We’ve got something a bit different for you today, and we think you’re really going to love it.
We love helping you live your healthiest and happiest through pregnancy and beyond — but we also want to create a space for women to share their stories, support each other, and connect over all that motherhood throws at us — from the messy to the funny, to the hard and bewildering.
We’ve teamed up with Molly Kingsley, author of The Lens I See Through, to bring you real stories of parenthood right here on the Baby2Body Blog. She’ll make you laugh, she might make you cry, and ultimately she’ll bring you along on a journey that we’re sure a lot of you know all too well.
In honor of transparency, all names have been changed — by Molly — purely to protect her family’s identities. All other details are true. Without any further ado, we’ll hand it over to you, Molly.
Hi, I’m Molly Kingsley: mother, writer, photographer, and I’m so happy to meet you.
So. Why am I here? Well, it’s fair to say that the ‘me’ who sits here and who writes this today is a very different version of the ‘me’ who existed five, let alone ten, years ago. Motherhood has a way of doing that. I have come to see our kids as the best thing we did, hands down, but it’s probably fair to say that it has not always been quite so clear to me.
For, as well as being a Mum to Mary (6) and Phoebe (3), I am also just me: Molly. Sometimes those personas conflict, and that conflict, as well as the process of self-discovery and change that followed — slowly — after the birth of my two girls, led me on a journey which saw me leave London, slow down and start, really, a whole new life.
In order for me to properly share my stories, you deserve a bit of background. I went into my thirties a childless, committed party girl, with a serious and full-on career (first in corporate law and then as co-founder of an ad-tech start-up). I lived in the heart of London and I embraced all that big city life threw at me: glitz, grit, and glamour; many attractions and plenty of distractions. I wanted it all. And, for a while, I thought I very possibly had it all (or at least a good chunk of it). For a while longer, I convinced myself that having “it all”, whatever that was, was making me happy.
But then something happened. Well, in fact, two things happened.
The first was that I had my first child, Mary. I was 34 at the time, we’d been trying for a couple of years — nearly to the point of giving up — and naturally, having Mary should have been the best thing that had ever happened to me. Spoiler: it was a little less straightforward than that at the start.
Although it was something I very much wanted, for a while after she was born, I struggled. My love for her was never in question, but wow, how suddenly and indelibly things changed. Almost overnight it felt there was no place left for this fun, free and flirty personality I’d worked so hard over the previous fifteen years to create. How does one begin to reconcile that?
I was tethered, often literally, to another human being. A human being that made noises and ate and slept (or didn’t), all according to her own unpatterned, elusive schedule. Unsurprisingly perhaps, Mary’s schedule bore no resemblance to my own, and I had little (to no) control over it, or her. But, I was a mum, and as a mum, I was meant to not only understand what to do but also to handover the life and identity I had to that point created in order to do it.
And somehow us Mums are meant to just ‘be OK’ with that.
Most terrifyingly of all and in a way whose enormity, even now, I still can barely fathom, this little person needed me. Like really needed me; perfectly captured in the words of my three-year-old one evening last week when I was desperately trying to escape back downstairs to carry on working: “but Mama, I NEED you! I need you for eva and eva and eva and EVA”. I hear you, Phoebe. I hear you.
Six years on I’m happy to report that I have, mainly, got my head around it; but back in 2013 when Mary was born I most definitely was not okay with it. So, I did what I knew best. I carried on regardless. I worked hard. I partied, much less than I used to, but still enough to disrupt my equilibrium. I compounded matters by having a second child — not altogether intentionally, but definitely willingly. All semblance of equilibrium at that point went out of the window.
A couple of rocky years ensued where I was juggling a toddler, a newborn and a business (one that I’d built from nothing and which was deeply important to me). My relationships started to deteriorate: first with my loyal and annoyingly tolerant husband, Bert, and then with my business partner who also happened to be my closest friend. I managed to cling on to the husband but ultimately lost both the friend and the business. Both of those losses were, in their own way, devastating and looking back I now realise…
… that for a while I was very much not OK.
But then that something else happened. Something good, simple, and which marked the beginning of an altogether unexpected, but very welcome, transformation…
Well, I think I’ve taken enough of your time for this week, and I thank you for being here. So, I shall leave it there, but promise to be back next week to tell you more.
I will, though, end here by saying that although I have found motherhood at times hard, through it I have grown into a different, and according to my husband, far superior version of my former self. I’m still me, Molly, the slightly crazy, sometimes reckless, almost always irrational fun-loving being that I was before kids. But I have now, by and large, learned to channel those instincts towards something good. I owe that to my kids.
I do hope you’ll stick around to hear a bit more.
Molly Kingsley is a writer and photographer, who also happens to be a parent to Mary (6) and Phoebe (3). You can follow her @the_lens_i_see_through.