Motherhood Diaries: Celia Muñoz
We talk to mother of five and founder of La Coqueta to discuss all things motherhoodRead more
Motherhood Diaries is a testament to modern-day parenting; from life-changing tribulations, to joyous milestones - and all the chaotic bits in between. Each month, we’ll uncover a refreshingly honest account from the Liberty community, with the aim to support women who might otherwise feel frustrated, isolated or overwhelmed. Here, we invite all maternal figures to speak openly about their journey to motherhood, find light in each narrative and ultimately, a sense of solidarity.
The next to feature in our monthly series is Celia Muńoz, founder of Spanish kids’ clothing label, La Coqueta. The mother of five reflects on the importance of having a solid support system and developing a healthy relationship with your body.
I always wanted to be a mother. I come from quite a big family; I absolutely adore my mother and the way she raised my siblings and I feel the size of my family contributed positively to my happiness as a child. I always had somebody to play with, talk to, laugh with and fight with. I wanted my family to have a similar set-up to my upbringing and I am lucky to share my life with a person who shares a similar idea of family.
I had a pretty standard pregnancy journey in the way that I got to experience all of the uncertainty and wonderful emotions you get when you become pregnant for the first time. I gradually became more savvy and confident as a woman and as a mother, as I kept having more children and growing up with them, learning from them quite literally! I had two miscarriages which I felt were very painful and made me even consider a future without children. It was a very upsetting and isolating experience.
I feel I was lucky as out of five pregnancies, I only had one complication which forced me to remain in bed for six months and have an intervention before giving birth. Apart from that, it was all fairly seamless, although if I may say, I never had the same type of pregnancy - different feelings and experiences every time! My birth experiences were easy and “by the book” which allowed me to see it all as a very enjoyable experience. I am aware not everybody goes through that and I feel extremely lucky to have experienced my pregnancies and birth of my children the way I did.
I had my last baby a few years ago but my main resources were my obstetrician, a book my father gave me “Duérmete Niño” which taught me how to train my children to sleep (very much needed when you have five children under the age of five) and overall, my parent’s advice. The Baby Centre website at the time used to be the place to go to if you wanted to find out anything about your baby’s development. In general, I kept away from anything else in order to not get overly confused.
I had a conflicting relationship with my body whilst pregnant. I had always been very sporty and healthy. I always felt very comfortable with the way I looked and felt. During my first pregnancy, I was diagnosed with a condition that forced me to remain on bed rest for six months until I gave birth. As a result, I did put on a lot of weight, got very unfit and got fairly down. By the end of my first pregnancy, I was 30kg overweight which at times felt like an impossible task to overcome. I never really realised the impact that lack of exercise and overeating would have on my body and self-esteem. It was difficult to talk about it as I feared that I would come across as a very shallow person. I still remember the “don’t worry, look what you have created, this should be your focus” response. Whilst pregnant, I felt everything would go back to normal after giving birth. My weight gain genuinely did not bother me at all whilst pregnant, however it really hit me a month after I gave birth. The lack of sleep, breastfeeding and becoming pregnant four more times in less than three months after giving birth made it very difficult for me to go back to my initial shape and this was hard to digest. Eventually, I came to terms with the fact that it was difficult for me to keep having children so close in age and be as fit as I once was, so I decided to focus on having children and work on loving myself even more during that time. My husband was instrumental to me during this journey.
Seven years after my last pregnancy, I am now back to the healthy shape I aimed for. It took me years and a lot of effort, but I feel very proud to have got to where I am. It has allowed me to be at peace with my body. I now look back and wish I had the strength to not worry so much then, particularly as I felt I had an incredibly supportive environment, but you can’t undo the past, you can only learn from it and help by sharing your experience, as I know I am not the only woman who feels this way.
I felt a lot of pressure surrounding pregnancy and motherhood during my first pregnancy and found it limiting. My parents always taught me that whatever makes me happy as a woman, mother and individual is what will make your baby happy. My father really reinforced Winicott’s term of “good enough mother” and it really worked for me. It made me feel a lot more confident and less guilty for the steps I took and decisions I made as a mother. I now try to empower women who find themselves in a similar situation. I found it very helpful when my mother opened up about how she felt about her own pregnancies, it made me feel connected and not alone.
My parents always taught me that whatever makes me happy as a woman, mother and individual, is what will make your baby happy.
With five children, I am unable to think of a single challenge as I felt there were many, but I found it very useful to apply any advice my father gave me very early on, you can’t control things around you, but you can control how you react to them and I try to apply it every time I think about it.
Life post-pregnancy was full of mixed feelings. I loved being with my babies, taking care of them and living that family life my husband and I always dreamed of. I enjoyed staying at home and my life with our babies and as a couple. Equally, I felt a lot more insecure and vulnerable after giving birth. I was worried about the unknown, about making the right decisions (although I was very careful not to show it to others), I wanted to do the best job I could ever do as a mother but sometimes I had to let go. It was upsetting when I didn’t. It took me a few years to learn how to manage this, to learn and mature, to understand that you can only do your best and this is not always perfect.
When it came to balancing work and domestic duties after birth, I felt very grateful for my husband and my parents who supported me all the way. I managed to achieve that balance by sticking to a very strict routine - this really worked for me. It made my life a lot more predictable, easier to manage and control. I became an extremely organised person and this allowed me to always make time for myself and my husband, which with so many children was really important to me.