Tribe. Community. Village. Whatever we call it, it’s what we need to feel whole. They connect us with a part of us that we may have long forgotten. That part that knows we belong to something bigger than ourselves. It’s easy to forget in our individualised, independent culture that we need people. As women and mothers we need to connect for appraisal, validation and support – a kind of ‘checking in’ that we’re/it’s normal.
Being a Westpac Future Leader has afforded me many opportunities - more than I ever imagined. Today, I had the privilege of meeting Brian Hartzer, Westpac CEO for a conversation between him and us, the SA Westpac scholars. It could have been many things – what it was for me, was unexpected. Not only did he leave me with a new perspective on big banks, he has in fact inspired me. Being inspired is a gift, in this case given unwittingly by a big bank CEO.
The signs of my post natal depression were everywhere, but I didn’t see them.
I was so desperate to have this be perfect I dared not admit it, even to myself. I missed my mum, every day I wished she was there to help me, to listen to me, to hold my baby and love her – spoil her the way I saw other mums spoil their grandchildren.
It’s 1043am. I’m logged into a parenting course I was recruited for and we have two weeks left. As I watch the screen holding my three month old, I see twelve faces in their little boxes, all looking somewhat stressed or perplexed as they ponder how they can master this thing called parenting, implementing strategies to enhance their relationships with their kids, and berating themselves for getting it wrong.
Today, if you’re a mother, it’s easy to get angry at the state of things. While each generation faces its own challenges and hardships I fear this one is bearing the brunt of a system designed to fail. Despite knowing the facts and figures, women today are still breadwinner with homemaker and I for one have had enough. For working women, in the home we are the default, wearing 70% of tasks which if you’re partnered surely is a 50/50 responsibility.
You know what’s ridiculous, changing a baby in the cold in the back of a car at a family oriented sporting club. How is this happening? Its 2018 for goodness sake. At the very least there should be a place to pop a baby down and change them when the family gathers for a sausage to watch their family and friends play on the weekends.
The postnatal period is fraught with danger. It is well known that the health and mindset of the mother during the postpartum period can have long lasting effects on her, her baby and the whole family. It’s a big responsibility to bear and I for one, wholeheartedly believe that this responsibility should be shared, by not only the family, immediate and extended, but by you, me, employers, indeed every member of the community.
I am not usually a fan of ‘awareness campaigns’ such as the #metoo one currently being circulated on social media. In the past I have found that they trivialize the issue being identified. Instead of starting a conversation, or bringing about actual change they simply allow people to feel as though they have done something before swiftly moving on with their lives. I resisted posting #metoo but felt the resistance too deeply this time. While I have well and truly dealt with the numerous cases of sexual abuse I have experienced from the age of 6, today I was faced with the fear I have dreaded since having a baby girl.
Currently undergoing many interviews with experts in public health and psychology in the area of parenting, stress and support, todays interview unveiled yet another validating opinion of the frustration and pressure women feel to achieve, compare and compete. Social media came up briefly as the most obvious gateway for this kind of exchange.