I was recently invited to take part in a work event to mark International Women’s Day where we were asked to put together a four-minute talk based on this year’s theme: #pressforprogress.
None too surprisingly, I decided to talk about Mamas Collective.
I’ve been meaning to get a blog started on here for ages, and it seems like reproducing my talk would make a good first post given that it offers a bit of an insight into why I started the group in the first place. So here it is, along with a few of my slides.
“My name’s Molly Whitehead-Jones and I’m a content writer over at Mediacom’s partner agency, Code Computerlove.
But today, as this title suggests, I’m going to talk about my other role: That of a mother, and as a champion of other mothers.
It’s sort of ironic that you can feel your most alone when you’ve just created a tiny version of yourself.
Yet research has revealed that the first year of motherhood is often the loneliest in a woman’s life.
We live further away from our own parents than we used to; often, our existing friends aren’t at the same life stage as us. And we can end up feeling isolated.
90% of mums say they feel lonely, 54% said they felt more ‘friendless’ since starting a family.
And, worryingly, 51% say they’ve also felt somehow excluded from traditional baby and toddler groups – the very spaces designed to make you feel more connected.
This has led to more new mums turning to their phone for comfort – and, while there’s loads of good stuff online, ultimately the digital world can often fuel feelings of isolation rather than curb them. It’s a trap I certainly fell into.
The picture of me on the left was taken a few minutes after I properly met my son Elliot for the first time, bruised and battered from a long labour, an emergency c-section and extreme blood loss. When I look at this picture, I can see how scared I am. It makes me uncomfortable, even now, because I vividly remember how totally out of control I felt back then.
So I kept it private, and instead, chose to share the picture on the right on my social media channels. Taken a couple of weeks days later, with a heavy filter, where my hair is brushed and I look more together. We’re even twinning. Because I thought that was how motherhood was supposed to look.
But I didn’t want to pretend. I wanted to be honest – about how hard things were sometimes, about how worried I was that I’d loose myself in my new, all-encompassing role. I wanted somewhere to go where I could feel like myself again amongst other mums who felt the same way.
To take away the filter.
But, as far as I could see, it didn’t exist. So I created it.
Mamas Collective is a place where you won’t be judged for admitting that motherhood is difficult, and draining and that you don’t love every second of it.
Where you can take two hours for yourself, hear from incredible women, and come away feeling inspired and capable of anything.
Each event is based around a guest speaker or speakers – from Instagrammers to confidence coaches to authors, they’ve all shared their story with us so we can all feel less alone.
We now have nearly 5,000 Instagram followers, and have even been featured on Vogue.co.uk.
But, more importantly, off the back of attending our meetups, mums have made friends, started businesses, and become bolder.
In this time where women everywhere are uniting to share their truth and I’m proud to have created a real-world space where mothers can press for progress, together.”