Mother’s Day is coming up, and in celebration, we have chosen an extract from Mother: A Human Love Story by Matt Hopwood, in which he presents a selection of deep, powerful stories of and by mothers which were told openly and bravely to him. This book encapsulates the wide spectrum of experiences surrounding motherhood, showing both light and dark, and is a beautiful testament to the power of human connection. Matt has recorded many of these conversations which are available on his website here.
‘Little Beings’: Extract from Mother by Matt Hopwood
Until I had my first child, I found that I was immersed in my job running my company. I was working six days a week, it was
often stressful. And then, having a child allowed me to take time off work; it was an acceptable reason to have a career break. I found having children became the start of becoming more me. I felt work demanded a more masculine response to everything. Running a company, you have to be strong, you have to be a leader, you have to be resilient. There’s little emotional capacity in that. The good sides of it are you get to create something you believe in, inspire a team and make your own decisions, but after building the company for fifteen years I really enjoyed doing the opposite.
Becoming a mother allowed me to leave those things to somebody else for a while.
I started off doing it to help my dad. I wanted to make a success of it with him. Work has always been very demanding,
challenging and exhilarating, but I soon realised people had started to rely on me and that can be very pressurised. Whereas
the family thing is just – it doesn’t matter what the rest of the world think. You’re providing for somebody but in a very
straightforward, simple way. It demands a much more emotional response. Going back to work, I brought those things with me and created a better balance at work and home.
Being a mother gives me a sense of freedom. It encourages me to do the things that are for me, in terms of creative energy.
You’re raising little beings. You’ve got this complete love and trust circle going on, and everything you give to that child, you get back. You’re building your own family life rather than just being a child or grown-up child in a family, you know!
When I had my first daughter, she just came along – she was our honeymoon baby, everything was easy, blissful. She was born at home in a birthing pool with my husband, my mum and the cat. No midwife. And then, when we went to have our second child, it was the opposite experience. So, from the moment we started thinking about having a second child, it felt like everything was difficult. Trying to get my body ready, trying to conceive, trying to hold on to the baby. I think we learned a new level of life – of how tough things can be. I remember going to see yoga people and they said, ‘Well, you have to ask the universe, is there another child that is meant to come to you?’ I was just, ‘What? Is that an option?’ I don’t know if that was really an option in my world.
You know, that whole process really asked the question, ‘Am I meant to be this mother again?’ Through small highs and lows,
to quite deep lows – losing pregnancies, thinking ‘Was that a little life?’ – I haven’t found the answer. Different people have different theories, like babies come and go and just aren’t meant to have a life on Earth. Or it is just the same baby trying to get down to Earth and eventually they make it when the time is right.
My losses were great and you have to go through it on a physical level, but my husband’s loss was just as great and he didn’t
have the physical journey to help him process it. In a way, I think the physical journey helped me deal with the loss, because you go through a process and that helps you understand that things have come and gone. Some of my friends call me Warrior Mummy because of fighting for this baby.
I did finally get pregnant with my second child. I was in and out of hospital for the whole pregnancy. At times I wondered,
‘Oh my God, is this actually going to happen?’ I had to literally just lie on the sofa for nine months. And do you know what?
He’s really like that: he’s super chilled and laid-back! It was like he was just trying to tell me, ‘Do you know what, Mum, you
just kinda need to make this really easy for me, and by the time I come into life you’re going to have to take it a lot easier.’ So
I’ve learned a lot, and maybe that change had to happen for him to come.