Friday, May 12, 2017

Love your mother

There comes a special time each year where we celebrate the importance of a very special person, or people in our lives, our mothers. For Australians this Sunday is that special day. A day where florists will be bustling, brunch outings had and handmade gifts prepared.

For me this day has always been one to mark, as I have for many years had three special mothers in my life. My darling mother Tara who I adore, and has showered me with love and wisdom from day one. My lovely godmother Leita, who I have turned to in times of crisis, no matter how small, for guidance or a deep and meaningful over dark chocolate and red wine. My nanna Lee, who showed me strength and compassion right up until the day she died, and still remains in my thoughts and dreams as a fearless wonder. She was such an influence over my life that I have named my own daughter after my nanna Lee.

This year, I look to these women and thank them for what they have given me. Now a mother myself I know that my own success as a mother will have been assisted by what I learned from these women. I feel in my heart that although I will make choices and be given challenges different from the mothers I have known and loved, they will be there to help me, earthside or in spirit every step of the way.

This year, my family will celebrate me and I have asked my husband that we spend the day just the three of us, soaking up one another and our darling pixie who is getting brighter and more animated every day.

(I've also requested a cliche mother's day gift, like a dressing gown or colourful mug because I'm all for corny and afterall it is my first Mother's Day)

This year, I would like to extend a thank you to the mothers out there, who have come to be mothers through having their own children, or being part of another child's tribe.

May we love these children with our whole hearts, and love ourselves as well.
May we recognise our blessings and celebrate our joys.
May we silence the inner critic.
May we smile.

These photos were from our family shoot when Audrey-Lee was only five weeks old, which seems like a lifetime ago now. I kept them in my back pocket to share on this special occasion. Three generations of women together as one.

Photos with my mother and my daughter...
by Natalie Duckett

Saturday, April 8, 2017

My Tribe: The Early Days

Today my baby girl is six weeks old, and more lovely than ever. Over the past few weeks she has grown from a little newborn, silent and naive to our little human who recognises her loved ones, smiles when she is leaving presents in her nappies and pulls at her mumma's hair. She is mesmerised by lights, trees and the breeze on her face when we are outside. Her collection of soft toys is starting to get a work out as she enjoys blowing bubbles at her crocodile, elephant and pig (the rest remain rejected in her toy basket for now).

Of all the roles I have taken on, mother is by far my favourite. She may test me on occasion, but she inspires me more than I could have ever imagined. There is certainly something to say for that bond between parent and child, so strong and yet so soft and humble at once. Amongst everything else I have truly enjoyed watching her interact with my own parents, who have showered her with nothing but love and affection since she came into this world.

Recently my girlfriend Tillie offered to take some photos of my little tribe, an opportunity of which I would have been silly to pass up. We decided to meet at the gardens near our house last Saturday to capture a moment in time. A moment of which Audrey-Lee spent her time sleep and snuggling into us, her people.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Cub Diaries - Audrey-Lee

I've sat down to write this update more than a handful of times over the past couple of weeks, and I've really struggled to conquer my words. I want to tell the world how wonderful life is now that my darling girl is finally in my arms, but I also don't want to shadow the magic that is my relationship with my husband. I want to try to put into words how the love I have for my daughter is so strong, so pure, so raw and true, and yet I am struggling to describe just how I feel, because truly the feelings I have are beyond indescribable.

On the 25th of February, after a lengthy and traumatic pregnancy and birth experience, our Cub arrived safely Earthside and suddenly everything else surrounding her, surrounding us, became so obsolete. Almost immediately my husband and I were in tears, simply overwhelmed by her presence. That first newborn cry had both of us blubbering like fools. I can remember my husband confirming that she was our Audrey-Lee (we had this name in our sights from early in the pregnancy, but had back up names just incase it didn't suit her) as he beamed like any new father would. I have never seen him so happy, so glad and so overwhelmed by emotion, and it was so beautiful to see him hold her for the first time.

When she was put on my chest for our first cuddle she looked at me with eyes that told me she knew who I was. That moment was another I will forever cherish.

The past three weeks have been full of some of the most amazing times of my life, and some of the hardest. As we get used to this new "normal", I'm learning more about my little girl and about myself, not only as her mother, but as a woman. Unsolicited advice is being thrown about like confetti, and the amount of comments about a second baby has been truly overwhelming, but I'm just taking it all in my stride. For me, all that matters now is that my daughter, my husband and I are happy and healthy. The rest can be banked for later.

Thank you to the family and friends who have made their well wishes felt by visits, deliveries of sushi or other sustenance or heart felt messages. I feel so grateful that my tribe is surrounded by so many thoughtful souls.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Cub Diaries - The Third Trimester

Responding to every phone call and text message with "no, no baby yet." must be a sign that I'm overdue, but here I am 38 weeks pregnant and I've still got two weeks until Cub's due date. I'll be honest, I'm trying not to go insane, between not being able to get comfortable, dealing with late pregnancy onset nausea and strangers telling me I'm baked, combined with two too good to be true false labour experiences. Yeah, pregnancy is a blast, especially the last month.

I've been on maternity leave since the end of January, and finding myself feeling stuck, without the energy to go on adventures, and without the stimulation of work to keep my mind satisfied. I had been studying up until the start of February, but now I've stripped all that away, for a time that should allegedly be filled up with nesting. With a nursery already decked out, a house that I keep tidy and organised even at the worst of times and drawers filled to the brim with freshly washed little baby socks and onesies, there's not much more I can do. I've most recently tasked myself with finding the most appropriate, darling cactus for our balcony, so we shall see how long that entertains me.

Taking a step back from my current state of impatient, bored anguish, this past three months has been filled with some of the most amazing moments and some of the most horrific. In December, just as I was transitioning into the third trimester, I was hospitalised with a suspected preterm labour. My body took me through some intensive contractions, which thankfully stopped when given a stern talking to by my obstetrician. You can never be prepared for the moment someone tells you that your baby may be coming, three months early, and have a such and such percent chance of survival. It was one of the scariest nights of my life, but we came through, and little Cub is still tucked up in my womb ten weeks later.

The next month saw me settle down a little bit, at the hospitals request. I had to push aside unnecessary stress, and focus on relaxing. I did prenatal yoga. I slept in on weekends. I reduced my social calendar.

Then only a few weeks ago, I was in hospital again, with a severe case of stomach bug. If five days with no food, two days of consistent vomiting, four bags of fluids and one iron infusion have showed me anything it's that my body can withstand alot and still nurture my Cub. Whilst I was feeling like death, she was happily growing away, with not a care in the world. If I didn't have a respect for what my body was capable of already, that experience certainly would have shone the light on the miracle of pregnancy.

Now I'm back home, awaiting the signs of my little girl's journey Earthside. With each contraction, each lower back twinge, each movement, I anticipate her arrival. Whilst it is difficult waiting, I have to trust that she knows the right time and isn't just doing this to keep me from poached eggs and sushi.

Photos by Katrina Lee Boultwood
Dress from Spell Designs