february baby 1979If you’ve given birth you probably have a photo like this too.  Don’t I look all beaming and on top of things?  I wasn’t.  These kinds of photos of new mothers hide the truth.  I was actually exhausted after a seventeen hour labor during which I had done some of the hardest work of my life. At one point my pain seemed so bad I told my husband I was never having another baby. When this photo was taken my body ached and throbbed and was so sore in so many places. I was also sooooooo in love with that little bit of a thing in my arms it totally overwhelmed me. I was petrified that I wouldn’t be able to look after him properly. 

An exhausted Marlo leans against the  hallway wall for a minute after dropping her older son off at school

I saw the movie Tully this week. It doesn’t attempt to hide  the fact that pregnancy and early motherhood is full of messiness and hurt and hard work and anxiety.  Marlo the new mother in the film is not only looking after her newborn but two older children as well. Her husband is nice and well-meaning but is working constantly and has little time to help her. Marlo doesn’t care about her appearance, throws frozen food warmed in the microwave on the table, and loses her temper easily. Her life is an endless and exhausting round of breast feedings, school drop offs and pick ups, diaper changes, making school lunches and household chores. 

This photo was taken when our son was still tiny.  The reason I look as happy as I do is because of my mother. I remember the first day I was home alone with my infant son after my husband Dave had left for work.   The baby started to cry.  I was still so stiff and sore I had to roll out of bed and crawl over to his cradle. I felt too weak to even pick him up, never mind feed him and bathe him.  I crawled over to the phone and called  my mother.  “MOM………….” I sobbed into the receiver.  “I’ll be right there,” she said. For the next few days Mom took care of me and our baby and my house till I had a handle on things and could manage on my own.  I don’t know what I would have done without her. 

A young woman named Tully arrives to help Marlo.

Marlo the new mother in the movie Tully doesn’t have a mother to help her but she does have Tully a night nurse hired by Marlo’s rich brother who helps bring a measure of sanity back to Marlo’s family life.  Tully, a young and vibrant woman, cares for the baby at night so Marlo can sleep properly and she also cleans Marlo’s house, cooks for her family, gives her relationship help with her husband, and listens to her problems and concerns.  Marlo doesn’t know what she would do without Tully. 

The film Tully presents a more realistic view of new motherhood than we may have seen in movies in the past. Despite the challenges Marlo faces one never doubts for a minute the honest and passionate love in her heart for her children.  I won’t say too much more about the film because it would be easy to spoil it for you.  Take my word.  It is worth seeing.

Other posts………..

What Does Your Mother Do?

Mothers at the Met

Should Women With Young Children Be Politicians?


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