Life with Kim - Maternal Mental Health
The 29th April to the 5th May this year I saw the strength of mothers coming together on Instagram. It was Maternal Mental Health week, and to be totally honest I had never really given my mental health too much thought. I was what I will call the driftwood mum. I’ve never really thought of it this way before. I was (and still probably am), the mum who tries to drift through motherhood. Like a piece of wood drifting down the river of family life, if I was ever to come into contact with an obstacle, I would hit it at the speed that the river was taking me, and bounce off back into the flow. Nothing too serious, a kind of dust yourself off and carry on. In mum terms, the obstacles usually came in the form of forgetting to return reply slips to school, my kids losing homework books and the house looking like the back end of a festival field part way through every working week. In worse off cases, the obstacles would come as money issues, not really getting by as such but more pulling at every last shoestring to make sure we could put diesel in the car and buy food. But with time the river gets easier and the flow gets good, the scenery on the family life river is second to none and drifting feels easy. Until eventually you take a big hit, and you realise that your not always strong enough, and the impact of an obstacle is enough to break you in half.
In mid April this year I was taken to court by the father of my eldest son. After feeling like I had put the utmost effort into making sure my children have good relationships with their fathers, I had clearly been too ignorant to think that he would of never of done something like this to me or our son over being at loggerheads over which high school our son should attend. To cut a long story short I wanted him to go to school where I live with his older sister. His father had other ideas and wanted him to stay local to him after primary school….. He won.
While on the river of family life it felt like my driftwood totally snapped in half. For a day that felt like weeks, flowing down river trying to keep family pieces together. Mourning a life that we would never have. A life that we believe best for the all of our children, Trying to comfort a teenage daughter who feels anger she should not have to deal with. Feeling anger at court judges who think they know what’s better for my son and dealing with anger at someone who refuses to work with me as a parent. I felt it like an explosion. It was like a raging storm in the river, any kind of shit weather, it was there. Currents dragging me under and weight pushing me under.
Then, like when the weather clears and everything goes still, no current or swell, no flow, just stillness after a storm, I let go of all feeling. Truth be told on that day I met with my Yoga friends and we did Yoga and meditation all day. I let go off anything attached to me. Being a mum, a wife, work, money, caring for people or things and just let myself be. I breathed in everything good about the world, I did yoga Nidra and I pushed my body into Yoga poses I had not done for a long time because I had been busy getting all ate up by the world. The following days I meditated on forgiveness and peace.
It’s an ongoing process and always will be, but my message to any mothers drifting out there, LOOK AFTER YOURSELVES. Talk to all your loved ones, because guess what, sometimes it’s the little obstacles that break us in half. Sometimes the current sucks us under and it’s not always a huge rock or island in the way. It’s smaller things that build up so we don’t even see it coming. It’s the forgotten packed lunches or the day we slept in when we arranged to be somewhere. It’s the washing in the sink or the day we missed the deadline for the kids milk money at school. It’s the in your face breastfeeding campaigns when your milks not coming in or you just can’t get the hang of it. It’s the latest new trends that your son/daughter just MUST have but your budget won’t allow it. And sometimes, it’s just the influencer on social media who’s in Dubai with her 2 week old twins and a washboard stomach wearing a gucci bikini.
Detach and make sure you know none of these things define you, beautiful Mama
By Kim Whitworth
Image by Pexels