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Baby

mother-didnt-breastfeed

A lot of things failed to go to plan in the weeks surrounding my son Jackson’s entry into the world.

I hoped to go into labour at 41 weeks. Yes, I actually hoped to go past term, purely because we needed that time for our nursery renovation.

I hoped for a birth story like all my friends’: the requisite number of hours of labour, an epidural at just the right moment, and a modest amount of pushing, with little to no tearing, thank you very much.

I hoped to shed a few tears. I hoped for immediate skin-to-skin contact, for a photo of our new family of 3 mere seconds after baby’s first breath of air.

I hoped to breastfeed.

What I got was far beyond what I ever could have predicted.

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value-mum-friends

When you become a mum, you get to join a highly populated community of seemingly isolated people.

Hear me out. It’s a good thing.

Motherhood is a crazy, intense mixture of being opened up to a wonderful society of women who have given birth and are available for support, advice and encouragement… while simultaneously beginning a journey that is actually just about you and your child, slogging out the everyday together as you learn how to function as a new family unit.

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redemption-shalom-birth

Image credit: Amelia Hambrook Photography

Do you like birth stories? I do.

At first I loved them because I needed to hear how labor and birth could be – for others, all normal and beautiful and full of love and connection.Redemption and Shalom: More than a birth story

My first birth experience was quite the trauma, and I went to see a therapist when my first baby was 4.5 months. I realized it was probably not normal to still be in tears every day, think it’s okay to leave my baby by herself in her bouncy chair thing, and notice her stop smiling.

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second-pregnancy-different

Next year our three becomes four. We are elated… and a tad terrified. During my first pregnancy I remember reading and researching, pondering the changes in my body and the growth of the baby inside, leisurely perusing the literature and rubbing my belly. This time around has already been a very different experience. I’d love to share with you five ways my second pregnancy is different from my first.

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loss-pregnancy

**Trigger Warning: This post contains content on miscarriage and infant loss, which some readers may find distressing. Please be aware of your triggers and don’t read on if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.**

“You must be sooo over it by now!”

My protruding belly is the subject of all mindless supermarket and bump-into chit-chats.

“Oh you know, this is the easiest part!” Truly. It is. If you’re a mom, you get my drift.
Right now baby does not need to be changed, carried, fed, changed, dressed, undressed, changed, bathed, changed, rocked to sleep while I lose my mind.
I don’t have to figure out why she is crying, wear dodgy nursing bras or wake up for feeds and function on half a brain the rest of the day.

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ponderings-stillness

I am currently sitting in my almost one-year old son’s room, curled up on his rocking chair, with his heater powering through the cold chill in the air. His breathing gently breaks into a weirdly adorable child-snore every six or seven breaths; he mumbles gibberish in his dreaming, while reaching out a sleeping hand to fumble for his dummy in the dark. The same piano gospel lullabies he’s listened to every night since birth are chiming gently through the spluttering of the warm vaporiser, while traffic rumbles around on one of the main roads in what seems like a million miles from the stillness here.

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motherhood-ready

I wasn’t sure I would ever be ready to be a mum.

I have always loved the idea of having children. I grew up with a sister and a small group of friends with big families. We went on a ton of vacations, visited extended family interstate often, celebrated every single birthday and, as I got older, family life only became deeper and more tight-knit as we worked through the throes of adulthood together. I knew I wanted to have my own children one day: two, and preferably girls (mainly so I could forcibly pass on all of my beautiful barbie dolls to them).

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becoming-mum-child

Responsible.

Reliable.

Strong.

These were the upgrades I signed up for when I became a mum, or so I imagined.

I like surprises. When we got married I let my husband plan our whole honeymoon and delighted in being whisked away without a clue where we’d end up or what we’d do. I really enjoy the injection of the unexpected into everyday life.

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baby-sleep-night

“He’s been sleeping through since 6 weeks”. My jaw dropped and my heart sank. I thought a baby that slept all night was a mythical creature- like a unicorn, or an Au Pair. I wanted to be happy for her, truly I did, but those words stung. I made mental swats at the self-doubts that began buzzing around my mind. I was coping with our sleep situation in my own way, but I was jealous.

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