Mother to Rose - Australia
"I have always known I’ve wanted to be a mother and have children since I was young and couldn’t wait to reach a point in my life where that would happen."
I have one daughter Rose who is 1 year old. I am a Chinese medicine practitioner and I focus my work on supporting women with their menstrual health, fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum. For leisure, I am in our garden growing herbs and medicinal plants, crocheting toys for my daughter, reading, swimming at local beaches, and spending as much time as possible with our family.
My journey to motherhood was a deeply intentional one. I have always known I’ve wanted to be a mother and have children since I was young and couldn’t wait to reach a point in my life where that would happen! Being a Chinese medicine practitioner with a strong focus on fertility support, I spent many years prior to falling pregnant with preconception care at the forefront of my mind. I wanted to ensure my menstrual cycle and health overall were the best they could be before falling pregnant. This was a big focus for both my partner and me for a good 5 years before actually trying to fall pregnant. I feel extremely grateful that once we were ready to welcome our baby into our lives it happened quickly, which I know is not the experience for many families.
What was your favourite thing about the newborn phase?
My favourite thing about the newborn phase is the preciousness of that time. When I reflect back it feels very tender and dreamy. My daughter and I were still very much “one” in the mother-baby dyad. It’s an incredible thing to witness another human experience in the world for the first time.
What did you find challenging about being a new mother?
I found many things challenging as a new mother! The top one would have to be sleep deprivation. You hear about it but nothing truly prepares you for what that will be like and being thrown into the deep end as soon as you give birth. I had always slept wonderfully prior to becoming a mum, even during pregnancy my sleep wasn’t overly disturbed, so this really was the first time in my life dealing with chronic sleep deprivation and the repercussions of that!
How were you supported during your postpartum period and what would you change if you could go back in time?
I feel I was very well supported during my postpartum time by my partner Lee and my mum. Postpartum was also something we had intentionally planned for and I had set the expectation that my only job was bonding with Rosie, feeding her, and healing from pregnancy and birth. Everything else was taken care of by Lee and my mum, all meals and cleaning and laundry, etc. I was well supported with the practical things and also emotionally, the importance of the postpartum time was understood by everyone and I was never made to feel guilty for not doing more and was encouraged to rest when I could. If I Could go back in time I would have prepared more food in advance! We went through all the food I made during pregnancy preparing for postpartum in under 2 weeks. Whilst it was still so helpful, you can never have enough food as new parents!
List your top 3 essentials for a new mother
The top three essentials for a new mother are:
- a thermos to keep warm drinks in,
- a peri bottle, and
- a comfortable set up for endless feeding!
"I also tried to get outside at least once per day, lay on the grass and get the sun on my skin. It felt great to feel the sun on my belly too as it healed."
Are there any rituals or practices during your 4th trimester you'd like to share?
My main rituals and practices during my 4th trimester centered around nourishment. I was very aware this was a time that a new mother needs to be replenished and bolstered, and hydrated! Every day I would drink nettle infusions, 1L of a Chinese herbal formula specific for postpartum mamas, and lots of coconut water, I couldn’t get enough coconut water and still crave it! Breastfeeding thirst can be intense!
I gave birth in January the peak of summer, so I also tried to get outside at least once per day, lay on the grass, and get the sun on my skin. It felt great to feel the sun on my belly too as it healed. Vitamin D is so important postpartum and I knew I needed to have good levels to be passed onto Rose through my milk. My daily sun time became a little ritual I looked forward to where I could close my eyes, connect to my body and feel held by the earth whether it lasted 20 mins or 20 seconds before I was needed again.
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