I belong to a Facebook group of ‘Mothers Who Make’, and someone shared this inspiring post from Paloma Faith:

𝖨𝗍 π—‚π—Œ 𝗐𝗂𝗍𝗁 𝖾𝗑𝗍𝗋𝖾𝗆𝖾 π—‰π—…π–Ύπ–Ίπ—Œπ—Žπ—‹π–Ύ 𝖨 π–Ίπ—‡π—‡π—ˆπ—Žπ—‡π–Όπ–Ύ 𝖨 𝖺𝗆 𝗉𝗋𝖾𝗀𝗇𝖺𝗇𝗍. 𝖨 𝖺𝗆 π—€π—ˆπ—‚π—‡π—€ π—π—ˆ 𝖻𝖾 π—‹π–Ύπ—…π–Ύπ–Ίπ—Œπ—‚π—‡π—€ 𝗇𝖾𝗐 π—†π—Žπ—Œπ—‚π–Ό 𝖺𝗍 π—π—π—‚π—Œ 𝗍𝗂𝗆𝖾 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝗐𝖺𝗇𝗍𝖾𝖽 π—π—ˆ 𝖿𝖾𝖾𝗅 𝖿𝗋𝖾𝖾 𝗂𝗇 𝗆𝗒 π–»π—ˆπ–½π—’ π–Ίπ—Œ 𝗂𝗍 π–Όπ—π–Ίπ—‡π—€π–Ύπ—Œ π–»π–Ύπ–Ώπ—ˆπ—‹π–Ύ 𝖺𝗅𝗅 π—ˆπ—Žπ—‹ π–Ύπ—’π–Ύπ—Œ! 𝖨 π—…π—ˆπ—π–Ύ 𝗆𝗒 π—ƒπ—ˆπ–» 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖼𝖺𝗇’𝗍 𝗐𝖺𝗂𝗍 π–Ώπ—ˆπ—‹ π—’π—ˆπ—Ž 𝖺𝗅𝗅 π—π—ˆ 𝗁𝖾𝖺𝗋 𝗆𝗒 πŸ§π—π— π–Ίπ—…π–»π—Žπ—† 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖨 𝗐𝗂𝗅𝗅 𝖻𝖾 π—ˆπ—Žπ— 𝖺𝗇𝖽 π–Ίπ–»π—ˆπ—Žπ— 𝗉𝗅𝖺𝗒𝗂𝗇𝗀 π–Ίπ—Œ π—†π—Žπ–Όπ— π–Ίπ—Œ π—π—π—‚π—Œ 𝖼𝗋𝖺𝗓𝗒 𝗍𝗂𝗆𝖾 𝗐𝗂𝗅𝗅 π–Ίπ—…π—…π—ˆπ— (π–Ίπ—…π—Œπ—ˆ 𝖺 π—π—ˆπ—Žπ—‹ 𝗇𝖾𝗑𝗍 𝗒𝖾𝖺𝗋). 𝖨 𝖺𝗆 π—‡π—ˆπ— 𝖺 π—Œπ—„π—‚π—‡π—‡π—’ 𝗉𝗋𝖾𝗀𝗇𝖺𝗇𝗍 π—‰π–Ύπ—‹π—Œπ—ˆπ—‡ 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖨 𝖺𝗆 π–Ίπ—…π—Œπ—ˆ 𝗁𝗂𝗀𝗁 π—‹π—‚π—Œπ—„ 𝗂𝗇 𝗉𝗋𝖾𝗀𝗇𝖺𝗇𝖼𝗒 π—Œπ—ˆ π—π—ˆπ—Žπ—…π–½ 𝗅𝗂𝗄𝖾 π—π—ˆ π–Ίπ—Œπ—„ 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗆𝖾𝖽𝗂𝖺 π—‡π—ˆπ— π—π—ˆ π—‹π—Žπ—‡ 𝖺𝖿𝗍𝖾𝗋 𝗆𝖾 π—π—ˆ 𝗀𝖾𝗍 π—Žπ—‡π–Ώπ—…π–Ίπ—π—π–Ύπ—‹π—‚π—‡π—€ π—Œπ—π—ˆπ—π—Œ π–Ίπ—Œ 𝖺𝗇𝗑𝗂𝖾𝗍𝗒 π—‚π—Œ 𝖽𝖾𝗍𝗋𝗂𝗆𝖾𝗇𝗍𝖺𝗅 π—π—ˆ 𝗆𝖾 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝗆𝗒 𝖻𝖺𝖻𝗒. π–³π—π—‚π—Œ 𝖼𝗁𝗂𝗅𝖽 π—‚π—Œ π—Œπ—ˆ 𝗐𝖺𝗇𝗍𝖾𝖽, π—‚π—β€™π—Œ 𝗆𝗒 πŸ¨π—π— π—‹π—ˆπ—Žπ—‡π–½ π—ˆπ–Ώ 𝖨𝖡π–₯ 𝖺𝗇𝖽 π—π–Ίπ—Œ 𝖺 π—Œπ—π—‹π—Žπ—€π—€π—…π–Ύ π—π—ˆ 𝗀𝖾𝗍 𝗁𝖾𝗋𝖾. 𝖨 𝗁𝖺𝖽 𝖺 𝗏𝖾𝗋𝗒 π—π—‹π–Ίπ—Žπ—†π–Ίπ—π—‚π–Ό π–Ώπ—‚π—‹π—Œπ— 𝖻𝗂𝗋𝗍𝗁 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖨 𝖺𝗆 π–Ίπ—…π—Œπ—ˆ π—‰π—‹π—ˆπ—‡π–Ύ π—π—ˆ π—‰π—ˆπ—Œπ—π—‰π–Ίπ—‹π—π—Žπ—† π–½π–Ύπ—‰π—‹π–Ύπ—Œπ—Œπ—‚π—ˆπ—‡. 𝖑𝖾𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝖺 π—†π—ˆπ—π—π–Ύπ—‹ π—‚π—Œ 𝗍𝗁𝖾 π—€π—‹π–Ύπ–Ίπ—π–Ύπ—Œπ— 𝗍𝗁𝗂𝗇𝗀 π—π—π–Ίπ—β€™π—Œ 𝖾𝗏𝖾𝗋 𝗁𝖺𝗉𝗉𝖾𝗇𝖾𝖽 π—π—ˆ 𝗆𝖾 π–»π—Žπ— 𝖨 𝗐𝗂𝗅𝗅 π—Œπ—π–Ύπ—…π—… π—Žπ—‰ 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖨 π—π—ˆπ—‡β€™π— β€œπ—€π—…π—ˆπ—β€! 𝖨 𝗂𝗇𝗍𝖾𝗇𝖽 π—π—ˆ 𝖻𝖾 𝗏𝖾𝗋𝗒 𝗋𝖾𝖺𝗅 π–Ίπ–»π—ˆπ—Žπ— π—π—π—‚π—Œ 𝗐𝗂𝗍𝗁 π—’π—ˆπ—Ž 𝖺𝗅𝗅! π–³π—ˆ 𝖺𝗅𝗅 𝗍𝗁𝖾 π—ˆπ—π—π–Ύπ—‹ 𝗉𝗋𝖾𝗀𝗇𝖺𝗇𝗍 π—π—ˆπ—†π–Ύπ—‡ π—ˆπ—Žπ— 𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗋𝖾 π—π—π—ˆ 𝖺𝗋𝖾 π–Ίπ—Œ 𝗂𝗇 π—…π—ˆπ—π–Ύ 𝗐𝗂𝗍𝗁 𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗂𝗋 π–»π–Ίπ–»π—‚π–Ύπ—Œ π–Ίπ—Œ 𝗆𝖾 π–»π—Žπ— π—Œπ—‚π—†π—Žπ—…π—π–Ίπ—‡π–Ύπ—ˆπ—Žπ—Œπ—…π—’ π—Œπ—π—‚π—π—π—‚π—‡π—€ π—π—π–Ύπ—†π—Œπ–Ύπ—…π—π–Ύπ—Œ, π—…π–Ύπ—β€™π—Œ π–½π—ˆ π—π—π—‚π—Œ.

Paloma Faith, Facebook 2020.09.24

I really admire her openness in sharing her pregnancy – and also in sharing that she doesn’t expect to feel or look glamorous in the process.

I also did not feel the pregnancy ‘glow’ – I was too busy feeling, and being, sick. But even so, throughout the experience, I felt such pressure to somehow keep up the act of seeming like my normal self.

I have marvelled at the women who seem to do this so effortlessly. Getting to watch my sister and close friends go through pregnancy, I’ve realised that some women can do this because they just have an easier time. They look like advertisements for maternity.

Some people keep up a good act. But some people genuinely feel pretty great and normal.

It feels like there is an unspoken expectation we should all be this way. I felt like I was somehow letting down feminism by having such a hard time functioning when I was pregnant (oh, the irony!). I took on way too much. And I suffered for it.

Yes, willpower can accomplish amazing things. I pushed this as far as it could go. And I know I had easier pregnant circumstances than many people. (Something I beat myself up with repeatedly while I was expecting, thinking I shouldn’t be having such a hard time, or should be doing more to keep up with other people.)

But bodies don’t follow rules. And willpower has its limits, especially where medical issues are concerned. While for some people things are very smooth, for others it is an intense and demanding medical experience. It takes energy just to get through the day with the demands on our bodies – and our minds.

The most embarrassing part to me was that it didn’t just affect me physically – I felt a mental fog from the hormones that really impacted my ability to focus and function. It made me feel so stupid and embarrassed.

We are often tempted to hide this women aren’t labelled as crazy or nonfunctional. But things like forms were absolutely beyond me, which was a huge challenge to my identity as someone good with detail-oriented work.

I realise now that I hadn’t suddenly become stupid, my brain was just focusing me in a different direction. But I felt so ashamed that I couldn’t handle as much physically or mentally when I was pregnant. It was quite depressing to feel less functional in the ways our society values because of changes in my body that felt beyond my control.

I wish I had the confidence at the time to adapt my art to suit my changing life and body, instead of trying (poorly) to keep up appearances.

Hats off to Paloma Faith for letting herself be visible and vulnerable in this process. And to have a non-glamorous journey to motherhood, without feeling that needs to be hidden away. This is great example to women/mother artists out there who want to be their whole selves, without the pressure of performing a perfect pregnancy.

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