Radio personality Amanda Keller has opened up about her heartbreak over IVF, post-natal struggles and mum guilt in an interview with Chezzi Denyer on her podcast, Mum Stories.
“The mother I pictured myself to be isn’t necessarily the mother I am," Keller, who now has two teenage sons, said.
"I thought I would love reading stories at night time and pushing children on swings; I am not good at that stuff. I think I’m a good mother but I’m not mumsy in that way. I didn’t feel maternal.
"When you’re told you can’t [fall pregnant] it becomes something quite different. I’d been set a task - three years of IVF and I kept failing. I became more desperate the longer it went on.”
After eventually falling pregnant in 2000, Keller explained how it was during Sydney Olympic Games that she thought she would miscarry.
“I started to bleed and just thought I’d been so close. 'Please, please, please,' I kept praying. That [bleeding] was the other embryos coming away and [eldest son] Liam stuck. I could feel the whiff of change and after I saw the heartbeat following a trip to the doctor, I stopped the car and just cried. [My husband] Harley had been guarded, protecting his emotions. Once I was six weeks pregnant I was terrified and I could barely admit it to anyone, but Harley was the opposite, wearing his heart on his sleeve.”
As for the birth itself, Keller described it as, “Awful! I wished he was back inside and I could control it. It felt like my insides had been scraped.” She went on to share that after bringing him home, “I used to dread the night and I was terrified. Like a horror film. That cry that pierces the night. The fatigue.”
Part of the "horror" was due to breastfeeding, “He wouldn’t feed. In the middle of winter, I used to have to put cold cloths on him to wake him up!”
“Because of my radio contract, I went back [to work] four months later. Knowing I had to go back helped me get my head organised. But four months, it’s not long.”
Asked by Denyer if she ever experienced mother guilt, Keller replied, “I think it’s a choice and I chose not to. I don’t read a lot of the emails from school and that’s when I feel it. When the other mums know what’s going on at school and I don’t know. Now I say to the boys, ‘If there’s something that really matters, and you want me to be there, I’ll drop everything to do it.'
"I don’t feel guilty for working and I’m happy the boys see someone who loves their career. But there are the bits where I feel bad, if I miss something, like an award. If I’m not there, I hate that. Real life kicks in and on you go. There are moments like that that I take a deep breath and I say I’m sorry.”