Here is our petite little girl Maeve at 3 days old… weighing in at 6.2 ounds (how lucky I was to give birth to a gorgeous little thing the first time round).
As a first time mum there are many things to learn, breastfeeding, changing nappies, bathing a new born, swaddling, burping, what I should/ not eat, how my recovery should be.. OMG and the list goes on and this is all within the first few days! But my biggest and most important lesson I learned as a mother was how the energy from me and my husband could affect my daughter so much. For example, Maeve’s first few days in the world were pretty cruisey and relaxed. I didn’t have too much trouble with breastfeeding and she slept like a champ. Kyle and I were pretty relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed our first few days with Maeve at John Flynn hospital seeing family and friends and playing cards between feeds. However, when we were getting ready for our journey home we had our first stressful moment with the car seat (apparently this is a very common one for first time parents) and we had a little argument about it. Maeve was just lying on the bed while we tried to sort out the situation. Well for the first time we saw our little relaxed baby girl crying endlessly for no particular reason. It was then that I realised she was feeding off Kyle and my energy of being stressed out and upset over the car seat. Lesson… ‘If you can be a calm, relaxed and nurturing mother, then your baby will more likely be happy and content. Energy feeds Energy’
My fondest memories of Maeve as a baby were our long walks in the pram along the creek, seeing Kyle become the amazing dad he always wanted to be and having my bestest friends close by for beach dates, walks and long chats. And like any new journey in life there were the challenges… for me it was juggling a busy business with a newborn and learning how to just let go of my commitments to my work and clients and just be a mum. Also I had to learn that it’s ok if the day doesn’t go as planned. You can be organised but not over organised with a baby as you never know what the day might bring. And 2 outings/activities a day is more than enough… before children I loved that I could fit in 2-5 outings/activities in one day. I had to learn to say NO to a lot of things… but not everything!
So I thought as part of this blog I would get a mother-to-be to ask me a few questions about labour and becoming a mother… I loved doing this as it brought back thoughts and feelings I had forgotten. And it made me realise how much I learned throughout my pregnancy and in becoming a mother and how passionate I am about pregnancy, birth and motherhood.
So what does a first time mum really want and need to know…?
How long after you had bub were you back into work? I noticed you got back into work quite soon after babe arrived. What were your reasons?
Yes with both kids I went back to work fairly early and that was for a few reasons…
I don’t think I ever truly switch off from work… with Maeve I worked up to a week before and with Lennox 3 weeks before he came. Second time around I wanted to spend as much time with Maeve as possible before Lennox came along.
With Maeve I had a full running business so I was back dealing with business duties a few days after Maeve was born but it was literally just an hour a day. It’s different when its your own business and in our industry (as you know) your clients want you and even though I had great instructors I didn’t have the money to pay staff to do all the extra admin and business management duties. I went back teaching when she was 5 weeks and just started with a few classes/ private sessions and then slowly built up classes each month as Maeve got older. I was back part time teaching (about 20 hours a week) when Maeve was 10-11 months.
When we decided to have another bub, Kyle and I thought it was best to sell up my business and start something smaller from home. I knew that having two would be much more challenging and we couldn’t afford to rent a space for a studio as well as have a house and me need more time off work once bub 2 arrived. I went back teaching just 3 sessions a week when Lennox was 3 weeks old. I had clients who were happy to work around feeds etc… Lennox is now 5 months and I’m teaching about 8 hours a week and then do about 2-3 hours of office duties etc (but I just do these around the kids sleeping times- mainly at night).
While money was a big factor for going back to work early (as being self-employed you don’t get very good maternity benefits). I also liked that Kyle got time with the kids on his own. Without me around telling him what to do and how to do it. He worked it out on his own, in the way he wanted to. He now has a great bond with our kids and I’ll be forever thankful for that.
Did anything surprise you about yourself once you had your first? I can feel parts of myself falling away all over the place and every step i take, every single day feels like a new one. I feel quite a dramatic change coming and even though I’m fully embracing it and it excites me, there is an element of unknown when it comes to what my life will look like, especially from a business perspective.
I feel like there is so much I can answer here… I deeply believe this is a process every mother needs to go through to embrace motherhood. It is so great that you are in tune with your feelings and body as you are listening to what it has to tell you so well. So many ladies do not tap in to this and it is best done through stillness, meditation, mindfulness. The feeling of change and the unknown is preparing you for what motherhood feels like on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. You can be planned and organise but at the end of the day you do not really know what your labour will be like, what your baby will be like, what day your baby will be having, how much they may want to or not feed, how much sleep they will want to have… life with a child is a process of forever change and the unknown. But know this. You are connecting with you baby now through your pregnacy. You will have a deep bond with your child and because of it they will be so much more happy and content and you will both be able to read your babies signs more easily.
In regards to anything surprising me about myself after my first child…?… I was always great with kids but was very unsure about my connection with babies. But once Maeve was born everything came naturally and fairly easily. Once again, I think through my connection with Maeve throughout my pregnancy gave us a stronger connection once she was born. And we are so alike. Its just about listening and accepting what is… is!
And from a business perspective, for me personally, I love to work, I love my job, I love being around people, I love helping, inspiring and motivating others. I always knew that I would get back to my business. I was a little worried that I would not enjoy it as much. But I did with Maeve and I still do now with Lennox. I do have the constant battle of wanting to be a full-time, fully involved mother and run a business. But that’s just me and my personality- trying to give 100% to too many things at once. Luckily my mind and body can run that way. Also, lucky for me I have great support and even though I do work, the time I am with the kids is fully embraced and full of so much love! Plus I like that I contribute to my family and our kids will grow up knowing that both parents equally worked and spent quality time with them.
When I found out you had naturally birthed a 9.5 pound baby with no tearing, I was inspired! It gave me more confidence in my own ability. What the key factors you felt helped with this?
Surrender, surrender, surrender! To the whole process of pregnancy, birth, motherhood, your body and change. I look at things as ‘it is what it is and don’t complain just do what you have to do in the best way you can, with what you have’. This for me helps over come fear, negativity, struggle, complaining and allows me to let my mind and body feel relaxed, centered and open. Plus physical preparation is important… both my pregnancies I stayed strong and open, but in a safe way. I tried not to do too much abdominal exercises or extension. I did my pelvic floor exercises. I did lots of Yoga to counter balance all my strength work. I massaged my perineum. I did my supported restorative Yoga postures. I did lots of squatting, walking and got in the water. I also took my raspberry leave tea and had it in a herbal blend from my naturopath. Plus I did acupuncture and chiropractor monthly to support my body both physically, structurally, emotionally and mentally. I knew I was having a big baby, not as big as 9.5 pounds but I did go in to my labour with the attitude just do your best. I stayed within. I breathed. I stayed within. I listened to my body. I had no exceptions on myself but just trusted my body. It was quick but it was fucking hard and painful work but I trusted my body and the support of my partner and midwives.
To all you mummy’s out there remember this…
‘You are enough. You are doing an amazing job. Your job is challenging, but it is even more rewarding. No one will ever love you as much you your child does.’
Sending all my deepest love to all you amazing mums out there!
In Health & Happiness