The Blog

Letter To A New Mother

by Leonie Dawson on April 17, 2016

Mama Goddess Leonie Dawson


Click to get this as a printable poster – my gift to you<3


Dear B,

I saw you yesterday.

Breasts aching with milk, body aching.

You are a new mama.

Just moments ago,

you were initiated into the strangest, most intense, wildest, hardest fucking path there is:



I just want you to know

dear mama,

you are not alone.

You are not alone as your body aches,

your vagina mends,

your breasts stab with pain.

You are not alone as your days

become nights

stretching long and unending

and nowhere between the two

is one damn eight hour block

of sleep.

You are not alone as you stare

out the window and wonder

just where the fuck your life went

what the fuck this motherhood gig is all about

what the fuck you are supposed to be doing now

who you are now

and what it all means.

You are not alone as you marvel at

how precious and free and unencumbered

and utterly relaxing your life was


How you used to be satiated with

sleep and food and time

and now you are stricken with poverty

of all three

and you wonder why the fuck anybody ever willing chooses this.

You are not alone as you cry

as you sob

as the grey clouds move in and set up home.

You are not alone

as your heart shrieks

when your baby cries.

You are not alone

when you look at the space

between you and your love

and wonder where it got crushed and smothered and bent

by the great force that is

keeping a tiny human being


You are not alone

when you are angry




You are not alone

when you are guilty

when you are the worst mother alive

when you forget where your kid is

when you make mistakes.

You are not alone when you question everything.

When you fret.

When you hear your child screaming everytime you take a shower

only to realise there is nothing but silence when you turn it off.

(Or maybe they really are screaming.

Either way

you are not alone.)

You are not alone – literally – when you

attempt to go to the toilet

and discover that

this one private act has been taken from you too.

Your child needs you.


So wholly and solely

you fear you have been swallowed whole

and that there is nothing left for you.

You are not alone.

You are not alone when your sanity breaks,

your temper frays,

and you dream of running

– running – straight through the door

down the street

away to a quieter place

a place you can hear yourself think

a place you can meet your own needs

a place you can be just you

– not mama, not wife

just you.

You are not alone when you want to escape

the screaming,



needful mess of it all.

You are not alone

you are not alone

you are not alone.

You are not






or selfish

for wanting

a piece of you for you

a piece of your old life back


but this.

You are not alone

when you think you are.

You are not alone

when you question yourself.

You are not alone

when you are convinced

you are the most unnatural mother in the world.

You are not alone

when you believe

this whole motherhood thing

is too fucked up,

too needing of an adult

then you’ll ever be able to provide.


dearest mama,

are not alone.

You are not alone when it is hard.

I want you to know…

this will pass.

It will get easier.

I promise.

Right now, at the beginning of motherhood,

it’s the hardest initiation of all.

No other time can compare.

I want you to know

that breath by breath

moment by moment

it will get a little softer

a little kinder

and you will scoop back a second more of your own time.

I want you to know

that you deserve all the


and healing

and time

you want and need.

That it is a good thing

to find other carers for your wee one

and let them love them

while you love you.

I want you to know

you are




and magical.

I want you to know your body just

created the living miracle

of splitting into two

and sustaining a whole new lifeform.

And that it doesn’t come

without cost or pain or energy

and we can talk about this.

We don’t need to gloss over it.

We don’t need to make it shine.

We can be real here,

with each other,

as mamas.

We can tell the truth about our lives

the holy and the glorious and the love

and the pain and the deep shitty depraved horror and the depression and the angst and the overriding guilt and the crippling anxiety

and that all of them are welcome here.

I want you to know

that I struggled profoundly

that I thought my life was over

that the Leonie as I knew her was gone

and was never, ever coming back

so much so

I burned all my photo albums,

I gave away all my paintings

let go of all my beloved book collection.

I want you to know

I thought the pain would never end.

I want you to know

I was wrong.

And it did.

My child got older. She got easier. She (eventually) started sleeping.

And most of all,

I discovered me. Who I was as a mother. What I needed to thrive. What were the surefire things that would fuck me up.

I, Leonie Dawson, hereby require the following: medication, acupuncture, therapy and childcare in order to not crumple up into the ground.

And I am not ashamed to say that.

I am not ashamed to say that though I adore my children, every moment with children is NOT pure joy and bliss.

That does NOT make me a bad mother.

It makes me a mother. One who knows herself and her own cells.

I’m not saying that you need all that, dearest.

I’m just saying:

whatever it is you need,

you are utterly

and deeply


to have it.

And I support you

and encourage you

to find whatever ways

you can

to have them.

By hook or by crook, by supreme creativity or string-pulling or needs-declaring.

Whatever it is… your needs are worth it.

To have needs is not a weakness.

It is a sacred and human right.

Just because you are a mother

does not make you


of a human.

Dearest mama,

wherever you are

wherever you are

in this great tumble and fumble

of humanity and stretching and reaching and hoping and grasping

I want you to know

you are loved

by so very many

who want to see you shine.

You are loved

you are worthy

you are whole

even and especially when you feel broken.

Thank you for choosing to be a mama.

Thank you for choosing the enormous task of bringing through another soul and body into the world.

The angels want you to know that

it is never



sacrificing yourself.

It is about finding ways for you to thrive

to tend to your precious self

even amidst the greatest storm of your life.

You are good, mama.

You are perfect and you are beauty and you are divine.

And you are surrounded by a whole globe of sisters.

Sisters who hear you.

Sisters who know.

Sisters who love you.

You are not alone.

You are good.

All my love,


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The Unworthy Worthy Mother

by Leonie Dawson on October 14, 2015

failings of a mother


I have spent a lot of the last five years measuring up all my failings as a mother.

I worry that I’m too introverted… That I don’t engage enough… That I read too much… That I need quiet time in order to be okay in my body. I think I am less than the perfect mother because I need, I crave, I adore my work, and I take time away each day to do it.

I see so painfully all my failings, my spiky bits, the hard parts and I hope my daughters can forgive me for them when they are older. The truth of parenting is I absolutely do not enjoy parenting every single minute of every single day, and I think it is downright bullshit and so harmful when any person claims to or tells you should to.

I love my children deeply and ferociously. I would choose them again. I was born to be their mother. And still, it is hard. And fraught with the pains of being human, of living in a world with physical and energetic limitations.

I’ve spent a long time feeling anxiety and shame about my inside feelings. I didn’t think they were the right feelings to have. That it make me a bad person to have them. That I wasn’t allowed to feel them. And I sure as fuck couldn’t speak them. I don’t know what changed for me.

All I know is once I started speaking my truth — my full truth — the one that isn’t pretty or easily resolved or inspiring — life got deeper and a little more true.

Wherever you are on this big old path… I just want to send a wish from my heart… That you and I both know we are allowed to have all our feelings. And that we are worthy enough just as we are.

I get it bae. Love you.

P.S. Brutal honesty- I wrote this on the toilet because it is the weekend and it’s the only quiet place I can think. Except they found me within 2.5 seconds and both my 5 year old and 18 month old crammed themselves into the same cubic metre as me until I kicked them out and my 18 month old had a meltdown and I yelled at my husband to let me TAKE A SHIT IN PEACE GODDAMIT.

The End!

P.P.S. “Enjoy every moment! They grow up too soon!” – obviously spoken by someone who is able to take a dump by themselves without an 18 month old trying to peer into the toilet or unroll every damn roll of toilet paper in the place.


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Hi lovebugs,

I went to see the amazing Steve Biddulph talk last night. He’s the best-selling author of a bunch of parenting and self development books including Manhood and The Secret of Happy Children.

His talk last night was on Raising Girls.

raising girls

I was hoping me and Mr D could have a hot date together for it, but he had to do Dad-Duty, so I had to ride solo like the Lone Ranger. The Lone Ranger with his beloved horsey Toto. Was it Toto? Let me check… WTF? TONTO? And it wasn’t his horse? WHAT? WHAT WORLD HAVE I BEEN LIVING IN????

Anyways… what I’m trying to say… it was just me and my journal. Which is totally a hot date in my books anyway.

I took some illustrated notes, coz that’s how I digest information… shared them on Instagram. Just like at the Growth Summit.

Let it begin!



I love how he started his talk:

I’m just one guy, sharing what he has experienced and learned.

If your heart or your head don’t agree with it, just leave it behind.

Wise advice for everything in life (and business).

raising girls

Two important pieces of parenting wisdom he shared:

  • The best parenting question you can use over and over again is ask your kids: “And how do you feel about that?”
    Instead of just jumping in with every solution or what’s right or wrong. Just ask them how they feel. Let them develop faith in their own gut instinct.
  • Whenever your kid tells you something (even if you feel freaked out about it), make sure you understand to use two voices.
    1. What you think in your head
    2. What you say outloud to your kids
    And always stay calmer than your kids.

self confidence

This talk was bloody good and heart breaking all at once.

I felt really panicky once Steve started talking about the issues with raising girls right now.

He said he has spent his whole career focussing on men and boys, because as a family therapist, he believed he had to work where the disaster zone was.

And now the disaster zone is girls. Teenage girls.

After I came home, I had to have a loooooong talk with Chris on the couch. I went through all the notes of the lecture and told him what all the data was saying.

It was really full on.


I feel like I’ve been a naiive, overly-optimistic Pollyanna about the depiction of women + girls in media.

Probably because I don’t feel that affected by it – I’m pretty in love with being Leonie usually.

But when Steve spoke of the marketing research done eight years ago that found that 8 year old girls were an untapped market, highly susceptible to social approval… and decided to exploit that…

I just felt rage.

8 year old girls, man! 8 YEAR OLD GIRLS!

Kids that because of bullshit marketing start believing they need to worry about their weight and attractiveness.

That’s all kinds of messed up.

teaches girls

I guess the thing is — we know that the above stuff isn’t really true.

Well, I hope we do.

And we also all grew up in an age pre-social media where we didn’t have to feel viligant over what our schoolmates were saying about us online.

Steve spoke about kids with iphone addictions who wake up during the night to check what people think of them.

And where as we – as adults – usually have a better sense of self and have coping mechanisms – for our kids… it’s way too much, too soon.

They don’t have the emotional resilience and sense of self… because that time in their childhood is being robbed from them.



age part 2

What each age of girlhood is all about.

This was useful to look at ages and what each girl needs at each stage.

After this part, I just felt so so so bloody grateful to be married to Mr Dawson. Grateful that my girls get to have this dad who does this stuff totally innately.

And to try and garner some patience for my now five year old to tell me continuous friendship angst stories. And know that she needs to for healthy development.


We can only teach our kids what we embody.

And a beautiful way to finish up. Steve reminds us that we can only teach our kids what we believe and know.

 I was thinking about how perfect this video fitted in.

Our girls have to be surrounded by images and dolls of what it is to be a real girl and woman.

The lecture was incredible. Brilliant.

I’m so grateful that Steve is in the world, sharing his much needed message.

And am very grateful to my local council for doing such an amazing thing as bringing him to our town to help parents.

Steve Biddulph

Steve is beyond wise. An utter earth angel.

Highly recommend. His voice is so needed in the world.

I would highly recommend any of his brilliant books:

Feeling like a fierce mama bear.

Big love + blessings to all of you… and your children…