Mother to Zahlia - Melbourne, Australia
"I have struggled with my postpartum body and the changes that have happened, but I remind myself of the beautiful journey I have been through, and how blessed I am to have experienced pregnancy, labour, and breastfeeding. My body has exceeded all of my expectations and I’m so proud of that."
My name is Fallon, and my daughter Zahlia is 2 years old. I’m an audiology trainer and I work 3 days a week.
In my spare time, I love watching movies, going to musical theatre, singing, and finding my way out of escape rooms!
What was your favourite thing about the newborn phase?
For me it was getting to know this little girl who I had spent 9 months growing and connecting with, and all of a sudden she was earthside and it was amazing getting to know her. I spent hours gazing at her, in awe that I was part of a creation so beautiful. It took a while for it to sink in that I was a mum, with a daughter! Even to this day it still seems surreal. I also loved introducing Zahlia to family and friends, seeing their happiness when they cuddled her and spent time with her. I felt such a sense of pride that I had given my parents their first grandchild, a little love for them to adore for years to come. I also loved all the cuddles, spending hours on the couch with her sleeping on me, curled up like a little koala. Listening to her breathe, taking in her newborn scent. It was so unbelievably intoxicating. I would give anything for those hours of cuddles again.
What did you find challenging about being a new mother?
A few things challenged me as a first-time mum. I found it difficult to accept that my identity had shifted, in my mind I was still the same old Fallon. 2 weeks after Zahlia was born, we left her with my parents whilst my then-partner and I had dinner and saw a movie. The next week I went to the choir I’m a part of for their weekly rehearsal and everyone was shocked that I was there. I didn’t go back to many rehearsals after that. I wanted to show the world that I could ‘do it all’ - be a mum and carry on my life as if nothing had changed. But I soon realised that my focus had to be on Zahlia and learning how to be a mum, and making that the priority. I had to let go of some of the control I had been holding onto, which was a real challenge for me. I’ve now found a healthy balance between making time for myself and ensuring that I’m the best mum when I’m spending time with Zahlia.
How were you supported during your postpartum period and what would you change if you could go back in time?
I am very fortunate to have an amazing support network around me and there isn’t anything I would change. My parents, sister, friends, and Zahlia’s dad's family were all there to help us when it was required. I always felt like so could ask for help if I needed it.
I also required some additional support from a lactation consultant as breastfeeding didn’t come naturally or easily. I had difficulties with Zahlia latching and as a result, I expressed milk into bottles from a very age. I’ll be forever grateful that Zahlia took to a bottle as it meant that others could help feed her and share that experience with her too. I was so grateful to be able to breastfeed Zahlia for 15 months before we transitioned her to cow's milk, which she is still obsessed with! I also have the best mothers group who I am still friends with for 2 years and they were and continue to be a valuable source of support and advice. It definitely helped that two of them are midwives!
List your top 3 essentials for a new mother
1. Anything that helps keep your milk supply up - for me it was milo and oats
2. Reusable breast pads
3. Ice/heat packs that I used to help with post-labour swelling, pain as well as blockages and engorgement of my breasts
Are there any rituals or practices during your 4th trimester you'd like to share?
I’m a big believer in positive affirmations, which I now also practice with Zahlia. I want her to know that she is strong, beautiful, smart, and loved and I need to believe these things about myself too. I have struggled with my postpartum body and the changes that have happened, but I remind myself of the beautiful journey I have been through, and how blessed I am to have experienced pregnancy, labour, and breastfeeding. My body has exceeded all of my expectations and I’m so proud of that.
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