Tonight I am sitting on a panel for an event hosted by the Female Empowerment Network. We will be discussing whether women can have it all and stay sane, a hot topic for Mental Health Awareness Week. It seemed the perfect excuse to re-publish this letter, which originally appeared in Bristol Woman magazine…
Thank you for not judging me. But for listening, and nodding without telling me I was being silly. You never tried to fix me. You never tried to change me. You knew I was ill and you knew I’d get better. Even when I doubted I even wanted to.
Thank you for not abandoning me. For sticking by me even though I wasn’t very nice to be around, or easy to communicate with. For spending time with me when I couldn’t be alone. And for leaving me in peace when I needed the isolation.
Thank you for accommodating my paranoia without making me feel paranoid. You made the impossible seem possible and made me feel safe. You allowed me time to process decisions and events and protected me when I was unable to think clearly enough to do even the simplest of things.
Thank you for feeding me. And for making sure my children were fed when I was trapped on the sofa unable to move for fear of waking the baby. For the take away meals and cups of tea. For the juice and the dark chocolate.
Thank you for understanding why you couldn’t hold the baby. Or that you had to hold the baby when I couldn’t anymore. For getting why I cancelled plans and hid away. For still phoning even when I wouldn’t answer the phone or return your texts.
Thank you for calming me down when I couldn’t breathe. For never telling me I needed to pull myself together or that I was crazy. For staying strong when I was weak. For being patient.
Thank you for coming with me to the doctors and talking to them honestly about how I was behaving. For not showing your fear. For looking after me. For loving me.
Thank you for still being my friend, my mum, my husband, my family.
Identity: In psychology and sociology, identity is a person’s conception and expression of their individuality or group affiliations (such as national identity and cultural identity). The concept is given a great deal of attention in social psychology and is important in place identity.
Recently I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Pippa from Story of Mum. at Britmums Live. She was very busy at the front of the venue taking photos of us mums for her website. If you havent already heard about it, this is what her wonderful website and this blog post is all about…
As mothers, it’s not often that we feel seen, heard and valued. Yet our everyday stories matter, and sharing them can inspire others. Story of Mum: Mums making an exhibition of ourselves is a touring programme of exhibitions and events in galleries and online that aims to put mothers in the spotlight.
The exhibition celebrates motherhood, explores the impact of mothering on our identities, and encourages mums worldwide to share their stories in words, photos, collage and film.
Parallel to the real life events, a virtual exhibition is travelling round the world, stopping for mini exhibitions on blogs – like this one!
Participants are asked to choose one item from the existing exhibition, create one item to add to the exhibition, and share their thoughts on these and their identity in motherhood.
And without further ado…here is my exhibition!
I Curated This
What a choice of things to curate! I have spent hours looking through the website and much as I had a wonderful time looking at all of the creations so far, choosing one for my post was incredibly difficult! I got lost in the memorable moment of mum section for quite a while and wanted to curate everybody, such wonderfully moving posts! In the end I settled on a beautiful video from Stephanie at Storybramble.com from the My Mum-Story. She said in her post that she found it incredibly hard to choose just ten photos to capture her story as a mum and I completely understand how difficult this must’ve been, but the photos she has chosen are amazing and she narrates the video beautifully. You must watch her amazing video here.
I Created This
I decided to make my creation from the Mama Mash-Up section, as I guess that since becoming a mum my identity has been a bit mashed up! At first, as indecisive as ever, I chopped up 6 different pictures that I felt represented my identity as a mum. Two of them were pictures of my favourite quotations, one was a picture of my children, one a picture of my family and close friends and the other two photos were pieces of artwork I had made.
A bit of a mess as you can see, which is exactly how I feel sometimes if I’m honest! I then decided to intertwine all of the photos as all of them are intricately interwoven in my life.
But finally, I followed the instructions (for I always get there in the end!) and created this masterpiece for the exhibition from a photo of my children, and a painting I did of some flowers I bought. I’ve entitled it Creations and Creativity.
I love it, and it’s like me…not quite perfect and a bit fragile (couldn’t find any glue to stick it all together!) yet it works! I love that I have created three beautiful children…and that I can still be creative.