Baby steps and beyond: The experience of motherhood

Wednesday 13 July 2022
Jaspreet, wearing a black and red floral scarf, holds her baby son in a yellow and black tracksuit to her face. They smile and laugh looking at each other

How does your identity and experience change when becoming a mother? These four women share their stories

Motherhood can be full of highs and lows. Despite mothers sharing one thing in common, the experience – even the word ‘motherhood’ – can mean so many different things to different people.

We visited one of Action for Children's early years services, Baby Steps in Bradford. Baby Steps, which is funded by Better Start Bradford, is a group-based programme designed to support expectant parents to navigate the emotional and physical transition into parenthood. We spoke to some of the mothers supported by Baby Steps, to ask about their personal experience being a mum.

“Each child has been a different experience, but I’ve got more confident”

Shadia, a young woman in a anmal print shirt sits on a black sofa holding her baby son who also looking in to the camera

Shadia came along with her youngest, Mira who’s 8 months old. She’s currently pregnant, and shared her experience:

“There are 12 years between my youngest and their closest sibling, which made the experiences pretty different. I found things like waking up in the middle of the night and feeling tired the hardest with my first child just because you’re not used to it (and I enjoy my beauty sleep!). But I’ve definitely got more confident each time round – through already experiencing it but also because of the support from Baby Steps.

“With my youngest, I'm probably a bit more protective of him – a bit like a shadow. I think because raising a child during Covid was so different than before. The transition was a bit weird because I was so used to working and keeping busy with my three other kids, then once he came along it took a little while to get used to slowing things down again.”

Anita, midwife at Baby Steps, shares more about the service.

Find out more

“I’m enjoying thinking about what my son will be like”

Victoria, a young woman in a pink top, poses holding her baby bump surrounded by flowering trees

As an expectant mother, Victoria shared what she’s been looking forward to:

“I’ve enjoyed feeling really connected to my baby. I went to my first scan recently and seeing him was amazing. So, with that and feeling him kick and move has made me already feel like a mother. I’m so excited for when he's finally here.

“It’s got me thinking more about my baby before the time comes. It’s also been part of some of the stuff we’ve been doing at Baby Steps. I’ve imagined and thought about everything: what my baby can do? What personality will he have? We hope he grows up to be confident. And even thinking about what he’ll look like. I can’t wait to see how he turns out."

"I’m finding the balance between working and spending time with my children”

Jaspreet, wearing a black and red floral scarf, holds her baby son in a yellow and black tracksuit to her face. They smile and laugh looking at each other

Speaking to Jaspreet, she told us how she was navigating the idea of going back to work after having her youngest son, Kaur (8 months old):

“When I became a mother, I knew that I wanted to replicate the childhood I had with my mum. She had six girls... and did everything for us... she sacrificed a lot. I’d love my children to see me the same way. I want to give them my time. I don’t want them to think: ‘Oh my mum was never around when I was younger’, because I think that’s the most important.

“I stayed at home with my eldest son. I enjoyed watching him grow up (and still do!). They grow up so fast, and you’ll never get this chance again. With Kaur, I'll be going back to work. I worry a bit more about the separation. I wonder how he'll cope – will he be crying? Things like that. Working from home would be the most ideal situation for me.”

"Becoming a mum has been an exciting experience”

Samira, in a red head scarf, looks into the camera holding her baby daighter close to

First-time mum Samira discussed her experience being a mother to 9-month-old Yara:

“I’ve really enjoyed my experience being a mum. Overall, I love being a mother. Just being a mum is the proudest part of motherhood for me. It’s hard to choose just one thing that stands out, but I love being able to spend quality time and play with her. I think it’s what I value the most.

“Yara’s my first child, and I was so happy and excited when I found out I was pregnant. But I also knew it would mean a lot of change, and some new things to learn. So, the support from Baby Steps was so helpful. It’s helped make this process so much easier.”

Early years services are invaluable to families

Early years services, like Baby Steps, offer families and children the crucial support they need in the first few years of life. Some families need more help adjusting to the new realities that parenthood brings. At Action for Children, we want to make sure they have access to this.

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