Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

You are stronger than you'll ever know

You are stronger than you'll ever know

hi mama,

Right now you feel sad, alone and lost. You had been in a relatively happy long-term relationship with your first love. You bought a house together and decided to try for a baby. Your baby was going to be perfect in every way. All of the scans and antenatal checks were fine, so there was going to be nothing "wrong" with him. You didn't even consider that he might be born not being able to hear properly. Yet he was. At 2 weeks old, you were dealt the devastating blow that your beautiful boy had permanent hearing loss in both ears and would wear hearing aids for the rest of his life. You cried as you were told the news; thinking back to the times you had told him you loved him, the books you'd read to him when you were pregnant. It felt so very sad and you grieved for the "perfect" child you assumed you would have. Yet this grief made you feel guilty. Was he not perfect any more and furthermore, why did I feel a sense of entitlement to have a "perfect" child? Worries of how he'll develop as he gets older consume your mind and you convince yourself he'll be ostracised from his peers for being different.

As the weeks go by, your feelings of guilt continue to eat away at you. Was it something you did? You carried him for 9 months; it must've been... that's why he can't hear properly. You will also struggle with sleep deprivation (your loving partner has migrated to the spare room because he "needs his sleep for work") which further exacerbates your feelings of blame and self-doubt. You won't be able to breast feed your beautiful son and you'll get no support in doing so even though you asked for it and were assured it would be there. You'll feel like a terrible mother and feel ashamed to bottle feed him in front of people for fear of being judged. You thought you'd feel over joyed with motherhood yet you just want to cry. You feel sad, you feel even sadder for feeling sad and you don't really know why. You're also bloody well knackered. You have no family support network and few friends. You attend a few baby groups but feel like they're a bit "cliquey" and the stress and anxiety of leaving the house feels too much to cope with. You feel isolated but equally the thought of having people around you makes you feel smothered. 

You'll talk to your partner about how you feel (even though you're not exactly sure yourself) and tell him you've been diagnosed with post natal depression and prescribed antidepressants. You just want him to be there for you; to listen and hold you tight yet time will show that you
don't get this from him. You feel a huge distance between you; far wider than you ever imagined there could be. Having a child with someone was meant to be amazing and we were going to be the perfect family. Yet you are left doubting your once undying love for the father of your child... left wondering what you'd done to deserve to feel ridiculed and unloved. He'll later tell you your depression changed you and that he doesn't love you any more.

By the time your son is 6 months old you will have been to more hospital appointments than you care to imagine and put his hearing aids in about 5 million times. You will also be a single parent on maternity leave, with post natal depression and nowhere to go. You can't face going back to work because the last time you were there you were happily pregnant with your "perfect" baby.

Mama, I'm here to tell you that you are stronger than you'll ever know and no mountain is ever too big to climb. It's true what they say, without the darkness we would never see the stars. Your relationship ended which is sad, but actually you're kinda relieved. In hindsight, you probably weren't right for each other anyway and you can see that now. You both can. Much of the sadness you felt was because things didn't turn out the way you planned. But actually, that's ok... in fact it's better than ok. 

Your little boy is 2 now. In the past year or so you've moved house twice and gained 2 promotions at work. You also have the most beautiful, bright, funny and brave son who makes you proud every single day and shows you what true love is.

Don't ever tell yourself you can't do something, because you can and you will... and when you have, you'll feel so very proud of yourself. 

'She was unstoppable. Not because she did not have failures or doubts. But because she continued on despite them'

Anon x

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