Birth Story #5 Sarah Kinder
From the UK, living in the UK
When did you become a mother?
I became a mother the second I found out I was pregnant, knowing that I was growing life my body, a life I had created, which I was nurturing from just 2 weeks inside my womb. My beautiful baby boy was born on 18th April 2019.
Was it a premeditated decision?
No. However I always knew I wanted to be a mother and I felt ready for motherhood. I was very broody.
How would you define your idea of Motherhood?
Motherhood is power. My son has taught me the true depths that love is capable of reaching, an unconditional love that is forever yours. This love is more powerful than anything I have ever experienced in my life.
Could you tell us about the pregnancy?
Pregnancy was nothing like what I expected. I had heard and read mainly about positive experiences and witnessed only the glowing beauty of mothers to be. I suffered a lot in the first six months with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, depression and anxiety. I don't think women speak enough of the negative impact pregnancy can have. I have certainly shared my story and will forever continue to be open and honest about all my experiences as a mother, as I think the truth is important. I find it empowering to be real and hope to inspire more women to speak openly and honestly.
Could you tell us a bit more? How did you deal with that situation? Did you look for help?
Hyperemesis Gravidarum is extreme sickness that can last for the whole duration of your pregnancy. I suffered with it for the first 6 months, even when taking anti-sickness medication. I ended up in hospital a few times due to extreme dehydration and was given IV fluids on a drip. I felt so scared and alone when I was experiencing all the symptoms, I knew something wasn’t right, so I reached out to a pregnancy support helpline and they were amazing. There is so much help out there, you just need to ask for it. I also had a lot of support from family, friends and the NHS were incredible. Being pregnant I was seen as a priority for mental health support and was able to have counseling. I am so grateful for all of this!
Were you bothered by all the mental and physical changes?
Yes, I struggled a great deal with my mental health during pregnancy. I found it difficult trying to cope without my medication and ended up taking a low dosage towards the end, which was definitely the right decision for me. As for the physical changes, I felt very positive and proud of my pregnant body. I was overwhelmed with inspiration to create new work, document my journey and embrace creative collaborations. I felt more connected than ever to my womanhood and role as a female artist. There are a lot of physical changes after pregnancy and at first there was a sadness to think that my body had been taken from me. It is an emotional process of self acceptance, but today I feel strong and confident. Zi has taught me to love myself more fiercely and unapologetically. I created and birthed life, there is nothing more beautiful than this. Women are magical.
Which memories do you recall of giving birth?
All of it. It was the worst experience of my life, but also the most empowering. It’s the ultimate sacrifice, as you actually give your life to birth life. I literally thought I was dying. In that first moment I held him in my arms I had this overwhelming feeling of awakening. It was the birth of my son, but also the rebirth of myself.
How crazy and powerful is that?
Is the relationship you have with your child more emotional or rational?
Rational is quite an alien concept to me, I am totally emotional.
Which has been the biggest challenge so far?
Becoming a mother.
What has been easier than you expected?
Becoming a mother.
How do you keep connected to yourself?
It was really important for me to not let motherhood completely consume me and still remember my former self. Motherhood takes everything from you in the beginning, eventually you find yourself again. I am now a mother, but I am also a woman, a daughter, a sister, a friend an artist. It's about balance, but also staying true to who you are and not allowing society to influence the ways in which we should progress and move forward as mothers.
In which ways has Motherhood impacted your work and life as an artist?
Motherhood gives you a chance to see the world again through the eyes of your child. You can experience everything again with them for the first time, which made me question the world we live in and what I want to change for my boy and for generations of children to come. As an artist, it is my responsibility to inspire and encourage this change.
Has your relationship towards your mother changed?
My mother has and always will be my safe haven and this is what I will be for Zi. I have always been close to my mum and motherhood has only made our bond stronger. I am deeply appreciative and in awe of her.
How much has she inspired you?
Both my mother and father have been the biggest inspiration in my life. I wanted to mention my dad as well, as they are the strongest unit and I cannot imagine one without the other. I feel so blessed to have grown up surrounded by so much love and support. They have the biggest hearts and are the kindest people I know. They inspired me to raise a sensitive and conscious boy full of love and kindness. Also my mum is so patient and I am not, I am still learning.
Would you like to have more kids?
I have mixed feelings about this. Not right now but I would love Zi to grow up with a sibling.
— Photos: Sarah Kinder.