I belong to a Facebook group of ‘Mothers Who Make’, and someone shared this inspiring post from Paloma Faith:
𝖨𝗍 𝗂𝗌 𝗐𝗂𝗍𝗁 𝖾𝗑𝗍𝗋𝖾𝗆𝖾 𝗉𝗅𝖾𝖺𝗌𝗎𝗋𝖾 𝖨 𝖺𝗇𝗇𝗈𝗎𝗇𝖼𝖾 𝖨 𝖺𝗆 𝗉𝗋𝖾𝗀𝗇𝖺𝗇𝗍. 𝖨 𝖺𝗆 𝗀𝗈𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝗍𝗈 𝖻𝖾 𝗋𝖾𝗅𝖾𝖺𝗌𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝗇𝖾𝗐 𝗆𝗎𝗌𝗂𝖼 𝖺𝗍 𝗍𝗁𝗂𝗌 𝗍𝗂𝗆𝖾 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝗐𝖺𝗇𝗍𝖾𝖽 𝗍𝗈 𝖿𝖾𝖾𝗅 𝖿𝗋𝖾𝖾 𝗂𝗇 𝗆𝗒 𝖻𝗈𝖽𝗒 𝖺𝗌 𝗂𝗍 𝖼𝗁𝖺𝗇𝗀𝖾𝗌 𝖻𝖾𝖿𝗈𝗋𝖾 𝖺𝗅𝗅 𝗈𝗎𝗋 𝖾𝗒𝖾𝗌! 𝖨 𝗅𝗈𝗏𝖾 𝗆𝗒 𝗃𝗈𝖻 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖼𝖺𝗇’𝗍 𝗐𝖺𝗂𝗍 𝖿𝗈𝗋 𝗒𝗈𝗎 𝖺𝗅𝗅 𝗍𝗈 𝗁𝖾𝖺𝗋 𝗆𝗒 𝟧𝗍𝗁 𝖺𝗅𝖻𝗎𝗆 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖨 𝗐𝗂𝗅𝗅 𝖻𝖾 𝗈𝗎𝗍 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖺𝖻𝗈𝗎𝗍 𝗉𝗅𝖺𝗒𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝖺𝗌 𝗆𝗎𝖼𝗁 𝖺𝗌 𝗍𝗁𝗂𝗌 𝖼𝗋𝖺𝗓𝗒 𝗍𝗂𝗆𝖾 𝗐𝗂𝗅𝗅 𝖺𝗅𝗅𝗈𝗐 (𝖺𝗅𝗌𝗈 𝖺 𝗍𝗈𝗎𝗋 𝗇𝖾𝗑𝗍 𝗒𝖾𝖺𝗋). 𝖨 𝖺𝗆 𝗇𝗈𝗍 𝖺 𝗌𝗄𝗂𝗇𝗇𝗒 𝗉𝗋𝖾𝗀𝗇𝖺𝗇𝗍 𝗉𝖾𝗋𝗌𝗈𝗇 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖨 𝖺𝗆 𝖺𝗅𝗌𝗈 𝗁𝗂𝗀𝗁 𝗋𝗂𝗌𝗄 𝗂𝗇 𝗉𝗋𝖾𝗀𝗇𝖺𝗇𝖼𝗒 𝗌𝗈 𝗐𝗈𝗎𝗅𝖽 𝗅𝗂𝗄𝖾 𝗍𝗈 𝖺𝗌𝗄 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗆𝖾𝖽𝗂𝖺 𝗇𝗈𝗍 𝗍𝗈 𝗋𝗎𝗇 𝖺𝖿𝗍𝖾𝗋 𝗆𝖾 𝗍𝗈 𝗀𝖾𝗍 𝗎𝗇𝖿𝗅𝖺𝗍𝗍𝖾𝗋𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝗌𝗁𝗈𝗍𝗌 𝖺𝗌 𝖺𝗇𝗑𝗂𝖾𝗍𝗒 𝗂𝗌 𝖽𝖾𝗍𝗋𝗂𝗆𝖾𝗇𝗍𝖺𝗅 𝗍𝗈 𝗆𝖾 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝗆𝗒 𝖻𝖺𝖻𝗒. 𝖳𝗁𝗂𝗌 𝖼𝗁𝗂𝗅𝖽 𝗂𝗌 𝗌𝗈 𝗐𝖺𝗇𝗍𝖾𝖽, 𝗂𝗍’𝗌 𝗆𝗒 𝟨𝗍𝗁 𝗋𝗈𝗎𝗇𝖽 𝗈𝖿 𝖨𝖵𝖥 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝗐𝖺𝗌 𝖺 𝗌𝗍𝗋𝗎𝗀𝗀𝗅𝖾 𝗍𝗈 𝗀𝖾𝗍 𝗁𝖾𝗋𝖾. 𝖨 𝗁𝖺𝖽 𝖺 𝗏𝖾𝗋𝗒 𝗍𝗋𝖺𝗎𝗆𝖺𝗍𝗂𝖼 𝖿𝗂𝗋𝗌𝗍 𝖻𝗂𝗋𝗍𝗁 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖨 𝖺𝗆 𝖺𝗅𝗌𝗈 𝗉𝗋𝗈𝗇𝖾 𝗍𝗈 𝗉𝗈𝗌𝗍𝗉𝖺𝗋𝗍𝗎𝗆 𝖽𝖾𝗉𝗋𝖾𝗌𝗌𝗂𝗈𝗇. 𝖡𝖾𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝖺 𝗆𝗈𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗋 𝗂𝗌 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗀𝗋𝖾𝖺𝗍𝖾𝗌𝗍 𝗍𝗁𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝗍𝗁𝖺𝗍’𝗌 𝖾𝗏𝖾𝗋 𝗁𝖺𝗉𝗉𝖾𝗇𝖾𝖽 𝗍𝗈 𝗆𝖾 𝖻𝗎𝗍 𝖨 𝗐𝗂𝗅𝗅 𝗌𝗐𝖾𝗅𝗅 𝗎𝗉 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖨 𝗐𝗈𝗇’𝗍 “𝗀𝗅𝗈𝗐”! 𝖨 𝗂𝗇𝗍𝖾𝗇𝖽 𝗍𝗈 𝖻𝖾 𝗏𝖾𝗋𝗒 𝗋𝖾𝖺𝗅 𝖺𝖻𝗈𝗎𝗍 𝗍𝗁𝗂𝗌 𝗐𝗂𝗍𝗁 𝗒𝗈𝗎 𝖺𝗅𝗅! 𝖳𝗈 𝖺𝗅𝗅 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗈𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗋 𝗉𝗋𝖾𝗀𝗇𝖺𝗇𝗍 𝗐𝗈𝗆𝖾𝗇 𝗈𝗎𝗍 𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗋𝖾 𝗐𝗁𝗈 𝖺𝗋𝖾 𝖺𝗌 𝗂𝗇 𝗅𝗈𝗏𝖾 𝗐𝗂𝗍𝗁 𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗂𝗋 𝖻𝖺𝖻𝗂𝖾𝗌 𝖺𝗌 𝗆𝖾 𝖻𝗎𝗍 𝗌𝗂𝗆𝗎𝗅𝗍𝖺𝗇𝖾𝗈𝗎𝗌𝗅𝗒 𝗌𝗁𝗂𝗍𝗍𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗆𝗌𝖾𝗅𝗏𝖾𝗌, 𝗅𝖾𝗍’𝗌 𝖽𝗈 𝗍𝗁𝗂𝗌.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.