Maela (Bristol)

Posted By: MMHA

3 minute read

Representation is key when you feel alone in your motherhood journey and all you want is to encounter or hear about someone who feels and looks like you.

This is my story, this is me.

My name is Maela and I would like to share my story with you. For me, writing is cathartic. It is giving myself a voice and hopefully making someone out there feel less lonely and unworthy. Remember: your story is as important as mine.

Becoming a mother.

Well, this is something I had decided from being a little girl becoming a mum was one of my goals in life. I am the proud mother of 5 angel babies and 3 living children aged 15, 13 and 2 at the time of writing. No one tells you that having or wanting a baby does not always go according to plan.

I have experienced an array of pregnancy losses, including miscarriages, an ectopy pregnancy, and a termination for medical reasons at 22 weeks. My angel babies are a part of my story and I know I am not the only one this had happened to. There are no words for a mum losing her child because no words can describe it. Pregnancy loss remains a taboo and is something most of us do not even consider as a possibility. Motherhood is all of this and more and the feelings that I have experienced over the years range from joy and excitement to despair, sorrow, and loneliness. It took me 5 years to have a 3rd child.

My daughter was born at 27 weeks following the bleeding of my placenta. I was minutes from cardiac arrest and both of us nearly lost our lives. I was still grieving the loss of my babies but denied myself all feelings as I told myself the priority was for my premature baby to come home healthy.

I kept pushing myself, burning the candle at both ends, trying to be this wonder mum we are expected to be and keeping my mouth shut because I had desperately wanted this baby, the fact that I had almost died was irrelevant… right? What could I have to complain about?

Postnatal care.

This is when my mental health declined rapidly, I was not eating properly I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t crying either. All my emotions were suppressed. I was begging for help but was not being listened to or heard, I was invisible and not worthy but for some reason I used the last fight in me to keep pushing and I finally had a formal debrief and was accepted by the trauma and loss specialist team for postnatal care.

There it was, suffering from postnatal depression, complex grief, and PTSD, all these words simply meant I needed help. I was relieved to know this was not all in my head. I received therapy for over 9 months alongside an invaluable companionship from Mothers for Mothers, a member organisation of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance. I felt able again. I felt worthy and confident again. I felt validated, and I felt visible!

My motherhood.

My name is Maela, and I am a proud black mother of 5 angel babies and 3 living children. Representation is key when you feel alone in your motherhood journey and all you want is to encounter or hear about someone who feels and looks like you.

Women like me are 4 times more likely to die during labour or within the 12 months after birth. This simply is not good enough. Racism is something I have encountered throughout my life in childhood but also as a patient, mother, and midwife. It adds to the narrative of not feeling worthy and contributes to poor mental health.

Being able to have the headspace to think and feel again is all I needed to continue my journey. So, when you read this, know you are seen and know you are heard. I am proud to be a black bereft mother. I am proud to be resilient, caring, and honest. Even at your weakest, you are strong. It takes a village to raise a child, you do not have to do this alone or know the answers to all your questions. Mental health is simply the health of your mind, look after yourself, you are worth it.

This is my story, this is me.

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