Revealing Motherhood’s Truths: Award-Winning Writer Laura Rachelle Taylor Explores PMDD and Unspoken Challenges in ‘A Mum Like This’

The rosy glow of parenting and the myths surrounding ‘magical motherhood’ sells products and sets expectations, but for many Mums, the real life experience of giving birth can be hard and challenging.

Beneath the beautiful top layer of motherhood, many mums find themselves dealing with a world of conflicting advice, motherhood meddlers, outdated expectations, unsupported postnatal depletion and more. Award-winning writer Laura Rachelle Taylor explores these topics in A Mum Like This.

This 52-week memoir of poetry and prose is written in real-time, with one diary entry and poem for each week of the first postpartum year. On this journey through the highs and lows of new motherhood, Laura receives a diagnosis for a life-altering endocrine condition that, like many other women living with this disorder, was missed for many years – though it affected her entire life: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).

Alongside the emotional turmoil of mood swings and suicidal thoughts, a severe form of PMDD left Laura with a meningioma (brain tumour) and unable to lift her arms above waist height through the pain of cystic breasts. It also led to raw skin and aching muscles that often left her bed-bound. She writes about how her then-undiagnosed condition led her to “press the self-destruct button on many aspects of [her] life and watch it crumble to pieces around [her]”.
She cut off healthy relationships, turned her back on friendships and often reinvented every aspect of her life during the debilitating few weeks that her hormonal imbalance rampaged through her life. Then, around the third or fourth week of her menstrual cycle, Laura would scramble to piece back together everything she’d broken, before “the PMDD monster” inevitably returned. Laura documents her journey to a diagnosis, before exploring the sunshine that lives alongside the thunderstorms of PMDD.
Mostly written whilst raising her baby in a shed during a house renovation, Laura strips motherhood back to its simplest form as she ditches the cupboard full of plastic toys that society is so insistent she needs, in favour of taking a calm, wholesome approach to parenting. She explores nature, spends time at the library and discovers special people and places along the route – particularly in her local town of Northwich, Cheshire.
As the reader journeys through the sunshine and thunderstorms of this memoir, it becomes clear that there’s a wide community of mums “like this”, all learning to comfortably survive – and even thrive – in the often-convoluted world of parenthood. Whether it’s the contradictions of modern motherhood, the journey to a PMDD diagnosis or dealing with motherhood meddlers (don’t they seem to crop up everywhere?), for those who can relate, this book offers the “you’re not going mad” that many new parents – and PMDD sufferers – could do with.
Available from 19th March 2024 in paperback on Amazon. For more information, you can follow Laura Rachelle on Instagram: @laurarachellewriter.