#WISPchat: Shedding some light on the dark side of motherhood

#WISPchat: Shedding some light on the dark side of motherhood Top left clockwise: Viv Oyolu, Lyndsey Oliver, Dianne Larrington, Hollie McNish, Jody Day and Ruth Jackson

This was one of our most productive chats so far... scroll down to see it in full.


It’s the penultimate week of our motherhood month, and we want this week’s #WISPchat to reflect the highs and the lows of motherhood.

So far, we’ve rounded up a group of totally different (all amazing) women to share their stories on the subject, and talk about what matters to them. Our podcast participants – Jody, Lindsey, Dianne and Viv – kicked off the journey, and since then we’ve talked about postnatal depression with Ruth Jackson, had our hearts warmed by a long-awaited adoption, and made waves on the interwebz with this exclusive poem by Hollie McNish.

So for this week’s #WISPchat, we wanted to go all primary school and think about what we’ve learned. And the overriding lesson has been this: it’s not easy. Motherhood in all its forms is beautiful and joyful, a weep-inducing, amazing and transformative miracle – but it’s a struggle.

It’s a struggle for women who can’t have children, and it’s a struggle for women who do. It’s hard to juggle motherhood and a career – and for those on maternity leave, with their newfound motherhood to accept and explore, it’s hard to admit that they’re sinking under the weight of postnatal depression.

For our adoptive mum, it was hard to lose her health, job safety and relationships during fertility treatment. For Hollie McNish, who has a baby, it’s hard to accept that some mums are being offered clothes vouchers to breastfeed their child, when what new mums really need are ‘Free sleep vouchers / Hot cup of tea vouchers… / Don’t tell me to leave the hospital without making sure I can feed vouchers… / Just to weep vouchers / I just want to sleep vouchers.’

So here’s what you’ve told us: precisely because of the pure, sheer, unbelievable leap into the dizzying unknown that is becoming a mother, it’s incredibly difficult to do without a few wobbles. In between the joy, there’s loneliness, frustration, bleeding nipples and boredom.

And now for some positivity. We want to ask you all – non-mothers, young mothers, late-to-the-party mothers – what your struggles were, and what would have helped you cope better. Did you suffer from depression, like Ruth Jackson? Did you feel unprepared to be a mum – and what would have changed that feeling? What ‘vouchers’ do you want: financial vouchers? Fertility treatment vouchers? Understanding friend vouchers? Sleep vouchers? Childcare vouchers? Talk-to-another-adult vouchers?

Motherhood is hard, and we want to know how it can be made a bit easier. Let us know at 2pm GMT tomorrow on Twitter, following the #WISPchat hashtag.

And here's what you had to say...


A huge thank you to everyone who participated! 


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