So Bec, can you tell us your name, age, your stage of motherhood and your marital status?
So I am Bec, I am 29 and my son is 15 months, so a toddler AGHH!, and I am married.
Sexy. So what is it like in the day in the life of having a 15 month old? What does the day entail?
Well the day normally starts at 5:30, so it’s pitch black ha-ha and we do breakfast, a bit of a play, go for a walk, he has a nap and then we try and fill up the time with food and activities where he can just run around because he just doesn’t sit down
They eat so much too!
Yeah, he eats so much; he would eat all day if he could. So we do activities like go to a park or even the shops and just let him run around for a bit and then we try to have another nap in the car, so we time it so he can have around a half an hour nap in the car and then another snack, bit more of a play, then we usually catch up with some friends or family and then dinner and then bottle and the bed and he goes to bed at 5:30 at night, so it is like full on for 12 hours, but he sleeps through for 12 hours, so that is good! Oh and a shower, throw one of them in somewhere
Do you shower him everyday?
I shower him everyday now, it’s just so much easier, I throw him in the shower and just wash him, or he is outside with the hose EVERYDAY. He likes to get naked so we just kind of hose him down outside ha-ha. I went for a walk the other day actually and I saw a woman and I asked her what breed of dog she had and she was like “ohhhh this is the water baby we always see when walk past watering the garden”
That sounds like you have you hands full!
So how was the first 6 months? What was the most challenging part? I believe Oliver had a sleep regression that lasted a few months, how did you manage that?
Indeed, you are correct my friend. The first 6 months were super challenging, a massive, massive adjustment. So the first 6 months trying to establish breastfeeding, was quite difficult, he had trouble latching, then I was pumping so muchI got an over supply and then I got mastitis, so it took a good couple of months to figure out. Probably by the third month, we didn’t need nipple shields. Then because of covid we didn’t go anywhere, so I didn’t need my husband to feed him, because it was easier for me to just feed on demand, but by three months we had it sorted, but that was just a long time of not sleeping much and trying to get my boobs sorted and being stuck inside and then the 4 month sleep regression hit us at about 3 and a half months and it was him napping 5 times a day for about 30 minutes and then waking every hour and a half to two hours over night, so it just felt like there was no break, no time to recoup or relax. You know by a couple of weeks you’re just to tired that you just feed back to sleep every time. So you’re just in a state of “what?!”
Its like you go through that first 3 months and get used to this “newborn shit” and then it’s like “SURPRISE!”
Yeah! I was trying to think of the positives like “okay, at least he is waking me up, because SIDs is always at the back of your mind and I was glad he was waking me up, so I know he’s okay” but then by the time he got to 6 months he was still waking a lot at night and I was just at that point where something needed to change, because I never wanted to let him cry, because I felt like I was doing something wrong if I was letting him cry, but then after doing so much reading and getting to my breaking point, I needed to do something different and then I found the gentle sleep specialist through a friend that had used her and I did her online program, so I just implemented that at home. There was crying, but obviously it is in a controlled way, so I was still letting him know I was there, but essentially he needed to learn how to settle himself if he woke overnight. We stopped the dummy and starting using comforters and he picked up pretty quickly at night and eventually all his over night sleeps and naps got better, so it was the best thing we ever did. Now since he turned one, he has been sleeping through. His naps are still hit and miss, but now if I say its time for bed he runs to his bedroom door, we walk to the change table and I get him ready for bed and then he gives me a kiss and I sing him and song and we are sweet!
That is amazing, oh my god that makes me so happy for you! It is just one of those things, that I know I feel as well, that no one wants to let their kid cry, but you get to that point where something has to give.
Exactly and you know, if you read up on it and you’re certain in yourself that you’re letting them cry because it is something different and they aren’t used to it and they don’t like it and want you to keep coming back, which is what they’re used to because that is hat you have been doing. Of course if it was a really emotional cry, of course I would go in, it’s not like this hard and fast rule, but he needed to learn and now it isn’t even issue, so if he misses a nap or is over tired, he can just put himself back to sleep
That it is so good! Now I’m going to jump from sleep regression to pregnancy, but how was your pregnancy?
So we decided to try for a baby and we got pregnant pretty much straight away,which was great. I found out about 5 weeks in and then one night we were out to dinner and I just felt a gush, so I panicked and raced to the public bathroom, which was gross and I checked and I had passed this big clot, so I thought that I had just had a miscarriage and was just devastated. So I went back to the dinner table and excused my husband and myself and went home and balled my eyes out. The next day we went to the doctor and she said “yeah. It sounds like you have had a miscarriage, so we will book you for an ultrasound to make sure you have passed everything” and then we went to the ultrasound and there was a heart beat. They could see on the scan that I had had a subchorionic haemorrhage and so usually your body absorbs it, but my body got rid of it, so that was the clot. so I had scans every week for the next few weeks to check until 12 weeks, the baby was progressing really well and the bleeding had finally stopped after that. It was really scary. I spotted throughout my entire first trimester, so it was really scary. So then after that, it was great! I had all the happy hormones in the second trimester and I started to show a bit and I started to feel movements around 16 weeks, which I thought was just gas, but it was not. It was great; I really loved being pregnant for the rest of the second trimester and everything was great until around around 37 weeks I was doing all these exercises to try and move him into position and I did, but he was kicking inside towards my spine, when for the rest of my pregnancy, he was kicking out, so I couldn’t feel him as much, so I started freaking out because I stopped feeling him move. I went in twice for checks, the first time we went in was because there was a day where I couldn’t feel him moving for 3 hours or so I went in and everything was fine and they did a scan and found that his abdomen was measuring big for a baby his age, so then they did another scan and we found out he was on the bigger side, so when we came in the second time, they said because he was measuring big and I had come in twice, they decided to induce me. So we went in the next day and got induced!
What kind of induction method did they use?
They used the cervadil, which is like a flat tampon that they insert at the back of the cervix to ripen the cervix, but what had happened was, they put it in and it started to hyper stimulate my uterus, so instead of slowly doing its thing, it was really painful and over 12 hours, it became unbearable and it was constant, so they had to pull it out and see how I went over night. I got in the shower and my husband had the showerhead and was alternating between putting the water on my back and my tummy, but because all of the hormones were preparing my body for the baby I got the sudden urge to shit! So my husband was sitting next to the shower in his jocks and I was just sitting on the toilet having diarrhea! Over 24 hours I had only dilated only 1 cm and so they gave me the prosten gel behind my cervix, which again hyper stimulated my uterus so I was having contractions and no break in between. So I just had no time to do my breathing or get in the right headspace. I ended up having a morphine injection and then they took me to the birthing suite and they were about to do the epidural, so they had me bent over and went to check my cervix and saw Oliver’s head and then they said “it’s too late for and epidural” and then my waters broke all over my husband! So then it was about an hour or so of active labour and then he came out
How big was little baby?
3.4kg at 38 weeks, so I don’t know how big he would have been in 2 or so weeks
What was that first week of motherhood like for you?
I was so focused on the birth that I didn’t really think of anything after. I had such a good pregnancy and had done everything by the book, so it never would have occurred to me that something could have gone wrong. He was born so quickly form me going from 1cm to him being born in just 5 hours, so he was born with fluid on his lungs and he was struggling to breathe, so having a nursing background made me panic and wonder how long had he gone without oxygen and what was going to happen and the side effects but he never actually went without oxygen. He ended up getting taken to the NICU and put on CPAP for 3 days and they did all these scans and they showed that everything was fine, there was just this excess fluid that he was having trouble getting rid of. He was then weaned off onto nasal prong oxygen for a few days, and then weaned off the oxygen and we have had no issues since.
So what was life like before babies? So the last decade, how did you spend your time and at what point in your life did you start to think that you wanted to settle?
I started dating my husband when we were 18, so that was 12 years ago now and we partied all the time! [if you’re from Perth in the 2010’s you would know] it was Leederville Wednesday, clubber Thursday, amps on Friday, metros Saturday and then a Sunday sesh at the OBH or cottesloe, it was disgusting! We saved no money. I took a year off Uni and then went back into studying, but it was ridiculous and I have no idea how I survived! Probably when we were 21, we started to settle down. We had done some pretty hardcore partying and I had swapped my degree to nursing and became committed to that I guess. So we started saving some money and stopped clubbing and then at 24 I started working fulltime as a nurse and my husband and I were living together at my parents place and then we bought our first house at 25 and then got engaged and then got married at 26 and then got pregnant at 28.
You lived your best life and then you went on to be a career-focused woman and then to this wife and mother, how did you go with that?
That was a huge adjustment, because I was really focused on my career and then my priorities changed obviously being a mother, so I am finding it hard currently trying to progress my career when I also want to be home as much as possible, so that is quite a challenge as well.
And what part of nursing are you in?
I am in child and adolescent mental health
I think that would be a very full on job to go back to from being a stay at home parent
In terms of growing up, mental health and body image, how was your body image growing up and then again through pregnancy and the early stages of motherhood and now?
Before motherhood I experienced an eating disorder from the age of 12 to 17 where I was in and out of hospital. Then I still had unhealthy body image and those sorts of thoughts and a very unhealthy relationship with food for a long time after that, but then I got into the gym and started to look after myself more. Probably from about 21 years old, after we finished partying and clubbing, I started being healthy, but not to an extreme level. Being pregnant was probably the best thing, I think I started being more aware of what I was putting into my body and what I was giving my tiny human, so it was like this other level of not just doing it for me, but I am doing this for my baby. I just felt that this was what my body was made for and I think that before I did not like my body, but then I was just in awe of the fact that it could grow this human. I felt really comfortable and then once I started getting my bump, I just loved it. It was so good! Then after I had Ollie, initially I was like “woah okay”. I had put on about 12 kilograms when I was pregnant and then I dropped a lot of that with all the fluid gone and the baby out, so I lost about 5 kilograms straight away. Then I got stuck at home because COVID hit and Ollie was so young and had just spend the first week of his life in the NICU! I was just comfort eating and not doing much because Ollie was sleeping on me and I was breast feeding, so I don’t think I gained weight, but I didn’t lose any weight, so I just felt stuck. Then it was Easter and I just remember there being so much chocolate at the shops so we would buy it and comfort eat. Then around my birthday in July, so Ollie was about 6 months old and I just remember feeling that I wasn’t looking after myself and he was going to start crawling soon and I just felt really self conscious. So once COVID restrictions had eased and gyms were opening again, I saw a personal trainer and did a meal plan and followed it pretty strictly for about 3 months and then I got back to my pre baby weight and I started feeling really good and then gym was also my stress relief, so getting back into it made me feel better. Since then I have maintained it, Ollie is running around now, so I stay pretty active and I try and make healthy food choices, I feed Ollie healthy food, so there is always healthier food choices in the house which makes it easier and we want to lead by example in making good choices, but then we also have our treats; we will get takeaway Italian food once a week, which is our thing. I am also not strict anymore, because I don’t want Ollie to develop those associations with food as well, so again I am trying to lead by example. I am trying to teach that there are no good foods or bad foods, just foods that you eats lots of and foods that you only eat sometimes, which has really helped me too; having a baby has just been the best thing in getting me out of my own head and I have different priorities now.
Wow thank you so much for sharing that, you did not have to share that, but I am so thankful that you did. You have come so far and wow, just wow. I think as well it is so good to be taking the attention away from foods and not labeling them as good or bad or getting worked up over gaining a few kilograms in front of your kids and just really trying to be mindful, it is so hard, but you are doing so well and I think you and your husband are doing really amazing at that and you generally are quite healthy people.
Oh we definitely have our days, we ate chocolate every night last week. It was one of those weeks where we were both like “meh” I had my period and he had his “meriod”, but at the end of the week we just felt sluggish and uncomfortable so we just ate better this week.
What do you do for self-care?
For self-care, I usually go to the gym. I go once a week, but aim for twice a week. I see my friends and I think that is a good way of venting and it helps me get some perspective, which I find is a form of self-care. I’m really close with my mum too, so seeing my family. Also, this may sound shallow, but just getting my hair done makes me feel better and if I am having a really shit day, I will put some makeup on just so I feel like I am a bit more prepared for the day.
Well I just want to say thank you very much for talking with me! I really appreciate you sharing this with me and for those reading.