Saturday 21 March 2020

Motherhood - The Unspoken by PhDr. Ivana Poku | Book Review

AD | Hello my lovelies, happy Friday! If you read my Mothers Day Gift Guide then you may have seen me mention Motherhood - The Unspoken by PhDr. Ivana Poku *. Well, I wanted to share more for you!

PhDr. Ivana Poku is an award-nominated blogger, motivational speaker, founder of Mumsjourney, author of 'Motherhood - The Unspoken', mum of twin boys, wife to an amazing husband, and a believer in every mother’s power to achieve anything she desires. Originally from Slovakia, Ivana moved to England at the age of 29. After becoming a mother, she suffered major postnatal depression. This experience was extremely scary for her and something she doesn't wish anyone to ever have to go through. But sadly, she soon understood she was not the only one struggling. After she pulled out of the illness, Ivana had set up Mumsjourney and now helps and supports mums from around the world on their journey with the main goal - to never have to feel so lonely as she did after becoming a mum. Her book 'Motherhood - The Unspoken' offers a real insight into the life of a new mum, fills a massive gap in postnatal mental care services, and helps reduce the risks of postnatal depression. Here she explains more: 

"I am a new mum and I hate it I often watch future mums getting ready for the arrival of their children, studying everything about birth, being happy that they are ready for everything…

There is nothing wrong with it, of course. However, I always see these mums being astonished when the baby comes into the world. Suddenly they find that birth is just a beginning. Despite studying 20 books, attending pregnancy yoga regularly and consulting everything beforehand with experienced mums, they feel they were not ready for anything. There is nothing wrong with that either.

The truth is that no mother can be ready for what really comes with motherhood. What is it that comes with motherhood then? 

Let’s take it step by step. I am not saying I know every mother in the world, or that it is up to me to speak for all women. However, from what I have experienced and seen over the years, I can be almost certain that every mother is mentally unwell for at least some time after delivery. Why?

As to her surprise, instead of overflowing with love and feelings of happiness, she often feels sorrow, loneliness, emptiness, doubt, or regret… Logically, she, therefore, feels there is something wrong with her. I am supposed to feel happy! She thinks. 

Sadness and loneliness are totally common and natural feelings of a new mother. Often even during the pregnancy…

Apparently, it’s because the arrival of a child is the biggest change in one’s life that overturns your world by 180 degrees. Suddenly, you no longer do what you used to do before. You cannot even go to the shop freely. Suddenly, you have in front of you a little child that constantly cries and you don’t know why and how to help them. You don’t sleep, you are desperate and drifting out to sea. You thought your baby will be a cute little human you will look after and play with while experiencing the most amazing feelings in the world…

Sure, you also were prepared for the lack of sleep but you believed you’d manage (you did so many times before, after all). But the reality is somewhat different, isn’t? Becoming a mother is nothing like what you have expected indeed. You feel like a changing a feeding machine that is constantly tortured by the never-ending screaming of your little baby… The first weeks and months are mostly about a huge pressure on the psyche and looking for the right balance.

How come people don’t know about this? That’s the thing. They do!
However, we are sweeping it underneath the carpet as leftovers until we get to the point when we crave even the slightest crumb. That is when we start to search for information from real life and find out how many things we had missed up to this point. I am sure you all have met with the definition of baby blues or postpartum depression. However, the truth is, that we mostly meet these terms only on a theoretical level. Even the statistical data of ‘up to 80% of women suffer from baby blues’ does not make it significant in our eyes, unless you experience it. On the other hand, on the “most interesting”, practical level, we encounter the topic of motherhood mostly in the best possible light.

Let’s just look around us. Everywhere we look we see happy, smiling faces of new mothers… Celebrities take pictures with their babies and their smile underlines the title ‘I experience the most beautiful time of my life’. The media and the indirect influences of the environment have always created the impression in us that motherhood is synonymous with the greatest happiness.

Why would we think the opposite? Logically, we expect that the sense of unlimited happiness enters our lives with a child. It is true that feeling will come, but certainly not immediately. In the first stages, it is rather the opposite.

Why don’t mums talk about it? It is simple. Since we are from each direction fed with the illusion that a mother has to experience feelings of pure happiness, if they don’t arrive, a mum feels bad and guilty. She feels she is failing and often falls into depression.

It’s a vicious circle. I also suffered from postpartum depression and I also felt that I had to hide it from others. It was some emotional instinct, mixed from the sense of shame and guilt that prevented me from admitting how I really felt. However, it doesn’t have to go as far as depression. Becoming a mum is a massive change and it always takes time to adjust to everything that comes with the arrival of the baby. But the good news is, everything is just a stage that will pass one day. Sooner or later, you will enjoy motherhood like you have always wanted and you will experience the kind of love you did not even know you were capable of.

Although the beginning is extremely difficult (and it is best if you are aware of that) as time passes, we also grow, each day we get closer with our baby, we get to know and love them more. Up until a day when they become an inseparable part of our life.

Today, I can’t even imagine my life without my children. I would die for them. And I feel this always, unconditionally and regardless of whether they are currently “good” or driving me crazy.

The fact that this is not general knowledge and therefore causes for so mums an unnecessary struggle, made me decide to start a blog and write a book ‘Motherhood – The Unspoken’ that is now available on Amazon. The book offers an authentic insight into the life of a new mum reveals the untold secrets of motherhood they don’t tell you in perinatal classes, and, in the process, helps reduce the risks of postnatal depression. With this book I wan to break the stigma of postnatal mental health for good and make it general knowledge what (early) motherhood is really about so no new mum ever has to suffer in silence again. It would mean the world if you supported me on this mission as I believe that if we really want to, we can make a real difference in the world and support future and new mums out there who desperately need help. Together."

 - PhDr. Ivana Poku |
 - Book 'Motherhood - The Unspoken':
 - FB group 'You Are Not Alone:
 - Twitter: @mumsjourney

 - Instagram: @mums_journe

With love, Alisha Valerie. x