Image credit: Melissa Jean Photography
Motherhood is hugely transformational and it’s often the time when you’re left feeling completely isolated, trying to figure it all out on your own. Whilst it can feel that way; you’d be surprised to learn how common those feelings are…
Struggling with your new identity….wanting your own life back…feelings of resentment…boundaries being challenged…deciding your current life path no longer aligns with your values…yep, this is all completely NORMAL!
In this blog series, I’ll be bring you stories from women of all walks of life, sharing how motherhood has shaped them.
See how whilst each story is unique, there are common threads that link us all! x
Like so many first-time mamas, Bianca had no idea what to expect in birth (or the post-partum period) beyond the basics of having a baby. ‘Going in blind’ is how she (and so many women) felt into her first labour. Physically, mentally and emotionally it all came as a bit of a shock.
Each subsequent birth Bianca became more empowered and knowledgeable and is now capturing women through her photography who birth outside the hospital system.
I’ve been watching Bianca’s journey online for several years (feeling like a level 10 stalker saying that lol!) and just love the way she has grown and transformed in her role as both a mother and a birth photographer. You can really see her passion shine through in the images she takes so check her out and you’ll see what I mean.
I’ll let Bianca tell her story – it’s truly empowering!
So let’s dive in!
Let’s go back to life before kids – paint a picture of who Bianca was back then.
Before children, myself and my husband lived a very spontaneous life!
We loved live music so we would be going to lots of music festivals and gigs.
I worked in Sydney city for many years straight out of school as a legal secretary. We then moved to the Hunter Valley, NSW, where myself and my husband both got jobs in the coal mines. We did that for almost 10 years until we fell pregnant with our first daughter, Andie.
While working in the mines we had a pretty rigid and structured life. We worked shift work so we missed out on a lot of social events and rotating day/night 12.5hr shifts weren’t great on the body.
We fell pregnant with Andie and I worked, driving dump trucks, right up until I went on maternity leave at 37 weeks pregnant! We worked extremely hard in the mines and made lots of sacrifices but it did enable us to buy our first block of land and build our first home which was an incredible experience.
Throughout this time in my life though, I was super frustrated with never having a “passion” for something. Everywhere I looked, people seemed to have something they LOVED doing and turned that into a career.
I was yet to stumble upon that…
Wow, driving dump trucks right up to 37 weeks pregnant?! That is dedication! And then you had your beautiful daughter, Andie….
My mum stayed with us leading up to my due date with Andie and then stayed with us for probably a month after she was born.
She was an absolute lifesaver and I felt so much more comfortable and calm while she was staying with us and while I was navigating my new role as a mother. I felt physically and mentally okay but I wouldn’t say I was great.
My physical recovery was quite a shock and other than my mum’s support, looking back at that time now, I felt quite unsupported everywhere else.
My husband did the best he could but with me being off work and the fact I was casual so I didn’t receive any maternity leave other than the Centrelink parental leave payments, he had to work 6 days a week to make ends meet and so the time he was home, he was obviously exhausted.
The 3 day baby blues hit me hard but I am quite resilient and usually an easy going kind of person so I pushed through but yes, looking back at that stage postpartum with Andie, I wasn’t overly well supported.
I felt like we had a lot of visitors in a short amount of time that were only there to see the baby and didn’t check in with how I was doing or asked what I needed. I remember them trying to settle my baby and I knew she was hungry but I didn’t have the voice back then to speak up and so I just remember watching them trying to settle my baby rather than passing her back to me so I could feed her and it was just a very anxious time.
Finding your voice and being able to trust your intuition is tough as a new mum, so you’re certainly not alone in how you felt there!
Once you started to emerge from the newborn haze, did you notice any changes in your relationships or anything like that?
I didn’t notice any changes in relationships etc. I actually loved my husband more than I ever had because we created life together and that just blew my mind!
I think for me it was just igniting that pure intense love that you feel once you have a baby and knowing that there isn’t anything on earth that you wouldn’t do for them.
That was quite an amazing experience because I never knew a love like that before.
Awww I love hearing that so much! Having kids is such a change in the dynamics of relationships and it’s so special to hear how it secured your bond even further.
Tell me what happened next as I know your son wasn’t too far behind…
By the time Andie was one, we were already pregnant with our second child, Flynn. Dylan was still working an awful lot and where we lived, I had a couple of close friends but it was a rural area and not much to do so I did feel quite isolated.
Career wise – I had left my job as I was only casual and shift work no longer suited me as rotating day/night shifts just weren’t possible. Nor did I want to return to the mines already being pregnant again.
Looking back, is there anything you wished you’d known or done differently in your motherhood journey?
Absolutely! I really wish I had educated myself around birth and the postpartum period.
I knew nothing about birth really back then and I went into labour blindly and with the attitude of “meh. If I can’t handle it, I’ll get an epidural”.
Seeing as I just home birthed our third baby 3 months ago – my views have obviously changed a lot since then and so that’s a big regret of mine is that I wasn’t educated back then in birth and I could have had such a different experience if I was.
In regards to postpartum – I wish I had hired a doula. That would have been so helpful for me through that time but again, I didn’t even know that existed.
I’m the same as you there – birthing outside the ‘traditional medical’ system is not typically spoken about and so there are so many wonderful support team that mothers (especially first timers) are missing out on.
So what advice would you give new mothers then?
Firstly, educate yourself in birth and what postpartum can look like. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. This time in your life is a massive one and reaching out for help or guidance is nothing to be ashamed of!
Embrace the slowness and allow yourself time to adjust.
Rock your baby as much as you like, feed your baby to sleep, you cannot “spoil” your baby! They have just spent 9 months inside of you so be kind to you and your baby while you both adjust to them being earthside.
Such great advice! What does life look like these days?
We have adjusted well to being a family of 5!
Poppy (our third) is such a cruisy and sweet baby that she has just fallen into our lives so effortlessly.
Myself and my husband run our own businesses so we are busy but we are so content.
We have our eldest daughter, Andie, starting Prep this year so that is a huge milestone!
Congrats on Poppy! It’s amazing how receptive babies are to their surroundings – with both yourself and hubby being much more relaxed, Poppy certainly would be too.
Lastly, what does the next 12 months have in store for you?
Loving and enjoying our little family!
Professionally, I am focusing on my photography business to become more well known for predominantly birth photography work and really focusing on capturing women who decide to home birth or free birth out of the hospital system.
Love it! Such a beautiful year ahead and you are going to allow so many women to really honour those incredible memories.
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