Why Is Motherhood So Hard?

Nothing in life has prepared me for this.

I’ve gotten this far in life using strategies, problem solving skills and resilience to deal with all sorts of situations.

I usually figure something out through trial and error, or learning by researching beforehand or watching someone else do it first.
At work, I communicate and collaborate with others and apply my knowledge and experience to come up with the best outcome. I use best practice where applicable.

But motherhood, this is different. Continue reading

Opinions Are Like Bums: Everyone Has One

Becoming a parent has brought many new experiences: childbirth, early mornings, unconditional love and singing the same song 12 times in a row without the aid of alcohol. One of these new experiences is the previously hidden (and overwhelming) community of people who have opinions about how you raise your kid. I’m slowly growing a thick skin to it, but boy did it blindside me when I was starting out. I’ve written before about pre-baby Steph and how naïve she was.  But this is different. It’s all very personal. Continue reading

Someone’s Mum: Searching For The New Me

A new colleague asked me the other day to tell them a bit about myself, and for the first time in my life I was at a bit of a loss. I shared about how I’m a mum to a 13 month old and talked about our little family. And that was it. I mean, that’s heaps and it’s wonderful but it’s also very different to before. Prior to becoming a mum I had hobbies and interests that I could quickly and enthusiastically identify. Not any more. I get the impression I’m not alone in feeling this way. We become parents and lose ourselves in the magic, privilege and responsibility and all the trappings it brings.

Continue reading

What To Expect When You’re Expecting a C-Section

Me when I was newly-pregnant: I’m going to be really open-minded when it comes to a birth plan. Whatever happens happens. I’m just going to go with the flow.

Me also when I was newly-pregnant: I don’t want a c-section if I can avoid it.

I’ve never really stayed in hospital before, I suck at taking pain relief and I didn’t want to have to recover from major surgery and figure out how to mum…but it all worked out! Just want to share my experience in case it helps someone else get mentally-prepared. I covered a bit of Jessica’s birth story in (Breast/Bottle) Feeding but I’ll go into a bit more detail here. So this is a warning to stop reading if you don’t want to know. I’m going to be really honest. Continue reading


Stash Pic – Modern Cloth Nappies

We are pretty much full time cloth. Just a disposable overnight. Have tried to build a unisex stash for future child (ren) but some pretties have found their way in there!

We have mainly Baby Bares (AIOs, AI2s and Teddys (side snaps) in minky and PUL; a couple of Bubblebubs Candies (AI2s); an Itty Bitty Tutto (AI2); a Bambooty Basic (AI2); a Pop In (AI2) and a couple of BabyCo from Baby Factory.

I rinse, dry pail and wash every 2-3 days with a wash routine from the FB closed group Clean Cloth Nappies Down Under who are scientists and enthusiasts who can give you a routine if you tell them your washing machine and what detergent you would like to use.


Re-learning Self Settling

When I jumped the gun and wrote Survival Mode Part II: Relief, things had gotten better…before they got even worse. Last week we experienced 4-8 wakeups per night and day naps back to 30 mins. It was taking increasingly more time and effort to settle the baby who then seemed to have such light, restless sleep. When she did sleep, we tiptoed around the house…which seems pretty normal. Except that we had stopped having dinner, lest it break the fragile sleep cycle, instead opting to just go straight to bed on an empty stomach. We cancelled plans left, right and centre as we just tried to cope with each day. Continue reading

Survival Mode Part II: Relief

When I wrote Survival Mode, I was a bit broken…little did I know it would get worse. Everyday, I woke up and genuinely had hope my baby would go back to how she used to be: a self- settling good sleeper…or that I wouldn’t be so stressed that she doesn’t sleep anymore. But each laboured bedtime was wearing me down until the other night I was a sobbing mess at another failed settling attempt. “I can’t do this anymore!” I whined. I don’t know what I thought the alternative was but something had to change. Continue reading

Survival Mode

I got to leave the house today, by myself, and promptly burst into tears upon being asked how I was. Whoops.

There’s nothing wrong with Jessica, she’s not sick anyway, and for that I count my blessings. Yet I’m feeling extremely sorry for myself. Tears are pretty normal at home for Jessica and I.

It’s hard for me to write this without seeming ungrateful. I have a beautiful daughter who we have wanted for some time and she’s adorable! But she’s also going through something right now which is testing us all. We’re on Day 9 of rare, short day sleeps and resulting irritability  (her and I); no more self settling – it now takes between 25 mins and 2 hours for us to settle her into sleep or back to sleep which includes shushing, rocking, up to two Baby Sleep Sounds apps running at once, one hand on her chest – perhaps rocking, with a restless and very tired baby valiantly fighting every loving attempt; waking up, rolling, getting stuck on her stomach and crying; and numerous overnight wakeups, including now always 40 mins – an hour after finally getting her off to sleep, giving us a tiny window to make and scoff our dinner in shellshocked and fearful silence. Midnight seems to be another constant favourite wide awake hour and so we play with her in our bed for 90 minutes, grateful she’s not crying.

I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic about all this, but this phase has left us both not just physically tired, but also emotionally drained. I have been at my worst this past week: frustrated, angry, weepy, teeth grinding, self pitying, and anxious that this has become our new normal. Two weeks ago we had a mostly happy girl who self settled and slept through from 7pm – 7am so you could say we were very lucky. I have sworn in my head, under my breath and at the ceiling and of course at my poor and equally bewildered loving partner. Her awake times bring us immense pride and joy with her big smiles and neverending mastery of new skills (including giggles just tonight!). We have been through crisis periods where we have to dig into survival mode before and wondered how we can sustain ourselves. For myself that includes:

– the first 5 days post partum when I had no chance of sleep while recovering from the c section in hospital and trying to care for my precious newborn.

– when we called in a Karitane Nurse and saw a Paediatrician in the same week after at least a month of living in survival mode when it was my supply which was determined to be the issue

And probably at least a few other times, the details of which I can’t quite remember, except for how I felt.

I ask myself:

– Is it something I’m feeding her? Or something I’m not?

– Is she getting enough water? Or too much?

– Is she too hot?

– Is she too tired? Not tired enough?

– Is it teething? Or is she in some other pain?

– Am I stressing her out? Am I undoing her self settling?

So surely this too will pass, but until then, I’m quite fragile in my survival mode. Doing my best to get us through each day with as few tears as possible, savouring the happy times and trying to stay calm when someone asks after Jessica or I.