I’m Emma and I have 3 daughters. I and my husband Martin moved from East London to Melbourne in 2007, we got married at treasury gardens and had the reception on Lygon St in 2011. Leni our eldest was born in 2012, Maggie was born in 2014 and Rae was born in 2017.
We don’t have any family here in Australia, so we haven’t had a huge amount of support. We were also the first of our friends to start a family. Life became quite isolating for us from the pregnancy and then once the baby was born. Luckily we had a small handful of close friends that visited often.
At the time we had no comparisons, it's only now when I look back I can see what a huge change having a baby was on our lives as a couple but also individually. We were “lucky” with Leni, we learnt to read her well and my husband and I work really well as a team when it came to how we wanted to set up feeds and sleeps. She slept through the night from 3 months, which of course was a massive help but even with all the extra sleep we were getting compared to other people with newborns, the day to day relentlessness of it the first time around is nothing to bulk at. It's hard. It's exhausting and for a while, you wonder if you’ll get any resemblance to your old life back…….you do!
When Maggie was born, it was a different experience. We ended up in the neonatal unit for 2 weeks. Having to go into survival mode as a mother, just after giving birth, is traumatic. Thankfully, we were only there for 2 weeks but it has given me a real insight into what it takes from the parents and your ideas around what taking a newborn home would look like. If your baby does end up in a special care unit, I will be able to support you from there. Whether it be that you go home to rest and I stay with the baby or you use me as a sounding board for your emotions.
Rae’s waters broke early at 36 weeks but all was well and we took her home after a few days after my 3rd c-section. I was sure she would be my easiest baby to date, she actually was due to my experience but she was actually my hardest. It took us about 5-6 weeks to work out that she had a cows milk protein intolerance. Once I stopped consuming dairy all was well, but jeez there was some long nights.
Its when I had her, that I decided that I wanted to be a postnatal doula. I want to be able to give mothers the support and care needed, just as she is giving that to her newborn baby. The experience of having a child is beautiful but it doesn’t always work on a straight line. There can be some ups and downs, and that’s ok. Our experiences are our own and not to be compared, they just are. So the thought of maybe helping people to experience a more supported experience makes me feel content and happy, selfish really!!