Why I Write by Emma Cottam from Isabella and Us
Emma Cottam - Founder of Isabella and Us and Editor of the Positive Wellbeing Zine For Mums - tells us how and why she started writing poetry when she became a mother.
I first starting writing after the birth of my daughter in December 2017, first it was short articles, then longer pieces. I’d read other peoples poems but never thought I could write my own, my written skills have never been a strong point and I’ve struggled with dyslexia and putting words together.
Words are such a powerful tool. I think when it comes to motherhood, those swirling strong emotions, poems help to share that in such a magical way.
I wrote my first poem back in June 2019, I felt a sudden pull to put words down on paper, and since then I’ve regularly wrote poetry when I have felt the need to. Mostly when I have been struggling emotionally or I’ve been struggling with my mental health.
My first poem was written one night when my daughter Isabella fell asleep on my chest, bringing all of those memories up of all those nights we co-slept when she was a newborn. I always found the nights the calmest, and in the moments it felt right to write something to mark it.
As you lay there asleep on my chest
I am taken back to those early days
The days of constant night feeds
The days of the skin to skin after bath time
The days of you sleeping peacefully on my chest throughout the night
The stillness, the peacefulness
It was our calm time, our time
The time I always felt the closest to you
Though the struggle to bond with you was long
The time you longed for closeness,
To feel my touch
And through those nights that you need me to be close even now
The stillness and peacefulness brings us closer together
As you lay on my chest
My darling girl, how it takes me back
This poem really started something in my writing and how I write and what I write about. Since that first poem my confidence in my writing has increased and the wonderful messages about how the poems have resonated have helped me to keep writing.
I love how with poetry a simple prompt can start something, how it can be whatever you want, however long, whatever words. It can be anything and there is such magic in that. In using words and language with emotion and power.
I don’t write as often as I would like, I find I need the headspace and to really be within those emotions in order to write. This is often hard with running a small business, working full time and being a mum but my aim is to one day have enough poems to publish a book. But for now I try and write one of each of the issues of the independent magazine I founded, Positive Wellbeing Zine for Mums or when those intense emotional moments come. I hope to find the time to write more over the coming months, it really is a perfect way to take some time to process, to create, to just be.
How much do I care, about myself
Since I first held you in my arms?
Since those lines on that test?
I put you first every day without any regard for myself
My needs, my wants, my hearts desires
They were buried deep inside
Because you, my darling became my world
And I let myself forget that I am part of that world too
I can’t remember the last time
I just stopped and stood still
The last time I just focused on
my needs, my wants and my hearts desires
But I need to, I’m so tired
I’m so tired of not feeling like myself
Like everything else is way more important
Than looking after my own body and my own mind
So now, as I relax my mind
And close my eyes
I can take on each day with better focus and patience
Because I took that time,
That time for me
To just be
In our world, my darling girl
Emma Cottam, is a speaker, writer and founder of Isabella and Us. She is the editor of the Positive Wellbeing Zine for Mums, an independent magazine for mums, and the host of the Positive Wellbeing Podcast for Mums. She is also passionate about supporting small businesses on their journey to find their magic and has recently launched one to one sessions for creatives to help them gain clarity, purpose and direction.
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