I was a fairly new mum and was beginning to emerge from the most hectic two years of my life. I had one daughter and was due to have another, and found myself dwelling constantly on 'motherhood'. Why are there are so many things that go unsaid? Why did no-one warn me about what was coming?
I'd been so shocked at how unprepared I was - my life had changed unrecognisably - and so I wanted to create a forum where women could share their stories and experiences of being mothers without feeling judged.
'The Mothers' project began, and with it a community of supportive women and their wildly different and amazing children. 'The Mothers' grows every week and now over 100 women have been featured on the blog.
If you're a new mum and need some reading material in those wee-small-hours, or you're pregnant and feeling ever so curious about what you might have in store, this is the place for you.
Everyone is welcome here.
The best thing about The Mothers has been smashing the myth of perfect parenting.
As a woman - from even PRIOR to conception (with multivitamin capsules and folic acid) - there is a tremendous pressure to "do things properly."
Then throughout pregnancy, birth, breast feeding and that first difficult year there is so much emphasis on very narrow parameters in which women are expected to adhere, which makes what is already a very emotionally and physically demanding time, much more pressured.
The Mothers came around for me when my son was a toddler, and I only wish I'd had it when pregnant.
Women speak of their experiences and through their stories you find common points, for the first time recognising that those difficult parts of parenting are universal.
In mum's groups and at health visitor appointments etc, there is sometimes a tendency to be competitive or to not properly share the more difficult aspects of parenting for fear of being made to feel like a failure.
The blog demonstrates that women are plural - having different experiences, challenges - there is no set way to do things.
This has had an incredibly liberating power for me. Finding points of recognition and realising - finally - that I am not alone.
I first started reading the-mothers.co.uk when I was pregnant. I approached the site with caution because I'd been warned by people to stay away from those offering 'advice' on giving birth/being a parent and recounting their birth stories (invariably they would be awful because they're the ones that make the best stories right?). But I couldn't resist reading the different stories a) because the pictures looked so amazing b) my hormones meant I would automatically ignore any advice given to me and so it was inevitable I would read the blog. I am so please that I did.
This blog is different than others out there on the web because the mothers (and fathers) who tell their stories don't preach about the 'right' ways to do things or what you should/ought to be doing as a parent; it's just their experiences good and bad. The contributors seem to be so honest about their feelings of themselves and their abilities as a parent. I am often surprised at how open they are and I have been relieved to know there are other people out there who are feeling the same as me.
I found it a comfort to read the site before our little girl came on the scene and even more so afterwards. We had a few issues with the birth and for months afterwards there were trips to the hospital for physio on her neck and feet which sometimes became all consuming emotionally. However, reading the stories of some on the blog and the issues they had to deal with, put our 'problems' in perspective. Perhaps I would have found this time more difficult if I hadn't visited the site to read the stories. I thank my hormones for leading me to this site.
I absolutely love The Mothers blog --- it demystifies motherhood and makes us less invisible. Also, I think it's empowering to unify women's experiences, it's amazing how varied and different they really are.
It allows me to realise that I am not failing as a mother, that my child is not abnormal and that I am not alone in feeling like this! There is great deal that we can learn and gain from candid insights into other peoples lives. I feel that The Mothers is the community that is lacking in todays society.
Through writing my blog I finally found some form of closure, everything I'd felt or experienced had been put into that blog and when I finally submitted it I felt a wave of relief. I was accepting what happened but not letting it take over my thoughts anymore. It was also a great way of sharing what happened with friends without having to relive it myself.