Before I was 'Mum'...
An NHS poster faced backlash for promoting outdated sexist views in their advert for contraception:
Supposedly aimed at teenagers over the summer holidays, the advert clearly suggested that heels and lipstick had to be given up if you found yourself with a baby. It advertised that patients could get free emergency contraception up to five days after unprotected sex.
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust apologised that the ad had raised concerns, but highlighted how the campaign has played an important role in tackling teenage pregnancy and poor sexual health.
Now, this was long debated on the internet, but it personally got me thinking: is this actually a realistic portrayal of what happens when you have a baby, regardless of your age? Is it a case of giving up 'fun'? Is it that you can no longer be glamorous as a mum? Is it about losing 'you'?
Well, before I was ‘Mum’, I was me.
I had a very busy social life.
I had a job I loved.
I hated to cook.
I enjoyed having sex with my husband.
I looked forward to nights out drinking cocktails and dancing until my feet hurt.
I judged other people’s parenting...
I wondered if I actually ever wanted children.
I knew I’d work hard to ‘bounce back’ if I ever had a baby.
I promised my friends I wouldn’t baby spam them.
I didn’t think I actually wanted mummy friends who talked about babies all day.
I wore heels every single day. Lipstick on occasions.
Then I was Mum.
I wanted mummy friends. I have mummy friends thankfully!
I had to upgrade my storage plan for all the photos and videos I took of my baby!
There was a little tiny bit of baby spamming #sorrynotsorry
I ate a lot of biscuits for the first 4 months of my baby's life.
Once I stopped buying biscuits, I worked hard to 'bounce back' in the limited time I could manage. It was less of a bounce and more of a... gentle stroll to get back into some old clothes!
I wondered if I wanted more children. That's still up for debate.
I still judge other people’s parenting (sorry!) but I am always kind about it.
I certainly didn't wear heels when I was pregnant. One colleague said that was how she knew I was expecting.
And the opportunities for wearing lipstick were rarer.
But whilst all that changed...
I still have a very busy social life - it just involves a few play dates too.
I'm back to a job I love.
I still hate to cook.
I still enjoy having sex with my husband.
I still look forward to nights out drinking cocktails and dancing until my feet hurt. Yes I still wear those heels and lipstick when I can! And my child never took to a dummy!!
So whilst I may be 'Mum' now, I’m still very much me! I It is up to you what you choose to 'give up', where compromises are made, what becomes unimportant to you when you have a child. Having children doesn't have to mean the end of our old lives - unless you want it to be! If you want to be glamorous in your lipstick and heels as a mum, that's fine too!
However, with falling birth rates in so many developed countries, adverts like the one above are unhelpful to those who were like me - unsure of whether I actually wanted to give up my life to have a child.
The answer? I didn't have to give up anything I didn't want to. And I gained so much more.