draining, it leaves me craving me time to myself that I hadn't recognized the importance of until I couldn't have it anymore. Not to mention all the things I want to do for my daughter, my family and myself that there simply aren't enough hours in the day for and yet I get so stressed that I can't so it all. (By which I mean live up to my personal ideal of the mother - and woman - I want to be not an overarching ideal of Motherhood that I measure all mothers against.) That's all I'm going to say about it here and now, maybe there'll be more when I've had time to digest and think (if the job of motherhood allows such a thing!!).