Medela Swing Maxi Review

Expressing was a huge part of my life when I was breastfeeding Henry and Theo and even more so now with Harlow and Noah, even at 6 months old I still express at least once a day. I use the Medela Swing Maxi which is a Double Electric Pump, it can also be used as a single pump if needed. These are the reasons why I love it so much and a little bit about my expressing journey.

My breastfeeding journey is one that I am extremely proud of, it definitely hasn't been easy but it 100% has been worth it and knowing what I know now I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Knowing that I have fought so hard to exclusively breastfeed both sets of twin is something that I will always cherish and something that I am incredibly passionate about sharing my experience in hope that I may help my fellow Mamas out there. In saying that Pumping has also been a huge part of my Breastfeeding journey and again it is also something I am extremely proud to do. In comparison to breast feeding its not really a subject that is really talked about so let talk about it more!

I started expressing on the same day all of our babies were born. I did it for multiple reasons, these were to bring my milk in faster, help build a strong milk supply, to top up the babies and to have stored milk on hand when I needed it (not if when lol). I helped build a great milk supply through expressing and I love knowing that I was able to top up the babies with Expressed Milk in the early stages so they were always happy, full and content and it was also great knowing they were happy to take a bottle. I also love having expressed Milk stored in the freezer for times when I am tired or need a break and 6 months later I still express every night so if I want to go out and do something then I have the option.

Here is a little bit about the Medela Swing Maxi and why I love it so much.

  • It is so light, small and compact. It can easily fit in my hand bag so I can take it anywhere with me.
  • You can use a power point and plug it in or it also takes batteries so you can literally express anywhere anytime.
  • It has a clip on the back so you can attach it to whatever you are wearing and walk around with it while expressing.
  • Its a 2 phase breast pump (I had no idea these even existed). So in short it means that when you switch it on its starts with a short fast stimulation phase the way a baby would to encourage the let down of milk and then with a press of a button you can change it to a slower expression phase for efficient milk removal.
  • It has different vacuum levels which you can adjust for your own comfort.
  • You easily switch it on and off with the press of a button.
  • There are five different sized breast shields to choose from (which is great because us gals know that no two nipples are the same LOL)

All in all I love it and only wish I had discovered it sooner. It definitely ticks all the boxes for me and I would 100% recommend it to anyone who asks.

Another thing I wanted to add was that if you aren't able to breastfeed for whatever reason but have the supply and support please know that exclusively pumping is also an option for you. I know of Women who have successfully done it so know that you have other options.

Please know that this blog is my own personal experience and opinion, if you have any questions I will try my best to answer them but it is always best you consult with your chosen medical or health professional.

Happy Expressing and Feeding Mama's.

Zoe xx

My Twin Mama Crown

The one thing I hear constantly is "WOW, you have two sets of twins that must be so hard on you" or "how are you coping?". Like seriously people don't feel sorry for me I absolutely love being a Mama! I wear my Mama crown every single day and I'm proud of it and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Of course there are hard days, it's not all peachy but I feel like my main purpose on this earth was to be a Twin Mama. They say God never gives you anything you can't handle and I truly believe that with every single fibre in me!

People are always asking me "How do you keep it all together?" First of all I don't! I am just winging this Mum gig like everyone else, I don't have all the answers but what I do have is motherly instinct and that is my one true guide. No one and no book can tell me otherwise! Number two I have a very hands on and loving Baby Daddy aka Hubby, he gets in there and does everything I do except for breastfeed but I'm sure if he could, he would. Each and every single day I think of one thing to be grateful for and I give thanks for that. When I think I'm about to lose the plot I stop, take a deep breath and remember that there is someone out there that has it so much harder than me in this moment and my life could be so much worse. Then I just get on with it. It's as simple as that, but hey that's just me.

Your probably thinking oh yeah right but oh don't you worry! There are some days where I want to do absolutely nothing! And guess what? I don't and that's okay. If all of the above doesn't work I just pour a big glass of wine and say tomorrow will be a new day which it will be.

Zoe xx

This is my Birth Story

I am going to write this story exactly the way I see it. Some people may not like it, some people may be offended but this is my story and this is how I want it to be told. As I type my fingers are trembling, I have a lump in my throat and my eyes are watery.

When I look back at my birth with Henry and Theo it was one of the happiest days of my life but it was also a day that broke my heart. My heart didn't break then and there it was a very slow progression. It took time and realisation to come to the understanding of what truly happened that day.

Lets start from the beginning, the day I got induced. We were excited, beyond excited. I had decided that I would be induced at 37 weeks and 3 days because our boys were high risk. They shared a placenta and had their own amniotic sacs which was great but there was always the risk of twin to twin transfusion syndrome and the risk got higher the further along you got. So for me it was the right choice to finally welcome them into our world. 

When we arrived at the hospital the Obstetric team came to visit us informing and explaining all the risk factors and their processes. As a first time Mum and Dad this was extremely over whelming for us it was only us there at the time. All of the things we talked about and discussed were now in question. What were we going to do?

There was a lot of discussing, questioning and wondering if it was going to work or if I was going to just end up having a c-section. My Mum ended up having an emergency c section with me so the thought of it happening to me also was something that was in the back of my mind. Before we got there I was so sure of so many things, throughout my pregnancy I had practiced meditation almost every single day in the shower and focused on my breathing and positive thinking I knew I could do it.

I had decided I wanted to birth naturally with no drugs and I was going to have my Husband, Mum and Sister in the room with me as my support people along with my midwife and the Obstetric team. It took three very long, exhausting and emotional days to get me into a labour but I finally did it. I was one step closer to having our babies.

As soon as I started labour a bit more intensely the doctors came into the room and even after already discussing and hearing our decision to have no drugs we were told to get an epidural. This was our third day at the hospital so we had seen so many different doctors and told them the exact same thing. In the moment it felt like our power had been taken away, these strangers were telling me if I didn't take their advice that terrible things could/would happen. I began to question my motherly instinct, I looked at my husband and he looked scared and it made me scared. They began to push it on us even more and wanted us to make a decision while they were in the room so we just went with it.

For me having an epidural meant feeling no contractions which felt horrible I wanted to feel my body work towards getting my babies out, labour is the most natural thing in the world and not being able to feel it made me feel like I had no control over my body. I had to stay on the bed with a catheter which I fucking hated because up until that point I had been so active using the swiss ball and doing lots of walking and now I didn't even have the option to go toilet. They wanted me stuck there so they could medically manage me because it was safe and convenient for them but to me the whole experience was demeaning because its not what I wanted. Of course I could have said no, don't worry I beat myself up for so many months asking myself why didn't you just say no? But in the moment I felt like I couldn't I had already said no so many times. If I had made the decision myself without being bullied and pressured into it I would have been okay with it but because I was being made to do things I didn't wanted to do it just made the entire experience horrible.

It took four tries and two different anesthetists to get the epidural working in hindsight that was the universe trying to say to me its not for you. In the end it worked and I got to spend some really nice quality time with my Hubby, lots of laughs and excitement as time went on I just decided to get on with it. My sister did my make up for me which made me feel amazing, my Mum was there right by my side giving me encouragement and making me feel loved. Then my midwife arrived she started getting everything ready and it was almost time to start pushing. In waltzed the Obstetrician she literally walked past my midwife and ignored her sat down told me she was going to check me and just like that I was 10cm. 

Can you believe it it was time to start pushing. She didn't ask me how I wanted to deliver my babies she just told her team to get the stirrups and said we are going to put your legs in these okay? And I just said okay and my legs were strapped in and in that moment I just put my entire trust in her, I didn't have a clue what I was doing this was my first time giving birth so I just went with it, all that mattered now was getting our boys here safely. This Women wasn't even meant to be helping deliver my babies my midwife was but again in the moment we didn't even realise everything happened so quickly.

I started pushing and it such a weird feeling, I had to push like I was taking a poo and it was so hard because I couldn't feel anything and I had no idea when to push I just listened to the obstetrician. She was telling me to push even when I wasn't having any contractions. After just ten minutes of pushing she asked for the ventouse and the scalpel. I just stopped pushing and said "NO, DO NOT CUT ME!" she just glared at me, my midwife was right next to her advocating for me and telling her that everything was fine babies heart rates were perfect and I was doing great but honestly it made no difference. This woman took my birth and made it her own, she took it upon herself to give me an epsiotomy in the end which I did not want and after only 20 minutes of pushing Henry was born. He was so beautiful it was such a surreal moment I remember staring at him thinking OMG you are my baby I finally get to hold you in my arms. I wanted delayed cord clamping but was told I wasn't allowed it and that they needed to get Theo out incase he turned. So Hubby cut the cord and they just took him from me they didn't even ask.

All while this was happening someone was literally holding my stomach and holding Theo in place. Just 8 minutes later he was born it only took a couple of pushes and he flew out. I held him in my arms and didn't let him go. Then the Ob went to cut his cord and I had to tell her three times "NO, MY MUM IS CUTTING IT STOP!" again she just glared at me. No delayed cord clamping the cord was just cut. I didn't even realise at the time but Hubby missed Theo come out because they were busy giving him Henry.

Can you believe it? Just like that I birthed our boys vaginally I did it, I got to birth them naturally just like I wanted and I was so so happy. Honestly at the time I didn't feel all the horrible things I felt after my birth because we were so in the moment I just went with it because I was scared and we felt like we had no other option. In hindsight I look back and it hurts, it hurts that all these things happened and I did nothing to stop them. Its taken me a very long time to get to a point where I don't think about it and get upset or cry. You might be thinking well you got to birth your babies naturally with no complications and your babies are here and they are safe and sound but its not about that at all. As a women and as a mother it is my right to decide what is best for my body. I don't care what anyone else says no one has the right to try and change your mind, their right is to inform you of all the risks and then for you to make an informed decision on whats right for you. Once you have all the information and have made a decision you give them an answer, that is called INFORMED CONSENT.

That day my rights were violated on so many different occasions and it left me feeling powerless and traumitised. I cried for a very long time and grieved the birth I didn't get. It consumed me for the first few weeks and I had to deal with two newborns and recovery on top of dealing with the trauma of my birth. I stayed in hospital for two days and then went to Helensville birthing centre where I finally got to relax and started to heal. When I saw my midwife and told her how I was feeling she told me that after my birth she left the room and just cried because of everything that had happened. She had tried her hardest to advocate for me but the Ob just didn't give a shit about what anyone had to. After a couple of weeks I wrote a complaint to the hospital which helped me with healing but in the end I had to forgive her for how she had handled the situation and so I could finally move on.

When I look back at my birth I feel peace. It is what it is, I can not change it but I can change the way I look at it and I have decided to focus on the positives. I may not have had the birth I wanted the first time but don't you worry my second twin birth was all me! I didn't let anyone tell me shit about birthing my twins, I did it my way and it was the most incredible and empowering birth! It was hard but it was worth it. Lets save that story for another day though.

I hope you don't feel scared reading this, I want you to read this feeling empowered. I have become the woman I am today because of what happened to me. And I want you to take control of your body and not let anyone bully you into doing something you don't want to do. Do your research, have your support team ready, write out a detailed birth plan of what exactly what you want and what you are willing to compromise on, make sure every single person that walks through the doors to your birth reads it and knows exactly whats happening. Make decisions for yourself using that motherly instinct. You are fierce, you are brave and you are strong.

Zoe xx

How I build my Milk Supply

 Casually Expressing at my friends wedding with my Haakaa Pump!

Casually Expressing at my friends wedding with my Haakaa Pump!

I know all about having too much supply, not enough supply and just having enough. Feeding twins exclusively is one tough gig but when I get my supply right it is just like second nature and it's amazing ! I exclusively breastfed our first set of twins Henry and Theo for 18 months and I am currently exclusively breastfeeding Harlow and Noah our second set of twins, who are now four months old and we are finally in sync and my supply is abundant.

You need to eat and you need to eat a lot. My theory for this is that your body is working extra hard to produce milk and you need to feed and nourish you body with lots of calories in order for it to make lots of milk. When you first give birth this is so so important for your recovery and to get that milk supply in fast. My supply took three days to come in with Henry and Theo and with Harlow and Noah, it only took two because I was constantly expressing and feeding. I would eat a bowl of big muesli with full fat milk a yoghurt and peaches and four slices of toast with peanut butter and jam. I would also have a milo and some biscuits not long after and that was just breakfast! So do you get my drift? Eat lots! For me the more I eat the more milk I get. I have to be honest and say I eat lots and lots of junk because I swear SUGAR helps with my milk supply. About a month or so ago I did cut out sugar for 6 days and my milk supply dramatically dropped. I could barely express off 20mls from each boob and I could tell the babies were getting hungry. I was exercising as well and then Hubby said stuff this and bought me a packet of Mallowpuffs and Toffee Pops and I ate so many of them and expressed off 120mls from each boob! So that just proves my theory so your welcome!

You need to stay hydrated. Just like eating a lot you need to drink a lot. I try to drink 3L of water a day at the least. I just keep a drink bottle on me and keep filling it up throughout the day. Staying hydrated is so important for your milk supply.

Rest. Rest as much as you can when you can because as soon as you start getting run down your body becomes stressed and it affects your milk supply. I know how hard it can be to rest or take a nap especially with a newborn or other young children but that's when you need to ask for help. You don't need to do it all alone. You don't even have to sleep, just sitting down and doing nothing will help.

Exercise. When I exercise my supply always drops so for now I'm not doing any exercise. When you exercise you are burning calories, calories which you essentially need for your supply so if you aren't replacing them you might potentially see your supply drop. So if you are going to exercise remember your supply may drop and you need to supplement it some how.

Expressing. I express about three times a day straight after a feed so that I have a good let down. By expressing you are essentially telling your body you need extra milk so it produces it. I have a Unimom double electric pump and a Silicon Haakaa Pump. You can buy your own Haakaa Pump from www.haaka.co.nz using the code "blessed" for 15% off in the Mum section for tonight only. I usually just sit there until I have two full bottles sometimes it takes five minutes sometime it takes half an hour it really just depends. Make a snack and get a drink, grab a book or have your phone on you so you aren't bored and just relax. Don't look at how much you are expressing and don't worry about how long it takes. Try not to think of it as a chore just add it into your routine and it will be second nature! Think of all that extra milk you can store. I get my Milk storage bags and Weleda Nipple Cream from www.littleandloved.co.nz you can use the code "blessed" to get 20% store wide for the month of May. They also have lots of amazing breastfeeding products to increase supply.

Supplement feeding. This is something I have never done but I do know that when you are replacing a feed with formula you are telling your body to not produce milk so if you are doing that you need to express. For me I've never supplement fed, in saying that I have what I think is a good supply however I have also had times where my supply has been so low I questioned whether it was enough, but I pushed through it and you just have to feed, feed, feed! 

I have tried a few supplements which I think work. I have tried Milk Mama Smoothie mixes and it only took one day to see an increase in my supply. You can buy yours from www.milkmama.com.au. I have also tried Fenugreek Tablets and Nursing Tea and I just think try it all. Try whatever you can to boost your supply because there's no harm in trying.

If you think your baby isn't feeding properly see a Lactation Consultant ASAP! Your baby could possibly have lip or tongue tie which can make a huge difference to your milk supply. 

There are so many different reasons that some Women can't breastfeed and if you aren't able to or choose not to please do not beat yourself up. Everyone's journey is different and we as Mothers need to feel at peace with the decisions we make. Please remember I am not a medical professional this is just my personal experience and what has worked for me. 

Happy feeding ladies!

Zoe xx

 

Am I doing enough for my children?

Is it just me or are you always questioning how much you do for your children. What happened to the days when three meals a day, a roof over your head and clothes on your children's back made you a darn good parent.

Now days there's all sorts of things you need to do and buy not be a good parent but to be the perfect parent. We have social media portraying unrealistic expectations and unattainable goals for most people which is apparently the in thing because everyone wants their seemingly perfect life.

I even question myself a million times a day, am I doing this right? Are my children feeling loved? Am I giving them enough time and attention? Am I spending too much time on my phone? Am I letting them watch too much tv? Should they really be eating this or drinking that?

But why? Why am I doing this to myself? Why am I constantly questioning myself when I have four beautiful, healthy and happy babies? Why am I constantly feeling guilty and second guessing myself?

What I should be telling myself a million times a day is yes you are doing that right because you have made a decision based on your motherly instinct which is NEVER wrong! Of course your children are feeling loved just look into their eyes and you will see it. Yes you are giving them enough time and attention because you are doing the best that you can with the time that you have. Who cares if they are watching to much tv every day is different just go with it. No you are not spending too much time on your phone you spend pretty much all the hours of the day investing time and energy into your kids if you need time to zone out then zone out! Stop worrying about what they are eating and be thankful they are eating it there are people starving around the world.

Everyday I am going to try and spend less time judging and questioning myself and spend more time loving and encouraging myself. I can't be perfect and I can't do everything right and I don't want to. I just want to do the best job that I can. I'm not going to compare myself to others instead I'm going to surround myself with people who inspire me and lift me up.

So have I answered your question? Are you doing enough?

 

Breastfeeding 101

I have had so many messages, emails and questions about breastfeeding so I thought that I would share with you what has worked for me and what hasn't.

This is just a snippet into my journey, what worked for me may not work for you. I am not a medical professional so please take what I say with a grain of salt and if you truly need help please seek professional medical advice.

To start, the truth! My journey has honestly been the hardest but most rewarding thing I have ever done. To me Breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful and most natural things in the world. You get to continue to nourish, feed and help you baby grow it is absolutely incredible. I know breastfeeding is hard but if you have the supply, the love and support you need then you can get through it you just have to persevere through the good, the bad and the ugly but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

I remember waiting for my milk to come in no one ever told me how crazy those first few days are. Seriously babies are hungry when they are first born and waiting for your milk to come in is the most painful thing ever. I started leaking colostrum from 14 weeks with Henry and Theo and then at around 30 weeks with Harlow and Noah, so I started saving that liquid gold and boy oh boy did it make a huge difference. I also started hand expressing so I could save my colostrum I started doing this around about the 34 week mark. Before deciding to do this you need to consult with a health professional as this can induce premature labor. For me it did nothing except help me it was the best thing I ever did as I had so much saved for when they were born so they weren't starving while we were waiting for my milk to come in. I bought lots of storage bags and labeled them all and left them in the freezer and then took them to hospital and asked them to store them until the babies were born.

After birth it is so so important that you rest and eat and drink huge amounts so that you have heaps of calories so you can make lots of milk! I swear that I have such a huge supply because I am always eating. Sugar is a huge one for me, yeah blah blah blah I know it's not good for you and it's highly addictive but if that's what it takes to build and keep my milk supply I'm doing it and with great pleasure. Here's a little insight of what I would eat after giving birth just to give you an idea! Breakfast is huge I would have muesli with peaches, full fat milk and a yoghurt, 3-4 pieces of toast with peanut butter and jam and a milo and sometimes even baked beans on toast as well. I know what you are thinking WOW but for me it worked and the more I ate the more weight I lost. It didn't matter what I ate either the weight would just drop off. Make sure you are eating frequently and large portions. A lot of the time it was such hard work eating so much but for me it kept my milk in abundance sometimes too much. Figure out what works for you and stick with it!

I made sure I had a double electric pump. The brand I bought and still have is Unimon Forte. Honestly as soon as you can after you give birth get on that pump! It will help bring your milk in quickly, my milk came in 3 days after Henry and Theo and only 2 with Harlow and Noah and I was expressing heaps, hand expressing and on the pump whatever I needed to do I did it. Make sure you ask for help at the hospital or wherever you are make it very clear you want to breastfeed and get them to help you in anyway they can even if it means milking you LOL! Make sure you get checked by a lactation consultant if you can and always check for lip and tongue tie and this can have a serious negative effect on the way your baby feeds. I bought my expresser second hand on trade me for $150 it had never been used. I have absolutely thrashed it and it's still working the best $150 I've ever spent. I still use it about 2-3 times a day even now and the babies are almost 4 months old. This time around I was given two Haaka pumps these are silicon pumps and these are my go to when I am out and about. You just squeeze it once and it sucks your nipple in and waalaa that's it. I gently apply pressure and my milk just starts squirting out it's magic.

The supplements I take are high dose vitamin c, lecethin and probiotics. You can get these from most pharmacies and health stores. I swear by the combination of all three together. You can google all their benefits! I have tried using a Smoothie Mix by Milk Mama and I swear by the second day my milk supply had increased. I have also used Fenugreek tablets which I think help with supply as well. If your supply is low try anything and everything to get it back up. Try not to supplement with formula as you are essentially telling your body to produce less milk just keep feeding and expressing as hard as it is its definitely worked for me.

Now the hard stuff! Engorgement is the friken worst your boobies are huge and as hard as rocks I use gentle massage, hot flannels and expressing to help with that. Cracked nipples are horrible and they need to be remedied ASAP. To help with mine I used Manuka Honey Pads, breast milk and Purelan. Just apply apply apply!

There's this hideous thing called Mastitis and it is honestly worse than birth (I am such a drama queen but it is) and you need to know the signs so you can nip it in the bud as soon as you get it. The signs are fever, chills, flu likes symptoms, red patches on your breast and pain in the breast. To help with it I make sure I double dose on all my supplements, hot showers and baths, cold flannels, massage and lots of feeding and expressing. If it gets to bad or worse get to the doctor asap and get antibiotics. I was immune to one type of antibiotics so if you aren't improving in a couple of days get back to the doctor. I had it 8 times with the boys and I was hospitalized twice and I put it down to having thrush on my nipples and not being able to heal the cracks and also over supply. I also get it when I am stressed and run down so please Mama's try and take good care of yourself, rest and sleep whenever you can and if you need to ask for help!

Thrush on my nipple and in babies mouth has been a constant pain in my arse it's easy to get and hard to get rid of! You have to apply cream twice a day to both nipples and wipe it off before every feed and then you have to give medicine to your babe four times a day it's the most annoy hardest thing to do when breastfeeding especially have two! It really hurts like a sharp pain when you are feeding, jump on google to see the symptoms.

Maternity bras and breastfeeding clothes are so so important! My favourite feeding bras are my gorgeous bra Discretion by Gina (I've posted a review on it in my reviews section check it out) and I live in my Cadenshae feeding bras I have about 4 of them I rotate they are so supportive, comfy and look really good as well. I mostly wear feeding dresses as I find it easy because I only have to think about putting on one piece of clothing and that's it. I get my dresses from Rock Your Bump I have 4 I rotate they are styley and comfortable which is exactly what you need when feeding (you can use my code BLESSEDINDOUBLES to get 10% off your order) and I also love my Addison Clothing dresses, I have a couple of them and I love the way they feel and bonus they look good to!

My final words. Breastfeeding is not for everyone but if you can stick it out then it's honestly so worth it. The first three months are the hardest but with lots of determination, tears and sleepless nights you do get there. I wouldn't have it any other way now it is just like second nature. I have people encouraging me to use formula which I just don't get, I know I can use it and if I wanted to I would be but I don't and that's just the way it is. For me I chose to breastfeed because even though it's so hard it's only for a very short amount of time and I know its the best thing to do for my babies and I. I am extremely blessed to have such supportive husband who does more than his fair share to enable me to spend a lot of my time feeding and expressing. I know that it's not for everyone and not everyone is able to breastfeed and there are lots of women who choose to go straight to formula and honestly power to them! As a mother WE get to decide what's best for OUR babies and that's our right and no one can ever take that away from us. Use that motherly instinct and do what's best for you and your family. I so feel for women that aren't able to breastfeed and truly want to but please don't ever feel ashamed or feel like you are any less of a mother because you are not. I hope that you feel at peace with your decision whatever it may be.

Zoe xx

My Double Twin Mummy Tummy

So until I went to Fiji I thought I had kind of accepted my body you know that whole love yourself no matter what spiel. I had convinced myself that I loved my mummy tummy. The weird thing is that I do love my mummy tummy, I really do it grew four beautiful babies and I am so proud and grateful for that. And if I am saying all these things then why the hell am I feeling this way?

Of course these feelings would come up it was time to put on a bikini and I was seriously repulsed and disgusted at the way that my body looked! EVEN TYPING THESE WORDS MAKE ME UPSET! It made me so sad that all my saggy skin and stretch marks were hanging and bulging out of my bikinis and togs. Running through my mind were horrible things like "What was I thinking trying to get into a bikini 3 months after I've had twins", "You actually look really fat and what are people going to think?" and "why can't I be one of those Mum's that just bounce back". I kept wondering what if they don't know I've had four kids and they think my stomach is like this normally. Now that I think about it I'm like you stupid woman who cares if people think that and you have just had twins only three months ago give yourself a damn break! I would never ever say these horrible things to anyone else so why say them to myself?

So it got me thinking do I actually love my body? Have I accepted what has happened to it? And do I accept that this is the way it's going to look like until I decide to change it. You know what? I actually don't know! I feel like I am the type of person who needs to really understand how I am feeling and be okay, be strong but in this case it's just not something that's going to change over night. Its going to take time and a lot of healing and self acceptance. I'm still learning and every day is different, I have no idea what tomorrow will bring but all in all the answer is Yes, yes I do, I love my body. I'm still getting use to this new body of mine. Over the last two and a half years it has changed dramatically. I have grown four babies so my body has been completely and utterly been pushed to its limits and you know what it didn't fail me one damn time. It allowed me to grow four healthy babies full term and I birthed my babies naturally, Yes I, Me, My body.

I'm not going to lie it has pushed me to my limits Physically, emotionally and mentally I have been tested and it's been bloody hard but look here I am, I am healthy, alive and I have an amazing husband and incredible children who just make my world.

I am proud that I can accept these feelings and deal with them in a positive way, I know that self esteem has a huge impact on my life and I need to constantly keep pushing my limits of self love to convince myself that I am beautiful and that I am enough and that it doesn't matter what my body looks like and who cares about what anyone else thinks. But the reality of actually putting that into action is very hard and it's going to take time and patience but I know I will get there.

It's something truly amazing to have someone love you for you but it's an even greater love when you can love yourself, imperfections and all.

Zoe xx

A letter to my Mama

Dear Mama,

Thank you for carrying and nurturing me, thank you for doing and trying everything you could when giving birth to me and most of all thank you for raising me.

I know my birth wasn't what you wanted and I am so sorry about that. I saw your heart ache for a very long time and its only after giving birth myself that I can now see why. I am in awe of what you did for me and I will never ever forget it. Waking up to a photo of your little baby girl is not how you pictured giving birth at all. But you did it, two weeks over due and you gave birth to a healthy baby girl and because of that I can sit here and say thank you. 

You raised me as a single mother for parts of my life doing the best you could with what you had and now that I am a mother myself I can truly understand how hard it must have been for you. I feel so grateful for everything you have done for me. I know times weren't always easy and neither was I but you never gave up on me, you continued to love and support me in the best way you knew how so thank you.

 

It must have been hard without Dad around you had to do it all on your own. And I don't know if anyone has ever told you this but you have done an amazing job. It can't have been easy with him gone, not being able to ask for his advice or opinion or send us there when we were being little witches. But again you did it, so thank you.

It hasn't always been smooth sailing for the both of us and that is because I am a lot like you. Stubborn, strong-willed, opinionated but also kind hearted, loving and extremely loyal, so for that I thank you.

There have been many things we have both had to accept during our time together and upon doing so we have built a loving and beautiful friendship and I hope I can do the same with my daughter. It took us 27 years to get it right but we got there in the end and that's all that matters, so thank you.

Thank you for being crazy and thank you for being beautiful. And most of all thank you for being my Mum.

Zoe xx

 

Navigating Motherhood

A mothers works is never done it starts from the moment of conception without her even knowing it. Then she says the words "I'm pregnant" and all of a sudden what was once hers is now shared. Over time she will nourish, grow and love the life growing inside of her. Her body changes, it grows, it stretches, it aches and it does things she never knew it was capable of doing. Suddenly anything seems possible for her because it's all for the tiny delicate life she carries inside her.

No matter which way they are born, she has given birth, she has brought life into the world and no one can ever take that away from her. Whether she goes into labor spontaneously or elective, with or without drugs , Vaginal or C-Section. Whether she decides to feed her baby breast milk or formula, use cloth or disposable nappies she still births, she still feeds and she still changes her child and she does it with instinct and love.

She will lose a lot of sleep throughout her lifetime, worry will become her new best friend and she will feel guilt like never before. She will lose pieces of herself, some she will discover again and some she will lose forever, she will mourn times in her life that she once took for granted. Some days she will feel trapped and overwhelmed but of all the things she will feel she knows that these are just moments in time and they will always be outweighed by an overwhelming sense of love, pride and purpose.

Through all the obstacles she will experience on her journey the one thing she will never forget is the love she discovers, its a love that you can only dream off. It's one that brings on so many emotions the good and the bad, some she wishes she could forget and some she wishes she could replay over and over again.

It's the kind of love that can never be replaced. It's the love that will never go anywhere. This is the kind of love that will forever make her a Mother.

Zoe xx