As a new parent, I’ve discovered that overwhelm is a frequent visitor.
From playing with my daughter at the same time as cleaning, to kick-starting a writing career during nap time, I constantly feel like there’s something that needs to be ticked off the to-do list.
So when I was asked if I’d review ‘The Supermum Myth‘ by Anya Hayes and Dr Rachel Andrew, I jumped at the chance. If Supermum is a myth, I need to know now!
The Supermum Myth
I’ve read plenty of ‘not-so-supermum’ blogs to know that a lot of mothers aren’t breezing through life in an Instagram-filtered world.
But that’s not what I took away from this book.
It isn’t simply another regurgitation of ‘we don’t all have this motherhood thing nailed‘. It’s both a deeper dive into WHY Supermum doesn’t exist and, crucially, how we can deal with our feelings.
Real, practical advice and exercises.
Yes, I did say exercises. Because this is a book that you can use, not just read. Each section comes with a range of therapy activities (CBT, Family Therapy, Mindfulness etc). Now, this may sound crazy, ‘mum therapy in a book’ – and I’ll admit, I was doubtful. But being able to put things into practice, rather than just read meaningful words on a page was a game-changer.
There are a whole host of different exercises to try – some worked for me, others didn’t. The amazing thing is that it provides you with the type of support I’ve never experienced from a book before.
If you’re feeling less like ‘Supermum’ and more like ‘Slightly-shitty-mum’, I’d absolutely recommend.
A change in perception
Alongside the practical uses of the book, I found that a number of the topics really struck a cord with me.
In fact, they provided me with a completely new perspective on some of the things that I’ve struggled with since becoming a mother.
For example, I had no idea that the postnatal period was treated differently in other cultures.
In the Western world, it’s expected that we are back to our sunny selves hours after giving birth. When I didn’t feel like I could move in the hours (which turned into days) after having Moo, some of the midwives got quite cross with me. “Who’s going to look after your baby if you don’t get up?” came the rude replies when I told them that I couldn’t get up. Ummmm… that’s what I’m worried about and why I’m asking for help…
It was only when they finally took me seriously (12 hours later) and ran some tests that they found out I had contracted an infection. It took another 4 days to give me a blood transfusion. Finally, a week after giving birth, I was feeling OK.
I found this start to motherhood a struggle. There seemed to be a distinct lack of concern or sympathy in the postnatal ward.
The Supermum Myth helped to re-frame my entire experience
In our society, the media and healthcare system portrays women as pretty much unchanged by growing and birthing a baby. But that’s not the reality – huge changes including to your health, hormones, body and mind occur.
But we don’t have a tendency to truly acknowledge it.
In plenty of other cultures however, there are a variety of ‘postpartum practices and traditions’ that focus on supporting the mother through what is often referred to as the ‘4th trimester’. From women in Malay villages caring for new mothers for 40 days, to the Chinese practice of ‘doing the month’, a special emphasis is put on both supporting women after child-birth and ensuring they get the rest that their body so desperately needs.
This simple observation really brought it home for me
I did deserve to rest. I needed care and compassion. My body had to have time to recover.
Throughout the book, I found myself nodding along to pretty much all of the advice. Anya Hayes and Dr Rachel Andrew really do know exactly how mums feel. And they know how to strip away these feelings to the bare bones to address the root of the problem.
I finished it within days (no mean feat with an active 10 month old) and already feel lighter, brighter and ready to take on all of the challenges motherhood will bring.
Supermum, I’m coming for you!
*I was given the book The Supermum Myth in exchange for a review, however all statements and opinions are very much my own.