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  • Chloe O'Sullivan

The Things We Should Say Out Loud

Some things you know you will be good at. For example, I’m really good at my job. Before I even knew what a publicist was, I knew I loved to write. My best friend had moved away from our home town when she finished high school, and in the days before Skype and social media, the only way to stay in touch was to write letters. Our correspondence back and forth was filled with a certain flair, and there are lines in our letters that we can still quote to each other to this day.

I knew that I had a way of getting other people excited about the things that I loved and that I got a certain joy in connecting people. I also loved music. My hippy mum had taken me to folk festivals since the time I was born. As I got older, if mum took her eye off me for even a moment, she always knew to look for me near the stage. If the Bushwhackers were playing, I would talk them into letting me play the lagerphone and join in singing the Rye Buck Shearer.

They say if you are doing what you love, you’ll never work another day. My mother loved what she did for a living and so when it came time for me to decide what to do with my life, it just seemed natural that I would take the things I loved and figure out how to make a living that way.

In my 30’s, with my biological clock ticking, I wanted to be a mum. I wasn’t sure however that I would be any good at it. At that time in my life, I thought nothing of spending $300 on a pair of shoes, I worked a lot of hours, and I lost my keys on average about four times a week. In my head, I thought, “You can’t be a woman who forgets where she puts things and be in charge of a person, that’s not ideal.”

When I was finally able to get pregnant (sadly there had been a few false starts), I was overjoyed, but it also sent all of my anxiety into full swing. What if I wasn’t good enough at the biggest job I was ever going to do. They tell you that it comes naturally when the baby arrives, but the news was full of people who were less than ideal parents, so that wasn’t true. What if she didn’t like me? What if I picked the wrong pre-school, which meant she would end up with friends that would lead her into a life of crime and she ends up in prison or living under a bridge? These are not the things prospective parents say out loud to each other because they are scared people will think they have gone off the deep end.

They are, however, exactly the sort of things we should say to each other. So that someone who is not on the ledge at the time, can talk you down. I was so fortunate that I had an amazing role model in my mum and of course I fell in love the moment I saw the kid and I wake up every day wondering what I can do to make her smile. Not everyone is that lucky.

It’s estimated that 15% of new mums develop some form of postnatal depression. Some people have strained or no existent relationships with their own parents or stressful family situations, medical problems or any number of issues that make day to day life harder. The pressure of knowing the fate of the next generation on you is enormous. We are all running a marathon, but we didn’t all have the same starting point. We should be kinder to each other. We are all just trying to make it through the day.

Happy Mother’s Day to all those parents who care enough to worry if they are doing it right.

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