I'm a Mum and a... Book Birther

Teika Bellamy shares how her search for a new mothering identity led her to publish a wonderful book of mothers' art and stories. An inspiring post for our series on motherhood and identity.

I have two children, but I’ve recently given birth to another ‘baby’ – a charity anthology called Musings on Mothering – and like any new mum I’m a bit daunted by the enormity of being responsible for this fledgling creation.

          

Step back five and half years ago…

When I gave birth to my first child, my life was changed forever. My daughter, Rebecca, taught me to really listen to the wise voice of my intuition and to drown out the clamouring noise of those who wished to bombard me with ‘helpful’ advice.

By breastfeeding my daughter on cue, and keeping her close both day and night, we became a securely bonded mother-baby dyad; and I rejoiced in this new relationship which had produced such a wellspring of limitless love within me.

Soon though, my mothering style was so alien to the majority of those in society that I began to feel isolated and unsupported. Listening to the voice of my instinct again – which spoke to me of the importance of surrounding myself with like-minded mothers – I went in search of ‘my tribe’.

And I found them! My tribe consisted of the Leaders and mothers attending La Leche League (LLL) meetings, and I will always be grateful for their kind words and support (the yummy cake and cups of tea were very much appreciated too!).

I wanted to give something back to LLL, so I decided to do some fundraising. With my newfound confidence I set myself the task of setting up a small press (Mother’s Milk Books) with which to publish a charity anthology of art, poetry and prose about pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. The project would harness the creativity of mothers, fathers and children – in fact, anyone! – who had been inspired by the mother-child bond.

I spent many months (definitely more than 9) working on the book, and now it has been birthed I am nervously watching it make its way in the big, wide world. I hope that, like my own children, it will radiate some of the inherent joy of the mother-child bond, and make the world just that little bit warmer.

Although I was the one who gave birth to my children, they are the ones who have been responsible for creating the new me; a mother, a writer, an editor, a birther of books; a publisher.

Join us on twitter for a Mums' Make Date on Wednesday 24 October: 8.30 - 9.30pm UK time (world times here) using #somum and win some fabulous prints from the wonderful Aimee Myers Dolich of Artsyville.

This month we’re sharing self-portraits that complete the sentence “I’m a Mum and a…” What’s the first word that comes into your head? Write it on a piece of paper and take a photo of you holding it up. You can see what other mums have told us about their identities and share your photo here

For more posts on motherhood and identity, try

On a Quest for Balance Pippa Best

My Mum-Hat is stuck on my head! - Ericka Waller

My Fragile Identity - TJ

I'm a Mum and a... Confident Woman - Cintia Listenbee

I'm a Mum and an... Artist - Sara Davies

I'm a Mum and a... Feminist - Lyndsay Kirkham