Only a woman can become a mother. Now I know this isn’t breaking news to society – but it was to me, and it only became apparent the day I gave birth to my little girl and at 10 pm, when visiting time ended, it was just me and this bright eyed, pouty lipped little angel left in bed, breastfeeding away until the wee hours of the morning.
There was only one person on this earth who could satisfy her and that was me. I had become a mum.
The first weeks were a blur, nobody tells you that your vagina feels like it’s going to fall out onto the floor whilst struggling to run to the bathroom to pee because your pelvis is in so much pain. Nobody tells you that your skin will continue to become shit as you continue to breastfeed. Nobody tells you that your hair will fall out and your nails become week because you’re mothering your child. Social media only shows you the delights of motherhood – the styled photo shoots and the first smiles. The monthly milestones and first outings. It doesn’t show you cracked nipples and sobbing mothers.
My journey of motherhood began with me being surrounded by my extended family, they bathed the baby, held her from 5am onwards so I could get sleep, cooked for me, cleaned for me – they were my lifeline in those first weeks, but what happens when they leave? Not forgetting the fact I felt terrible. Who wouldn’t? Straggly hair, red flared up skin, the darkest eye bags ever known to man! “Forget it, we’ll just have a home day baby girl – Papa will be home by 6.30pm!”
I’d signed us up for Monday morning Baby Sensory Classes – you know, where mums go looking fab, with their cute little newborns working on their development and cooing over every little gurgle. I'd had already messaged my new ‘mum friends’ to say that I’d come, but Monday morning came, everyone was at work and it was just me and the baby. It went a little like this:
5.30am: Wake-up, shower, wash & blow dry hair – then breastfeed baby.
6.30am: Put make-up on so not to scare other babies and new mum friends – breastfeed baby
7.30am: Find some clean clothes that fit, scoff some toast and banana while breastfeeding…
8.30am: Pack half the contents of house in baby bag – ‘for an emergency’
9.00am: Breastfeed baby so she is okay in the car.
9.30am: Leave house in one piece. With baby.
All this for a one hour sensory class, which she fell asleep through anyway!
However, one hour later, I felt like a new woman. Surprisingly, I felt good. I felt damn good! I looked good with my hair washed and a splash of make-up. The cold Yorkshire air hit my face as a I walked up the stairs to the class and I felt like I had achieved an honours degree in parenting, I felt amazing.
The only thing that had changed was me, physically leaving the house, alone, taking time to work on myself – for me. Truth be told – the other mums didn’t give a shit how I looked, they were all too busy changing nappies and wiping dried up milk off their tops with baby wipes.
It’s lessons like this that make you realised how important it is to spend time a bit of time on yourself. I’m no expert in health and fitness. But I am a professional make-up artist, and when I remembered the old me, the pre-saggy boobed Serina who used to make an effort with her appearance – I slapped her in the face and told her to sort herself out.
Nobody in the world NEEDS make-up to survive, nobody NEEDS make-up to be accepted, but some of us just need something to give us our confidence back to leave the house again.
13 months after giving birth, I sit here as a proud mother of an energetic one-year old, working full-time in marketing, freelance make-up artist, blogging my experiences and aiming to inspire other mums with vlogs on how to quickly get your make-up fix sorted before the next feed. I'm back to working out 3-4 times a week because my saggy stretched belly is still saggy, but I have that first outing with me and my bright eyed, pouty lipped little angel to thank for it.
Growing up around ethnic Indian art and beauty, studying art and design, I have turned my passion into a profession making brides, models and women feel their best before their special event.
Having recently become a new mum and having a traumatic birth experience, I struggled with gaining my confidence back when going out and socialising, whilst make-up isn't the answer for everything, it played a small part in helping me feel good about myself, get out, socialise and get back to work. As a make-up artist, i'm on a mission to help other mums build up their confidence, feel good and get back out in the world as a strong parent. Through my new youtube channel, sharing client work, tutorials and blog I hope you're inspired and feel good after your parenting experiences too.
You can also find Serena here on Facebook Instagram and Pinterest and her website www.serinagillmua.com