Hey, thanks for being here! I’m Leilah Moussa. Experienced Teacher, Early Years Specialist, Hypnobirthing Practitioner, mum of 3 and founder of Other Mothers.
I’m on a mission to reclaim Motherhood. It is NOT another club to be left out of and made to feel like we don’t belong.
I want mothers and parents to have the confidence to cut out the noise, stop looking around and trust their instincts. To know that it is ok to go your own way and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help along the way. Sometimes those closest to us aren’t the best people to ask. They can tell us how to do it their way but they might not be so good at encouraging you to do it your way. I see you and I know the first steps in supporting you to find your conference and trust your instincts.
Because I’ve been there.
I spent a long time not belonging. Or at least feeling like I didn’t. As a highly sensitive child with big feelings, I didn’t fit in my family. I didn’t fit it the right boxes at school, I was “bright” but “could do better” and this struggle continued at university. Why was everyone else finding it so easy? I now know this is due to neurodiversity. I didn’t belong in so many spaces because of my name or how I looked. And then there was motherhood.
When I was pregnant with my first child I kept thinking “there must be another way”. I heard all the stories including that of my own traumatic birth. But something just felt off. Women had been giving birth for millions of years surely birth wasn’t awful for every single one of them? My midwife gave me a leaflet about hypnobirthing. Eventually in my third trimester, still with some scepticism, I booked a course with a local practitioner. To this day I’m so glad I did. Doing that course, with my husband was the first time I invested in me and the first time I felt increased confidence to trust my instincts and do what was right for me.
We arrived home with our newborn, the oxytocin high of birth wearing off and the reality of being entirely responsible for a whole other human setting in fast. Still navigating the first few weeks of sleep-deprived fog, sore bits, sore boobs, establishing feeding I was bombarded with an array of classes and activity groups I “should” be doing with our baby. I went to baby groups and no one spoke to me, I was right back to being that kid in the playground with no one to play with.
But it turned out no one was really welcome as themselves; we were just there as someone’s mum. I quickly realised I wanted conversations beyond developmental milestones and sleep. I couldn’t stand the comparison and smug competition. WTAF was this? New mothers and parents making each other feel more shit instead of just listening and empathising. But they weren’t being malicious. This is what society, the fucking patriarchy has conditioned us to do. Told us that we have to conform to a load of bullshit expectations. Get our “pre-baby body back”, have ourselves and our baby looking immaculate in cute outfits, have a clean and tidy house etc. etc.
We’ve been pitted against each other in some complex game and half the time we don’t even know it.
Of course, there are some amazing spaces for new mothers. In my experience, they are the ones where everyone is acknowledged. A hello, a smile, the offer of a cuppa (pre covid times obvs). Where there is no judgement if you use cloth nappies, if you breastfeed, if you bottle feed.
Where you can turn up in trackies with the baby vom you forgot about on your shoulder and your hair in yesterday’s messy bun. These are the spaces and groups that meet YOUR needs not where you feel you have to go to meet your baby’s needs. Because what your baby really needs is a mother that is seen and heard and growing in confidence to do it whatever way works for them.
It took me a while to find that confidence but a few things happened that made me realise it was there just very buried. As my son became a toddler and then a 2-year-old it became apparent he wasn’t like a lot of other kids (of course he is exactly like lots of other kids, whose mother and parents are struggling to cut out the noise and do what works for them)
He would get easily overwhelmed, had big emotions and needed a lot of patience! A lot of the ‘shoulds’ just weren’t working. I/we had to start doing things our way.
Even as I started to take these small steps, I still felt lost like motherhood was yet another place I didn’t belong. “Lost in the world” I remember saying those words to a friend. My oldest child had just started school, and my then youngest was a toddler.
I was working part-time in a stressful teaching job and not showing up as the mother or teacher I wanted to be. I wanted to be someone else but I didn’t know who, or what that looked like.
But I knew I could do hard things. My first 2 children were born on the other side of the world in the absence of regular family support (this wasn’t all a bad thing). I’d navigated difficult postnatal recoveries and tough starts to breastfeeding. I’d pretty much single-handedly managed our relocation back to the UK and a catalogue of challenges we faced back here. Friends commented of my lack of visible stress in these situations. I put it down to those first mindset shifts I made through hypnobirthing and this cemented my decision to train as a practitioner.
I fell (quite literally and accidentally) into the world of personal development while looking for support to start up my business. The biggest changes I experienced through coaching in the weren’t in my business initially but in my life. Because like most things it has to start with us. I communicated better with my husband (it wasn’t all his fault after all). I asked for more of what I wanted, time to myself and support. It’s still a work in progress but learning to ask for help was a huge turning point. I also stopped people-pleasing, especially when it came to parenting.
It was safe to do it my way.
I rediscovered my interest in psychology that had faded since university and eventually was able to reconnect with the parts of teaching I loved.
Seeing confidence grow.
There is something truly magical about seeing a 4 or 5-year-old pick up a favourite picture book and realise they are now able to read some of the words themselves. Now I was seeing those same moments of awareness in mothers and parents preparing for birth and realising they could do it their way. As my own experiences have shown me finding your confidence and trusting your instincts is important not just in birth preparation but beyond.
Need to know more?
Drop me a message to chat about birth preparation or parenting support.