The strength behind the smile

Strength, not the type that’s all muscles and testosterone but the type which is quiet and composed, organised and constant, the type of strength which carries, labours and delivers the next generation into this world, the type of strength which juggles the mood swings of a toddler with the sleep deprivation imposed by a newborn alongside keeping a home, being a nurturing mother, a loving wife and holding down a job. The type of strength which is understated under recognised and often under appreciated yet it continues unfaltering, the type of strength which underpins every aspect of our lives and keeps the world turning. That’s the innate strength every single woman possesses.

Being strong is what we do, it’s a part of who we are and it not only allows us to cope under the pressure of motherhood it enables us to flourish. It’s this same strength which helps us paint a smile on for the outside world when we’re having a bad day or week or month or when we’re coping with even more than the usual tantrums and working mum guilt. We all do it, we have all answered “good thanks” when asked how we are even though the truth may be we are far from it and we have all presented a calm image to the world whilst frantically trying to hold things together and yet sometimes in the midst of our own struggles we forget to look past the forced strong smiles of other women.

I read a quote once which said “You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have”, to me this sums up what a woman’s inner strength is, it is always there deep within us and in those moments when we think we won’t cope, when we think life is just throwing too much at us the amazing, courageous, woman inside us stands up and carries us through. I am privileged enough to know some truly warrior strong women who between them are dealing with chronic pain from hidden illness, depression and anxiety, postnatal depression and the threat of cancer. These are women who have had to draw on more inner strength than they ever knew they had, women who continue to be mothers and wives, who continue to work and live their lives despite the burdens they bare.

‘The strength behind the smile’ is a series of posts which each month tells the story of one of  these magnificent women in their own words, it is a series which celebrates the strength of women everywhere and shines a light on battles which are often not discussed. All of these wonderful women are from the same small Shropshire town, they are the woman at the park who smiles at you through the pain, the woman at the school gates who asks you how you are, the woman at work who carries on like nothing is wrong, they could be one of your friends or someone you work with or know because in every town and every city there are strong women smiling through the heartache and these posts are for each and every one of them.

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