Waiting for Baby Number Three

It’s a strange time when you’re nearing the end of a pregnancy. It’s like straddling two worlds. Two different realities.

There’s the current reality: I’m sitting on my fit ball, it’s the only place I can get some relief from the pain in my pelvis and back. Third time around and I didn’t know until now just how painful pregnancy can be. But I’m not alone. Mr 3 finds his ball and quietly bounces beside me. The pain ranges from a dull ache to feeling like my body is going to split in half and yet, I’m happy. I’m filled with gratitude for the opportunity to carry and grow another baby. To give birth one more time and raise the child that will complete our family.

And there’s the reality that is just on the other side of this. The one with a new baby. A totally new way of being for our family. The sore boobs and broken sleep and countless hours of committing every detail of their little face to memory. This new reality is exciting and petrifying and monotonous and glorious. It’s oddly close but far away at the same time.

And then there’s the chasm in the middle. The unknown. The wondering. How long will this limbo last for? How much time have I got left to soak in every last moment of being pregnant (aching vagina and all)? When will we meet our final, beautiful piece to our puzzle? Boy or girl? Holy shit, we don’t have a name yet. And don’t even get me started on the impending birth. I love giving birth. Like, love it. But as I feel those waves start to build low in my belly and then subside I’m suddenly reminded of just what I’m about to go through. It’s a terrifying yet exhilarating privilege.

It’s a strange time when you’re nearing the end of a pregnancy. And knowing it’s the last time (no, seriously) adds an extra bittersweetness to it.

My third child, we look forward to meeting you in all of your divine timing and beauty.

Dear Mums, you’ve got this!

The other day I was escaping the Brisbane heat at the local shops with the boys. We stopped by the indoor playground and I sat and watched Jesse play while feeding Jasper and then he eagerly crawled off to join his brother.

At that moment I was struck with a memory of being at this same playground when pregnant with Jasper and I remember wondering how I was going to cope with two children in moments like this. How could I tend to nursing a baby while keeping a watchful eye on a toddler? It seemed incredibly daunting, impossible even.

I then thought back to a particularly difficult night with Jesse. He just wanted to be held. My back was aching but I held him close anyway. His bottom propped up by my pregnant belly and his long legs draping down either side. I sobbed quietly as I wondered how I was going to cope on nights like this with two babies. How could I possibly give them both the comfort they need if they need me at the same time?

I smiled.

I can do it. I am doing it. What seemed so impossible is now normal.

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Soon after, I struck up a conversation with a fellow Mum watching her children play. Two little boys. And she was nursing a 3 week old baby boy. Three boys under three. I was in awe.

I could tell she was exhausted. But the smile she wore as we chatted told me she would not have it any other way. I asked her how she was doing. We talked about the challenges of breastfeeding and the joys of raising boys. I was struck by the rawness of our conversation. Two complete strangers but we just understood each other.

It’s a crazy thing this being parents thing. Being a mother. It stretches us to our limits and so often passes them. It breaks us down and builds us up at the same time. It makes us want to do better, be better. Having children is like constantly looking into a mirror that exposes everything about us. All of our flaws and imperfections. All of our funny little quirks. And suddenly we realised how much like our own parents we’ve become.

I guess all I’m trying to say is mums and dads, you are amazing! You’ve totally got this. And on days when you don’t, tell someone. Even if it’s a stranger at the shops. She’ll get it.

The Multi-Tasking Myth

In today’s world multitasking is king. Women are commended for their ability to have a million things on the go at once and men are teased for their supposed lack of ability to focus on more than one thing at a time. 

But is multitasking really all that it’s cracked up to be? 

I hear from many women, mum’s in particular, that it is utterly exhausting and quite often ineffective to have so much on our plates. Just the mental dialouge and to do lists alone are wearing us out. We’ve been raised to believe we can have it all; a successful career, fulfilling family, a body like Michelle Bridges and a sex life out of an episode of Sex and the City. But can we really?

Maybe we can. Just not at the same time. 

I recently read ‘Happy Mama’ the guide to finding yourself again by Amy Taylor-Kabbaz. In the chapter on Grace, Amy talks about the ‘multi-tasking trap’ and it really struck a chord with me. She dared to suggest that multitasking doesn’t work and that it was actually the “source of most of my meltdowns, most of my tears and most of my shameful mummy moments”. 

As Amy went on to give some examples, it was as if I’d written it myself. The times when I have lashed out at my husband or kids is usually when I’m trying to do too many things at once. Cook dinner, send business emails, show interest in my husband’s work day, soothe a hungry baby and make a bottle for an impatient toddler all at the same time. Not to mention the internal dialogue that’s constantly screaming in my head, reminding me to pay that bill, put a load of laundry on, text my friend who’s had a rough day and what groceries we’re running out of.

Arrggghh….just writing it stresses me out.

In the book Amy says that she learned to be ‘mindful’ (isn’t that the word of the day!), to be aware of her thoughts and focus on one thing at a time. Giving that moment her full attention. She goes on to give examples of reaching for her phone while breastfeeding instead of soaking in the special time with baby or reading a bedtime story but not actually hearing the words you’ve read, as your mind is too busy thinking of other things. 

I’m reading this getting all geed up. Yes! I’m going to be mindful. I’m going to focus my attention on one thing at a time. I’m going to be present and available for my children. And then a thought hit me. How the hell am I supposed to get anything done!?!

If I can’t read while I’m breastfeeding or send emails while cooking dinner or write my shopping list while playing with my toddler then when can I? When everyone’s asleep at night? Then when the hell do I sleep??

Multitasking might be the enemy and cause of our stress but maybe it’s the only way to fit it all in sometimes?

I don’t have the answer to this dilemma. And maybe there isn’t one. I suppose it comes down to what’s important vs what’s urgent.  

And what’s important to me is that my husband and children feel valued and not constantly battling for my attention. 

On that note, time to put the phone down and turn off the internal dialogue for a few minutes. It’s time to go give my big boy a piggy back and make silly faces at my baby to make him laugh. 

You know, the important things ❤️

Footage Friday: 3 Months Postpartum Update

I managed to get a few minutes to sit and record our three month postpartum update. 

It’s a little update on how mum and Bub are doing. And it’s only about a month late so we’re doing well!

*Yes, there is a bit cut out of the video about how Jesse is adjusting to the new addition. My bad! But rest assured he’s coping just fine. My editing skills however…

My Pregnancy ‘Survival’ Kit

I am now well into the third trimester of pregnancy number two so I thought I would share some of my favorite things to use, do and have during pregnancy.

So, in no particular order here are some of my tips, tricks and favorite things for ‘surviving’ pregnancy.


Supplements

Now, it can be hard in those early days to just keep your breakfast down let alone a truck load of pills and potions, but optimum health is super important throughout pregnancy. Especially in those early days. I am a fairly avid vitamin taker anyway but I do switch it up slightly when pregnant.

I chose to take Nutriway. They are completely organic and actually contain food, plant and minerals; nothing synthetic which I love. Double X is my base daily habit to which I add Omega 3, Cal Mag (great for managing cramps and restless legs), Tri-Iron and Folic, Vitamin C (helps to absorb the iron and keep away nasty colds), Fruit & Veg (to supplement all the carbs and chocolate I’m inhaling) and Vitamin B if I need some extra energy. Admittedly, I haven’t taken Omega 3 since my first trimester because it was making me vomit… boo!

A Pregnancy Pillow

This is an absolute must! Now there are some super amazing, mega expensive options when it comes to maternity pillows. Mine however, is a humble body pillow that has seen three women through two pregnancies each so it is on its last legs. But it gets the job done. Perfect for supporting my belly as it grows and supporting my top leg to help keep hips aligned. It is a bit of an intimacy killer and takes up a fair bit of room in the bed, especially with husband, toddler and belly all fighting for space. But totally necessary for a good night sleep.

Exercise

I like to keep as fit as possible during pregnancy. I’m not a fitness junkie or anything but there are a few things I do to try to keep active (after all, it is all labour preparation!).

Obviously, being a post natal fitness instructor, Kangatraining is a regular part of my routine with two classes per week. I also do high intensity weight training (once a week is all I need) and I’ve done a bit of prenatal yoga which I’ll talk about a bit more later. When all else fails you can’t go wrong with walking, even if it’s at a snails’ pace and more like a waddle. I sometimes get cramps or braxton hicks when walking so I just take it easy.

Maternity Clothes

There are so many great brands out there now with gorgeous clothes for pregnant and nursing mothers. But some can be quite expensive. There are however, a few key pieces I rely on to get me through.

It has been a super hot summer here in Brisbane so my denim maternity shorts (one a cheapie pair from Kmart and the other slightly fancier pair from Jeans West) have been a definite wardrobe staple. I love a good maternity body con dress for when you need to dress up a little or just feel like showing off your bump. I have a casual one from Kmart and two from ASOS that are more fancy.

But I have to say what I have been living in the most is my Cadenshae active wear. The smoothie crop is so comfortable and perfect to double as a bikini top. And the bamboo casual tanks are the bees knees. Roomy enough to still fit my 33 week bump and easy to breastfeed in once bub arrives with extra large arm holes.

When it comes to active wear I also highly recommend the Enji maternity activewear pants and 2XU pregnancy compression tights.

Raspberry Leaf Tea

If you’re pregnant, you’ve probably heard about red raspberry leaf tea and it’s benefits as a uterine tonic. It is said that when taken during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester, it can strengthen the mother’s immune system, ease morning sickness and help circulation. It’s believed to also help strengthen uterine muscles and tone the pelvic floor in preparation for childbirth.

Now, I don’t know if any of that is true but I drank it in my first pregnancy and it served me well with a relatively ‘easy’ birth and no pelvic floor or prolapse issues so I’m doing it again. Mama Body Tea has a great range of pregnancy and nursing teas, or I’ve also used brands from a health food store as well.

Me Time

During my first pregnancy with Jesse I had the luxury of time and had regular massages and monthly visits to the chiropractor. While that hasn’t happened this time I still think it is really important to give yourself permission to take time out for yourself to relax and bond with baby.

I especially love prenatal yoga and listening to guided meditations or hypnobirthing audios (you can find them on Apple music). They are both beautiful ways to slow down and connect with the baby while learning techniques for encouraging a calm and positive birth experience.

A relaxing bath, going for a walk or just laying down and enjoying the feeling of baby move are great too. I also love Bowen Therapy and am looking forward to trying a float tank very soon. Sounds like the perfect way to ease the strain of a growing belly on tired, achy muscles.

All the food

After my pregnancy with Jesse I promised I would have a better diet the second time around. Not that I was super bad with Jesse but I did indulge pretty much my every whim towards the end. I think because food was such a turn off in the first 3 months that I was making up for it in the last!

Well, it would seem that I have broken my promise and chocolate has become a food group unto itself lately. But you know what, I don’t care. I’m still eating plenty of healthy stuff too and exercising. So bugger it! I will eat all the food and if that means chocolate on the daily then so be it.

So there you have it. A few things that help me enjoy pregnancy as much as possible and start to prepare for birth.

What are your pregnancy must-haves?? I’d love to hear what you couldn’t live without during pregnancy.

 

Photo Friday: Hear Her Roar

A little while ago I wrote a blog entitled What Makes You Feel Beautiful about a photography project I had the opportunity to be a part of.

The “Hear Her ROAR” project by Renee Trubai is about showing women the beauty of themselves that has perhaps been forgotten, ignored or tucked away. I was thrilled to be invited and it was extra special as this shoot was done with my two best girlfriends.

Here are a couple of the amazing photographs Renee captured.

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We were thrilled with the photographs and we definitely felt beautiful. We were dressed in floral frocks that we felt great wearing, and our make ups were done by my incredibly talented sister. But that is not why we we felt so beautiful.

It’s because we were together. And we laughed and danced and were silly. We were our true selves.

We had such a great time and I think that really shines through in the photographs.

You can check out all the photos on Renee’s site

Thank you Renee

x

 

 

 

What Makes You Feel Beautiful?

Recently my two best girlfriends and I were invited to participate in another wonderful photography project by Renee Trubai called “Hear Her ROAR”. Renee says, The project is about showing women the beauty of themselves that has perhaps been forgotten, ignored or tucked away. It’s about rejuvenating- and celebrating- your love and respect for yourself.

This is simple for me … I want to show women the strength of their own beauty.

Renee Trubai

We haven’t yet scheduled the shoot but the preparation for this session, and all of Renee’s work, starts long before the first frame of film is snapped. She always does a thorough consultation first and provides some nuggets to mull over beforehand so that we go into the shoot with a mindset and vision for the end result.

For the preparation of this session Renee asked a seemingly simple yet quite challenging question, for me anyway.

What does beauty mean to you, for you? What environment / outfit / music / style / activity lights you up inside … the kind that has your eyes sparkling?

Whoa! Instantly I was blindsided by these questions. When was the last time I felt really beautiful? What does it look like when I feel beautiful?

My immediate answers to these questions seemed obvious. Well, I feel beautiful when my husband tells me I look pretty or when my little boy cuddles and kisses me. I feel beautiful when I’ve had my hair done at the salon and my nails are freshly polished.

And then I realised that these things were all about other people showing me I’m beautiful. But I wondered how I make myself feel beautiful. Just me. Not a compliment from someone else or when I’ve actually had the time to get primped and preened by a professional.

I wondered if I really didn’t know myself all that well and what I do, wear or listen to feel beautiful or whether I had just not ever really stopped to think about it. Maybe both.

I don’t wear much make up these days and most of the time my hair is dirty and tied up out of the way. I can’t remember the last time I wore high heels and most of my nice dresses still don’t fit almost a year after giving birth.

But when I think about what beauty means to me and what makes me feel beautiful in my daily life now, I think about laughing with my girlfriends so hard my tummy hurts. Teaching a Kanga class, working my body and helping other mums. I think about the empowerment of giving birth to my child and the strength I am learning now that I am a mother. I think about being on holidays, adventuring and exploring.

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Don’t get me wrong, I still feel like a million dollars when I get the chance to dress up, when my body is trim and when I’ve spent hours being pampered at the salon. But to me, a truly beautiful woman is one that is happy, powerful and confident. A woman of strength. One who tries new things, loves fiercely, smiles a lot and can laugh at herself.

So I challenge you to think about it… What makes you feel beautiful?