Celebrating Mother's Day with Carolijn, author of Motherhood

Celebrating Mother's Day with Carolijn, author of Motherhood


7 minute read

"...because i want to remember it all, feel it, relive it.

our first year, the raw and pure memories. 
the tears of tiredness, the despair, the insecurity. 
 the warm flood running through my veins when i feel her tiny chubby body fall asleep in my arms. 
that sweet, redeeming calm after a stormy period. his hand on my back while my aching body feeds her once again in the darkest of nights…”

 

It was sometime around summer 2019 when I came across Carolijn’s account and never stopped visiting it since after. I remember the inspiration I felt reading her story and discovering she wrote a book Motherhood as a memoir of the first year with her daughter Olivia. Putting into words not only the usual layers of motherhood you get to hear but the deeper peel of feelings, emotions and insecurities. Words that can help others feel understood.

  

 

We feel very blessed for the opportunity to ask Carolijn a few questions and share more of her inspiring story for the occasion of International Mother’s Day and we hope you will enjoy reading these lines as much as we do.

 

1.Tell us a bit about yourself and your lovely family

Carolijn: I’m Carolijn, a writer/creative, mother of two little girls Olivia (almost 4 y/o) and Filippa (almost 2 y/o). We’re together fulltime; in the evening when they’re both asleep I try to work on different kind of projects. Creative/work assignments for clients and when I have the time (and energy) I’m working on my new book. Together with the love of my live we live in a small town near the big canal cities.

    2. Motherhood – how did it all start and when was the moment you understood your feelings were meant to fill a book?

      Carolijn: Almost four years ago I became a mother for the first time. I was completely in awe with the little human being that joined our lives. But I was also overwhelmed by these immense feelings that entered my head and heart; the overwhelming happiness, the heartbreaking fears, the loneliness, losing myself, finding myself again. So I started to write down everything that I had been feeling so far during that first year of motherhood.

      In order to process, and clear my head, but also because in that moment I already knew it was such a magical and defining phase of my life that I wanted to capture every feeling before the memories would start to disappear with time. At that time I already gained quite a few followers on Instagram and I started to share the first words with the world, because I wanted all those other new mothers out there to know that if they were experiencing those same magical, heavy, new feelings too they weren’t alone.

      The response was overwhelming, and I realized that I needed to collect all those stories and publish them. For myself, for my daughter, and for all those other women out there.

       

      3.  Who was the very first reader of your book and what did you feel when it got published and you received the first reactions?

      Carolijn: Besides my two amazing editors who worked with me on the book, the first person to read my book was my husband. There are few things I find more awkward than watching people read my work, so I had to pull myself together and patiently wait for him to finish the first chapters. It was a beautiful, intimate moment and him reading my words, fully understanding my feelings has definitely made our bond even stronger.

      4.     What 3 words would describe best your book and in general your view on motherhood?

      Carolijn: Honest, raw, non-judgment. It’s an ode to motherhood. Embracing the hard and easy moments, each irreplaceable in their own way. Without the difficult moments I wouldn’t be able to truly enjoy the little, beautiful moments. Without the happy moments I wouldn’t be able to go through the hard times. As I write in my book: “the softness eases the sharp edges, the reality opens my eyes, making me treasure it all.’’


      5.     Have you felt the same feelings you describe in the book with the arrival of your second daughter as well? Or have there been completely new emotions coming up that we can look forward in some second edition?:)

      Carolijn: No, especially during the first months it was just a completely different experience. We had a beautiful, healing birth. I remember holding her in my arms for the first time and thinking “yes, I got this. I know how this works now.” She latched on perfectly, my body didn’t hurt as it did that first time, my feelings weren’t as overwhelming as 2 years before. I didn’t had to become a mother again, all those deep layers of love and happiness and fears were already settled down in my heart.

      There was less sleep though, less time. Especially in the beginning I was constantly running from one little girl to the other, nursing, caring for, worrying, loving 24/7. After a few months the evenings and nights became really fussy and hard and it is only until a few weeks ago I am able to sleep for a few hours straight during the night. I was extremely sleep deprived, continuing on automatic pilot and surviving on adrenaline. The world being in lockdown didn’t help either, so it was a pretty rough year to say the least. In a physical way (although sleep deprivation also has a huge impact on your mental health of course).

      But those heavy emotions that I experienced during that first year of motherhood, they stayed away for most of the time (some chapters of the book still apply to this second first year though), maybe also because I processed everything so deeply by writing everything down so thoroughly.

      I’m currently working on writing down my memories about all those sleepless nights. Because, just like I had to with all those deeper emotional layers during that first year of motherhood, I have to process all these moments too and also because in the end it has brought me so much wisdom, strength and clarity. And who knows, maybe just like the first time, I’ll decide to publish it for all those parents out there that aren’t getting any sleep either.

      6.     What would be your number one advice to all new moms and moms to be?

      Carolijn: You’re the mother of your child, you know his or her needs best. Don’t ever feel the urge to defend or explain yourself. Listen to your magical motherhood instinct, you already know it all. You don’t have to do it alone, it’s (more than!) okay to ask for help. Enjoy this precious time, but know it is completely normal if you find it hard and not that fun sometimes as well. It will get easier. It’s just a phase. You’re doing an amazing job.

       

      Thank you so much Carolijn for taking the time to share your inspiring story <3

      Motherhood can be purchased at https://bycarolijn.com/.

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