‘I’ve always shared everything — it was never a strategy’
Irish author and wellness advocate Caroline Foran has been growing in mind and spirit over the last few years, writes Denise Smith. Now the new mum is encouraging a different kind of growth
Caroline Foran is no shrinking violet when it comes detailing the grisly and often untold truths of motherhood.
Hailed as Ireland’s ‘millenial anxiety guru’ the author and wellness advocate has opened up an honest and unflinching conversation around parenthood and planted the seed that it’s perfectly ok to vocalise your struggles as a new mum.
Launching the Energic Get Ireland Growing campaign to help raise awareness around the benefits and joy of community growth, the 33-year-old reveals her own self-growth as she continues to navigate her new role as a mum.
“Caelan is almost two now and I thought a baby would just slot into my life and be a third appendage out with us for brunch — but the reality for me is that you become a different person,” reveals Caroline who helms the cult podcast about coping with anxiety, Owning It.
“You have to let go of what was before and surrender to the new rhythm of your life, especially for the first year and then you find your feet again.”
Speaking adoringly of her fun-loving tot, the social media influencer and journalist who has amassed a 40k plus following on Instagram gushes. “The love is more that I could have ever known, and the pride, he could fart and I could think that’s the best thing in the world.”
Laughing she adds. “The challenge now is that he realises that he can say no. I guess I am really starting to parent now because he is not a baby anymore, it’s parenting a little human with his own agenda with his own set of his ideas and he obviously doesn’t have the emotional range to rationalise when he doesn’t get his own way. It’s all about keeping him busy which is why I love the get growing campaign, we will definitely be spending time outdoors this summer getting our hands dirty.”
Having just recently launched a new podcast Stretch Marks, which already has a cult following, the creative has become a sounding board for those navigating the highs and lows of parenthood.
“I have always been a person who has shared everything it was never a strategy, when I have felt low or anxious or overwhelmed as a mum, I’ve reached out when I’ve needed reassurance from people to say ‘oh me too or you’re not alone,’ it has been a coping mechanism.
“I realised it was resonating with a lot of people. People feel pressure to say it’s bliss or the happiest time of your life, I think that’s a big factor in why people struggle because they are afraid to say, ‘I love my baby and this is all I ever wanted but it is really hard too.’ Whether it is parenting or anxiety, I think it is my goal just to normalise things.
“I don’t just want to talk about how difficult it is but I also want people to know that it’s okay if it both amazing and difficult. It’s just the middle ground of honouring our feelings and being kind to ourselves.”
Having previously opened up about her own mental health struggles, including the breakdown she endured at the age of 25, the Owning It author has sadly become accustomed to toxicity online.
“When I stopped breastfeeding early I spoke about that because I wanted reassurance but I also wanted other people to know that whatever you have to do to keep yourself well and to care for you and your baby is the right thing.
“Most messages were very supportive but I got one that said, ‘I’m really sorry that you couldn’t do the best for your child’. It was veiled concern when actually it was so hurtful, as if it’s not a mother’s goal to do their best for their child.
“I remember reading a comment on one of those horrible threads that said they hoped ‘I’d never inflict myself on another child.’
“I remember physically shaking reading those things, it’s so hurtful especially when it comes from other mothers. “But you have to accept if you are going to put yourself out there that unfortunately this might happen.
“People don’t know me, social media is just a small window into my day but I have found such a tribe of women who have lifted me up in their own parenting journeys and that is what matters most.”
Energia Get Ireland Growing aims to sow the seed of community food growing by giving away 300 community growing starter kits across Ireland worth €42,500.
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