I've been sitting here at 11am drinking a lemon lime vodka cruiser while the girls are asleep typing in sentences and then deleting them for about half an hour. Maybe if i stop trying so hard to write big words to make me sound smarter I might actually get somewhere...
I recently took off and headed to Mullumbimby to interview two brave mamas ready to open up and share their experiences with me. Neither of which are actually 'bad mums', they're great mums which is the whole point. None of us are 'bad mums', its just the society we are in today telling us we are, or rather making us feel that way. Go down the rabbit hole of instagram and you'll find yourself questioning why your house isn't that clean or your meals that healthy or your wallet that deep. This is the point of 'Bad Mums'- to make sure you know you aren't alone!
I hit them with some pretty confronting questions so Ive decided to combine the interviews because I like that you get to see two different takes on the same questions. I'll just get into shall I?
Katie has a little girl Maiya and recently moved to Mullumbimby with her partner. They own Atom Boutique which is comprised of 100% natural Moroccan Luxury treatments.
I've decided to combine their interviews to highlight the fact that we all have very different experiences but that it is OK. Every flippin' one of us is different and we should just learn to accept that instead of expecting to all see things the same way.
What do you wish women spoke more openly about birth and babies? Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad- are we really telling each other the full truth of our experiences or are we just sugar coating them to make each other feel better?
THE RECOVERY!!! I know its fine for some but for me it was absolutely fucked. My labour was 26 hour ACTIVE, a la natural and I pushed for a solid 2 hours before getting the little bugger out. I had a second degree tear and my midwife described my labia as two swollen bananas. I was exhausted from the length of the ordeal and i couldn't physically walk or pick up Zephyr for two days. I was home within 4 hours of giving birth as thats the policy at Byron Hospital so I didn't have nurses to depend on, only my partner (who was an absolute champion, he even changed my maternity pads for me). It took a good two weeks for me to become upright again, 12 weeks for my vagina to heal, and a good 6 months for me to mentally heal. I was never told this prior to birth but you can actually get counselling for traumatic births. I guess they don't want to scare you.
I feel like everyone is so ready to throw out the horror stories but its almost become more socially acceptable to dish the dirt but hide the good stuff in fear of shaming others. I wish more women spoke about our ability to birth enjoyably, to lift each other up, to go to midwifes instead of doctors and put more trust in our own natural instincts and abilities.I birthed at Byron Hospital with the help of a fantastic midwife team, it was 12 hours all up - no drugs or interventions - and it was totally manageable. I remember thinking - 'surely this is going to get worse' - don't mistake my words for thinking it was easy - it was bloody hard but it was also incredible and i was never scared or felt out of control like others had warned me that i would be. I put my trust in my body and in the small team around me and everything worked out well for us and for that i'm incredibly grateful.
What have been some of your hardest darkest moments so far? We all know what its like to feel an abundant love for our little ones but no one talks much about the loneliness of becoming a new mum....
The first few weeks were really testing especially after a traumatic birth and it felt like no one understood. My partner was excited and was inviting visitors daily and I was just a shell of a human wishing everyone would just leave me alone. A hot tip for new mums (other than to tell your visitor to F off) is to join your local mums group which is organised through local community health. Even if you are someone who does not like putting themselves out there it is so worth it. Talking to other mums with bubs the same age normalizes everything and you no longer feel alone because everyone is going through the same shit. Because lets be real, at times it feels like no one understands.
Pregnancy for me was tough, I suffered with severe all day nausea (no idea why its called morning sickness) for almost 30 weeks. I fainted in the shower a few times and more than once was found by my partner naked on the bathroom tiles in fetal position crying. I had to go on medication to alleviate some of the symptoms (another thing i said i would never do) and quit my job early. We also moved from Sydney to Mullumbimby when I was 15 weeks pregnant - that was an incredibly lonely time for me. Whilst my partner would go to work, I would lay in bed for large parts of the day - I knew I was suffering with mild depression along with the illness but I couldn't do anything about it. When my daughter was born I got 2 weeks with my partner before he returned to work & the family who had visited us returned back to their homes and then I was back by myself but this time with a newborn! Slowly i felt the depression rearing its ugly head - the early days were long and lonely and i'm glad they are behind me. When my daughter was 8 weeks old I dragged my sorry arse to the local weekly mothers groups and met so many wonderful women and babies (including Courtney) we bonded over exhaustion, vomit stained clothes & having no clue what we were doing yet somehow making it through.
Sex after babies - how has everything ‘romantic’ changed?
erghhh, it took a good 5 months to have sex again despite my doctor asking me to consider it 6 weeks after birth as my partner would be feeling "disconnected". It was very mechanical initially and to be honest I felt like a virgin (i thinks it actually worse than being a virgin). But it got better eventually, sadly you just have to persevere (in my case for my partners sake). I havn't really had a sex drive since i fell pregnant, so that on top of sleep deprivation makes for a very average "romantic" life.
Our relationship has changed, there is no denying that. Living in a tiny cabin & a baby on a strict sleep schedule does not allow for much spontaneity thats for sure.I waited almost 6 months before we attempted the deed, I had a second degree tear from birth & along with the physical fear surrounding the pain, general exhaustion and very little sex drive - I wasn't really really up for more 'skin on skin' in our down time. I'm sounding like a real bore here but i know theres plenty of you gals out there who get it!! Fortunately I have the most amazing partner who always understand and supports me - and understands that romance isn't just about sex but also the little things like kisses, cuddles & making sure each of us still feels loved day to day. Now that our daughter is almost turning one we've decided we need to re-ignite our passion for each other this holiday season - who knows maybe i'll even stop wearing my dressing gown 24/7.
Now- the question I have been dreading writing about. VACCINATIONS. I do feel the need to interject here and write a little precursor as to why I've decided to include it. Vaccinations seem to be more taboo then politics and religion. I feel that needs to be addressed. There is no sitting on the fence with this one. You do or you don't and you more then likely feel strong about your reason why. Don't you think it would great though- if we didn't jump down one another throats and force our own ideas on each other? What if we could TALK to each other without judgement and negativity about our differences? My aim here is to just give you two different view points. I am in NO way saying which is 'right' and which is 'wrong' even though I do obviously have my own beliefs. I am just one mama who is sick and tired of this negative vibe on the topic. I see a lot of this on social media "How can you put toxins in your babies body.. your child could get autism" or "if you don't vaccinate your baby will get whooping cough". Can we stop trying to scare each other into making a decision we believe best? Can we learn to look past the 'taboo' and start talking to each other instead of AT each other?
As a child i had an adverse reaction to a vaccine therefore I did my own research and chose not to vaccinate my child.... however I am more "Pro Choice" than anything. The majority of my mum friends have vaccinated and its not like i think they a "bad mums", they have just done what is right for them and their kids/families. I think in education there is power and I believe that this is a topic all expectant parents should educate themselves on. In saying that, vaccination is such a taboo topic that it is really hard to find information on and the information provided by the Gov (in your "bunting" pack) is unbelievably wafty with no real stats, facts etc it basically said, its good for you - do it. On top of that when you go for your vaccinations it is unbelievably rare that you will receive the info booklet that comes with the drug that outlines the risks associated with the vaccination and all the ingredients/trace ingredients. Its almost like they want you to go in blind. You will also find that there are VERY limited studies (I think I found ONE) on children who are vaccinated vs who are not vaccinated, because why would "mulitbillion dollar pharma" fund anything that could potentially prove that their vaccines are ineffective. Funding is a huge thing when it comes to studies and what information is actually published from them (forms a bias). Vaccination is a HUGE money making machine for both pharmaceutical companies and the government. My belief is that we give birth to these perfect little beings, why are we pumping them with artificial nonsense? We are all born with a an immune system that is developed through natural exposure, why expose your perfect human you have created to disease/s that they potentially may not be exposed to in their environment (not to mention the number of diseases that are included in the vaccines that are outdated and/or were already on their way out when a vaccine was introduced). Everyone has a different constitution/different make up, if you have predisposition to a specific disease you are going to contract it whether you are vaccinated or not (thus disproving the herd immunity theory). I understand the concept of vaccination but it is hard to look past the politics, the potential risks involved and all the nasty ingredients.
Long story short - we have chosen to vaccinate our daughter. As parents, we all weigh the benefits and risks of any decision we make for our children, including choosing to vaccinate. We did not make this decision lightly. I live in Mullumbimby the heart of the anti-vaccination movement, recent data shows 1 in 2 children aren't vaccinated. We spoke to family, watched documentaries, scoured the internet for hours - the result was mostly in favour of vaccines, some were concerned but eventually (like us) deeded that the risks of not vaccinating are too great. I will not lie that and pretend that I am not still incredibly anxious each time I think about her next immunisation. As a child my partner had an adverse reaction to the Measles/Mumps vaccine and this is something I still do worry about. (My daughter is only 11 months so we have not reached this on the schedule yet). Its a very complex topic fraught with lots of emotionally-driven material but at the end of the day we figured that we can't deny the development of science, technology and medicine when it came to vaccinations but then rely on them for everything else in our lives. As you can see, one of my closest mum friends Courtney of Corkies Cookies has chosen not to vaccinate her son, she has done a lot of research & made that decision for her family. We often openly talk about the topic, it is not taboo in our friendship & I totally respect her decision as she does mine. What we both agree on is that a family should take the time to educate themselves on the topic & understand that 'shaming' doesn't help anyone.
I'd just like to point out that I do in fact realise that the formatting of this blog is a piece of shit. Shopify does not seem to care that some people might like the same font and size as there is literally no option to change it. If you think i am mistaken please do inform me how to fix it...i'm now a few wines deep and my care factor is minimal.
Now...back to my reality of a baby screaming in my face making it very difficult to write anymore. She's just thrown her lunch all on the floor..AGAIN and has decided that chewing a bottle top is more appetising then my falafels.
Stay tuned for more bad mums coming atcha after the silly season. I will be consuming far too much wine to string together a real sentence over the next two weeks.
Awesome, love it