The lovely ladies over at the newly rebranded 'everymum.ie' (formerly eumom.ie) asked me to answer a couple of questions about what motherhood means to me...
What did you find were the biggest surprises about becoming a mum? Writer, Actress and Natural Health Educator Ranae Von Meding is currently expecting her second child, with wife Audrey. She talks about how parenting changes the dynamic of a relationship, the challenges of sleep deprivation, and how every mum needs more support.
When I was asked what Motherhood means to me, it took me a while to think about it. Because where do I possibly start? Motherhood is all-encompassing.
When you become a Mother, you are forever changed. You will never again be only you. No matter what happens, there will always be a part of your body and heart that no longer belongs to you, but to your child.
I became a mama in 2016 with the birth of our first daughter, Ava. I will be forever grateful to her for all that she has taught me about parenthood, relationships and myself. The first year was really hard. Like really hard. No one can prepare you for the shock to your system. The pain of birth, the agony of mastitis, the torture of sleep deprivation. On the other hand, no one can prepare you for that beauty of looking into your child’s eyes, the joy of hearing them giggle for the first time, the incredible feeling of being the centre of this little person's world.
I guess Motherhood is a contradiction. It’s the hardest job but the easiest choice. The most painful and the most rewarding. The lowest paid and the highest compensation.
As same-sex parents, it’s been an interesting dynamic to learn to be mothers together. However, I think like any couple, gay or straight, it’s all about learning to respect each other as individuals and as parents. Ava calls me Mama and calls Audrey MomMom. Though when she really wants something she just shouts ‘MOM’ at whoever will listen!
It’s really beautiful watching the bond between Audrey and Ava. She is actually Audrey’s biological daughter because we did Reciprocal IVF- where we used her eggs and I carried the pregnancy.
I’m currently 22 weeks pregnant with our second daughter and we are excited (and nervous) about adding another little one into the mix. No doubt it will change the dynamics in our threesome, but we will figure it out as a family. That’s all you can do as a Mother. Do your best and try to figure it out as you go.
What piece of advice would you share with every mum?
Try not to stress about all of the ‘small stuff’. Worrying about every single thing will do you no good. Babies are complicated little things and they need time to adjust to the world. Even when it feels like it can’t get any worse, I promise you, it will get easier. After not sleeping for more than 2 or 3 hours for 8 months straight, I thought I would die. Seriously, did you know you can die from lack of sleep? And then Ava started sleeping for longer stretches, and life seemed a whole lot brighter.
What most surprised you about motherhood?
How relentless it is. With every other ‘job’ I’ve had in my life, there was always the option of quitting. Taking a break. The thing with motherhood though, is from the moment that baby is placed in your arms, there is no going back. No matter how old your children get or how far away from them you are, your heart will never again belong to only you. I saw a quote once that really sums it up for me.
'Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.'
What does every mum need?
Support! Whether it is practical help, emotional encouragement or just having someone to vent to. The number one thing we all need is support. Whether that comes in the form of your partner, your family or your friends is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter where it comes from.
We all need our tribe of people. No one can do it alone. We don’t need to be ‘superwoman’ and ‘have it all’. It’s one of the healthiest things you can do to ask for help. It shows strength and foresight to see that burning yourself out will do you and your children no good.
Ranae is a mother, writer, actress and natural health educator. She blogs about same-sex IVF and parenting; advocating for equal rights for all family types. She and her wife Audrey, a stage manager, live in Dublin with their 2-year-old daughter Ava. Ranae is currently pregnant with their second daughter. You can follow her blog at www.ranaevonmeding.com or find her on Instagram and Facebook at @ranaevonmeding
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