Mama Muse • Alana Rene

"...they say it takes a village to raise a baby and I truly believe whatever size your village comes in, it doesn't matter but it all helps makes the experience more pleasurable, for you."

My name is Alana, I am a photographer for social media but most importantly I am a stay-at-home mother of three beautiful children aged 4, 2, and 4 months.

My idea of leisure is a long uninterrupted bath, which doesn't often happen (the uninterrupted part haha) also just generally being anywhere near a water source relaxes me—the ocean, a pool, a lake, or any body of water really. When I think about it, it may have something to do with the fact I am a water sign. 

My motherhood journey in a nutshell began when I was 29 years old and has felt like a continual roller coaster with all the highs and lows till today, having children so close in age is challenging but ultimately I wouldn't have had it any other way, I love how they are growing together and how I am growing with them.

What was your favourite thing about the newborn phase?

This is a hard question as honestly, every single child has been different, and even as a mother, I have evolved tremendously. But...I would have to say that for me, babies giving off all that oxytocin has the strong ability to ground a person. Each baby has given me the motivation and ability to switch off when I'm around them and just be.

And that is a beautiful and rare thing. Especially with the rise of social media and for my anxious mind; switching off and being present it's almost unheard of. So I would say, that is my favourite part of the newborn phase without a doubt.

What did you find challenging about being a new mother?

Letting go of control, asking for help, and setting boundaries. Firstly, they say it takes a village to raise a baby and I truly believe whatever size your village comes in, it doesn't matter but it all helps makes the experience more pleasurable, for you. 

As time went on and I had more babies I became more relaxed with the notion of asking for help and relinquishing a bit of control.

Setting boundaries was another hard thing to navigate in the newborn phase with every baby I've had. Setting boundaries with friends, family, visits, and how you would like others to interact with your newborn, is all tricky. Over time, however, I became more confident and vocal in putting my boundaries in place and repeating them if necessary. It can be so challenging though and something I'm still working on.

How were you supported during your postpartum period and what would you change if you could go back in time?

Again each baby has been so different. My mother helped with the practical household tasks while I could care for my newborn, do not underestimate the power of a home-cooked meal while you are in the depths of motherhood haha. My therapist helped me mentally and honestly if I were to go back in time I would have sought help from someone to talk to much earlier on. And last but certainly not least my wonderful partner supported me by just being there, he had time off work and was just there, feeding me at midnight, making me tea, and asking how I was feeling. He was there, and that's all I needed.

List your top 3 essentials for a new mother

  1. Someone to confide in
  2. A white noise machine
  3. Some pamper products (not for the baby, but for you) don't lose yourself in the bubble of motherhood. 

Are there any rituals or practices during your 4th trimester you'd like to share?

Yes, I was pretty big on manifesting mindset whether it was my birth or after. I printed affirmations in the last stage of pregnancy that would resonate with me before and after birth and stuck them all over my bedroom walls at home. I saw them every day and they really sunk into my mind which helped when the time came. Reading something positive when you are in the depths is undoubtedly helpful and gives you that little daily reminder.

Apart from this I got dressed every single day. I know sounds wild right...or obvious maybe. But...I spent the first 8 weeks of my first baby's life wearing maternity pads and pyjamas and I could not have felt worse for it haha. So while this is totally okay (and seriously comfy) for me, getting up getting dressed in comfy clothes for the day, washing my face, and putting on my BB cream first thing in the morning really set me up for the day. Even if it was a day breastfeeding on the couch, which most days were.

Being a mother is the hardest, most soul-evoking job/lifestyle choice that I could have ever asked for and I'm grateful for it.

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