Mother’s Day Feature Part 1 | Firechild Mamas
Mother’s Day Feature Part 1 | Firechild Mamas
As it’s coming up to Mother’s Day soon, I wanted to take a few minutes to celebrate the amazing mother’s I’ve had the opportunity to photograph over the last while.
Pregnancy, birth and motherhood are completely individual experiences – even with each new baby for most mothers. So rather than ask the Firechild Mamas for advice for other mums, I asked them what they would say to their younger, pregnant, new-born-mama selves. But they’re all rocks of sense and you know how that works – any advice you’d give to yourself, will always apply to someone else, somewhere.
Needless to say, when I got each Mama’s answers back, what I loved most was that they all had some very similar things to say – so I guess that while yes, of course it’s an individual experience, you’re not in this alone and for every mama-story, there’s another mama with a similar one.
On being pregnant
Starting at the start, and I guess because both of them are expecting baby number 2 this year, Aisling and Siobhán both had thoughts on the actual being pregnant part of things. Accepting your changing body and recognising the amazing work it’s doing are so vital – on those days when you feel huge and heavy and unfit, try to remember what an amazing thing you’re doing. Looking back at her maternity photos, Aisling remembers how heavy she felt at the time (she gave birth to Finn just a week later!) but now she can see how beautiful she was – I totally agree!
Aisling is really happy with how much time she spent enjoying her friends and partner before the baby was born. Going away with friends, going on day trips, spending as much time as possible with Gar and relishing those last months as a twosome. They knew their relationship was about to change completely, expanding, becoming a whole new, better, version of themselves.
She does think she could have spent less time worrying about labour and more time thinking about the practical side of things for when their new baby had arrived. It’s a daunting physical task and so unknown, so she fretted a bit – naturally. Hilary’s one piece of advice, something that she learned during her pregnancy, is to trust your body. Simple.
Yes, labour is tough, but if you’re finding it difficult, just remember that it’s only one day in a lifetime and after a few days that’s all totally forgotten anyway – because with all the love and pride that’s overwhelming you, there’s no room for anything else!
Desiree had worked in women’s healthcare in her 20s and so knew a lot about birth before Asher was born. That said, she said she would tell herself not to fret so much about the details of how the birth would go. Because, as she learned, things don’t always go to plan. In the grand scheme of things, the circumstances under which he would enter the world, and how she would feel, were so utterly unimportant.
While Asher’s birth wasn’t what she’d planned, Desiree talks about the moment she locked eyes with him as she held and nursed him an hour or so after he was born – and in that moment, was the experience of true love and the beginning of an unbreakable bond between them.
Carol nailed it in one sentence – Give up on perfect – it’s soul sucking. I think her advice is pretty applicable to life in general –
The people who look like they’re doing it perfectly are just hiding their struggle better than most.
Deirdre also would remind herself to let the non-essentials pile up – the hoovering can wait! Enjoy the snuggles while you can get them and, as Elaine said, enjoy the newborn stage because even though it can be tiresome and hectic it really does go by so fast.
Elaine only really realised the importance of looking after herself after she’d had her second baby. Mothers sacrifice so much for their babies, but she says that second time round she made sure to take those precious few minutes to herself every day, even if it’s just taking a quick shower. You can’t pour from an empty cup…
There is no manual
Carol speaks from the experience of having three beautiful school- aged kiddos: There is no right way to do this, there is no manual for parenthood, Do what feels right, enjoy it whenever you can, ask for (and accept) help whenever you can, know that everyone (including you) is doing their best.
Deirdre said much the same thing, every baby is totally different and you’ll have no idea how it will be until you get to know your baby’s personality. And last thing, if something’s not working, try something new, it’s not defeat, it’s experimenting.