Motherhood

This is my motherhood series in it's entirety. Though not the same as viewing big prints it will at least give you an idea of what the show was like.






Katie is a 20 year old single mother to 14 month old Jaylen. Jaylen was born with extreme complications and as a result has spent the entire 14 months of his life in hospital.

What stage of motherhood are you in?

At this stage of motherhood I am still going through a rollercoaster journey with my sick 14 month old son. There is a saying hospital either makes you are breaks you and in my case it broke us having my son's father walk out. I am now left as a single mother watching my son go through pain on my own. Living arrangements are quite hard as I live over an hour from the hospital so when I have any chance to stay closer to my son I take it.

Had you always thought you would have children?
There was never a doubt in my mind that I would have kids, I remember when I was younger picturing myself as a mother everytime I played dolls with my friends.

What were you doing before you became a mother?
Before becoming a mother I was discovering the freedom of being 18; from getting my license to going out clubbing until all hours of the morning. I had experienced some of the worst hangovers but that what being 18 is all about I guess. You could say I was a wild child but I still worked really hard through the week  with my full time studies to look after people with disabilities. I spent a lot of time around sporting commitments from coaching young kids to play basketball to playing representative basketball and netball with the football club. I also worked three jobs as a basketball referee, duty manager and a swimming pool life guard. So I guess you could say I was a very busy person.

What has been the hardest thing about being a mother?
as much as motherhood is rewarding there are so many hard things i could mention. one of the hardest things about motherhood is knowing i have a child but not being able to have full control over my childs life it is hard knowing that there are ways around things but you are restricted from doing so many things, being in the hospital it feels like your opinion doesnt matter. i also find it hard keeping on top of my financial problems with all the exspensors that come with a sick child who your fighting to be closer with everyday.

What do you feel you have gained?
The biggest thing I have gained from motherhood is maturity. I feel like I have shown people that it doesn't matter how young you are, what matters is the way you bring your child up. I believe having Jaylen has made me grow up and be a better person.

What do you feel you've lost?
I feel like I have lost out on a massive part of motherhood. There is so much I want to experience but now I will never have the chance to have those heart warming moments. Like the day you walk out of hospital with your first new born, the moment you arrive home as a family and do all the first activites together. The bonding you build with your child through mothers groups, library groups, baby swim classes. But mostly i feel I have lost the chance to watch my child grow up like a normal child.

What have you found to be the biggest misconception about motherhood?
I had always pictured it to be perfect. After Jaylen's Dad asked me to have his child, i really thought we would be a happy little family for the rest of our lives. I never pictured being a single mother. While I was pregnant doctors discovered Jaylen's illness and I was told they could have it fixed within 6 weeks of his birth and after that life would go on. Even then, I really thought I would be able to live a normal life with my son with me, but as it turns out nothing is perfect.

If you have one word to sum up motherhood what would it be?

Unconditional


Asha is single mother to 4 daughters who also has full time career in social work. She immigrated to Australia from her birthplace of Eritrea.

What stage of motherhood are you in? ( how many children, living at home or not)
I work full time and my girls are at home. Feriyal has finished
university, Sara has just finished year 12, Rania is entering year 10
and Rizzaz year 9

Had you always thought you would have children?
I dreamed to have children. I am the fourth of 13 children and I used to babysitting my young siblings and I love kids.

What were you doing before you became a mother?
I was studying English literature at University in Algeria when I had my eldest daughter, I was 22


What has been the hardest thing about being a mother?
It's very hard to balance being a single mother of 4 young women at home and working full time out of the house. It's a double job 24 hours a day.

What have you gained from motherhood?
I have four beautiful girls that smile, are healthy and smart. We
share our lives and it brings me happiness because I am lucky to have
beautiful girls and see them eductated . I want to be a good mother
and model for them

What do you feel you've lost?
As a mother I don't really feel I've lost because i know i am so lucky
to have children. I guess I don't socialise as much as I used to, and
I don't look after myself as much with sport and visiting the gym.


What have you found to be the biggest misconception about motherhood?
I believe my expectations of my family are very high, I want us to
work together as a team. A husband and wife need to work as a team to
parent but I haven't been able to find that team.

If you have one word to sum up motherhood what would it be?

 I am lucky to have such  beautiful, educated, healthy girls so for me
it's:  Lucky






Gwenda who adopted Tamara when she was 9 years old. Tamara has cerebal palsy

What stage of motherhood are you in? ( how many children, living at home or not)
The place I am in at the moment is I am married with three children. My son is 33, my daughter is 30 and my youngest is 24.

had you always thought you would have children?

I have always wanted children. I worked with children when I first came to melbourne. When I go married it was 7 years before I had my eldest.

What were you doing before you became a mother?
I was a nurse, I started training in Qld and moved to Melbourne. I worked in an unmarried mothers home and worked with the babies that were there. It was lovely working with them I quite enjoyed it.

What has been the hardest thing about being a mother?
The hardest thing since having Tamara come to live with us is not getting enough sleep. Also not getting enough time alone with my husband and getting some me time. The hardest thing for me though id not knowing what ill happen to my kids as they and I get older.

What have you gained from motherhood?
The love of my three children and husband

What do you feel you've lost?
I am not sure what I have lost but not spending lots of time one on one with my two eldest children I feel sometimes I failed as a mother with them.

What have you found to be the biggest misconception about motherhood?

That it is not is not easy to be a mother who is there for there families in the good and bad times. We got Tamara when she was 9 years old. Tamara was living in an institution as she has cerebal palsy and has to have all her basic needs done for her.  We decided to take Tamara into our home after we saw an advertisement on tv. We had to do some training and have a transition period before she could come to live with us full time. My children were ok with this.
She is now 24 years old and a lovely person, very happy and contented with her life. She goes to the adult centre 4 days a week, and on her other days she goes swimming which she enjoys very much. She loves to go to the football and loves to do all the things the family does. Camping, long drives, bush walking, the beach anything we can. We take Tamara wherever we go. We will sometimes taker her places where others are reluctant to do so.


If you have one word to sum up motherhood what would it be?

Rewarding.


Zahrah practising artist and mother to Noah aged 4. She has recently remarried after spending 3 years as a single mother.

What stage of motherhood are you in? ( how many children, living at home or not)
I have a son who is 4 years old. We live in a one bedroom apartment.

Had you always thought you would have children?
Growing up I had always wanted a huge family, after I got married at an early age I wanted to a child straight away...at the time my partner I was with would not agree to us having a child so i longed for a baby for a number of years, after being together for 6 years on and off we had Noah. After I had Noah I really felt that caring for one child was an immense amount of responsibility and for a long time felt that I didn't want another child until recently. I feel that Noah needs a sibling and that I wouldn't want him to be an only child.

What were you doing before you became a mother?
I have always been creative. At the time I became a mother I was a full time graphic designer for an advertising agency.

What has been the hardest thing about being a mother?
The hardest thing about being a mother has been the struggle to maintain my creative sense of self. It is the sacrifice of time and your ego for the betterment of your child.

What have you gained from motherhood?
Patience, an immense amount of patience. A much lager capacity to love than I ever imagined and a sense of completeness.

What do you feel you've lost?
I'm not sure, there is a part of my identity that feels like it has been lost in the process of being a mother because of the amount of sacrifice one makes for her child. I very much so have lost my figure, but with some work i'm hoping that will return.

What have you found to be the biggest misconception about motherhood?
That everything has to be perfect and that motherhood is perfection.

If you have one word to sum up motherhood what would it be?
Rahma = Mercy


Anita pregnant with her first child

What stage of motherhood are you in? ( how many children, living at home or not)
0 Children, our first due on October 4th 

had you always thought you would have children?
Absolutely, secretly as a young teenager I thought if I accidentally got pregnant when I was in my teens it would be great!


What were you doing before you became a mother?
Focused on a busy social life and work ...  and also preparing a home for a family. 
By that I mean buying and renovating a house, so Paul and I could provide a lovely home for us to bring up children in.

What has been the hardest thing about being a mother?
As I am not yet a mother I can only talk about the journey of becoming pregnant. The hardest thing about that has been it didn't just happen when we decided to start trying. It took 4 years, 3 miscarriages and a lot of heartache, grieving and marital work to get to where we are today.
I wouldn't change a thing though, as the journey has made this pregnancy all the more precious and also Paul and my marriage far stronger than I could have ever imagined. I believe we are now ready for the life change that is coming with the addition of a child into our lives. It has given us the belief that we can stand together and enjoy the good times and tackle the tougher times which are inevitable in life.

What have you gained from motherhood?
Again, in the journey to motherhood I have gained strength and an appreciation of the fact that you can't control all aspects of your life.
Learning to let go of control has been one of the biggest blessings, not just in regard to becoming a mother but in all aspects of life.
It has made me a more relaxed person. Pregnancy is extraordinary, the fact our bodies can grow another little person and also what our female bodies can cope with and adapt to when that happens.
It's a special nine or so months that I am going to do my best to try and remember during the testing times of raising a child. 


What do you feel you've lost?
My figure, not sure that will ever come back! 
Other than that I would have to get back to you after the baby arrives.


What have you found to be the biggest misconception about motherhood?
I thought pregnant woman complained far too much when I was trying, but I think it is so different for every woman that it is best not to judge.  

If you have one word to sum up motherhood what would it be?
Growing another person inside you in a word is - extraordinary


Anita- mother to 4 month old Bethany.

What stage of motherhood are you in? ( how many children, living at home or not)
One, Bethany is four months old. 

had you always thought you would have children?
Absolutely, secretly as a young teenager I thought if I accidentally got pregnant when I was in my teens it would be great!

What were you doing before you became a mother?
Focused on a busy social life and work ...  and also preparing a home for a family. 
By that I mean buying and renovating a house, so Paul and I could provide a lovely home for us to bring up children in.

What has been the hardest thing about being a mother?
Never knowing if you are doing the absolute best thing for your child. I had all these ideas of the type of mum I would be, but when Bethany came along it was all far more overwhelming and exhausting than I expected.
All the books, advice and hospital courses can’t prepare you for becoming a mum.

What have you gained from motherhood?
A type of love I never knew existed. 
A great respect for the millions of woman who are mothers (and fathers that are the main care givers to their children). 
When you become a mother you enter a club I never knew existed. There is a lot of support that I was completely unaware was out there, from the community health centre through to complete strangers lending a helping hand if they see you need one.
And finally a level of tolerance and patience I never knew I had.

What do you feel you've lost?
The biggest loss for me is the ability to just take time out when I want or need it. There is no such thing as a mental health day when you’re a mum, not for me at this early stage anyway. And my figure!

What have you found to be the biggest misconception about motherhood?
That it is fulfilling all of the time. It is wonderful, but more often than not it is challenging, exhausting and at times quite overwhelming. 

If you have one word to sum up motherhood what would it be?
Love


Nicole, mum to 4 year old Tiger. Nic is a single mum who works full time. Tiger's Dad is not involved in their lives.

What stage of motherhood are you in? ( how many children, living at home or not)

I have one child, miss tiger-Jane soleil cleary. My light. She's four, living with me full time.  The eternal spring of love who loves having her face painted, dancing and stories. 
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had you always thought you would have children?

No, not until I was walking my dog ray through the edinborough gardens in nth fitzroy; I felt a babies skin on my arm, out of nowhere. Then I thought I should.. Could. I was 28. I had tj when I was 30.


What were you doing before you became a mother?

Working , partying, living out my life as I thought I should. Not using my time in the best ways.

What has been the hardest thing about being a mother?

The early mornings. 

What have you gained from motherhood?

A sense of time. A new found love of public celebrations. A little walking talking mirror, that throws back at me anything I've ever given. The love of my life.A love tug near your belly button than grows and weaves a new life. It depends wholly on well you nurture it, knowing when and how you send guidance and trying to know when is right to step back.

What do you feel you've lost?

Sleep ins. 

What have you found to be the biggest misconception about motherhood?

That I could control anything while being in control.

If you have one word to sum up motherhood what would it be?





Dawn , mother to Taj and Shae. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and is in recovery.


What stage of motherhood are you in?
 I have 2 children; Taj aged 3 ½ and Shae aged 21 months.  I have just rejoined the workforce after being at home with them for the past year and undergoing surgeries and treatment for breast cancer. I now work 3 days per week while they attend day-care which is a nice balance for me and for them.
Had you always thought you would have children? 
 To be honest, I really never gave it much thought. I think I assumed I would become a mother one day, but up until I met my husband in my late twenties, I was quite happy to be a single, independent career woman.  I wasn’t in a hurry to rush into motherhood. 
What were you doing before you became a mother? 
I was a Sales & Marketing Executive in the Hotel Industry in America.  I was lucky enough to have a job that allowed me to travel to most major cities in America and enjoy all the luxuries that come with being a traveling executive. I also spend some time living in Seoul, South Korea where my boyfriend (now my husband!) was working.  Now that I have 2 children, my jet setting life is well and truly behind me (for now!). 

What has been the hardest thing about being a mother?  
No more spontaneity.  I didn’t realize how nice it was to just up and go anywhere with very little baggage and planning.  Now, I have to pack up my entire house and be organized within an inch of my life just to go away for the weekend! 
What have you gained from motherhood? 
So much more than I’ve lost.  I’ve re-gained my imagination from childhood through the eyes of my children.  I’ve let go of the need to have a really clean home.  I’ve gained a purpose for my life and know that I am loved and needed and would be terribly missed if I were gone. I’ve gained a sense of empathy for other mothers. I’ve gained patience.   I’ve also gained a spare tire and about 5 kilos but oh well, it was worth it!
What do you feel you’ve lost? 
Aside from my libido?
Like many mothers, I’ve lost my executive career but that has been my choice and it’s only temporary if I want it to be.  Mothers are lucky today in that we have more choices than that of our mothers in terms of our career options. 
I’ve also lost time to myself.  I sometimes miss just going to a coffee shop with a book and doing nothing but reading and people watching for an entire afternoon.  

What have you found to the the biggest misconception about motherhood?  
That it’s always a wonderful experience.  Too many celebrities make motherhood out to be fabulous all the time and it puts far too much pressure on “real” mothers.  If we all had full time nannies, a personal trainer, a chef, a make-up artist, a driver and our head in the clouds, it would be wonderful. In reality, being a mother is 90% bloody hard work and self-doubt and 10% pure joy and happiness.  Thankfully, that 10% makes us forget all about the other 90%!
If you have one word to sum up motherhood what would it be? 
Rewarding



Sue, Mum to Adam who is 28 years old. Adam has downs syndrome.
What stage of motherhood are you in? ( how many children, living at home or not)
I'm in the "love them heaps then send them home" stage - they visit (kids and grandkids) and we have a lovely time together then they go home. When your own kids become parents themselves they appreciate their own parents a lot more!  Of course Adam will be at home for some time yet and he keeps me pretty grounded when I become a bit self absorbed!

had you always thought you would have children?
I ALWAYS wanted to be a mum and would have had more had Adam not been born with Down Syndrome.  We knew Ad would need lots of love and some extra work and felt it would be unfair to all the kids to have more siblings to share our attention.

What were you doing before you became a mother?
I was a Primary Phys Ed teacher before becoming a mum,

What has been the hardest thing about being a mother?
The hardest thing about being a mum for me was setting fairly firm limits for my children.  As a mother your are constantly balancing the desire to be a caring, loving mother against the knowledge that kids need, in fact feel more secure with firm but fair rules and limits. The other thing I struggled with was deciding which issues were worth fussing over.  I picked up a valuable tip in one book about teenager behaviour - "don't major over minor things"

What have you gained from motherhood?
From motherhood I have gained (apart form the obvious-a beautiful family!) true happiness and purpose in life.  I can't imagine the devastation of losing a child.

What do you feel you've lost?
With ex-teenage, now adult daughters I lose half of the things that they borrow!  That's pretty normal! However as the parent of a disabled child I grieve the loss of the "normal child" I thought I carried for nine months.  I love Adam dearly and could not imagine life without him, but there's also another little person somewhere in my imagination that I would have loved to cuddle.

What have you found to be the biggest misconception about motherhood?
A lot of people think motherhood comes naturally when you have a baby, but lots of it has to be learnt and it's hard work.  All mothers need a good support network around them to help the process.

If you have one word to sum up motherhood what would it be?

Motherhood - in a word - fulfillment.


Julie- stepmum to Sam 17 and mum to Jackson and Finn. Julie is pregnant with her third child due in June.
What stage of motherhood are you in? (how many children, living at home or not)

I am a mother of three boys aged 17 years, 3 years and 15 months. Our oldest, Sam, is my stepson and we have been in each other’s lives for about ten years. Step-parenting has sometimes felt like being thrown into the deep end of a pool, where I have had to sink or swim. I have sunk as many times as I have swum, but Sam has been a very forgiving son and has taught me the virtues of patience and negotiation. While perhaps I have encouraged in him a love of learning. 
Our two youngest boys, Jackson and Finn, are shadows of their oldest brother. They are gentle and loving, and have the energy of ten men!    

had you always thought you would have children?

Always. I love a home full of people, full of laughter. I have been very lucky to have grown up in a very loving environment, where our home was always full of friends and relatives dropping in. I have always wanted to emulate that in my own home, with my own family.

What were you doing before you became a mother?

Before I became a mother, my life was full with work as a photographer, travelling at every opportunity, spending time with people I love, studying and learning. Since becoming a mum, I have managed to scale down the things I once did, but not exclude them entirely. I think the things I filled my life with ‘pre-motherhood’ contributed to the person I am today. I don’t want to neglect those parts of my identity now that I’m a mum because I think they make me a better, more rounded mother to my children.

What has been the hardest thing about being a mother?

The first twelve months of my children’s lives can be characterised by sleeplessness and a complete investment of time spent breast feeding, changing nappies, playing with the boys and running our home. These activities proceed in conjunction with running our family building and construction business, photographing the occasional job and trying (often in vein) to stay engaged with friends and family. So the hardest thing for me has been trying to cram everything in. There seems to be less time in a 24 hour period then there was when I was single and childless!

What have you gained from motherhood?

I have learnt to hold my first reaction in check when I have discovered the boys swinging from the ceilings, climbing ladders, filling the toilet bowls with “things and stuff”, reprogramming the washing machine mid-cycle, or helping themselves to the contents of the pantry/rubbish bin/wallet! 
I was expecting this parenting journey to be like this as I have often overheard my own mum and dad describe their parenting experience as an “insurance policy against boredom”. And you know what? They were bang on! Our lives seem fuller for having children. We are busier, crazy-busy! But it’s a wonderful state to be in.

What do you feel you've lost?

Sleep. But I can make that up when I retire…can’t I?

What have you found to be the biggest misconception about motherhood?

The misconception that we can all be yummy mummies! I struggle to be thin, gorgeous, energetic, well-read, engaged with current events, and well, fully awake most of the time! The ‘yummy mummy’ tag is one hell of a high bar, one that I often fall well short of.

If you have one word to sum up motherhood what would it be?

LOVED.




Teresa, mother to 15 month old Pénélope . Teresa  and her husband Rick adopted Penelope when she was 3 months old.

What stage of motherhood are you in?
I guess I could say I am in the 1st stage of motherhood….of learning about being a Mother, learning from my faux pas and learning from the happiness I bring to my absolutely beautiful and inspirational 15 month old daughter Pénélope. However I believe every stage is like the first of constant learning and love.

 Had you always thought you would have children?

Yes, however it was not through childhood dreams or aspirations but an underlining feeling. When I meet Pénélope I knew she was part of my heart. I truly melted when I saw her and knew we were meant to be together.

 What were you doing before you became a mother?
Like many women of my generation I was climbing the Corporate Ladder. Through the expectations as women that are placed on us I was holding down a successful career and also working on being a great wife, daughter friend, community conscious citizen and mother-to-be.
After becoming a Mother I am still the above but have replaced mother-to-be to now being a very proud Mother!

   What has been the hardest thing about being a mother?
The new and hardest part of becoming a Mother is the concern for the future ….the wanting to always be there to protect her, to comfort her to encourage her and to give Pénélope all the confidence to love and be loved.

What have you gained from motherhood?
What I have gained from motherhood is absolutely everything! Unconditional love from Pénélope, respect from my husband, more and more love for my own parents, appreciation of all day long giggles and smiles. How wonderful life is when your day is spent seeing and hearing your child loving life and feeling loved. So, the importance of life, love, learning and simply knowing that very few others aspects of life really matter than the happiness of your child.

What do you feel you've lost?
I believe I have lost nothing becoming a Mother but rather I have gained everything. Pénélope has only made my life truly extraordinary. Nothing I do for her is too hard or difficult. I take a moment everyday to realize what a miracle Pénélope is. I often hold her close to my heart and look in the mirror to see us together as I cannot believe I have been so blessed to be her mother.

 What have you found to be the biggest misconception about motherhood?
The biggest misconception I have found about motherhood is the juggling of life and of losing yourself. In the contrary I believe I have completely found myself. I know my main role in life is to now be the best I can for my daughter, to be the best mother, wife, citizen, employee and above all the best role model as a woman for her. I dream and hope that Pénélope grows with full confidence to believe in herself and others and that she knows she is loved so completely and unconditionally.

If you have one word to sum up motherhood what would it be?
WONDROUS








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