International Woman’s Day- making somebody else’s star shine brighter does not dim your own.

A little bit about being a woman and a heart mum…

International Women’s Day is a great annual opportunity to have a think about what it means to be a woman and to think about the women we value in life. 

I am a single mother to a heart hero – a gorgeous, social, happy little boy whose heart didn’t develop quite perfectly in the womb. Women already face challenges in the workplace and in life more generally – the stigma of taking time off work, questions around capability and capacity, even the dreaded monthly visit from mother nature which can make going anywhere or doing anything more difficult.

Being a heart mum and a single mum can amplify this. I can’t share the load of days off with anybody else, and I need a lot more of them than others might. We have appointments at the hospital, more days off sick, and last year a major operation. For that operation, a 5 year old having surgery on his heart, I, his mother, was granted one day of sick leave to be in the hospital with him, and the rest had to come from my annual leave. This is the reality of being a heart mum.

It isn’t all gloom and doom though. We are blessed to be surrounded by a team, nay an army, of remarkable women who uplift me, offer me practical support, and form a huge loving circle for my boy. From his aunty and maternal grandma, to his many adopted aunties, guidemothers, teachers and friends, what we witness day in, day out, is the strength of the female body and spirit. And, most importantly of all, the truth of womanhood – that making somebody else’s star shine brighter does not dim your own.

Written by Heart Mum Erin Hughes