I am a very private person.
I’ve spent a lot of my career as a psychologist and a researcher supporting pregnant women and mums, and throughout that time I’ve talked frequently about how important it is that we share the realities of motherhood, good and bad, and that it is ok not to be ok.
Yet, when it has come to sharing anything about my experience of becoming a mother, my inclination has been to be silent.
I’m going to try and be brave and change that now, because I feel so strongly that we need to alter the way we talk about motherhood.
Watch: Be a good mum. Post continues below.
I have spent the past week with my little boy in an inpatient parenting support unit.
I was so ashamed and saddened to be in this situation that I have struggled to tell anyone, let alone admit to myself that I needed help.
I have had tremendous difficulty helping my son to sleep since his birth and he has struggled with allergy and reflux.
Neither of us has slept with any quality in many months, and a great many tears have been shed. I have felt like a complete failure and often believed that my little man would be better off with another mum.
During a week of controlled crying (used despite my instincts telling me it wasn’t the right fit for us), on which I pinned a great deal of hope for success and found instead a lot of desperation and hopelessness, I hit rock bottom.
I decided to call for help. I called my GP, and put myself on the waitlist at the hospital. It is without doubt one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time.
In the last week I’ve had a new experience of motherhood.
By virtue of all being in the same difficult situation together, all the socially enforced artifices about what it means to be a “good” mum fell away and we were just honest with each other.