Sibylle’s Experience

Read about Sibylle’s experiences of becoming a mother, and turning points in that journey.

For me, my becoming a mother commenced in 2009 with a 400-day stay in various London hospital units.

In hindsight, there were two interventions that helped me enormously during the past decade or so of supporting my children and finding my role.

Firstly, when in 2009, sleeping in a neonatal ward, the mother of the baby on the other side of the unit crossed the room to kick me awake and tell me, in no uncertain terms, that I needed to get a grip and start caring for my baby more actively. We seemingly had little in common: a 20-year age gap and not much of a shared language. But her firm gestures made me sit up and pay attention.

The second intervention was instigated by me: my baby was due in March but I had already given birth in November. Diligent as I was, I had booked a birthing course well before March, in January, but I had already given birth by then. What to do with this place in the birthing group? I decided to hold on to my place and attend whilst no longer pregnant. This group became my proxy peer group to confirm that I was a mother, and once my baby was discharged from the hospital we did have a group of babies to join. After all, my intention was to follow the mainstream as much as possible, even though we often remained observers.