Lessons From my Mother

As I walked through the front door at 8pm for the fourth night in a row, desolate knowing that yet again I’d missed my daughter’s bedtime, I knew there was only one person I could speak to who could make me feel better: my mother.

She’d worked all through my childhood, after all. She’d understand. I wasn’t prepared for what she said to me. “Your boss won’t thank you for working all these extra hours, but it would mean the world to Ottilie for you to be there to kiss her goodnight.

Just think about what you’re missing out on.” I’d expected her to tell me that my daughter was fine and to stop making myself feel guilty but in fact she’d said the opposite.

I can’t tell you how much I regret all the time I missed out on with you when you were little because I so busy at work all the time. Don’t make the same mistakes as me.”

While she certainly didn’t suggest I quit my job and don a pinny, she did help me to think about my priorities. My life has changed: I can’t put in the same hours at the office …

Baby blues

As I tearfully rocked my baby to sleep, it dawned on me that I hadn’t left the house for nearly a week, let alone speak to another living soul. My husband was the sole target for my angry exhaustion. I knew this wouldn’t last forever but it was hard to enjoy any aspect of motherhood when everything felt so difficult and relentless. Why couldn’t I enjoy my child like every other mother seemed to?”

The coming of a baby into the world is a momentous event for every new parent. And yet, for as many as 20 per cent of women the birth of their child can coincide with feelings of anxiety and depression that cast a shadow on a happy time. It’s no surprise that the arrival of a baby is a period of major readjustment for new parents – the toll of having a small person to care for 24/7, constant fatigue, changes in relationships within the family and worries about money and security – all of these can add fuel to the hormonal fire and contribute to periods of depression.

Pregnant mothers preparing for birth are often warned about the ‘baby blues’; feelings of tearfulness and anxiety …