A toddler standing next to a woman by an open oven in a modern kitchen, both looking inside.

Mother’s Day. One day of the year isn’t enough.

Motherhood Musings

This is not your average mother’s day post…. If I’m honest, I don’t really like Mothers’ Day. I don’t like it in the same way

A toddler standing next to a woman by an open oven in a modern kitchen, both looking inside.
Real moments. Real emotion. Real life.

Trigger Warning

This Mother’s Day piece mentions infant loss, infertility, strained maternal relationships, bereavement & discusses maternal mental health, birth trauma & loss of bodily autonomy.

This is not your average mother’s day post….

If I’m honest, I don’t really like Mothers’ Day. I don’t like it in the same way I don’t like Valentine’s Day. I think days like these are designed to sell us things. Things we apparently need in order for our Mothers to know they are loved, and for us, as Mothers, to know we are valued. 

The whole tradition of Mother’s Day began with a heartfelt memorial service held by a woman named Anna Jarvis, to honour her own mother – Ann. A woman who gathered and worked alongside other Mothers to improve conditions and lower the incidence of infant mortality in their community in West Virginia. 

Anna Jarvis only ever intended for Mother’s Day to be a private acknowledgement within the family. A quiet recognition of all the Mother does. She lived out her years fighting against the commercialisation of Mother’s Day, losing all that she had in legal battles while fighting to return the day to what it was originally intended to be. 

So here we are now, with a day that is celebrated globally – a special day that we must use to show our Mothers we love, appreciate & value them – with things.

I’m not kidding when I say:

In my 5 years of Mothering, I haven’t had a ‘Happy Mothers Day’ yet. Because society sells us some BS standard of what this day should look like, & then we’re expected to live up to this ideal of the perfect Mother’s Day. 

We should spend the day ‘spoiling’ our own Mother & Mother-in-law while also finding the time to soak up our own children, appreciate how lucky we are to be Mothers – and be sure to enjoy every moment. Often, on this special day that is meant to be for us, finding that we are, in fact, the ones doing all the things & being all the things, with the sudden realisation that this day feels much like any other day.

Then there’s the often overlooked reality that Mother’s Day can heartbreaking for some women. Women who have experienced loss, who are ‘celebrating’ Mother’s Day without their child or without their Mother. 

Women who have a tricky relationship with their Mother. 

Women who more than anything want to become a mother but can’t. 

Women deep in the trenches of motherhood, raising their babies with no village, their mental health hanging by a thread and yet – we expect them to put it all aside and have a ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ because this is the day marked on the calendar to do so.

So, at the risk of sounding ungrateful

for the good intention & for the blessing that is my own chance to be a mother – & make no mistake, it is not lost on me how very fortunate I am to be a Mother…

I don’t want to have a ‘Happy Mother’s Day’

What I do want is this – the list is long, it’s confronting & without a doubt, it NEEDS to be said…

I want a world where women, & Mother’s in particular aren’t invisible. 

I want Mothers to be seen, really seen. All the tiny little acts of love that make up our days, the invisible tasks, the mental load we carry, the unspoken truths, the emotional turmoil, all the times we put ourselves last because, seemingly everything else is our responsibility.

I want recognition for the contribution we are making to society, in raising our children and, while we’re at it, recognition for the sacrifices we’ve made and the traumas we’ve endured bringing those precious children earthside. Those sacrifices and traumas exist, please stop pretending that they don’t.

An unbelievable number of us have experienced birth trauma. We’ve had our bodies ruled over by people who are not ourselves. We’ve been stripped of our choices and our rights. We’ve been convinced by the system that we don’t have what it takes to birth our babies on our own terms, let alone trust our instinct to mother once our child is born.

We’ve sacrificed our careers, our goals, our dreams, our bodies, our mental health

All in the name of Motherhood. We’ve lost our friends. Our autonomy. Our self worth. We’ve lost ourselves. 

I want a world where all Mothers can access woman-centred care, where we have freedom to choose when and how we birth our babies, and who will support us on that journey. A world where men & governments & systems aren’t holding the power over us and what we choose for our bodies, our children & ourselves.

I want a world where women are supported post partum. Physically, emotionally, mentally & spiritually. I mean more support than the dismal 6 week check up. We need the opportunity to debrief post birth, we need counselling, we need breastfeeding support, we need nourishment, we need help with household tasks. We need someone to hold our babies so we can just take a breath…and a shower. 

We have to stop sending new Mothers out into the world to find their own way, bloodied & bruised, because their world has just been turned on it’s head. 

A Mother does not cease to exist once her child is earthside, but somehow, we stop seeing her. She becomes invisible. The village it apparently takes to raise a child, is now non-existent. 

Mother’s need a village, our children need a village but we can’t, for the life of us, find a damn village. I’ve been trying for 5 years & I’m calling off the search, defeated.

I want Mother’s to have the freedom to mother their children on their own terms

Free from the unrealistic societal expectations placed upon us. Free from the unrelenting pressure of existing in that picture perfect idea of what motherhood should look like. The one we’ve been conditioned to believe in since we were little girls. 

Imagine if we could raise our children based wholly on our own values, celebrating each other for our differences, instead of making comparisons & judgements because our pictures aren’t as pretty as the one society has force fed us our entire lives. Imagine.

So, yes, I will hold my children tight come Mothers Day, a day that is largely like any given day for me. I will marvel at their artworks and hand made cards and be grateful that I am their Mumma.

But, No. I won’t have my sacrifices, achievements & experiences be reduced to a card & a wish for a ‘Happy Mother’s Day’.

I want more. For myself and for you, Mumma. I want it for the Mothers that come after us, for our daughters when they become mothers…

And I want it every damn day of the year.

You might be thinking it all seems like a pretty big ask, there’s a lot at play here & it’s a steep mountain to climb. I get it, I honestly do. It’s true, there’s a lot to overcome. Where would one even start & could one person even make a difference?

I won’t pretend to have all the answers for you

But perhaps we can start with asking ourselves: Are we willing to continue down the path we’re on? For me, the answer is no. I have a feeling it’s the same for you, too.

So, I’m going to continue to speak what’s on my mind & in my heart, the real deal, not the watered down version. 

I’m going to keep showing up & shining a light on the reality of Motherhood. 

I’m going to keep having this conversation & have faith that it will cause a ripple effect. Because I know I’m not the only one – I can’t be the only one. But, as long as we’re collectively not talking about it, I might as well be the only one.

So, here I am – asking you to join me, Mumma.

I’m asking you to be brave.

I’m asking you to allow yourself to be vulnerable.

I’m asking you to choose to stop being invisible.

I’m asking you to stand up & speak your truth, even if it’s quietly at first, & I’ll be right there with you, promise.

If this resonated with you and you’d like to read more – you might like the following:

https://natashagrechphotographer.com/the-need-for-perfection-is-stealing-our-joy/

https://natashagrechphotographer.com/words-i-dont-want-to-hear-this-international-womens-day/

Crisis Support

If this blog post has brought up any issues for you, please seek assistance.

PANDA https://panda.org.au
Lifeline https://www.lifeline.org.au
Beyond Blue https://www.beyondblue.org.au

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