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Marching Onwards – The Diary of a Peckham Mother  

Becoming a mother is a strange experience, it’s a bit like losing your virginity, but more expensive and there’s flowers. It seems one day you are one thing, the next something, and someone completely different. One act has changed your entire being.   

Now let us look at these scenarios in more detail. After losing one’s virginity you see the world differently, and the world sees you differently, or at least that’s how it feels. You’re in on the secret. You know something the others don’t, and by others, I mean of course your, ‘less experienced’ friends. You’ve suddenly become part of a special club, and thank Christ, for you’ve been waiting outside by the door, like forever.   

All this could equally be said of becoming a mother, well apart from the ‘virgin friends’ bit. Overnight you become part of a group, a community. You become connected with other women purely by virtue of having pushed a baby out of your vagina or having had it airlifted from your midriff.   

The change can be noticed in several ways. The newly graduated sexual being may walk slightly differently, with a swagger perhaps. They might stand a little taller. They may no longer feel the need to shout quite so loudly about their sexual encounters, adopting instead a more relaxed slightly arrogant pose. The new mum on the other hand will be easy to identify, as she will have a child attached to her in some way.  It will either be clasped to her breast, papoosed to her body, or hanging of her hand. For there is little escaping this in the beginning!  

Upon becoming a mother, it seems at first that the concept of motherhood is all arching, all-encompassing. Yet almost as quickly as you joined this club, you realise that things aren’t quite as straightforward as you first thought. It very soon becomes apparent that you will have to navigate your own way, find your own particular path through it. For some, this might be a path surrounded by cherry blossom and roses. For others, it can be a gravel track through a building site.  A building site with guard dogs, and no lighting.   

For the experience of motherhood is never straightforward or uniform and mothers are far from one large identity. You quickly realise how very different you are from some of the members.  

This is because so many factors impact the reality of being a parent. Your social class, your age, where you live, your job, your family, your upbringing all this will shape how you experience, ‘your journey.’ Oh, I do hate that expression, but it is one that you will read frequently in the many parenting books out there, so I have decided to steal it. Now, some of the members of this club will become your closest friends, yet others will look down their noses at you when they discover that you’re either that living in social housing, living in sin, living in Peckham or simply living outside the catchment area for Charters School.   

Now if you can’t imagine any of this because you don’t happen to have children don’t worry. Through this book, you can live the whole gruesome, draining and harrowing experience, and I’m not talking about the birth here.   

Alternatively, if you have not yet lost your virginity, then it would probably be best to stop reading here for there are possible four maybe even five occasions when I mention the s word and my story is also filled with expletives.  There are frequent references to drink, drugs, epidurals, breast pumps, homosexuality, menstruation, ha and you thought ‘’50 Shades of Grey was racy!   

Check in on Sunday 7th June for my next post x

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