Amy Ransom is the brains behind the #WHATIDGIVEANEWMUM campaign, set up to mark Maternal Health Matters Awareness Week. She has encouraged legions of mums, old and new’ to say what their one gift would be to anybody about to embark on the mothering journey. Some of the answers raise a chuckle, some bring a tear to the eye, and some are just so blindingly obvious when you see them in print, but they just haven’t been talked about before.
She has also authored The New Mum’s Notebook, a reassuring, funny and down-to-earth sanity saving journal to the first year. Binky spoke to her this week to find out a little more about the campaign.
What was the inspiration behind the campaign?
I wanted to do something a little bit different in the maternal mental health arena. I’ve talked about PND a lot. It’s important to do this. But I also wanted to highlight the positives of motherhood for new mums. Because I think we can help a new mum’s mental wellbeing, by helping her to see that she already has what she needs, inside of her. She doesn’t need advice, telling or lecturing. I think a lot of new mums lack self-belief and I really just wanted them to tap into that and have the confidence to mother THEIR way, however that is. So I asked us ‘old’ mums what gift – word or anecdote – we would share with a new mum to empower her on her journey.
How do you think women’s approach to motherhood has changed over the years? Particularly on social media.
I think the ‘honesty’ movement is amazing. It’s how I’ve always written about motherhood. However, I’ve reached a point in my life where I am starting to see that how I think and feel, influences what happens next. I can’t see the joy in my kids, for example, if I keep focusing on how ‘hard’ it is (even though this is exactly what I do, some days). We’re more likely to share our hardships on social media now, than moments of joy, even if that joy is real and not staged. No one wants to be seen as smug or fake. My hope is for new mums to start their journey with feelings of empowerment, not fear. They are already the mother they want to be. They can’t be anyone else.
Tell us about some of the answers that have really struck a chord with you.
Every post has touched me. I’ve read and replied to them all, so far. Seeing the power of isolated words like FREEDOM, TIME, PRESENT, PERMISSION and VALIDATION in relationship to motherhood, has blown my mind. I’m thinking about these words in such a different way, now. Giving ourselves PERMISSION was a big one, for me, because permission is usually something someone else give us. One mum said SMILE and I just loved the simplicity and sheer joy of that. Another said she would give new mums ‘A VOICE’ and this made my heart flutter – the thought that there are new mums not feeling heard.
What one gift would you give a new mum?
I would give a new mum PATIENCE so she stops looking for the certainty in every moment and can lean back and accept herself and her baby, as they are. Craving certainty makes us feel anxious and unsuccessful and stops us from seeing the joy that lies in every ordinary moment. It’s taken me nine years and three kids to figure this out!
This campaign has really captured peoples hearts and minds. Where next?
Where next, indeed? I am the least strategic person! I didn’t expect this little campaign to hit home in the way it has, but obviously I’m delighted. I feel a real responsibility to do something with ALL the heartfelt stories, words and sentiments shared. For new mums AND old. So I will, as soon as I know what. It will come…