Rowan M

1. If you wear makeup, why do you wear makeup and how often do you wear makeup?

I only really wear makeup when I'm going out to something like a wedding or drinks with friends etc which really isn't very often. I think it's happened maybe three times this year? It makes me feel special and like a proper grown-up which is pretty unusual for me. Maybe once a fortnight I'll remember to put some mascara on.

2. What made you want to participate in this portrait series?

When I read your statement on the website about having another baby and post-natal depression and feeling completely overwhelmed it felt very familiar! I had my third baby last year and my pregnancy with him and then the year since he's been here have been just unbelievably difficult. It's not easy to share that struggle because it's much easier to present success than failure, people don't really know what to say. 

3. Is being completely makeup free something that makes you feel in any way uncomfortable?

A little bit, I'd have expected it to feel totally fine after 7 years of basically never having time to do it on a daily basis. It's sad though, sometimes it crosses my mind that i'm not wearing any a drink I have these images that flash into my head of photos the kids have taken of me where I just look beyond exhausted and i feel totally deflated. 

4. Are there specific factors (positive or negative) that have influenced how you feel about how you look?

When I was a teenager there was so much body-shaming going on in magazines etc I hated my body, my legs weren't skinny enough, tummy not flat enough, boobs too small, too short. It was all about how people looked but I had never really done anything with it. Now I have sustained carried, birthed and breastfed three whole new people! I can't quite believe I've done that sometimes, it's a bit mind-blowing. 

5. If there was one piece of advice for the future you could give your younger self, what would it be?

To try and care less what other people think and to be myself and it's OK not to be perfect and make mistakes, it won't be the end of the world. 

6. When have you felt most empowered in your life?

Probably last time I gave birth, it was amazing. 

7. Is there a woman fictional or real that you admire? Why? 

My mum because she brought up three children alone which is pretty hardcore. 

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself? 

I'm good at listening I think.

9. Is there an achievement you are particularly proud of? Why? 
Surviving 7 years of parenting? It's been amazing but it actually is the most difficult job ever.

10. In daily life what are the pressures you feel most exposed to specifically as a woman?

That I have to do everything! Wrangling the kids, cooking, looking after the house, meal planning, bedtimes, baths while also feeling completely alone and having to appear to be on top of everything and people commenting you look tired and not having the chance to get a shower. It's endless, and it will never be good enough.