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 new blog series, I’ll be bring you stories from women of all walks of life and sharing how motherhood has shaped them.
See how whilst each story is unique, there are common threads that link us all! x
I had the pleasure of interviewing the beautiful Alana Rene (aka The Millennial Mum) as the first of this series.
Alana is a gorgeous mama of two little ones, a talented photographer and an all-rounded kind-hearted woman. These days she calls herself the Millennial Mum but this wasn’t always the case.
I wanted to have a chat to Alana and find out more about her story into motherhood; what the early days looked like and how things have changed over the years to mould her into who she is now.
So let’s dive in!
I’d love to hear more about your story pre-motherhood. Who was Alana back then?
Well that is quite a story!
I lived and worked in London for 6 years as a receptionist then turned Travel Coordinator for a Private Members Arts Club. Swanky I know haha! Think like an RSL members club in Australia but more elite and more expensive!
I loved going out with friends, eating good food, drinking good wine and travelling.
Health was important to me also, it was where I became a full vegetarian and still am to this day.
And then you had your beautiful son Pheonix! After his arrival, what were the early days like for you?
As a single mum I had some struggles. Hell, even if your partnered I’m sure the feelings are still BIG and overwhelming at times!
I was blessed with a baby boy who changed my entire WORLD. However with this came struggles especially in those ‘early teething stages’
….and I mean teething both literally and figuratively!
When everything is new and unknown its all a big learning curve. We had challenges in sleeping and breastfeeding specifically. Over time these eventually corrected themselves with practice and knowledge.
Once you started to feel your way through the “teething” stage of new motherhood, what was life starting to look like?
I desired my once very social life and independence again!
As I said earlier I lived in London, fell pregnant with a long term partner, ended that relationship and moved back into my mother’s home in Australia. She was a God send and a necessity for me. However, going from living the life overseas alone and independent to living with my parents again, took an emotional toll on me.
As the newborn haze faded (around 6 months with my first born) I stared craving to be social again. I wanted to introduce my baby to all my loved ones. I started getting active again and going for runs daily again. And I also started eating out at cafes again too!
The small normal things became pure bliss again and I appreciated them so much more.
Oh and sleep! Haha once baby sleeps YOU SLEEP TOO and that change was LIFE CHANGING for me. (Phoenix first slept through the night at 10 months)
Sleep certainly makes you feel sane again! So you’re now sleeping again, starting to socialise and beginning to slowly incorporate some of the things you used to do before…what else was going on for you at this stage?
The one year mark was amazing for us as a duo – mother and son!
We moved from the country (my mothers residence) and into out first home in Sydney which we are still at today.
It was a big move for us back to the city where I grew up as a child and its then I started feeling my independence again.
Looking back, is there anything you wished you’d done differently in your motherhood journey?
There have been so many things I’ve learnt along the way and those struggles I had with Phoenix became slightly less of a struggle when I gave birth to my second baby, Luna. We really found our feet faster and already knew the contacts to call if we needed help.
Perhaps one thing would be, that I could have been kinder to myself and realised that no one can be a perfect parent. Things do happen, no matter what you do.
What advice would you give to a new mother to help her love this transition that she’s going through?
- Go through the motions and realise what’s normal.
Once I just realised that it’s in fact normal for my baby not to sleep through the night it became so much easier. It allowed me to prepare both mentally and physically for this. (Ie: try and nap in the day, set up drinks and snacks for those midnight feeds.)
2. Prioritise yourself and your mental health.
Your baby won’t be okay if you don’t prioritise yourself first. Seek counselling when you need to, call helplines when you need to.
Rely on a partner or family member when you need to and take those small snippets of the days to shower, reset, put on make-up, whatever you have to do to feel alive again.
3. Set strong boundaries.
There’s nothing worse when every family member wants to meet your baby and see you a minute after the baby is born. I mean it’s so lovely but it can be a full on experience.
Your emotions are rife! There’s physical and mental changes raging through your body. You may still be recovering from birth and everything else!
Set boundaries for you and when you are ready for visitors, set a time limit, what they can expect, etc and be confident in your decisions.
It may upset people but at the end of the day you will know what is best for you.
4. Subscribe to Netflix
Hahaha if you aren’t already!
This one is a bit of a joke but my gosh did I binge series after series at night with my first baby and it made it that much more enjoyable.
I’m loving all these tips! They can seem so simple and yet are so valuable when you’re in the thick of it all. So what does current life look like for you? Where are you now?
Well, as I mentioned, I’ve been blessed with another baby. So currently I have a 3.5 year old and a 1.5 year old.
My gosh has the time flown by!
I have a loving partner who is an active dad. He cooks, cleans and binges Netflix series with me. Yay! This is a very different reality to that with my first son and raising him solo for 2 years.
I’m still seeking counselling for my mental health and anxiety on a weekly basis and it helps me immensely.
I’m still a stay at home mum and love it, but some days it’s not easy.
It is VERY rewarding but like every job it comes with many challenges.
I also practice photography on the side and have recently bought a drone! Haha I’m a nerd at heart. It’s a great, creative outlet for me to do while at home and still spend most of my time with the kids and earn a bit of money on the side.
What’s your vision for the next 12 moths?
That’s a tough one!
I am a very day by day spontaneous type of girl… however, a house is in the cards! Moving from an apartment into a bigger property is a must. It may even be coastal and out of the city. *very exciting!*
Building my photography skills, clientele and portfolio is always in my mind as its a passion of mine and all around just being kinder to myself over the next 12 months also.
The last 12 months have been hard for many obvious worldly reasons I am hopeful for a more positive 2022… or at least one we can expect and take positives from it.
Thanks Alana for sharing your story and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you!
To follow Alana’s journey, check her out on Instagram @the_millennial_mum