Radio and TV presenter Kate Lawler admits never being maternal. But she’s now a mum to Noa after years of being undecided about being a parent and spending time on the ‘happily child free fence’. She joined Gi on Happy Mum Happy Baby to discuss her journey from parental uncertainty to motherhood and all that has entailed – wild hormones, inevitably sleepless nights, postnatal depression and unspoken regrets.
Kate never felt that having kids was her main purpose in life. She felt that her purpose in life was to live a fulfilled and happy life – to be a good partner, a good daughter, a good dog mum to Baxter and Shirley.
She explains: “I never once thought to myself ‘there’s a reason I’ve been put on planet earth – I know I’ve got a vagina and I know I have boobs and I’ve got all the parts inside me that can physically have a biologically make a baby but it doesn’t necessarily mean that I will want one’”.
When her partner Boj proposed to her, she worried he would leave her because he wanted kids and she ‘wasn’t even on the fence. I was in the child free and happy camp’. But rather than handing back her engagement ring, the couple decided to explore each other’s points of view in a unique way – via their own podcast, Maybe Baby. Kate sort of hoped the conversations they had with their celebrity friends and experts would put Boj off. Boj naturally hoped for the opposite effect. Boj won out.
Kate admits: “after every episode with a parent I’d come away thinking, actually, it sounds alright. It sounds fun”. On turning 40, she started to wonder what this decade had in store for her. Eventually she decided that a baby was in her future.
She told Gi: “I never thought seeing a positive pregnancy test would bring me so much joy. I was straight away completely in love. I was like ‘oh my goodness I’m so happy that we’ve done it. We’ve made it work and now it’s just the next nine months that we have to get through’.”
Took it’s toll
Despite a fairly straightforward pregnancy, Noa’s first few weeks weren’t as smooth sailing with multiple trips to A&E, a tongue tie, intense reflux and difficulties breast feeding and it all took a toll on Kate.
“I just felt like I had to be strong, like I had to do everything myself and be mum to Noa and not be struggling. I think I’ve always taken to most things in life like a duck to water – I know that sounds a bit braggy but, you know, if I had a task at home I’d just be like ‘well I can do this’ or if I started a new job they’d be like ‘do you need help?’ and I’d be like ‘no I can crack this, I can do it’. I can do everything I put my you know hand to but I think with motherhood I felt like I could do it but I really couldn’t and I was gutted that I wasn’t finding it a breeze or it didn’t come naturally to me.”
Kate admits internalising a lot of her emotions, but found that she started to spiral. She explained: “I did feel suicidal but not until around six weeks. I really thought it was just a case of the baby blues and that we were just going through a bit of a tough time. When I had therapy my therapist spoke to me about processing.
Open the conversation
At the point where Noa seemed to be getting better after all the A&E trips, when her reflux was reducing and we started to combi-feed it gave me a break and I was able to process what happened a lot more which is probably why I started to spiral. I had more time to think about it.”
But speaking about her experiences is what drives Kate now. When she learned that one of her closest friends felt exactly the same as she did in the early days of motherhood but had never spoken to her about it, it spurred her on to open the conversation as much as she can.
Listen to all of Kate’s chat with Gi wherever you find your podcasts or watch the whole conversation below.