The Truth about Motherhood in text, mums and their baby together

Mum’s the Word: The Truth about Motherhood

The Truth about Motherhood:

By Rhiannon Williams

It’s International Women’s Day, a time used to celebrate the past and current achievements of women from all over the world. This year we wanted to talk to the people who are raising our future. Mums!

When my son was first born, everything changed for me. My friend group looked different, my clothes didn’t fit, my hair always smelt ever so slightly of milky sick, and my body wasn’t my own anymore.


I quickly felt myself become this machine-like object that needed to run the house, keep a tiny human alive, love their partner as much as they did before and look happy while doing it. 

In the process of making sure everyone else was okay, I fell behind myself. I remember looking in the mirror at about 3am on the way to grab another muslin from the pile clean washing and not even recognising the woman that stood in front of it. 


It wasn’t just the way I looked, but the blank expression behind my eyes. The overwhelming sense of tired that absorbed my days and ate away at me through the night. 

I forgot who I was, and I struggled to know how to reconnect with the things that had once made me happy. There never seemed to be time!


Of course, my son made me happy, and I love him more than anything in the world. That’s why I felt so much guilt about the fact that he wasn’t enough for me, I needed something else.

There’s a pressure in society that expects mothers to be the perfect parenting robot. There are countless classes and articles that teach us how to birth, bathe, discipline, breast-feed, bottle-feed, sterilize, nappy change, sleep train (the list goes on…and on…and on)


The internet isn’t short of opinions on exactly how to look after a child, in fact you will probably hear the unsolicited advice from family, friends and the old lady waiting in line at your local supermarket.

The thing that no one seems to have a 3-day-snacks-included-worksheets-provided class on is how to stay connected to “yourself” even though you will never be “yourself” again. 


For me, it was a journey that started with a fizzy bath bomb and a cup of tea. I spent a little extra time in the bath on a Friday evening while my partner took over so I could have my own personal space back, even if it were just for an hour.

This moved on to finding a good babysitter who could take over once a month so my partner and I could reconnect with the stranger that we had both become after many busy days and sleepless nights.


I’m almost 18 months on from that mirror moment now and I can honestly say my heart has never felt so full. I recognise myself but I’m stronger than before, more kind and willing to love. I am selfless and sometimes selfish because it’s okay to have both.

Yes, my eyes still look tired, and my tummy is wobblier than before, but I have figured out the balancing act that is being a mother, and it is the greatest circus trick there is to learn. 


I wouldn’t change being a mum for the world, but I wish I knew there was more to motherhood than looking after a baby. If I could turn back time, I would remind myself to take more time for me. 

Everyone who came to help out wanted to hold the baby, but I think as mothers we need to feel held too.

I felt really isolated in this experience until I started talking to other mums, and I realised that most mothers felt they had lost a piece of themselves in the chaos of motherhood.


I decided that the truth about motherhood needed to be heard. The good and bad!

That’s why we’ve asked 4 mums to share their experience in motherhood and what it means to them.


Meet Our Mums


If you could describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?


Heidi, 30, North Wales: 

Organised, Outgoing, Overwhelmed 


Jade, 21, Brighton: 

Bubbly, Compassionate and Optimistic


Lily, 31, Hertfordshire: 

Thoughtful, Intuitive, and Strong.


Viola, 37, Sussex: 

Slow, Thorough, Thinker


What does motherhood mean to you?


H: Raising happy, supported, loved little people who will go out into the world and make it a more kind and accepting place. I aspire for my kids to be mentally sound and know that they have stability from their parents, everything else comes second to that.


J: Being a mum is the best thing that has happened to me, my son gave me a purpose, a path in life that I’m excited and proud to be on. Motherhood is so much more than just “being a mum”. It’s a journey in your life that is excitement, lessons to learn and new experiences. 


L:  Motherhood means love, so much love but also chaos.


V: It makes me feel part of something, like being part of a gang. I felt that belonging through all the prenatal groups and baby groups and with school parents. I wish there was more of a fatherhood. I don’t see much of that for Dads. 


Since having children, do you feel like you have struggled with your identity?


H: After my first I struggled to feel anything other than ‘frumpy mum’ despite the fact I was only 23 and put time into hair, make up and clothes. I put that down to not feeling ready, it took a long time to adjust. After I had my second at 28 and third at 30 it took no time to feel myself again, especially now I exercise to fit back into my old clothes, buying a whole new wardrobe would probably make me feel a bit lost.


J:At first the main thing I struggled with, and unfortunately am still struggling with is my appearance. I don’t quite know myself anymore when looking in the mirror.

The stretch marks, loose skin, the weight gained naturally during pregnancy and any other differences since before pregnancy really made an impact on knowing who I was, and I couldn’t understand why I felt so detached from myself. However, each day gets easier, and I know that I am still me, but now with a beautiful baby boy that my body gifted me with.


L: I struggled a lot more in the first year of her life but now I’m settling more into the role of being a mother. I had no idea who I was for a while, and I missed my old life terribly. I felt as if I had lost my carefree, adventurous, and spontaneous self. I felt dull and lifeless.


V: No, I don’t feel I need an identity. I don’t really think about my identity or what that is. I don’t think I did before kids either.


Does having children stop you from doing what you would like to do? 


H: Not much socially, I have a very supportive partner who insists I make plans with friends, although getting time for us to spend time together is harder.  It has definitely put a halt on my career though. 


J: I thought having a child young would make me feel like I was missing out on my “prime years” however I feel like I’ve had more opportunities since having him. Things that mean so much more to me than having a hangover; actual memories with the people I love around me!


L:  I would love to go back to study whilst also being able to work full time but it’s just not doable with a toddler. I would love to travel or just be able to hop on a plane spontaneously and see friends in other countries like I used too. 


V: It stops me from working, but that may be a good thing! I don’t do so much of my hobbies now or go on long walks. But I’m not sad that it stops me from doing those things because they’ve been replaced by so many more lovely things.


Has having kids changed your life in a way you didn’t expect it to? 


H: Before I had kids, I had no goals or aspirations, I didn’t finish high school or do uni or college and actively avoided putting myself forward for promotions at work because I didn’t want the responsibility. Now I have goals to work towards, I don’t sleep all day or get totally consumed by small negative things because I have other little people to focus on. 


J: I think having kids changed my life in such a positive way, I sort of expected to feel lost in myself and not know what to do once having a child as it’s such a life changing thing. However, I feel like having him just set me on the path I was supposed to be on, it feels extremely natural, and I couldn’t imagine not being a mummy. 


L: I feel like it’s the making of me in a lot of ways. As hard as it is (and it’s very hard) I didn’t realise how good I would be at it and how much I would enjoy it and how much love I had to give, as corny as that sounds. 


V: I think I mostly expected it. I expected the unexpected perhaps. And I still don’t know where it’ll go from here. Let’s wait and see.


What does “feeling like me again” mean to you?


H: When I can go out with my friends without my kids, I can eat a hot meal, hold a real conversation without being interrupted, I can talk about relationships, work, and family. 


J: I think I’d define “feeling like me again” as fitting back into my favourite outfits, looking at myself and feeling beautiful and confident like I once did. I’m not in a rush though and I’m content with the way I am now.


L: I don’t think I’ll ever feel like the old me again because there are parts of her that don’t exist anymore. Most of those parts had served their purpose anyway and I’m happy to see them go. Feeling like me again now feels more like just being able to have more time for myself and being able to do things I enjoy without mum guilt, anxiety, or intrusive thoughts. 


V: I guess having the freedom to do the things you like. I like having kids and I chose to have them. I feel like, having kids and all that comes with it, is me. 


Do you separate being a mother and being yourself, or is it one person?


H: Funnily enough when I’m with my mum friends it’s all the same person. When I’m with my non-mum friends (none of my long-term friends have kids) I can feel like my old self again and chat about things other than school stuff, sleepless nights and worrying about odd rashes on the kids. 


J: I am still my own person, I don’t think being labelled a mum is necessarily taking away from my own identity as I am a mum, and being a mum is amazing! I don’t need the separation between the two as being them together is perfect for me.


L: I’m unsure actually…I feel both ways. Some days it feels like one person and other times I separate the two in my head. Maybe in times I feel more carefree and want access to ‘just’ me.


V: It’s one person to me.


Do you think mothers are given enough support to be who they want to be?


H: No, the childcare situation is a nightmare, if you don’t have time away from your kids to breath, self-care and unwind how are you supposed to fully feel how you want to?

If you can’t do the job or course you want to, you don’t have hobbies and only have enough time in the mornings to run a brush through your hair how are you ever supposed to feel you’re who you want to be?

Being able to access affordable childcare could mean a mum can work on HER career or look after HER mental health. I also don’t think childcare should be just for work, I think it should be encouraged to use for having “you” time without there being shame attached it. 


J: I think there’s a lot of stigmas around being a young mum which adds pressure for us. It feels frowned upon to get a babysitter and go out when you’re a young parent, but I think if somebody older did it, the night becomes a “well deserved break” but for us it’s seen as irresponsible and selfish.


L: I feel like mothers have a lot of expectation from society. Expectation to be everything to their children but also to uphold a career, manage a household, and take on the mental load of all this all whilst not having access to affordable childcare. So no, I don’t.


 V: It depends on what you need. If you need time to yourself, then hopefully you can find that somehow with support from others. It depends on everyone’s own situation.


What support do you wish existed or that you could have gotten?


H: Affordable childcare! 


J: I don’t think mums are given much support or advice when being discharged from the hospital. I wasn’t told anything and was just expected to know everything, you’re handed your baby, discharged, and expected to know exactly what you’re doing because it’s “in our nature” as mums. 


L:  Affordable childcare definitely! And I feel like all mothers deserve access to therapy too. I wish I would’ve had more support through having Post-Partum Depression.


V: Free childcare options, longer and better paid maternity and paternity leave, more annual leave for both parents to at least cover school holidays. It would be nice to have family living closer to each other. 



What do you wish people knew or respected about motherhood?


H: Parenting is different now to how it was 20 years ago, mums are particularly more isolated than before, there is less support with both childcare and just generally for mums to have the comfort of a chat and cup of tea with a family member. 


J: Unsolicited advice! We do not want it, nor do we need it. It feels so judgemental when people you don’t spend time with and who don’t know you well are giving you advice on how to parent your child.


L:  How much it will change your life. I always tell friends who want children to just do everything they possibly want to do before having them as you have no idea when you will get time to be completely selfish again. I wish more people knew about Post-Partum Depression and how bad that can get.


V: I recently quit my day job to spend more time on mothering and I don’t feel that’s a well-respected use of a person’s time. But it should be. If you have the honour (and desire) to be able to spend more time with your kids, it should be viewed as a good thing.

None of the things that go with motherhood are respected, all the housework, the organising, the care, I don’t see any of it being respected. It is respected if a man does it. It is respected if a woman can have a full-time job, raise their kids, have a tidy house, keep fit and not complain about it. 



If you could give your pre-mum self one bit of advice, what would it be?


H: Stay close to family, you don’t suddenly become an old age pensioner when you turn 30 so stop mourning losing your 20’s to kids. Be assertive in your relationship and say what you want rather than following your partners goals, probably don’t get so many cats. Oh also, make a brew before sitting down to feed the baby, you’ll thank yourself. 



I wasted a lot of my teenage years fixating on my body image, I wish pre-mum me focused more on what she enjoyed and spent more time out with friends and family making good memories.  



Travel! Be free. Enjoy every second of life and never miss a therapy session.



Find a way to stay calm in those moments.


*Some names and pictures are changed for privacy reasons*

If you found this brought up feelings that you still need to work through, please contact us to find out more about our therapeutic options for individuals and families. If you are showing signs of Postnatal depression or feel that you are struggling, please get into contact with your GP.

Christmas Frustrations

Christmas Frustrations: 5 Tips to keep your cool with the kids over the holidays

Christmas, as we all know, is rapidly approaching. It's time to spend precious time with loved ones. The last thing you want to be concerned about over the holidays is losing your cool with the kids, letting your frustrations get in the way and making this Christmas one you'll never forget - and not in a good way.

It's common to feel annoyed or on edge over the holidays. After all, as parents, we all feel enormous responsibility to make the time as memorable as possible for our children. This can put us at the whim of our frustrations, rendering all of our stress management and relaxation tactics useless. That is why I wrote today's blog. To serve as a reminder of the benefits of staying calm and 5 Tips to Keep your Cool With the Kids.

How does remaining calm benefit the kids?

Staying calm demonstrates to the child that you may be angry yet you still remain within your "window of tolerance" (a space where you can manage your emotions). It teaches the kids to safely navigate intense emotions. When we aren't calm as parents, we aren't reasonable, and we might frequently join them in what feels like a game of tennis, going backwards and forwards and refusing to let them win, resulting in even more rage and emotional dysregulation.

Getting angry also enables for something known as transference to occur. Have you ever stepped into a room after two individuals had a fight and 'felt the vibe'? Children are like sponges, soaking up our emotions. If we are calm, they are likely to be calmer, if we are anxious they show signs of anxiety, etc.

How does remaining calm benefit you as a parent?

Staying calm permits us to remain in our parasympathetic nervous system, which allows us to access the logical half of our brain. When we are upset, we are in a state of fight, flight, or freeze and are unable to think logically. It enables us to stop playing the game, be empathic, and figure out how to address the problem much faster.

Remaining cool during memorable times such as Christmas will set yourself up for better, calmer behaviour from your children in the future - especially around the same time the year after. This is because your children will remember the incident and correlate your calm response with a win-win situation, motivating them to behave better.

Here are 5 of my top tips to remain calm during the holidays:

Tip 1 - Take time away:

Take time away

Give yourself 5 minutes. Go and make a cup of tea, glass of water. I love a quick visualisation/ meditation whilst doing this. Create a happy calm, special place you go to in your mind. Practice going there when you are not stressed initially and then take yourself there when you are stressed. (I have a great video for this in my facebook group )

Tip 2 - Check your breathing:

Check your breathing

Are you breathing from your chest or your tummy. Put one hand on each and take some deep breaths from your tummy. I love 20 conscious connected breaths which means you are taking belly breaths without a break between the in and out breath. This shifts us into our rest and recovery system and switches off the stress responses.

Tip 3 - Find some running water:

Running water

Do not underestimate the power of running water. Running hands under some water for a few minutes helps to calm the nervous system.

Tip 4 - Stop the cycle:

stop cycle

If your child is dysregulated (not in control of their emotions often looks blank easy to spot in their eyes) stop trying to rationalise and engage in whatever is causing their distress. They are not able to access logical thinking so you will be going around in circles or escalating arguments.

Tip 5 - Role model:

Copy of role model

Once you are calm you can help them find techniques to calm and you have role modelled how to do this effectively.


Need further help managing stress and family life? Check out our individual therapy and coaching page...

Individual Therapy and Coaching


Alternatively, check out the NHS parental mental health resources...

Parental Wellbeing (

Limiting Beliefs

3 Steps For Identifying Limiting Beliefs & Taking Steps To Grow

Want to know why identifying limiting beliefs is the first step to changing your whole attitude and outlook on life?

This post will outline how to start identifying limiting beliefs in 3 simple steps so you can take action to challenge them and re-write the story that’s keeping you feeling stuck, feeding your anxiety and isolation, or telling you that you’re not worthy.

I’ve talked in a couple of blog posts now (like this one, or this one!) about how our perceptions create our reality. This is true in terms of both our conscious thoughts and subconscious thoughts.

Thoughts that show up repeatedly and that steal a lot of our energy and focus become ingrained within us as beliefs – whether consciously or subconsciously.

You might not even recognise a belief as being a belief – as in, something that can be changed or proven wrong – because it just feels like the cold hard truth.

Whether it’s that you’re unlucky in love, you can’t make any friends, nobody likes you, you’re an unhappy person, you’re bad with money… all of these are simply stories based on past experiences and emotions.

They may well reflect an experience you have had in the past, even multiple experiences you’ve had in the past, but the pitfall is in projecting the past onto your future and making it a part of your identity.

This is symptomatic of a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset makes it really difficult to grow and challenge yourself because you mentally shut yourself off from trying things. It makes everything feel pointless, rather than an exciting opportunity.

The truth is, you will grow and evolve as a person for the rest of your life. Don’t be tricked into thinking that you will stay the same forever and have no potential to change.

With this in mind, you can begin to look at the kinds of stories you tell yourself about your life and your capabilities, and start to identify where you might be conflating beliefs with the objective, unchangeable truth.

1. Pick one or two areas of your life that you are most unhappy with

Write the category/categories down on a piece of paper. Let’s use the example of love/relationships.

2. For this category, write down beliefs you have and see which ones fall into a “fixed mindset”

For example: I always go for people who are wrong for me, I will never meet somebody who is right for me, I have too much baggage for a relationship

These are all examples of beliefs which limit the opportunity for growth by dissuading you from taking action and being open to new experiences. Therefore, they are limiting beliefs.

Limiting beliefs are usually framed as objective facts and represent the problem as something that’s inherently wrong with you, rather than a product of your past experiences and emotions.

They tell a story that is ultimately disempowering you from adopting a mindset that will help you to achieve what you actually want. Limiting beliefs are not you – you are so much more than your limiting beliefs.

Another way to identify your limiting beliefs is to use the “fill in the blank” method, where you describe your situation out loud, for example “I’m not good enough for a relationship” and then add “because ____” after it, saying the first thing that immediately comes to your mind.

This will help you to figure out the limiting beliefs at the root of your disempowerment.

3. For each limiting belief, re-write an “unlimited” belief underneath it

Turn all of your limiting beliefs into “unlimited” beliefs – beliefs which are based on a growth mindset, the idea that you are always evolving and contain unlimited potential, and that make it possible and exciting for you to go out and pursue what you want.

For example, “I will never meet somebody who is right for me” becomes “there are countless wonderful people out there for me to get to know and explore our compatibility”.

Doesn’t that sound so much more exciting?

Re-writing the belief is a great starting point to identify the goal and begin to see what is possible. When working with clients, the next step in the process to overcoming limiting beliefs is to break down the specific limiting belief through a set of questions called Socratic questioning, where we begin to explore it in more depth.

This way, we can really begin to tackle the roots of the limiting belief and enable you to move on and find freedom.

Identifying limiting beliefs involves flexing your self-awareness muscles – getting really good at observing and understanding yourself in terms of your thought patterns, emotional responses, behaviours, etc.

This foundation of self-awareness is going to make it so much easier for you to start re-writing the stories that are holding you back and keeping you stuck in the same place.

It’s not easy to just simply change a belief that is deeply ingrained within you, but with the right tools and some practice, you have the power within you to change the game.

One really powerful way to re-write limiting beliefs is through working with a therapist or coach to start challenging them in a safe environment. The extra support can help you to feel able to try new things and take risks that you would ordinarily avoid.

Trying new things and seeing that it’s not as scary as you once thought, that the thought or fear of it was much more harmful than the thing itself, you can continue to challenge limiting beliefs and watch your life expand.

You will start to feel much freer and in control of your thoughts and beliefs, rather than the other way around.

If you’re ready to stop shrinking yourself down due to domineering limiting beliefs, and start seeing your incredible potential and believing that anything is possible, book in a Discovery call with me right here, and let’s work together to change the game for you.



Need some further support? Book a free 15 minute discovery call

or.. check out my therapy and coaching page

anxious thoughts

Re-Framing Anxious Thoughts To Empowering Ones in 3 Steps

There’s a quote by the American football player Lou Holtz that goes: “Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.” Meaning, in short, that the way you perceive and relate to the things that happen to you is what makes up your reality for the most part.

Why Do We Have Anxious Thoughts?

When your thought patterns and core beliefs are shaped by negative experiences that impact on your self-worth, confidence and sense of stability, a lot of the things that happen to you may be perceived, automatically, through an anxious lens. This can lead to an overwhelming presence of anxious thoughts that are created by your brain in order to keep you ‘safe’, or to use a more accurate word – stuck. Your brain likes comfort and familiarity, so that’s what it will urge you to seek more of.

Most of the time, the anxious thoughts that arise from new experiences rely on a projection or assumption of another’s feelings, when actually they are just a reflection of the way you feel about yourself due to past experiences.

Truthfully, you cannot know how another person feels without them explicitly telling you, and even then it may not be that black and white. Trying to guess or control how you are being perceived by another will only limit the opportunity for authentic intimacy to occur.

This can make it difficult to live life in the way that you want to, to try new things, form intimate relationships, take up new opportunities, and grow and develop as a person. What happens is, you become too afraid to break out of your little bubble, challenge your disempowering beliefs and expand your life.

You may even be able to clearly identify your illogical, anxious thought patterns and see how they may be unproductive or baseless, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have an emotional effect on you or feel any less real. It can be conflicting and contradictory, even a confusing experience.

How Can I Challenge or Change Anxious Thoughts?

But luckily, control over these thought patterns and how you respond to them is like a mental muscle that you can strengthen over time. And in order to start building that muscle, you need the right equipment.

So, in this blog post I’ll be providing you with three simple steps for re-framing anxious thoughts into empowering ones, that invite reflection and allow you to identify opportunities for development from a place of self-compassion.

But, quick side note, self-compassion really is the foundation for all meaningful change.

Altering the way you talk to yourself and about yourself to be more compassionate, understanding and respectful will have a real, lasting impact on your thought patterns and core beliefs. Using self-compassion as the lens through which to perceive your thoughts and experiences will make them feel that bit lighter and easier to navigate.

An example of re-framing an anxious thought into an empowering one might be:

Anxious: I can never do anything right →

Empowering: I’m always learning and imperfect action is a necessary part of that; I’m proud of my commitment to improving my skills

It could also look like:

Anxious: Nobody likes me

Empowering: I cannot control how somebody else perceives me, I can only offer my authenticity and trust that it will attract the right people

As illustrated by the examples above, the formula of an anxious thought typically looks like: [limiting belief] + [lack of control].

Alternatively, the formula of an empowering thought typically looks like: [self-compassion] + [recognition of control] + [opportunity for growth].

This could be helpful to remember when you start looking at some of your most common or most recent anxious thoughts and seeking alternatives.

3 Steps For Re-Framing Anxious Thoughts

So, with that in mind, here are three steps for re-framing anxious thoughts into more positive, empowering ones:

1) When you have an anxious thought that is upsetting you or holding you back, identify and write it down somewhere, completely unfiltered.

Then, see if it fits the formula above – see if you can identify the core limiting belief contained within it as well as where the lack of control comes in. This exercise will help you to develop better mental awareness and understand how your thoughts are coming to shape your beliefs, emotions and behaviour – ultimately, your reality.

2) Once you’ve identified and ‘deconstructed’ your anxious thought, it’s time to reconstruct it using the empowering formula.

It might help to think of it as what you’d say to your best friend to help them overcome an obstacle in life. Approach it from a place of unconditional self-compassion, knowing that you will be loved and honoured no matter what you do. Flip the limiting belief (such as: I’m not smart) into an opportunity for growth (I’m excited to learn new things). Recognise where you have control in this situation, such as starting a new course, watching YouTube tutorials, picking up an educational book or reading a blog to learn new information.

3) Now, you’ve done the re-framing work and you have a new, more empowering way of looking at things. Amazing! But just doing the exercise once and falling back into old habitual thought patterns and behaviours likely won’t lead to great change in your life. So, it’s time to practice it.

Meditate on it, remind yourself of it when you’re faced with an anxiety-provoking situation, share what you’ve learned with a friend, journal about it each morning. Be mindful of the language you’re using in your daily life – is it aligned with the more empowering point of view? Or does it reinforce old limiting beliefs? Actively train your brain to recognise the positives and to identify opportunities for growth and development, in line with the empowering formula.

This doesn’t mean you need to adopt a mindset of toxic positivity, or that you’re never allowed to feel anxious, upset, annoyed, angry or any other difficult emotion. There’s no need for either extreme.

It’s about recognising that your perception does not always match up perfectly with reality and challenging that idea (called ‘naive realism’) in a healthy way. It’s all about finding a happy medium, finding ways to think and feel and act that enables you to live a full life free of overwhelming anxiety and low self-worth.

I really hope you found this blog post helpful – I’d love to hear your thoughts about this and to know if there’s any particular anxious thoughts you’re trying to re-frame at the moment! If you’re serious about making meaningful changes and need that extra 1:1 support to help you to unpack and rebuild, book in a free Discovery call with me here and let’s chat make an action plan for you to reach your full potential.

Sending you all the well wishes



Need some further support? Book a free 15 minute discovery call

or.. check out my therapy and coaching page