Motherhood: The Brutal Reality

Motherhood is hard.  In fact, it’s way more than that.  It’s hell at times.  It’s the worst, hardest most hateful thing some days.  Yes I have vocalised (mostly to my dog) that, at times, I hate being a parent.  Shock horror! But it’s true and it feels horrendous to admit.  Whether it’s a crazy bedtime, my child telling me they hate me or they point blank refuse to get dressed to do something they want to do (like a trip to the fun fair) which ends up in an epic meltdown by me and them!

At times, Motherhood has ripped through my heart and spread the entire contents on my living room carpet.  Motherhood isn’t the fairy tale I thought it would be. It isn’t just children giggling, family cupcake making and twee moments at bedtime.  At times it’s ugly, raw and really f*cking real. There’s anger from adults and children alike.  Shouting from big people and small ones. Crying from me and tears from them.  It has been the place that brought my midlife meltdown spiralling on to the kitchen table with an almighty crash but it has also been the place I have found my medicine, intense healing and believe it or not, relief. 

I was a calm, together kind of person before I gave birth in 2012.  I hadn’t really experienced anger – it took A LOT to push my buttons.  But boy, once the little ones arrived, my control issues were out of control ,  I had anger at my old life slipping away from me, resentment at my present situation, negative views on my parenting abilities )even if I had given the best of me that day), guilt for thinking negatively about my life, pain from the guilt, shame for thinking negatively, guilt for the shame and shame for the guilt,  and the vicious circle goes on. 

Why aren’t women really saying how it is?  Why are we pretending and posing on Instagram that life is blissful as a parent, when it’s quite the opposite at times?  Why are we not talking about this?  Isn’t this the problem?  Why are we pretending it’s all just smeared avocado on our new white t-shirt or apple puree on our Adidas pumps?

Let me get it clear, this is not to damn my children for existing, quite the contrary.  If I hadn’t had them, I would be a dribbling mess, failing at life and crying to all that would listen.  My kids were my catalyst for change.   They have been the greatest gift and biggest blessing to me because they have shown me the pain that I have unconsciously been storing in my heart. They have shown me the way, and helped me to release it.  They brought up my past hurts, feelings of abandonment, loneliness, beliefs of not being lovable, feelings of neglect, lack of trust and complete lack of worthiness all to the surface.  When I had my son, he showed me I needed to do work on myself and my daughter confirmed what work needed to be done.  There have been times when I see their loneliness or anger and it has triggered the exact same thing in me – like the times my daughter has felt excluded by boys (as a child I felt left out of my brother/father dynamic) or when my son has feared school because he is worried about fitting in (I used to be the same).

I know i’m not alone about how I have felt as a parent. You can blame your kids (I have) for being out of control, mental, hypersensitive but, it wasn’t my kids, it was me.  It’s not your kids, it’s you.  Our own childhood determines our experiences as a parent.  It’s not that parenting is hard but that you are overwhelmed (not with the now) with an overload of emotions from the past.  You’re tired, not because your kid gets you up at 6am but because you’re tired of feeling like you do and for carrying these feelings since you were a child.  You’re not so busy because you have kids, you have learnt to busy yourself to avoid feeling, feeling your pain from the past.  With kids, it’s your pain you are witnessing in them, not theirs.  It’s your anger you see in them, not theirs.  Our children are our greatest mirror – and they are here to reflect back at us what we least want to see and let alone feel.  They say that we are only as happy as our saddest child. They say that the child that feels deeply and vocalises it, is the one brave enough to show you what you don’t want to see. 

There wasn’t one particular moment that I realised I was losing it, like leaving my son in the supermarket and forgetting he was there.  It was a slow meltdown, mostly of my nervous system.  After a day as a mum, like many, I would be exhausted and emotionally frazzled.  I would give everything in my day to my son, take him to rhyme time, then the playground, then feed him home cooked food, love him, cuddle him, wash him, tidy up after him and the list goes on.  So by the end of a day, I was beat.  At the weekend I would share a bottle of red with my husband but from Monday to Thursday I wouldn’t, and rarely now, touch a drop.

But, I would think about it EVERY. NIGHT. And I mean, EVERY NIGHT.

To the point that I thought, ‘Why do you think about it so much?’

I would joke with my husband saying, ‘If someone told me wine was good for me, I would drink it every day.’

But there was something more going on for me..My nervous system was spent.  My anxiety was through the roof.

My nerves were buzzing.  And I needed wine to calm them.

It wasn’t about my child, it was about numbing the feelings that were coming up.

Motherhood overwhelmed me.  Motherhood pushed my emotions to the brink.

Motherhood bought my stuff to the surface.

Motherhood was my catalyst. 

When my husband gently guided me towards therapy, I didn’t hesitate.  I went with an intention: To be a better mum and wife.  But as this wasn’t about being better but realising why I wasn’t valuing me as I was.  I had an unrealistic expectation as me, as a mother and as a human being as a whole.  I was carrying around holdalls full of pain and sadness that was affecting my ability to be a present mum and instead I was consumed with overwhelm.  

I have seen all the mummy vloggers showing the reality of having kids – food on floor, early mornings, no time for a good hair day, little makeup but what if we peeled away that top layer and really talked about the times you have been broken on the bathroom floor, not knowing how you will get through the day, or how the little human has pushed so many buttons that you have exploded uncontrollably and consequently felt extreme guilt for your words and the volume they were expleated at.  What if we talked about that?  And what if we really talked about that with someone who could help us?  Like a therapist or coach or whatever you want to call it.  This isn’t for crazy ones – it’s to help us lighten our load as women and strip off those unrealistic expectations of perfectionism.  This is about off-loading our pain so our kids don’t have to feel it.  This is about accessing our old memories so that our kids don’t have to use theirs to trigger ours.  Our wounds and patterns of behaviour carry through 5 generations until we look at them and we take responsibility for our hurts and pain so that our kids, friends and family don’t have to fall victim to our stuff.  

I’m not alone, I know you have these moments too.  It’s not your kids.  Those mental tantrums that they are having doesn’t mean they are ready to be bundled up for a psychiatric unit, and when they hit you yesterday doesn’t mean they are going to be armed robbers when they grow up.  They are playing out your anger, your resentment, your frustrations it’s not about the present but from your past.  So it’s time we stepped up, ripped of the perfect parenting masks and got real. Real with ourselves.  If we are to help future parents, isn’t this about having real conversations about how it REALLY is and I mean REALLY is.  F*ck the perfect mother model (which I was a victim of), f*ck covering it up with humour and wit (although sometimes if you don’t laugh you might implode).  This is about really telling others how it is whether you have kids or not.  Whether you’re a mother or an entrepreneur or even both.

Motherhood was my catalyst for change, this is not unique to mums.  Our past pain and hurt can be triggered by a death, divorce, moving house, an affair and in my case a birth.  Women as a race are walking around with the burden of generations of pain, hurt and shame and we’re pushing ourselves to be this symbol of perfection (myself included) and it’s wrong.  We have to talk about this in order for change to occur and we need to be honest with our peers so that we can be the change.

Be the change that you want to see in your world and the rest will follow.  

My Birth Story

Believe it or not, it is over a decade since I collected my son’s spirit and bought him Earth side and while it was an amazing time to birth him into the world, the birth experience was not as it should have been.  I have since learnt otherwise and wow it was a bitter pill to swallow.

I had opted for a private, hospital birth under an obstetrician as I believed at that time that this was the safest and best option for me and my baby.  I now know, this choice was made from a place of fear of birth, distrust in my body, but trust in a system that sadly did not have my best interests at heart.

I do what I do as a birth-keeper now because I had a disempowered birth – where I made choices, I didn’t truly know the consequences of.  I gave away my body sovereignty to a system that is all about mitigating risk, not trusting women’s ability to birth, making money, and moving a woman out of hospital as quickly as they can post birth because after all – time is money.  The system, which I thought was the safest and ‘best’ option for me and my baby was not about my welfare, it was not about what was best for me, my body, or my mental health. It was simply about getting the baby out as quickly as possible with whatever medical intervention needed, with little regard for the trauma that the process may have triggered in me or my baby.

What I have learnt since, from my personal journey is, as we birth, we are entering into one of the most sacred and precious moments in our life, a rite of passage for women but we are doing it without knowing the true implications of what certain decisions entail.  We are handing over our bodies, not knowing how it might be affected because we have trusted the system through repetitively being told, hospital is where we MUST birth to be safe, and DOCTORS know best.  Since my journey and witnessing birth, this simply isn’t true.

Before I share my birth story, I want you to know, I’m not anti the system. This isn’t a rant to take down (what is a dying) system, I believe.  It is just my observations based on my journey and witnessing women time after time lining up for a tale of trauma, unwittingly.  So I share my story, so that, if you’re listening and pregnant, I, just maybe, might give you some food for thought, a nugget of information that you might learn from so that you can make some different choices or at least, choices with informed consent and retain your body sovereignty, knowing that what you say ‘yes’ to is in line with your beliefs, your gut intuition and with a ton of information to back it up. So that when you sit, holding your baby in those sacred 6 weeks post birth, you can feel satisfied that you did what YOU could to keep you and your baby safe rather than handing over your power to a system you don’t really know – thus by passing post-natal depression and a whole host of trauma.


In brief, I went into spontaneous labour at home around 5am the day after my due date.  I called the hospital after taking a bath (a good early labour activity) and then having a big old poo (a clear sign labour is ensuing- I mean after all who poos at 5am???).   When I called at around 7am, I was told to chill and have a cup of tea – to which I did.   By 9am excitement got the better of me and I took myself along to the hospital at the end of my road.

As I arrived in my hospital room and as the sensation of labour became stronger, I kept vomiting in between contractions so there was little let up to meditate, breathe and generally converse. (I will go into why I think I was vomiting later in the podcast).

Anyway, they do their whole check in routine, listening to my blood pressure, taking my temperature, checking the baby is moving and its heart rate and of course the famous Vaginal exams began, on to the bed I went, legs akimbo, in she went – just so that she could tell me how dilated I was. It turns out I was 5cm, but my son had not descended into my pelvis and his head wasn’t engaged.

I was encouraged to walk around to help him drop in.  Time was ticking though and sensations getting stronger.  My waters hadn’t broken naturally so I was guided to having my membrane ruptured.  Back in came the obstertrican with a knitting needle type instrument. I lay on the bed, propped up while she pushed and prodded this sharp instrument with a hook on the end through my vagina, cervix, and the sac in which my baby was snuggled.

It was, believe it or not hefty work, the doctor had my legs behind my head, with her shoulder dug into my glutes as she heaved and hoed. Eventually the flood of warm, flowing waters arrived – the sensation of the flood was dreamy, the way I got there was anything but.

And just a note on this – I’m telling you this story so that you don’t have this happen, so that you can safely sit there and go, ‘nope not for me. I have a different plan and it involves my very clever body, baby and empowered self to birth differently so that I have tell a story of positive birth’. 

I’m not that woman who has walked the path and now tells the gory story, no, I tell this so that you are fully knowledged up with the reality of birthing in the system, without knowing a thing about it and reasons why this isn’t your reality.  There is a whole other plan for you and it’s not this one!!

Anyway, back to my birth story, several hours later, he was still not engaging (their words) so I was given an epidural to reduce the strength of contractions – I remember thinking as I bent my spine forward to have the epidural needle stuck between my vertebrae that this was a better option than what I was experiencing.  And in many ways, it was, as I could then sit there watching Wimbledon (this was June time) and reading the paper (this was before I was awake the mass media toxicity of course!).  I hadn’t been given any tools to ride the wave of contractions, which I call surges.  I had been given no optimal positions or exercises to support my baby’s journey or my body’s expansion.  I was just left, on my own, in a medicalised setting to somehow find the tap of oxytocin to help my body open and baby drop down but my gosh, hospital is anything, but the oxytocin rich set up we so need for a successful birth.

As soon as I had the epidural, I was no longer mobile and my birth took a very different route.  Unknowingly, epidurals often slow things down, it is after all an intervention in the natural process of labour, as was the ruptured membrane, as was the vaginal examinations, the bright lights, the unfamiliar faces and everything else that my hospital admittance entailed. 

Remember time is money. So next up, after another vaginal examination, I was offered a drip of Pitocin, a synthetic form of oxytocin to help bring on stronger contractions to move things along (I’m taking up a bed, the longer I’m in it!). As soon as you enter the hospital system you are on the clock, they check your progress every 4 hours and if you’re not ‘progressing’ as they wish then they’ll offer you something that will put you back on their schedule (and there is little nuance to the individual – one size fits all apparently when it comes to birth!).

Again, I had no idea what I really had signed up for.  As soon as you have synthetic oxytocin, it cuts your ability to produce your own – so that love hormone, that we naturally release during the birth to help bond and connect you and your baby gets sabotaged. Yep, you heard me! Making breastfeeding and bonding a whole lot harder (not impossible) when this beautiful hormone isn’t present.

With this being a very unnatural intervention, as they all are of course, bringing on contractions thick and fast, too quick for most bodies including mine, and way too fast for my body to comprehend what on earth was happening, not least my baby’s ability to understand what the heck was happening and thus, quite obviously triggered foetal distress.  Alarm bells are on, nurses are running around like headless chickens and I’m sat in my bed, powerless, unable to walk, and thinking this is because I had failed, because he wasn’t moving down into my pelvis.

The truth was, I hadn’t failed. The system failed me.

They tried another synthetic hormone to see ‘if the baby’ was better with another toxic chemical and of course he wasn’t. Foetal distressed ensured again and the headless nurses ran riot once again.

Eventually the obstertrican returned and said, I quote her, ‘we could be here for another 12 hours waiting for your baby to descend but more exhausted and with little results.  You need an emergency caesarean. Now.’

I was rushed into surgery, shocked, shaken and very stirred.  They cut my womb open, they took my baby boy out, rubbed him with a rough towel, cut his cord immediately and eventually placed him on me – and so our journey began. My son and that birth triggered a tsunami of emotions of overwhelm of life, underwhelm of ‘is this it?’ and all the suppressed emotions that I had pack in for 35 years (hence why labour triggered vomiting as I believe I was so numb to feeling emotions in my body that when I had these birthing sensations, my body couldn’t take the force of it).  It’s said, your birth is the story of your life to date, you’re given the birth you need.  I was given one that was all about fear, disempowerment and suppression of sensations and emotions and that mirrored the first 35 years of my life on Planet Earth – you can read more about this in my book ‘Born to Shine’.

Post-natal and breastfeeding is another podcast or blog to come but that my friends was my birth story. And yes, I did have post-natal depression and yes, I truly do believe that my body knew the trauma of the birth even though my brain didn’t. I thought the doctors had saved me and my baby. That’s what they lead you to believe. ‘If we hadn’t done X, Y would have happened’ and let’s face, as women we will do ANYTHING to protect our young.


Truth is, no one can honestly predict how my birth would have unfolded without intervention BUT what I do know is. I needed more time. I needed a safe and sheltered environment to birth, for my baby to descend, for my cervix to fully open.  My body knew this wasn’t a safe place but my ego and mind plus deep conditioning told me otherwise.

I’m not saying there is never a need for an intervention or a caesarean but not in the numbers we are seeing. We are losing natural birth because we are handing our bodies over to an industrialised process.   If you haven’t read about the cascade of intervention, I suggest you do (or purchase my birth preparation course obvs).  The moment one form of induction is given a cascade of procedures follows, in almost all cases – mine started with my waters being broken and ended in a c-section.  When we upset the natural rhythm of birth it invites in a different rhythm and one that the natural, human body rejects and this comes out in the birth trauma and post-natal depression in the following days, weeks and months, if not years, if our trauma goes unresolved.


I just needed time.  With hospitals on a conveyor belt of birth and the industrialisation of the birthing experience, allowing me time to bring my baby Earth side is money wasted – in their opinion.  While I’m keeping a bed full, I’m stopping another woman come through the system where pharmaceutical drugs are a premium, while the cost of a caesarean is big money income.


As I said, I’m not here to fight the system, I’m here to reimagine birth and create a new birthing experience and one that honours and preserves the natural and beautiful, powerful and sacred process that is human birth. A woman in her birthing power is like nothing that you have seen before.

I was not broken. My body was not ‘failing’ to engage. My baby wasn’t failing to move down. The system failed us.  I need not have been cut open.  I didn’t need my sacred womb sliced (twice – as I opted for a planned c section for my second birth to avoid the emergency, I had endured the first time around). I did not need to have my sacred waters broken, I did not need synthetic drugs to speed things up or mute my surges. I just needed time and in this broken society, time is money.  I just needed some loving words to reassure me that my body, my baby and me all knew exactly how to birth. I just needed a dimly lit, soft and warm space to bring my beautiful boy earth side. That’s what I needed.


When I trained as a doula, I had to understand my birth and process the unnecessary traumas so that I can show up for you without baggage, judgement, or a biased point of view. 

You know your body; your birth story is different to mine.  I am not anti-hospital birth. I’m for empowered choices and sovereign consent.  If you choose a caesarean, I support you – there are ways to make this choice personal to you such as, receipt of your baby immediately, skin to skin, the vernix left on, delayed cord clamping, lotus birth, natural 3rd stage labour.  If you choose a hospital birth, you can do this as a sovereign being, making inform choices with firm boundaries of what you are willing to receive in care on your terms.  BUT you must know the implications of decisions made, potential and probable outcomes and KNOW the physiology of birth.

Here is where doulas come in: first through continuity of care and having a woman by your side to advocate for your choices.  The gift of my experience is I see how a medical system industrialises the process out of fear of litigation and a price tag on time.  With this awareness I assist women in ensuring they aren’t another unnecessary statistic that went through the birth mill.   I advocate for the birth that you choose and I support you in creating a space either at home or in hospital that is in line with your wishes and desires.

I shared with you my story as a trail blazer of the future of birth.  Let’s reimagine birth – one of natural celebration of the immense power a woman must house new life and then birth new life into the world. What a gift and one that must be held in the highest regard.  Let’s celebrate your ability to choose your birth in this modern world and one that supports you and your baby thriving through motherhood.




We are here to show our children the way.

Let’s create that new and beautiful path towards birth.

Afterall, peace on Earth begins at birth.

Thank you for reading this, I hope you take away a nugget of empowerment to see you through your beautiful birth journey, however it unfolds.