Mama Muse • Jacqui Lewis

 Mother to Marley - Mullumbimby, Australia 

My name is Jac, and I’m mother to a now almost 16 year old! I’m a meditation teacher, a writer, mentor and a Deathwalker.

My journey to motherhood was a shock, I was told I couldn’t have kids, and I wasn’t especially concerned as being a mother was nothing I craved. To find out I was pregnant rocked my whole world. Parenting has not been an easy ride for me, although we have had some incredible pockets of joy and grace that truly sustained me.

My daughter is a force of life, and incredibly strong and resilient and she has really put me through my paces and forced me to level up emotionally, physically and spiritually to keep up with her. So I’m very grateful for the gift of being able to parent her.

What was your favourite thing about the newborn phase?

My daughter was angelic the first three months, and then decided to stop sleeping pretty much altogether for 9 months. So the first 3 months I cherished, also having no idea what was coming! In the beginning I just loved the connected feeling I had to her and this incredible sense of trust, that everything was going to be okay. I was not a nervous mother at all, it all came very naturally, but I also got post natal depression, that kicked in around the 3 months mark, and didn’t get diagnosed until she was 1 year old. And I can honestly say it was hell. I thought I was going insane, and hid that fact from everyone I knew.

What did you find challenging about being a new mother?

I’m going to address this from the 3 month mark moving forward because that’s when the wheels really fell off for me! When I was at work I felt horrible and like I should be with my baby. When I was often with her, I was so exhausted I just wished I was at work getting things done. Wherever I was, whatever I was doing, I was plagued with a feeling I should be somewhere else. That lasted until she was about 18 months old, and I really got the help I needed; through therapy and a deepening of my meditation practice.

How were you supported during your postpartum period and what would you change if you could go back in time?

I wasn’t that well supported to be honest, it was a different generation and time and mum blogging and social media didn’t exist as an example! I didn’t know about all the things that mothers can do/ask for etc now, and I was the only woman my age I knew with a baby.

If I could go back in time I wish I had communicated better, my needs and my fears and how I could have asked for help. I have chosen to work full time throughout my daughters life, but the first 6 months due to a situation out of my control I had to work through, and I found it hellish. I wish I had also dropped the ‘I can do it all, I can manage’ attitude, that would have made for a very different experience.

List your top 3 essentials for a new mother.

I’m going to answer from an emotional angle.

1. Learn how to set boundaries

2. Learn how to uphold boundaries

3. Know that 99.9% of guilt around parenting is essentially useless so try not to beat yourself up

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