Hello, I’m Morgan and I’m 29. Last week I met the Duchess of Cambridge and had my face blasted across UK newspapers (and even in America!) as she shared a sweet moment with my daughter in front of the cameras during our 15 minute chat.
I had responded to Mush’s founder, Katie’s, call for mums who were free on that day and was excited (and a bit nervous) to be part of a group of mums from Mush who would meet her in Battersea Park. I was there to describe how new motherhood had been for me.
The Duchess has been working for a few years on shining a spotlight on all aspects of Early Years, and Mush is one of a few tools and services that she wanted more new mums to know about, particularly now during Covid.
The day itself was wonderful, I arrived early at the park and Makena-Grace, my daughter, and I enjoyed a slow stroll along the Thames bank to the gate where we were to meet Katie, Mush CEO. It was very nice meeting Katie and other Mush mums, we had a nice chit chat getting to know each other better before we were briefed on what to expect from the morning. The park itself was beautiful and it helped that the sun had come out.
I had felt nervous as the Duchess made her way around the group getting closer to us Mush mums, but once she approached us, her and my daughter, Makena-Grace, exchanged big smiles and I felt at ease. We only had a brief time to converse but it felt like we covered a lot of topics. My beautiful daughter was born in March, the week before full lockdown in an unplanned home birth with my husband by my side, it all happened very quickly and we spent the following week in hospital on IV drips recovering. We talked about this and how lockdown had been, that at the start I did not leave the house and how I had been worried and felt isolated from other mums. I had been sad that I hadn’t been able to share my birth story or hear others’ (and yet here I am telling 200,000 Mush mums), go to play groups, have my daughter weighed when I was worried or have my others fears eased at my Doctor’s Surgery. It was so difficult when family visits, as well as the park, were off limits. My daughter was 6 months before we sat on a swing! I did, however, talk about being glad for the extra time with my husband, and the Duchess agreed that we mustn’t forget the dads, they need time and support, too.
Most importantly, we talked about Mush! The fact that the app had been a great support during lockdown. I was told about Mush by a mum friend and I’m so glad I signed up. I had done enough zombie Netflix watching. I loved the daily, 11AM, Zoom sessions. Athough, not there in person, it was great to be able to do classes with my baby and get tips and tricks, as sometimes I was at a loss. They were confidence-building when I didn’t know what to do and felt like a couch potato, and comfort-bringing when I was feeling lonely and could “see” other mummies and babies, or stay logged on for a chat after. They were the first life-saver; to name a few the breastfeeding and grounding sessions and baby sensory classes were particularly great. The second important thing about Mush was being able to ask veteran mums questions- in addition to seeing that I wasn’t the only mum experiencing certain things or feeling a certain way- from the homepage and chat topics, and finally feeling like I was helping others with babies younger than Makena-Grace really helped me feel like I wasn’t wasting days.
We discussed that as restrictions lifted, I was feeling lonely as my husband had returned to work. Plus the mums I had met were linked through his friends, and they would organise meets further away from my home, I had only been able to make it once. So it was great to talk to mums close to where I live. One lovely mummy, we started talking when she asked for some advice on feeding, invited me to a local mums WhatsApp group and we’ve all talked weaning, swimming, park meets. I met mums, such lovely ladies, I probably wouldn’t have done were it not for Mush.
As short as it felt, it really was an enjoyable conversation and when she left I felt that I had been heard by somebody who could make a difference. Also that we, the other Mush mum and myself, had actually been listened to.
Overall, my experience of new motherhood was not what I thought it would be- Covid saw to that. However, lockdown for me has not been a disaster. As I said, my husband enjoyed a longer time at home with our first child and I got to meet the country’s future Queen!
Although, I know I will never have a first mum experience again. I will be mum to a newborn again and hopefully that time around I will be able to enjoy all the things our local areas have to offer that I missed out on this time; sensory classes, music and dance classes, swimming, baby-friendly cinema sessions, the park, meeting new mums, family time.
For now, I am enjoying maternity leave, even under the circumstances, but in time I will return to work in a primary school in the Special Educational Needs department. It will be hard, but I have already asked some Mush mums about what to expect and know that Mush will help me navigate that time, too.
So mums, do share your birth stories. Your tips, fears and your wins! Use Mush to find other mums to have these therapeutic and crucial conversations with. We don’t have to do it alone!