Mamahood: My Journey (part 1)
photography by Tim Coulson
I always love hearing people’s stories, so I thought I would share a little of mine.
Growing up I always wanted to be a teacher. Mum tells me I would teach anyone who walked anywhere near me. Always carrying a basket filled with coloured pencils and paper. I remember creating worksheets for my friends siblings, so that they could complete them and I could mark them!
Despite my love of ‘teaching’ throughout my high school years I became very interested in law and business, deciding that I wanted to pursue studies to ultimate become a barrister (…..I do love a good argument). While studying my Bachelor of Arts (Politics & International Business) I begun my first job in the corporate world as an intern and a few years later landed my dream job managing a department for a global fund management company.
Over the years I had the most amazing opportunities – traveling frequently across Asia and working with some amazing people. I absolutely loved my job, I loved the opportunity to make things happen and to make changes.
I was part way through studying my Masters of Law & Legal Practice when I fell pregnant and arrived at the alter of childbirth. I was 25 when I birthed Abigail and although I thought I was grown up, having had a well respected job, nothing (not even the hypnobirthing course we attended) really prepared me for the experience of birth. When I was 38 weeks pregnant I sat in the office with my obstetrician who said very honestly that I was in the wrong place for the birth that I wanted. I now realised I wasn’t yet ready for the birth I thought I wanted and needed to have the birth I did to get to the next step.
My birth was such an initiation into motherhood. A breaking down of who I thought I was, a shedding and the beginning of a journey to find out who I was at a deeper level. I still vividly remember that first sleepless night in the hospital (after a 27 hour labour) – I remember looking at myself in the mirror and thinking how is this allowed! – to labour, to birth and to then care for a little one – all on no sleep!
The first year at home was a massive learning curve and yet totally blissful. We would sleep into 11am in the mornings when we wake and enjoy walks and slow days at home. She was such a lovely little baby who was not at all interested in sleeping too much at night, hence our morning sleep ins. I was also a mama following the ‘rule book’ – trying to settle her in her own room. Of course If I knew what I knew now, I would have mothered differently and perhaps she would have slept a little more. But I was learning and at that stage I didn’t realise the importance of rhythm.
When Abbie turned 1, I returned to working in the city part time (finally stopped studying) and learnt to juggle motherhood and a corporate job. I had a wonderful nanny who helped me and I won’t lie, it was hard. I felt torn leaving my little girl a few days a week but also loved the sense of achievement and interaction I received from my corporate job. Having said this, I didn’t like the feeling of not being present – at work I felt I wasn’t on top of everything and at home I always felt behind on housework and missed simply being with Abbie.
Over these early years of mothering my interest in Steiner/ Waldorf education grew. I began writing a blog and connecting with a beautiful supportive online community. It was at this time that I became captivated by wholefoods. Thanks to my beautiful Italian mother and weekends at my nonna’s bottling tomatoes and making salami, cooking real food was not new to me. I began to experiment with different ways of eating, exploring GAPS, Paleo, vegetarian, dairy free, lacto-fermentation, Western A Price, I Quit Sugar, green smoothies and quinoa brownies – you get the picture.
In 2012 I birthed my second baby, in our lounge room, faster than my midwife could drive. I had planned and prepared for a home birth, however this experience was so totally different to my first hospital birth. I honestly could not believe the power of my own body and my intentions. I write briefly about Millie’s birth here. So often we hear of birth experiences with so much drama and fear, that I feel it is so important to empower ourselves with the good experiences too.
When Millie arrived it became clear that I couldn’t go back to corporate life. And so began life as a stay at home mama of two girls. A whole new kettle of fish! You can read part 2 here.