5 mintue read
This is a one of the most difficult blogs I have ever chosen to write. I have made it no secret about my mental health struggles. I have made it no secret about my approach to motherhood.
Hearing the news of yet another suicide, and that of Caroline Flack has really upset me. I didn’t know her, I have only ever seen her on TV. I have never known anyone in my life personally who has been taken by suicide but I can understand how and why one person would. For me being a mum is tough, but the mum bit isn’t the hardest for part for me. The ‘so-called’ fluffy stuff around it all is the hardest. I am no stranger to being bullied, I was bullied all through school, I remember one boy in my primary school was so horrible to me I would come home crying. He was later removed from the school and I became confident.
I was bullied in secondary by people who I thought were my ‘friends’ they made up songs about me and did this horrible (which I can only describe as cruel) gesture with their hair and encouraged me to do it, and that was about me. I was broken, everyday I came home broken. Every morning I returned to school scared and lonely while they laughed at me and thought it was funny. I sit now, after reading up on suicide more and more and think that could have easily have been me. Those nasty insecure girls destroyed my years of 11-16. As a result, I feared, I was scared and I struggled from that point to feel confident or to make friends. So I just always tried to fit in with ‘in’ crowd or the ‘popular’ crowd but what I didn’t realise was – that was damaging.
Moving on to pregnancy and having my first child, I found (or at least thought I had) a nice group of friends. But I didn’t, I felt bullied, I felt those memories, those fears instantly returned. My son was becoming a victim as others were told not to play with him. I would drive home from classes in tears because I thought I had failed him with my past demons. But I didn’t fail him, I protected him by removing us from situations.
I am proud of that, and I hope one day he will understand and be proud of me. I never want to place my son in a situation that is uncomfortable or one where he has to lie to himself to ‘fit’ in. Now, I have a group of mum friends and friends I choose to be around, ones that make me feel safe, who empower each other, who are not constantly competing or gossiping or being nasty. I left school many many years ago, and that behaviour was left there, I’m so proud that is no longer in my life.
I created The Unlikely Mummy for one reason – I never want mums to feel the way I was made to feel. No one deserves that, I rejected my friends, I became isolated, I cancelled plans and I still do, not because I don’t want to see people, but because of how I am feeling. I hurt. The pain, the anxiety of how I feel everyday takes over me. Every day, I have to work at trying to be the best version of myself, so if that means I don’t smile, or I don’t want to talk, or I come across grumpy, angry or aggressive it’s because I have struggled a little more that day. If I cancel last minute, change my mind or I’m indecisive, it’s not because I can’t decide, it’s because I have no energy to. These are my own demons that I face everyday.
So, please forgive if I am not the person you remember because those people I mentioned at the start caused more damage than they will ever know.
Please talk to someone. There are plenty of helplines, friends and family in your life who can support you. I’m lucky to have my parents, my husband and my amazing support of friends around. People I want in my life.
I beg you, please stop with the ‘perfect’ Instagram and Facebook, and your ‘fake’ post. Your child doesn’t sit and play in a picture perfect way or eat 5* food. You are putting unnecessary pressure on yourself and the mum network around you. Don’t pretend you are something you are not. Social media is dangerous and it is constantly making me feel like I’m a failure or that I’m underachieving, when in fact I’m not. I’m there for my son, I play and I interact with him. Social media needs a revisit, we need a revisit.
Think before you post. What you say matters, what you share matters and remember everyone has their reasons. I have lost count of the amount of times I have sat and cried or unfollowed someone because of their posts on social media, post that make me feel insignificant and an awful mother. Post that make me feel like I can’t cope, when in fact I have had a great day.
Just let babies be babies and mums be mums. Stop using social media as a tool to bring your peers down. Use it to encourage, empower and support. Our lives are not rehearsed and they are definitely not picture perfect. There are no retakes, edits or filters. I’m guilty of the filters and it needs to stop.
Stop staging life and bringing people down. Just stop. I am guilty of it and I’m tired of it. My house, my hair and my life is normal. It is not perfect! I want to support mums by being real and that’s what my focus will be. I may lose some of you, but I hope I gain a lot more from my honesty.
“In a world where you can be anything, BE KIND”