Anneke Jamieson

The promotion

Image of artwork

Highly commended

acrylic and oil on canvas board
61 x 46 cm

The mother in me could never make peace with the officer I wanted to be.

While pregnant with our first child I planned my return from maternity leave blind to the person I would become when promoted to mother. I've always admired the leaders I've served with – they give so much of themselves for their people. When our second and third children arrived, it was evident I couldn't be both the officer I wanted to be and the mother I needed to be. I had incredible support from my husband and Army but it didn't change my capacity to give of myself. Nor did watching friends manage the conflict with grace and determination. My choice was difficult but obvious and, in the end, empowering.

But she is not me. She is the woman whose career came first. She has dedicated herself to her soldiers and her service and achieved so much. Yet now, as a new mother, she has returned from maternity leave changed in ways she never imagined; this promotion might be her greatest challenge yet.

I dedicate her to the mothers that serve; to their sacrifices and conflicted hearts and to the families who support them.

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