By Jennifer Popplewell •
Updated: 23 Oct 2023 • 15:11
Babycakes Session Costa del Sol
Well, not quite. Although a blessing it is, sometimes, that constant joy that is awaited from motherhood does not quite come as expected, as the reality of sleepless nights, body changes, and crushing responsibility hits some women hard. Add a sprinkle of financial hard times, a marriage breakdown or facing the single mother journey, and you have yourself a cocktail of chaos and confusion!
The saying ‘it takes a village’ is often responded to by many mothers wailing in dismay, “where’s mine!?” Throughout the history of humans, mothers have never been so alone as they are in modern day western society, and this is particularly true for those women who move away from home and their support system. Rita Hauge, aged 84, who is the mother of one son born in 1961, explained to Euro Weekly News that “I am so grateful I had my mother, father and sister all in walking distance, they all massively helped me raise my son. It was a different time back then, we all chipped in”. A stark contrast to the comments from British mother, Lee-ann White, who is currently raising her nine year old daughter alone in Marbella. She told EWN that it often feels like it is “me against the world”. Lee-ann goes on to say that it is a “constant battle financially as I get no support, and it is difficult to find time for myself”.
Nobody can be prepared for motherhood, no one knows what it is like until it is actually experienced. However, with mothers on social media solely showing a reel of ‘highlights’ and portraying their lives as perfect, many women find themselves in quite a shock when the real deal arrives. American woman Taylor Van Dyke, who recently gave birth to her first son, told Euro Weekly News that, “the thing I am finding most difficult is the guilt of not living up to those ‘instagram mums’, I thought I would just instantly bounce back and enjoy every second of my baby, it’s not like that at all.”
In many cultures around the world it is the norm that a couple would live with the grandparents, and although most western women would probably shriek in horror at the idea, when it comes to having a newborn, the workload is shared – and the new mother – supported. Having a baby does not mean the world stops, therefore the house still needs to be cleaned, clothes washed, meals cooked, showers taken, alongside all this a baby needs 24 hour care. So how is it possible for one person to accomplish this, whilst said person is still recovering from birth? Postpartum requires at least three people, the mother to look after the baby, somebody to look after the mother, and somebody to keep the house running in the meantime. But that kind of help is rarely received.
Even the most supportive husband still has to work, and after the excited visitors have had their newborn fill, it might end up that a lot of time is spent alone. New research by The Red Cross has shown that 82 per cent of mothers with children under five feel lonely. “Loneliness definitely kicks in”, Jessica Grayson, aged 31 told EWN, who then hinted that after the umpteenth episode in a row, one may even find oneself plotting the murder of a certain cartoon swine. Oink oink.
To those living on the Costa Del Sol, ‘Babycakes’ have been running classes in various venues along the coast since 2017. These sessions focus on sensory play for babies and small children through music, singing and messy play. Many mothers have raved about the positive effects it had on their lives. “For me the ending to the ‘babycakes song’ lyrics should be….’that you saved me’”, declared Larelle Leah, a mother of two who previously lived in Marbella. She continued to tell Euro Weekly News, “I went two mornings every week and it was amazing to be around people who understood me. Two mornings a week that I could drink my coffee, that someone else had made for me, HOT, whilst my baby was happily entertained and interacting with others. I made friends there who I am still close to now, six years later, friends who became like family. I started my little village, and I began to feel like me again, a new me, but a happy one”.
The World Health Organisation has reported that around 10 per cent of pregnant women and 13 per cent of women who have just given birth experience a mental disorder, primarily depression. Mother of three, Charlotte Kay, who also attended the classes, stated that the Babycakes sessions “did wonders” for her mental health, recalling that the woman running it, Chantelle Maria, “makes mothers feel welcome and heard”. Chantelle, who still hosts these sessions, stated to Euro Weekly News that her aim is “to provide a safe space for mothers to meet and connect with each other during the first few years of parenthood, to provide a community for many expat mothers, giving them that support and ‘village’ that they crave”.
Wherever mothers are in the world, don’t underestimate the power of social media, typing in ‘mothers groups’ in the area or ‘coffee mornings’ will surely yield many results. If not, why not create one? As explored in this article, there are many mothers in the same boat that would surely be appreciative of a loving port to dock in. Local parks are also sure to be frequented by mothers, and fresh air does wonders for the mind. Lastly – something for the body and soul – mother and baby yoga. These classes are extremely common in many countries now and even if one has the flexibility of an ironing board or no real interest in the practice, it is a great place to make friends.
As many mothers know to be true, even though the days feel long, years seem to go by in a flash. Soon the nappy changing and bottle days will be gone and a chat with a friend feels oh so easy as the children can actually entertain themselves! However, as Victoria Wright, a single mother to a 6 and a 4 year old, explained to EWN, “single parent life is still no walk in the park (that park I go to twice a day) and the dreaded trip to the supermarket actually seems to be getting harder somehow, but with my trusty village always there to listen to my 12 minute long voice notes, to bring me presents on Mother’s Day morning in case nobody else did, to laugh and cry with about all the madness of motherhood, it’s actually turning out to be pretty fun.”
In conclusion, you are not alone. Lonely perhaps, but never alone. Go seek out the fellow warrior women out there who are ready to face this beautiful battle called motherhood, side by side.
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Jennifer is a proud northerner from Sheffield, England, who is currently living in Spain. She loves swimming in rivers, talking to the stars and eating luxurious chocolate.
Snowflakes should not have babies. It’s such a terrible life with children. BooHoo. Don’t know how mother’s coped 100 years ago.
What a lot of rubbish. How do they think people managed Years ago?
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