Notes from Jemima | on Motherhood

On the cusp of Mother’s Day, co-founder Jemima Aldridge reflects on being a mother to five boys, and what having children taught her of herself.

This is a personal offering. It took some courage to find the time and space to write, to reflect and, most of all, to capture images of myself. But here I am, hoping that in sharing from my heart you, too, will find something that resonates.

This is innately my own memoir of a moment in time. Far from over, this is still in the very process of being lived, over and over again. The journey of motherhood is one that evokes a heart full of unconditional love, mixed with fragility and a sense of fleeting moments.

This is my story. I have borne and laboured over these beautiful boys. Utterly besotted. Many times exhausted. Grounded by faith. Overwhelmed and euphoric. Lost in it all.

To me, motherhood is a particularly emotive pathway of love, of light, of heartbreak, of suffering, of immense wonder, and touches us in ways I never dreamed possible. I feel keenly the beauty and the challenge. There is a personal undoing that happens in the process of becoming a mother. For a time, one’s individuality is intrinsically wrapped up in the mode of nurturing life. There is a time of letting go, of building up again, of wrestling with tiredness and bliss, of euphoria and also pain. Often within the same moment.

There is a personal undoing that happens in the process of becoming a mother... there is a time of letting go, of building up again, of wrestling with tiredness and bliss, of euphoria and also pain. 

Often within the same moment.

A handful of sons. Making their path in this world. Sometimes I can’t remember the blur that is the early years. I want to sit for a minute longer and to feel that baby on my chest, the moments when time recedes and all that remains is breath and feeling, the sweetness of newborn skin and the throb of our heartbeats. Perhaps it is best these blurry moments fade so that they remain a tinted memory now that it has passed.

I am conscious this journey doesn’t come easy to many, and for some it is filled with unfulfilled longing. But it is not simply the biology of becoming a mother that transforms our life; it is the very essence of bearing, sheltering, protecting, loving and being loved that is at the heart of motherhood. I believe we may discover this being given and received by all women, in unexpected ways. Perhaps these thoughts will unveil a moment within your own experience or encourage you to provide nurture, wherever that might be in this common bond of life.

I find lessons to myself reflected in the eyes of my own child. I feel the inadequacy and tension between idealism and real life. And I hold on to faith. To the present moment handed me. To seeing the world from the eyes of a child but with the perspective of an adult.

Motherhood ibeing alongside to grow these little ones into adulthood, looking for ways to have an open mindset that embraces the difficulties and enjoys effort. I want to provide my boys the space to grow and explore, to rise and fall, to enjoy work and play. I will feel comfort if each one grows up stronger from mistakes, intrigued by challenges, and forever keeps on learning.

Most of all I want them to know I will always be there for them. Although they have seen full well the reality of megrowing as a woman myself, learning to create again, failing and getting back up. They still love me. And I them. We are family, ever more.

I find lessons to myself reflected in the eyes of my own child...

I want to provide my boys the space to grow and explore, to rise and fall, to enjoy work and play. I will feel comfort if each one grows up stronger from mistakes, intrigued by challenges, and forever keeps on learning.

In this recent wander through the nature reserve with my boys, I wanted to capture images with each son individually. I thought that perhaps it would allow me to fully see their individuality. Oh, how I love to see their unique personalities shine.

Let me introduce my sons...

CALEB 14 / My firstborn. He is easy going and witty with his lighthearted advice and humour.He loves soccer and being gentle with me when I test my skills against him. Looking at this photo, I feel myself laughing and smiling at his funny antics. At ease because he always encourages me. And a reminder that he has recently overtaken me in height!

AMOS 13 / My thoughtful and affectionate boy. Always ready to give me a hug. I love his sensitivity and am encouraging his inherited creative eyehe is always drawing and making.

REUBEN 11 / My right hand son. Seeing him mature and grow up with initiative, he often reminds me of Bede and his readiness to work with his hands. And gosh he loves our dogs.

HUGH 9 / My athletic child. I often call him my mountain goat! He’s always climbing and somersaulting, jumping and active. Yet he can also somehow be completely immersed in drawing and puzzles.

ALBERT 6 / Also known as Kip. My youngest, the boy who is often by my side and still climbs into my bed at night for extra cuddles. He is cute and sassy and growing up, and has just lost his front tooth.

Leather Essential Bag by Saddler & Co

Leather Essential Bag by Saddler & Co

Here you can see a glimpse of my youngest, Kip, giving me a lovely hug. Also making an appearance, our Jack Russell puppy, Oakie, who brings much joy to the family.

I'm wearing a much loved, old design - the original leather Essential Bag, about five years old now and still going strong.  Keep an eye out as we prepare to bring this beautifully easy-to-wear design back in coming weeks.

You can pre-order the NEW Essential bag here.

As the sun fell behind the trees, we gathered together as a family. I love this portrait of us all, as I gaze up at Bede, beside my beautiful tribe of boys. We find a moment of presence within the simple joys of nature and providing one another unconditional love. 



Words by Jemima Aldridge | Photography by Nat Salloum | Dubbo NSW