9 months in, 9 months out. Postpartum the journey so far.

9 months in, 9 months out. Postpartum the journey so far.

Newborn days and now 9 months old. The growth of us both inside and out. Photo @roseoates_

9 months of GROWTH for both of us.

Pregnancy felt long yet the 9 months of your growing earthside seemed to fly both equally fast and, in some parts, so very painfully slow.

When I birthed her into this world, I had no idea I also would be totally re-born.
It’s beautiful, powerful, confusing,
and painful.
All the different emotions manage to surge within you seemingly at the same time.

We nurture, care, and raise our children all while trying to understand and care for ourselves in the moments we have left.

I have struggled this postpartum, hit the lowest of lows, I look back at that photo on the left and remember the pain, but I also look at it with a fondness; I am soft, vulnerable, lost but also happy, proud and in awe of this beautiful human being that laid next to me who only a mere week before was inside of me.

9 months of Growth for us both.

9 months on and I haven’t bounced back… I never intended to,
my life and body are only going one way and that’s forward.

My body is still soft – but there is STRENGTH in that softness,
to grow a life my body had to make room, to stretch and grow – it is soft
because it needed to have the strength to support life itself.

9 months on I’m still vulnerable – But I no longer see it as weakness,
it is a sign of strength, courage, and bravery.

I have learnt to lean into it. Being vulnerable is raw
and truthful – there is no hiding in it, it has taught me to listen to myself, connect
and more than ever authentically live my truth.

9 months on and life has gotten clearer – the pain has gone, it’s still messy, confusing, exhausting and at times stinky.

9 months on and we have both grown and gotten stronger.

9 months on my darling baby girl has taught me so much in her short time, I’m sure she will continue to teach me for the rest of my life.

9 months on writing this I have tears streaming down my face
thinking about it all and of my darling daughter.

9 months ago as you were born…
Cover me in sunshine played softly
in the background.
And that you have – done every day of your life. I love you.

Esme Phoenix.
And just like the Phoenix, I have been re-birthed into the truest version of me.

Where ever you are postpartum or in motherhood – Be proud of your growth and know that you aren’t in this alone.

Love Rose x

Motherhood – the change, evolution and grief.

Motherhood – the change, evolution and grief.

The days feeling so detached from the person you once were – that you don’t know how to connect them back to the same person at all.
Motherhood changed me.

She has had to change. This change has nothing to do with the love I feel for my children – that love and time for them I give with all my heart and wouldn’t go back.
This change has everything to do with me, this time in my life where I feel like I’m living in some sort of purgatory, a place that’s in between,

In between who I used to be,
Who I currently am and
Who do I want to be?

In fleeting moments I think about it, but it’s not until I have had time to myself, the weight of the things I’d been holding in come flooding out.

I catch my reflection in the mirror and really look at this woman before me… I know I am her, but I don’t recognise her now. The tears silently flow down my cheeks.

But I let myself grieve this time, the isolation, independence, I miss my body, when did I stop caring about myself?
I am tired and feeling without direction; I let it all out in all its honesty, the things no one actually wants to say out loud…

It was relieving to even admit it to myself.
Who am I now?

Sometimes we don’t allow ourselves to grieve those parts of us that are gone because we are worried that it means we aren’t grateful.
But gratitude and grief can live as one.

I don’t quite recognise the woman in the mirror just yet, but I know her. She is currently processing and learning about herself again; she is evolving and figuring it out, all while giving so much of herself to raising her children.

I must give her some time, give her some grace.
After a while, I realised…
She isn’t lost at all… she’s just in a state of metamorphosis, just like a caterpillar before it becomes a butterfly – it’s somewhere in between.

It’s not going to be this way forever.

The old me hasn’t been through all the things I have now. She is stronger.

I let go of what was and am keeping focus on what is ahead.

Be kind to yourselves, mamas.

You are just evolving into something beautiful. 🦋

FOLLOW MY EVERY DAY HERE

Anxiety – Acknowledging my Anxiety and knowing you can overcome it.

Anxiety – Acknowledging my Anxiety and knowing you can overcome it.

Rose Oates – Image Lalu Photo

Suddenly I’m feeling alert, too alert, The tightening of the chest, the shortness in my breath, the trembling of the hands, my body feels at unease, all while my mind is racing fast with 1000 thoughts, the nasty little inner dialogue has crept in, BREATHE I remind myself, you are ok, you are safe – just take a second to just breathe.

For me anxiety is something that I have struggled with for a long time, not always understood and was once really embarrassed about.
I NEVER acknowledged it let alone talked about it, I did not want to be perceived as weak or incapable.

So in turn I pushed those feeling aside and pushed harder filling my days with things to do, tasks to accomplish simply so I could feel LESS – but it what it did was fuel my anxiety MORE until I could not ignore it no more – it wasn’t going to let me ignore it any longer, I experienced my first a full blown panic attack a few years ago, it was out of the blue, on a warm sunny day while I was happily singing in the car to my favourite song – I felt like I couldn’t breathe, my heart was pounding, I thought I was dying, having a heart attack.

From then on I knew it needed my attention. I owed it to myself to help myself, to own what it was, to learn to manage it and to take back my POWER.

With time and using various techniques I have learnt to manage it, speaking to someone to learn more about it has helped and I know now I can work through it, and so I no longer bottled it up. I’m not completely free of it but now I am much more aware of the triggers and the things or situations that can cause it to rear its ugly head.

The ocean calms my soul. Image @laluphoto_perth

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, she turned into a butterfly.”

Today I acknowledge it, admitting how much it has been eating me up lately hiding behind my smile, trying to tell me I’m not enough, that I can’t do it all, that I’m not worthy.

I had a cry, it felt good to release it – I sat with the emotions and let them flow. It’s uncomfortable but worth it I promise.

It made me realize all the triggers id been ignoring, all the work I was doing, the underlying trauma still there that I don’t like dealing with and the direction I want to take next.

The speed of life can feel hectic at times, in this fast-paced world, social media constantly at our fingertips, life – its easy to get caught up – forgetting we are allowed to pause. Be still. Reevaluate. Take time to heal.

Anxiety is actually normal, it is hardwired into to us so it will never be something that will be completely gone forever, its useful and needed in life to save us from certain situations or dangers – but sometimes we hold on to it, not understanding exactly how to let the body and mind relax. Keeping that in mind we can learn to manage it, it is not something that we cannot learn to control.

Despite working on it – Some days are just plain tough and that’s okay, there are going to be days that you don’t have it completely under control but cut yourself some slack and don’t take it personally. Be gentle with yourself and try replace your negative thoughts with ones that are more positive.

Remember you are not alone in this – so many these days suffer from anxiety, seek support from others when you need it, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Reaching out shows strength and also demonstrates bravery for speaking out.

I don’t have the answers, it may be something I’ll always work on, but I do know this; we are not our anxiety. I’m not alone in it and neither are you.

Take one day at a time.

Rose @roseoates_

#youarenotalone #itsokaynottobeokay

Don’t ever hesitate to reach out for help if you need it, either to a professional, friends or family. There are many resources you can access online and over the phone too.

Beyond Blue

Black Dog Institute –Anxiety Help and Support

Australian Psychological Society – Find a Psychologist

Find a social worker

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help now, call triple zero (000).

You can also call  Lifeline  on 13 11 14 — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Fourth Trimester; things I discovered that nobody decided to tell me. The good, bad and funny.

The Fourth Trimester; things I discovered that nobody decided to tell me. The good, bad and funny.

Cranky Esmé and I in the first few weeks. Image @foxandwildling_photography

Tears, milk, poops and smiles have been had by both my baby Esmé and myself.

Although I’ll forever be amazed by what our bodies go through to create a life and the power of a person through the journey of motherhood, there are still some bat shit crazy times in the months following your baby birth. Some things that we have all read about and totally expect and then other things that you don’t hear about all so much!!

This is my fourth season postpartum and I’m still getting surprised, these are some of the things I’ve experienced following my babies, that nobody really told me would happen…

  • Nappies – your baby isn’t the only one that will be wearing them. No shame in it either, having worn pads before trust me these adult nappies are the way to go… build for comfort not style haha
  • Some days you will fall in love with your partner all over again and other times you will want to rip them a new one.
  • Love at first sight – is NOT always the case it can days or weeks even to grow and bond together with your baby. The love is no less.
  • Your hair will malt like a Husky in the summertime, hairballs clogging the shower drain, leaving you wondering if it will grow back or there will be hell toupee.
  • Waking up WET… not in a good way either, whether it be night sweats, baby vomit or lying in a pool of your own breast milk.
  • Baby wipes – where have they been all our lives?! The all-purpose wet cloth for butts, quick all over body cleanse, sticky fingers, cleaning tables and dusting everything.
  • Your body may become a bit of a stranger to you, someone you don’t recognize in the mirror just quite yet, it might take time to learn to love it and that’s ok – at times you also look at it in complete awe of what it has done. 
  • You will think about poo ALOT – yes, your babies BUT the first one primarily being your own.
  • Sex – with hormones still raging, you either can’t wait to jump back at it or you are completely dead scared to let anything near your vagina.
  • The nipples – darkening and increasing in size, I heard it’s so the baby can see them… Well, mine are like big pieces of Hungarian salami so if she can’t see these somethings wrong!
  • There will be days when you feeling utterly alone and isolated by your newborn bubble, days morphing into one another, longing for a little freedom.
  • There are going to be days that test you and your mental health.
  • Baby outfits with buttons – cute at first but at 3 am, 17 buttons aren’t so cute anymore.
  • Sleep when the baby sleeps advice… well when the baby finally sleeps – you will probably scroll the whole internet, shower or do the washing.
  • You will say and do stupid stuff while tired. Bring on the coffee

Trust me mamas you are never alone.

There are 100’s of beautiful moments too (like the cute little grin on E’s face)

3 months postpartum and 3 months old! Yay!

What did you discover in the fourth trimester that no-one told you about?

Did you experience any of these? Or something completely different that surprised you?
Please add to the list!

Baby Sleep Consultant – Our journey to getting a good night’s sleep.

Baby Sleep Consultant – Our journey to getting a good night’s sleep.

Butter wouldn’t melt right!? Octavia Knight 2 weeks old. Photo La lu Photo

Sleep. Something I took for granted and should have appreciated in my pre-motherhood days way more than I did.

My husband and I had our third daughter Octavia in September last year. I was that person that had two other children that had just naturally slept well through the night.

So having my third baby, I naively assumed Octavia would be the same – oh how wrong I was.

By nearly six months, Octavia was still waking every 2 hours or more during the night and only catnapping during the day.

Sleep deprivation was once used as a form of torture, so why was this miniature human torturing me?
Her naps barely gave me the time to run around to do a few chores and make a cup of coffee.
I was exhausted every day, and the fatigue was becoming overwhelming.

I spent the little time my baby was sleeping wondering what I was doing wrong.

What did sleep felt like again? I was drinking all the coffee, wishing my husband was capable of breastfeeding and googling “how to get my baby to sleep”.

One late night scrolling through Instagram for the thirtieth time, I found the account that would save my sanity and help give both Octavia and I the sleep we both desperately needed.
I had stumbled across Hayley from Slumber and Sprout.

In the newborn love bubble – tired but bursting with love. Photo Lalu photo

Hayley is a fellow Perth mum, certified paediatric sleep consultant and owner of Slumber and Sprout. She provides easy to follow tips, an abundance of advice on her socials. She offers a variety of packages to help get your little ones sleeping soundly through the night and napping well through the day.
I learnt so many new things about babies and sleep; for example, how much day sleep our bubbas actually need

  • 3 months: 4 – 5 hours
  • 6-7 months: 3.5 – 4 hours
  • 9-11 months: 3 – 3.5 hours
  • 12 months: 2.5 -3 hours
  • 18-24 months: 2 – 2.5 hours
  • 3 years: 1 hour

Our little humans will also go through FIVE sleep regressions by the age of two. At four months, 8-10 months, 12 months, 18 months and 24 months!

How did it work?

I started by explaining my babies current sleep situation, and Hayley devised a plan to set up healthy sleep habits and resolve the sleep issues, based personally on our family.
It is not a one size fits all approach which I loved, because as a mum of older children, Octavia’s sleep needed to work around school runs and other extracurricular activities.
I had access to a private portal online to log all of Octavia’s sleep and activity throughout the day. Hayley closely monitored her progress and made suggestions accordingly.

With just the simplest of changes within two weeks, Octavia was napping during the day like a champ!
Soon Octavia went from waking every two hours and only cap napping, to now waking only once a night and having solid naps during the day.
In turn, Craig and I stopped feeling like coffee-fuelled zombies every day, and the whole mood of the household lightened.

I found it hard to ask for help at first, but I’m so happy I did. It doesn’t matter if you are a first-time mum or you are a mum of many, each child is different, so there is no shame in getting some help and support if you need it, especially when it comes to getting a good nights sleep!

Need some help getting your little one sleeping too?

Hayley provides a range of packages and services including in-home sleep consultations here in Perth

You can find out more about these services on her website HERE

Or follow Hayley and Katie on Instagram for daily tips and advice @slumberandsprout

Indi and Scarlett gushing over their new sister. Photo La Lu Photo