Bittersweet Babyhood

These are the days, where we long for sleep and the simplest of tasks seem to take us half the week.

Where our patience tests us (our toddlers too), we wonder if we’re ever doing enough, and surely we do?

To keep them busy,

To keep them happy,

To fill their day with fun.

Whilst we feed, and we burp and we rock to sleep the newest little person, so little, like they were once.

With so much to do, and so little time, it’s a constant fear of missing the little things that often fills our minds.

So, I sit, a little longer than I should. One on my knee and one right beside.

I read three or four books more, even when she’s sleepy eyed.

We play outside a little bit passed dinner, and bath time is often a little bit late.

But our bellies are always full and there are always more games to play.

They’re only little for such a short time. And my heart grows a little heavy when I think about how they won’t always be little and by my side.

Though, that’s the bitter sweetness of it all, some day they’ll have their own little hands to hold.

So, for now I treasure every moment, cuddles and tantrums alike. And when I’m stuck on the couch for the fiftieth time with a baby that won’t settle and a toddler with an attitude as large as mine…

I’ll remember that these moments only last a very short while and no matter how big they get, they’ll forever be my babies- just like I am to those parents of mine.

Xo Emily @ LovingLittleOne.com

Advertisements

Two Weeks with Two Under Two

Holy heck. If that wasn’t the fastest fortnight of my entire life then I don’t know what was.

Matilda is two weeks old today. Which wells my heart and makes me teary at the same time. Mostly because I know that time won’t be slowing down any time soon.

Both of the girls have been amazing these past couple of weeks. Violet especially is beginning to shine in her new role as “big sister”. Although she is still yet to master the art of sharing, she really is making huge progress with her adjustment to having her little sister around.

I won’t fluff it for you, the first weekend for Vi was really tough. Tough on her and us. There were definitely a few contributing factors; excitement about visitors, lack of naps (because of the excitement about visitors), out of routine, staying with her grandparents… I could list a million things really. But she didn’t handle it too well to begin with. Don’t get me wrong, she was absolutely smitten with her little sister, but that first weekend was TOUGH. Now that we’re passed it though, and she’s had time to adjust without extra people around the house, she’s doing fantastically. Though still takes Matilda’s dummy occasionally.. she thinks it’s funny, I definitely don’t.

Matilda herself has been a little joy. I forgot how much newborns SLEEP! I WISH toddlers slept the way newborns do… all day, every day hahaha! But for the most part she’s a great little sleeper, besides the odd few hours at witching hour (shivers). She is quite a little bit more windy than Vi ever was (from what I can remember). But she really is slotting so easily into our little family.

I’m tired, of course. But I’m honestly one of the happiest sleep deprived people you will ever meet. Having my girls and my man all together these past few weeks has brought me nothing but teary eyed joy.

I often find myself trying to imprint all of these moments we’re having together in my memory forever. Violet hugging her tiny sister, Dan reading to them both whilst I make dinner. It’s the simple everyday moments… I try to grasp them as tightly as I can so not to ever forget them. They aren’t big significant moments by any means, but they’re heart warming, and so special.

I often find myself wondering if it’s possible at all to be any happier then what I am right now. If it is, then we certainly have a lot to look forward to.

And as quick as this update has been, I need sleep. But I’ll try to keep this regular. These are things I want to remember.

Xo Emily @ LovingLittleOne.com

What’s in my Hospital Bag: Baby Edition

There is a huge amount of information on the internet what you should pack in a hospital bag for baby, when you should pack it, how much of what to pack and what not to pack at all. And although all helpful, I found when I was pregnant with Violet I struggled to find a decent source of information on Australian products, or at least products you could actually buy in Australia.

So, as an Australian mother about to have her second baby, here’s my list of essentials, things you’ll actually put to use and things you’ll definitely be able to buy here down under, whether it be in store or online. And if you’re not from Australia, these are all still products I’ve used and love so if you can get your hands on these things, do try!

This post could get quite long, so if you’re in a hurry, you’ll find the summary of each item in italics underneath my blabbing.

1. Nappies and Wipes

98B4A4BA-330C-44CB-846D-1056F15C2DED.JPG

22DE14D2-9033-4166-943F-A26E7174790F.JPG

I thought it best to begin with the obvious. I can’t remember if the hospital supplied nappies when Violet was born, but even if they did it wasn’t many so you will NEED these (obviously). Generally they suggest at least one packet, two if you want to make extra certain you’ll have enough. When it comes to the type it really is personal preference, every baby responds differently to different types of nappies. Some babies have extra sensitive bottoms, but generally they all get a little rash from having a nappy on for the first time in their existence. I have Huggies Essentails packed for the moment, I’ve tried them with Violet and find them to be quite good quality, I’ve also packed the BabyLove wipes. But as I said, it really is just a case of seeing what works for your baby, I had Aldi Newborn nappies in Vi’s hospital bag and they worked just fine and I don’t remember which wipes I used. As long as they catch the poop and don’t fall apart you’re on the right track!

Pack at LEAST one packet of newborn nappies and a packet of wipes(whatever kind you want)

2. Blankets

8DF31FC8-4916-4264-AE6E-A24B86174FD4.JPG

Now these the hospital DOES supply, so if you’re not fussed on what blanket your little one is wrapped in then you really don’t need to pack any. Personally I like to have a couple of different colours and patterns for photo reasons, and I also love the extra softness. I have two packed, a white waffle type from Designer Bebe in Bamboo Viscose, it feels absolutely heavenly, honestly can’t get enough! And the second is a cream and white striped blanket from Bubba Blue, one side has cute pink animals on it as well. It’s a little thicker, just in case the air conditioning in the hospital is a little cool and lets be real, it’s always overly cold in hospitals.

Pack blankets you like if you want, although the hospital will supply some

3. Singlets (x4)

37F3547F-422C-46CA-BAEF-4CA7DDC911E5.JPG

These are a must in my opinion, new babies are used to the cosy warmth of inside our uterus so they do need a few extra layers to keep their body temperature normal. I’ve packed 4, I do believe they are the kmart brand, but I could be mistaken (they were a gift). Really any baby singlets will be just fine and newborn size is your best bet unless you’ve been advised otherwise, you can often purchase them in packs which is super handy for the hospital.

Pack at least 4 newborn singlets (newborn size)

4. Long Sleeved Onesies (x6)

BAA28FE6-BBBC-44EB-BBA6-466A5B4B58CF.JPG

Long sleeved onesies are also a must, for the reason previously stated. I have a real issue with decision making, hence why I’ve packed 6, but 4 would also suffice. The terry towelling onesies are absolutely excellent, I’ve packed 3, you’ll find them at a number of different stores from kmart to Best and Less and they’ll all be about the same quality. They’re just that little extra bit warm, plus I can’t get enough of the look of a newborn in a terry onesie. I’ve also got 3 non terries, because I can’t make decisions remember? ZIPS are your friend, I didn’t realise we only have ONE newborn onesie with a zip, but the more zip ones you can find the better (the buttons are from satan when its 3am and you can’t see properly because of how tired you are).

As for sizing, I found 0000 (4 zeros) perfect on Vi who was born 6lb 13oz (about the average size of a newborn), She also fit into 00000 (5 zeros) and wore a couple in the hospital, however I wouldn’t recommend purchasing any as they outgrow them within about a week. I have some packed but that is really only because I have them so I may as well use them. It’s also best to pack one or two 000 (3 zeros) just in case you have yourself a little chunker.

So to play it safe pack at least one 000 and a few 0000 long sleeved onesies, if you can, buy the ones with ZIPS!

5. Short Sleeved Onesies (x2)

12000993-D05A-40CC-8EF6-2099B4FB2EBD.JPG

These are definitely not 100% necessary. You’ll be wanting to keep bub as warm as you can, however on the off chance that the hospital is warmer than expected, I’ve chucked in two short sleeved onesies. It’s unlikely that bub will wear them, however she is an end of spring baby so I thought I’d better be safe. If anything she might wear one of these underneath a swaddle and a blanket, but likely not on its own.

Unlikely to be used, but two short sleeved onesies can be packed on the off chance the hospital is overly warm

6. Socks, Beanies and Mittens

79CCE362-04EB-46E3-BF4A-DA40D9E3F22F.JPG

Again for warmth reasons these are great to bring along. The long sleeved onesies should cover baby’s feet anyway so socks might not be 100% necessary, but they’re good to have. Mittens are also great, not necessarily because of the temperature but because little ones tend to unintentionally scratch their lovely little faces with their new found hands. And the beanie? It’s just a photo opp too cute to pass up. I have two pairs of socks, a beanie and a pair of mittens packed.

At least one pair of socks, a pair of mittens and a beanie are great to have.

7. Swaddles

587FF373-DAA2-41D1-B198-E296F8860EEA.JPG

This is definitely something I am doing differently this time around. When Vi was born, we only had the muslin swaddles, THIS time I’ll be packing three different types, one muslin, one Ergococoon and one Love to Dream. Babies wriggle, and often regular muslin swaddles have the tendency of coming undone when least convienient. We had the ergococoon when Vi was little but definitely didn’t use it as much as we could have, not because it wasn’t good, just because we had SO many muslin swaddles. Ergo has a little slit at the bottom for easy nappy changes and buttons at the top to keep their little arms in. Love to Dream swaddles are absolutely raved out here in Australia, I never purchased one when we had vi (because we had a million muslins) but they make swaddling extra easy with a ZIP! So naturally when I was gifted it (thanks Bri!) it went straight into the hospital bag pile.

You’ll want at least two swaddles if not more, and the style is totally up to you.

8. Bathtime basics

91437B2E-AD50-403E-854C-BF50E994EF53.JPG

We weren’t in hospital long enough with Vi to bathe her there, but I liked having the products I preferred with me just in case. You’ll want gentle products intended for newborns, and it doesn’t really matter if you don’t end up using them because you will need them at home anyway. I have a few face washers packed as well as the Nature’s Child organic baby wash and some moisturiser. Hospitals can be fairly drying so moisture filled products are always ideal.

The hospital may supply the basics if you have to bathe baby there, however if you have a product preference then definitely consider packing it, as well as 2 or so face washers.

9. Burp Cloths/Hand Towels

D63C06C1-A4E1-4D75-B39E-2B8FAD690868.JPG

We are lucky enough to have a super crafty nanny merele who is a whiz on the sewing machine. She whipped up these wonderful burp cloths for us before Violet was born. They’re treey toweling on one side and flannel on the other, I’m almost certain similar things can be purchased online, however a hand towel will do the exact same job. Babies can be a bit spewy, so its nice to have something covering your clothes just in case.

3 hand towels or burp cloths are super handy if you’re worried about getting spit-up on your clothes.

10. Dummies

2976011F-484E-486D-B796-156B18FD2531.JPG

This is definitely a personal preference. I know some parents don’t use dummies with their little ones so you definitely don’t have to include these in your hospital bag if its not something you want for your child. We do use them, and they worked wonderfully with Vi, it could be completely different with this baby but I’ll pack them anyway. I like to stick to the natural rubber products for newborns, they give me a bit of piece of mind about what I’m putting into my babies mouth. The brands I have packed are Natural Rubber Soother and Hevea, lots of people commented on how ugly they look, but I think the big dummy tiny baby thing positively adorable.

Pack them if you want them, don’t pack them if you don’t want them, simples.

11. Butt Cream

3059A40C-1FED-4E04-A06D-962D69E9E8E5.JPG

Sensitive little baby bums aren’t used to nappies yet, so some nappy rash cream is good to have on hand. I have the Thankyou brand Nappy Balm packed as well as some paw paw cream, both are great for relieving those little rashes. Sudocrem is also amazing, I’ll be packing our big tub of that as well when I find it in amoungst all our moving boxes. I think the hospital may have supplied some sample sized creams when Violet was born, but every hospital varies so it’s definitely good to have on hand.

At least one type of nappy rash cream, Thankyou brand, Sudocrem and Paw-Paw cream are all great

12. The BAG

B59F1DD0-B0F8-4B54-9D0D-D5A2708E90DF.JPG

The centre of it all, the bag! You really don’t have to have anything fancy, anything big enough to fit the entirety of this list in it will work. I have friends that used duffel bags and even suitcases. My mum got me my nappy bag before Vi was born and it is just about the perfect size. It is one of the Colette by Colette Hayman baby bags, they go for about $80 but are definitely worth the investment, I’ll be continuing to use mine as it’s pretty much still in perfect condition after almost 2 years of use, plus I feel kind of chic when I use it, it is very pretty.

Anything big enough to fit everything in it works!

17EE882C-D2C1-4410-A168-A67BFD0343A5.JPG

So that about sums up what I pack in the hospital bag for baby. I’m more than likely forgetting things (pregnancy brain right?). But for the most part these are all things I used with Violet in the hospital when she was born. Of course every birth and baby are different and depending on the length of your stay and how big your baby is born you may change some of the sizes and number of clothing items you take.

I pack a completely seperate bag for myself, just because it wouldn’t all fit in one bag. So my next post will be the Mama’s Edition. I hope this was somewhat helpful for someone out there!

If you’ve been there and done that, what are some products you recommend? I’m always on the look out for good item to take!

 

xo Emily @ LovingLittleOne

The Second Time Around – The differences between my first and second pregnancies

Theres nothing quite like waking up to being slapped in the face with a block. Furthermore theres nothing quite like waking up, 7 and a half months pregnant and being slapped in the face with a block. Delightful and refreshing to say the least. It’s mornings like this that make me laugh to think about how drastically different things have been for my second pregnancy. Although physically they’ve been largely similar, the whirlwind that is life with a toddler makes things… interesting.

No Time Alone (ever)

I remember being 32 weeks pregnant with Violet. Though I did work, for the most part my days were spent watching netflix, reading and going for long walks in the evening, on my own. Hours were filled with excitement and anticipation for what was to come, talking to baby and marveling at the beautiful, tiny clothes we had stored away in a little box marked “baby things”. It was like something out of a novel and had a similar feeling to what you’d expect running through a field of daisies to some beautiful music would feel like.

This time around is like marching into battle with an extra 3 kilos strapped to your stomach. You’re aware that there is life growing inside of you (and how beautiful it is) but you have a JOB to do. And that job is wrangling the beast that is a nearly two-year-old (a cute and loveable beast of course).

Less Marvelling at Tiny Clothes

Amoungst our move I put aside the box marked “newborn” because I know I have to go through it and start washing things and finding a place for them shortly. But the truth is, I’ve not peeked inside even once yet. Not because I don’t want to, everyone LOVES looking at tiny baby clothes. I just simply haven’t had the time, and I know if I do peek the mum instinct will kick in and I’ll then feel obligated to wash it all now. And to be honest, I’ve got enough washing to do at this very moment.

Having EVERYTHING we need already

The beauty that has presented itself at present is the utter EASE of having a second child the same gender as the first. I have bought ONE item for her so far, and I bought it because I bought Violet the same thing in a larger size at the same time and went giddy over the thought of having them in matching outfits. But we honestly already have an entire wardrobe of clothes for her from birth to 20 months, and we haven’t needed a single thing more. The stress I had from the first pregnancy of not having enough is completely gone, and I can say that in utter confidence.

Not Rushing, for any reason, like ever

Above all I’ve felt a huge sense of “theres no rush” this entire pregnancy. No rush to buy things and no rush to set things up. So much so that when I went to my last appointment and my midwife told me I should probably start packing my hospital bag I was shocked, I hardly even realised that there was a possibility of us meeting our daughter within just a month or two! With Violet I was constantly counting down the days, this time, every time I hit another week I’m gobsmacked. Time passes so incredibly quickly when you’re busy with a toddler, even if you’re not doing anything in particular at all.

The Conversations

One difference I’ve certainly picked up on is the conversations I have with people about my pregnancy (mainly people I don’t know, as the people I do know are always very supportive). With Violet it was almost constantly about how young I was and how daunting it must be to be having a baby. I’m not sure if its the bags around my eyes, the toddler on my hip or the ring on my finger, but people seem to be a lot more accepting of the fact that I’m pregnant, while at the same time voicing how exhausted they think I’ll be when the baby is born… Babies are exhausting, toddler or not, they’re a lot of work. So I have no doubt that I’ll be tired, but I certainly don’t need reminding of that every time I venture from my home.

A LOT less reading

I wouldn’t say I’m heading into the birth of our second daughter knowing everything, but I am lot more confident this time around. I did so much reading when I was pregnant with Vi, about what to expect and all of the different things that can and do happen during pregnancy, labour and birth. This time, I glance at my pregnancy app once a week, learn a little about whats happening on the inside and carry on. Every baby and every birth is different, so I’m certainly not expecting things to go exactly the same way, but this time I KNOW what labour feels like, I know what to expect if things go according to plan, and I’m prepared for things even if they don’t go according to plan. I’m not such a novice anymore, and I do like fe feeling!

KNOWING

This is a big one, because having already experienced pregnancy and child birth there is one thing I know about that is overwhelmingly exciting, and that is the incredible love that you experience when you hold your baby for the first time. Nothing can compare to that. With Vi, I was excited, but also quietly sh*tting myself… This time its all LOVE, and that is an amazing feeling.

It’s strange because you get so caught up in the world that is parenthood that you often forget that you’re carrying another tiny person inside of you wherever you go. I still have moments where I’m shocked to remember that we’ll have another tiny little person in our arms in such a short time.

 

xo Emily @LovingLittleOne

Move Update – Sunny CQ

Unbelievably, it’s just about to have been an entire month since we packed up our little townhouse and made the shift from Brisbane to Central Queensland. How crazy! I know we have a ton of people following our journey so I thought an update would be good to keep everyone up to date on whats happening with us.

So, since the move we’ve been staying with my parents in their lovely home about 20 minutes from Gladstone. The entire contents of our little townhouse fits neatly into half of my parents garage, which makes me laugh a bit. But also makes the thankful that we haven’t seemed to have acquired too many unnecessary things. We made the decision to keep everything that isn’t immediately needed boxed up so that the moving process into our own home here wouldn’t be half the job that it was from Brisbane. We’ll simply just stack the boxes and furniture into my dads trailer and do a few trips.

Probably the most exciting news we’ve had since the move has been Dan’s new job. He’s acquired a full time front of house management position with a fabulous privately owned restaurant in Gladstone. For anyone that knows us, you’ll know the last 3-4 years he’s been working part time in hospitality with a company called “Grill’d”, which paid the bills of course, but never really offered any sort of fulfilment. It’s a large company, and has had some issues over the last couple years with pay rates and employee satisfaction. So to go from where he was to this new employment has been so refreshing, for the both of us. Honestly, seeing him come home happy after a 10 hour shift has been the most wonderful thing. It’s one thing to work long hours, it’s certainly another to work long hours and enjoy it (beyond the general tiredness and such). His plan at the moment will involve some online study as well within the coming year. But beyond that, it is really starting to feel like we’ve made the right decision by packing up our lives and shifting.

Our next step at the moment is finding our own rental. We’re perfectly comfortable at mum and dads, but anyone with a young family would know how important it is to have your own space and time alone to be just that, a family. And it really is a priority for me to feel settled in our own space before the baby comes. So the last couple of weeks have been filled with property searching and inspections. The rental market is in no way lacking here, so I’ve got confidence we’ll find something right for us with plenty of time to spare. My parents have been very insistent that “there’s no rush” and of course, there really isn’t. But it is something we want for ourselves, and now that Dan has a secure income we’re pleased to be able to pursue it. And so incredibly grateful that we’ve had somewhere so relaxing to stay in the interim.

We really have been so very lucky, with everything not just this move. Dan and I have incredibly supportive parents and really, no amount of thank yous would ever be enough to express our gratitude. At the moment, I look back to the day I found out I was pregnant with Violet and cannot believe the difference within myself, nor can I believe just how far our families have gone out of their way to help us. We’re still learning and growing into ourselves every day, but this move really has been a pinnacle stepping stone in our growth as a family. Of course, we’re still yet to set up our own little network here, but having moved so often in the last 10 or so years, I know that it is something that will come with time.

My next plan (beyond having a baby of course) is to get Vi out and about in town. Find some play groups, possibly start her up in swimming again or maybe even a different sport. She’s SUCH a busy little bee, and loves just getting out of the house and interacting with the world. Even simple shopping trips fill her with delight. I’m sure we’ll find something fun and regular to keep her entertained. In the meanwhile we’ve been enjoying the fabulous water play park on East Shores and a couple of the bigger parks around town, and we can’t forget the WONDERFUL back yard my parents have. Coming from no yard at all to an entire acre has been absolutely amazing, and she is loving every minute of it.

In short, I was very nervous for the reality of this move. We were leaving a secure part time job, our townhouse and all of our loved ones behind on virtually nothing but a promise of things being more manageable here. But of course, that was dependent on Dan finding work. I had faith something that suited him perfectly would come along, it would just take some time. And I will admit, those couple of weeks without work were very stressful, not in a sense of finance so much but a sense of security for the future and more or less proving that we had made the right decision to move. So when he did secure this new job, and we realised how well it suited our family it was a huge weight off of our shoulders (I cried, A LOT). We took a leap of faith, and to see it paying off brings me so much joy, and offers SO much promise for our future.

And to top it all off, we welcome our second little girl into our lives in just 8 short weeks. How utterly blissful.

 

xx Emily @ Loving Little One

Pregnancy, Week 23: Ethics and Questioning my Sanity

You know you’ve been binge watching too much of Netflix’s “The Good Place” when just about every thought that pops into your head, you manage to somehow link back to moral ethics. And this week/last week… we watched the whole two seasons (again). So now, I’m sitting here questioning the ethics behind feeding my toddler left over roast veggies because I couldn’t be arsed grocery shopping, again.

Don’t get me wrong, the veggies are healthy and she LOVES them so it’s not the act, more or less the laziness behind having zero groceries in the house for about the 6th day in a row.

At 23 weeks, my brain is mush and the absolute last thing I want to be doing is grocery shopping. It’s always crowded, and about 8 degrees colder than I find mildly comfortable. PLUS last time I went grocery shopping I got stank-eyed by a 2 year old (not my child, surprisingly. Though she has got a good stank face) and its really just something I don’t have the strength to face again just yet… He was a MEAN looking 2 year old.

little bean is now big enough to show easily in pretty much anything I wear. Which is both good and bad. Good because it’s more obvious now that I’m having a baby and its not just pudge from my last one. And bad because pretty much all of my non maternity pants no longer fit, including my favourite tights. But alas, this bump will only grow bigger so I’ve again reached the crossroads between sucking it up and continuing to wear the same wardrobe week in and out, or buying more maternity clothes. Which is never really a good idea if we’re being honest, they’ll only be needed for a few months longer, then they just become baggy house clothes that you spent too much money on.

My memory is currently about as awful as my bladder capacity. And whoever said you should have less frequent trips to the toilet in the second trimester is a LIAR. Swift kicks to the bladder make it pretty difficult to go any longer than about an hour between loo visits. I forget where I put my phone, my keys, my wallet, Violet’s nappy wipes, the TV remote… pretty much anything smaller then a carry-on bag you can bet I’ve misplaced. It certainly doesn’t help that Vi tends to hide these things regularly, but you know, you can’t blame everything on the kids.

Beyond losing things and stretching clothes, the last couple of weeks have been super all over the place for me, emotionally. I tend to swing wildly and randomly back and forth between “everything is okay, we’ve got this” to “holy crap what the hell are we doing”, and although both feelings are pretty normal, I’ve felt myself internalising them a lot more than usual this pregnancy. Which means bad news when the bottled emotions come spilling out all over my coffee in the form of panicked wails.

Dan and I are no strangers to this whiplash kind of emotional rollercoaster, just seems to be heightened for the both of us at the moment which can be both stressful and confusing. We do have big things going on in our life beyond the baby and Vi that are obviously contributing, it’s all reached quite a pivotal peak and we’ve just been left clinging on to faith that we’ll reach the other side relatively unscathed and hopefully in a better place as a family.

The irony of life really rears its head in moments like these, the most challenging things often come around at what feels like exactly the wrong time. But then again, is there ever really a good time to face trialling adversity? Probably not, much like there never really being a good time to go to the dentist or call Centrelink *shivers*. But we push forward, whether it be by choice or by the force of change and time.

The one thing I am sure of is my love for Dan and the family we’ve created together, beyond the crazy hormones and shitty life situations. They give me my sanity, a constant in a world that is so uncertain for us at the moment. They’re all of my good mornings and all of my goodnights, and soon we’ll have one more little person to cuddle for all of those.

These 23 weeks have certainly been wild, and very very fast. In fact, I really can’t believe we’re here already. We’ll be seeing you soon little bean!

Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we truly are.

-Arthur Golden

Xo Emily @ LovingLittleOne.com

“Who the hell am I” : Challenges with self image in Parenthood

From the moment you lay eyes on your first born, you feel a shift. Suddenly, everything you once deemed important becomes a shadow behind this tiny little human that lays quietly (or loudly) in your arms.

The first moments are often peaceful and relieving, and most often remembered through a haze of exhaustion and hormones, no matter how your birth took place. Though the one emotion that will forever be cemented in your brain is the tremendous amount of love you felt, and still do.

Your days become a giant mixing bowl filled to the brim with crazy things you would have never imagined in your life before your baby. Not only learning to navigate feeding, sleep, changing and settling your little one, but doing the same for yourself whilst in full blown recovery from likely one of the biggest physical events your body has ever been through.

There is no use in trying to be polite about it, your body is a mess. Your hormones are through the roof, you bleed for weeks on end, you leak endlessly from your significantly larger (and significantly more painful) chest balloons, all while getting the equivalent of about 3 hrs sleep every 24 hours (depending on circumstance of course). So really, there’s no wonder you may be sitting on the couch at 3am with a newborn attached to your boob thinking, “who the hell am I?”. In fact, your life changes so much after having children its no wonder at all if you’re still sitting on the couch at 3am long after your toddler/teenager has gone to bed thinking “who the hell am I?”.

There is a lot to be said about the way we think about ourselves. Outside influences almost always contribute to this, so it is only natural that your self image changes after becoming a parent, for women and men alike. I know, as a mum, there is almost a constant looming pressure to provide the absolute best experience for your children as you can. From tummy time and sensory play when they’re tiny, to outside park play and time spent with other children in toddlerhood. I find myself almost always analysing our days wondering if we’re doing enough. Even though I can almost guarantee that if you’re there for your kids, they’ll feel like it is enough regardless of what you get up to.

Beyond those moments, there is the downtime, when you’re alone and left with time to think about you. Social media for me, is one of the major things that triggers these moments. It’s more or less allowing myself to think about the fact that I am really not sure of who I am beyond parenthood. I’m not sure of my style, or what people think of me as a person beyond being a mother (not that either of those things should matter). I’m sure this is something other parents experience, and even people who aren’t. The path to understanding yourself is very complex, and often confronting. But it has definitely been something I have been left to contemplate quite often.

The main thing I take away from it, is that its okay not to know these things. And it’s certainly okay for now, to let “parenthood” be my definition, even if its just for a little while. Because the truth is, what defines you is something that is constantly evolving. I mean, many aspects of my life have defined me; my love for art, reading and learning, my determination to improve myself through the sport that I loved (squash), and even the places that sport took me throughout the years, as well as the people I’ve grown up with, and the people I’ve met along the way. Every detail of the events and people in my life have helped create “me”.

And for better part of the last 3 years, parenthood has been a massive part of who I am. My life, twenty-four seven, 365 days of the year. So yes, I am a mum. I’m also a lot of other things, some of those things I understand, and some of them I don’t. But for now, what I most understand is my life with my loving partner and my soon to be two children. And right now, I’m totally okay with that being all I know, because more that will define me is yet to come.

xx Emily @ LovingLittleOne.com