Societies unrealistic expectations on mothers ~

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With the raging rise of social media it has put a unprecedented pressure on the expectation of self-image. I’m the first to promote a active and healthy life but have myself been sucked down the vortex of expecting a myself to look a certain way especially in light of ‘bouncing back’ after childbirth.
Because of being fit before pregnancy I have had a number of people tell me how quickly I’ll bounce back. That I’ll be in a bikini in no time. That by the time Valley is 12 weeks and I got to the Whitsundays for a wedding I’ll be bikini ready.
I have loved getting my blood moving and being active again with my new found postpartum energy BUT I want to say a few things:
1. ladies, as hard as it is, do not listen to the voices of those who put pressure on you. And don’t beat yourself up over comparing yourself to other mothers postpartum because like my picture above, it may not be realistic. I encourage you to overcome the expectation that you need to be different than you are. You are beautiful. You just created a human. You’re pretty much a superhero.
2. To those who intend to be “encouraging” or just have an opinion about someone body, don’t say “oh you still look thick around your waist”, “you’ll loose it all soon enough”, “you’ll be like before in no time”. It’s unrealistic to think that women who have birthed a human will ever be free from the marks of childbirth.

In fact, society should celebrate these marks rather then wish them away as it’s make feeling confident far easier. Which brings me to my final point.
3. Society as a whole need to rethink how we view mothers. Mothers shouldn’t HAVE to justify why they look different, why they struggle to look like they did beforehand and how much time it takes to look ‘socially acceptable’.
Mothers are incredible.

Oh and the background and dirty mirror is just another beautiful reflection of motherhood where a child is put first before presenting a perfect household.

And that too, is perfectly ok.

My wildly unexpected pregnancy journey:

I have always had a strong desire to be a mother and absolutely adored pregnant women. I was that person who just wanted to touch bellies that were growing life and could not wait until I had one of my own.

We were super blessed in being able to conceive quickly when the time came that we were ready to have a family. I was strong, healthy, stable and so in love with my mountain man, that really, it couldn’t have been more perfect.

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Seven weeks into the excitement of growing life within my body started to evidence some pretty tough symptoms. So many changes rapidly took over my body. My 110% go getter lifestyle took a serious shock to the system. I have been writing out a list of symptoms I have had during the different seasons of pregnancy. Mostly of which as uncomfortable and all of which are foreign. 56 in total to date ~ I added three just today alone.

Though my common response when asked about how my pregnancy was going was “exhausted” or “looking forward to it being over”; I still felt I wasn’t able to be real with myself about how hard it really has been. I felt for several reasons I just had to ‘suck it up’ as I am “tough” or “my mother had a good experience” or “so many women have had it way worse then I am now”. After all, I did complete an Olympic distance triathlon at 17 weeks in 3 hours and was constantly told I got the glow going on.

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I had a fairy-tale, idealistic view on what pregnancy would be like. At one stage I felt bitter towards all women for not sharing the reality of pregnancy with me. I remember clearly at 12 weeks, purchasing maternity clothing from a store and the women serving me stated while looking so beautiful and rubbing her belly as if she had a baby within “I remember the joy of growing life and just feeling so fulfilled and wanting to nourish my child with the best possible start. Oh how I loved being pregnant”. To which I replied with silence and smiled however was visualising not so nice thoughts towards her as I was captivated by jealousy of her experience.

If I am real to myself, I think that most of my pregnancy I have felt like a host. I love my little bear but I felt overwhelmed by having little control. This has left me feeling powerless, helpless and at times even hopeless. I researched antenatal depression at one stage and saw myself ticking off every box. I realised that I was allowing myself, which includes at this stage my little bear, to be overcome with emotions that need not be within. This is when I realised something needed to change and started declaring hope, joy and health over my body. I was often told, “embrace the changes”, which at the time, I felt resistant towards. However, since 33 weeks of pregnancy, since I moved 2,500kms across the country to Tasmania ~ away from work, distractions and many of the commitments I had, I have finally allowed myself to not only reflect, but embrace the changes and the feelings I have been going through.

Robin and Jekka-35.jpgRobin and Jekka-17I realised I had never had to learn to be humble, because I was so ridiculously capable at just about anything. I had a ton of energy and my mountain man was my partner, but I didn’t rely on or need his support in a physical sense. So the first time I couldn’t do up my own laces, I sobbed at the realisation that I actually needed help. Those days where I couldn’t get dinner on due to exhaustion, peed myself in public, pushed myself too hard and sprained a rib or pulled a tendon because I forgot my emerging limitations and then required weeks of physical support really challenged me. I have been extremely blessed with support and love all around. And finally, I have learned that relaxing into this wildly unexpected adventure, though my symptoms aren’t improving, has been in fact, the best thing for my mental health, pregnancy and baby so far.

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Now, as I am full term and expecting my little bear to come into my life at any moment, knowing full well this next season may present again new challenges, I am moved to tears knowing I will soon be holding my little child on earth side, whom will be showered in deep love and by my mountain mans side, we will be a family.

Today’s turn of unexpected events

Today I am 34 weeks pregnant.

This is the first day that I am on my own since moving to Tasmania and my husband banned me from doing anything but setting up my nursery and pack hospital bag as he noticed the impact of me not being able to nest and rest for the most of my pregnancy. This gave me great joy.

So we awoke and shared a lovely morning meal by the fireplace.

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Simply perfect.

I packed him a lunch box and Robin set off for the day to work on the foundations for ‘the Shearer Shack’.

A day where I do not have to get out of my pj’s was much needed and sounded just delightful. Slowly but surely I enjoyed the quite morning unpacking all the beautiful items I was gifted at my baby shower and preparing for Baby Bear’s arrival. In amongst nesting, I did some washing too.

 

Now our house has doors that lock automatically when the door is closed, so you either need to be on the inside or have a key when you exit the building. When I go outside I usually wedge the door open slightly or take a key with me.

Upon exiting the home for the second load of washing the wind took the door and slammed it shut, locking me out. We have a coded lock at the back door but pregnancy brain took its toll and there was nothing I could do to remember the code.

So here I am. Messy bed hair, no bra, house slippers, and a big bathrobe standing outside in the winter Tasmanian winds. My phone, keys and dignity all locked away within the home.

At this point we only have lived in Tasmania itself for 5 days and with my sense of direction, I could not remember where anyone we had met in our time here lived. There was no way my restless self was going to sit around for several hours waiting for Robin to come home.

I knew Robin was working 9 minutes from home. The road leading there was 100km/h and so my calculations had me at being able to walk that distance in about 2 hours. Math isn’t my strong point, and worse so pregnant.

Luckily for the wind that was around today the first load of washing was mostly dry. They were of course, all of Robins clothing, so I wacked on three of his slightly damp shirts, a pair of tracksuits and found my gumboots by the front door. K, dressed… enough. And set out for my hike.

Over the last week my pregnancy symptoms were pretty severe having me in tears just about everyday but today was different and I was determined to not let anything bring me down. I set out on my adventure to be with the one I love.

The first 2 km I was going strong, but after that started feeling niggles and pains. At the point I was limping along I had the brilliant idea of hitch hiking. At this point I had done nothing about my bed hair so you can imagine the sight. Messy little, massively pregnant pregnant lady on the side of a rural country road. To my surprise, it seemed pregnancy didn’t add to peoples sympathy in picking up a random from the side of the road. Countless cars drove by and I was determined to continue the journey.

I had made 4km of ground when I started thinking this might not have been my brightest plan but there was no point turning back. At this point if I sat down and rested a couple of minutes every kilometre it would relieve my back pain enough to continue a little further. I really was enjoying the fresh hair and singing to my Jesus as I continued to put one foot in front of another.

Two hours into my walk the Lord sent me a saint. A fella who had just become a grandad 10 days ago so was visiting his new grandchild from Western Australia. He was out and about running errands for his family when pity fell upon him and he picked me up. At the point I had covered 5km and didn’t realise there was 7km more to go to the Shearer Shack. I was so grateful I actually ran for the first time since 17 weeks pregnant. No, more like sprinted the 20 meters to his car door.

We chatted and drove the 7 km together and about 400 meters before the entrance to the property I see Robin driving in his car the opposite direction, presumably driving home. Oh no :/

I waved at Robin with little hope he saw me and just decided to continue my journey to the property anyway, where there I would wait for Robin to figure out where I might be.

Luckily enough this story ends happily, as he did see me, turned around, picked me up and together we went home to a warm slow cooked lunch together. I feel so blessed to have the energy today to have walked 5km and then to be rescued. Now I shall bathe and continue my day of resting and nesting.

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~ It was always you ~

Robin and Jekka-3-2I never believed in love at first sight until I laid my eyes on you. That night, dressed in black, a mane of a hair and a wild spirit. I just knew there was something so special about you.

 

Robin and Jekka-31I know it took a while to say back to you, that I too, was deeply in love with you. I just was so afraid to open my heart again after life brought its fair share of hurt previously. Being with you has taught me so many amazing lessons about myself that I’d never have known unless our paths crossed.

 

I never knew that I’d be able to experience love and life like you have allowed me to.

 

From where it all began to now, I am incredibly in love with you.

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Through all the dips and rises in life you have been my rock, my security and refuge.

I love how dedicated you are to this family, how adventurous and creative you are. I love that you will not settle for just the norm but are a seeker of the Lord’s will in you life and follow your wild dreams and passions.

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I can’t wait to see where life brings you. And the whole way, I will be here, right by your side.

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You make me complete.

Photo Credit: Rob Stephens

Both complete sadness and complete bliss ~ Naturally Jek’s bubba shower and fair well.

My heart is now so full even though yesterday was met with deep emotion.

Bittersweet.

I am so blessed to have been spoiled beyond compare at my baby shower, where each and every person celebrated in the joy of my darling little human about to enter onto earth side.

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I’ve never been so ‘in the moment’ and ‘present’ with people before than I did yesterday afternoon. This stemmed out of two factors; one, my go getter personality has virtually taken a holt since being pregnant and all I can do is just be. A quality I have only recently acquired. And two, yesterday was the last time for a long time I would see the beautiful faces of the many humans that I love so dearly in this world.

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In 10 short days is when I take my husbands hand and our little family and embark upon a leap of faith kind of journey to the other side of Australia. I’ve always loved adventure, change and living excitedly. However, of all the moves, this is he hardest, because never before have I had the deep heart connection to so many people as I have since being where I am now.

I am extremely emotional.

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I am extremely pregnant.

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I am extremely blessed.

Becoming a nesting Mumma and wanting the best for bubba.

It is an incredible journey watching my body change and grow knowing that it is creating a life. I marvel at the wondrous (and sometimes horrifying) changes that are taking place. Who would have thought that almost half the population of history has gone through what I am going through now? I have a increased respect for women now.

I felt bub quite early on, 15 weeks with my first flutter, then 20 weeks and my mountain man got to feel the life within moving to his touch. Now it is a daily occurrence for bub to have a dance party converting my round belly into all sorts of shapes momentarily.

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Typically I am a go-getter, 110% miles an hour type of person, but pregnancy has slowed me down about 14 notches. And with that, the desire to nest for this gypsy soul has increased. Which has proven quite challenging when you are de-cluttering your life to the size of a trailer for a move over 30 hours away. But I have been able to spend some time making bits and bobs, doing DIY projects (pic below), making wish lists and pinning dream bub items on pinterest for when we do settle down.

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Some things however, I could not resist getting now. Like this Silver Cross Special Edition Henley pram. When we walked into the baby shop, Robin walked straight up to it and pushed it around like “he’s the man”. I love the mobility with even one hand, the warmth within the bassinet for bub and the big basket underneath, as I am a lover of practicality. The leather handles and cup holder are a beautiful bonus.

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For me, now, taking care of bub is my number one priority. Feeding my body nutritiously has been hard, so thankfully I am able to reply on my toxic free, potently powerful and ethically made supplements to nourish bub. Jump on over to my prenatal care tab to see what I have been advised to take and why.

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Tips of the day:

  • When I am feeling nauseous, increase the Natural Mineral Drink USA AUS and I become A-OK!
  • When growing and stretching, lather yourself up with lotion. I love using organic coconut oil where there are no stretch marks yet and where I have some already I use the Wrinkle Guard USA AUS as it works to reduce scarring. I love that my big purple markers, even as I grow larger are becoming more faint.
  • The importance of supplements for me is to give bub the foundational healthy pillars for being a little warrior once in this world.

We’re moving!

Growing up in a unique way where my gypsy parents allowed the value of extraordinary experience not to get in the way of comfort or traditional schooling and doing life traditionally for that matter, has really shaped my thinking ~ I got to experience living in an African village in the fourth poorest country in the world, traveling the east coast of Australia on a horse drawn wagon with my three siblings, Mumma, Daddy and four beautiful horses, growing my early years in a Australian Aboriginal community in Northern Australia and just about every other adventure from outback living to cities and in between. 15 homes. 9 school changes. This all has taught me to love people, love life, love diversity and think critically about how to do this thing called life.

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Now married to my mountain man, as a young couple exploring our options for starting out in this world, I can’t help but think there must be more options then living at home with parents, renting or tying yourself down in a mortgage. Often I feel different for thinking outside of these three options. In Australia we are extremely privileged in comparison to other parts of the world but also the younger generation are heavily burdened with carrying mortgages of 30 years and astronomical amount of interest paid in this time.

Sometimes putting it out there, having a whole lot of faith and taking a step out of the ‘norm’ is all you need for doors to open in ways you’d never imagine.

We knew that our journey in South East Queensland was coming to a close mid 2017 as my man finishes his university studies, I enter maternity leave and our next adventure awaits. After months of diligently searching for where our hearts are taking us and having faith that we would be guided to our right path, having multiple, wonderful doors being open but not having peace, THE extraordinary has just fell in our laps. A opportunity of a life time to be able to care take someone’s land for a open amount of time where we can build a movable place of our own where we can call home and save for our very own land. Want to know where? … the enchanted Tasmania!

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A new community. A new home and limitless opportunity.

So now we’re working out the finer tweaks… temporary housing… we explored everything from tiny homes, container homes, kit homes, yurts, caravans and school bus conversions. Have you lived in alternative housing before? Comment what you’d suggest and why?

As it isn’t our land and we will need it to be mobile. We’re leaning towards a container home at this stage. I can’t wait to move in the next three months and start the building process. So stay tuned to see our next adventure unfolds.

Did I mention this is 6 short weeks before our first child is due?