When Archie turned three we decided it was the right time to try for our second child. We fell pregnant straight away, heard the heart beat at 6 weeks but to my shock started bleeding at 10 weeks. It was late at night my husband was overseas and Archie was sick with a fever. I spent 8 hours bleeding, crying and praying on the bathroom floor in between tending to Archie until the sun came up. A neighbor came to look after Archie and I took myself to the hospital where they removed the fetus that was stuck in my cervix. I was in absolute shock- after having a healthy pregnancy with Archie miscarriage wasn’t even on my radar. I spiraled into Anxiety which lasted months. I had chest pains and other physical symptoms and could barely function.
Kids (name + ages): Archie, 4 years
Tell me about you! What’s your background?
I grew up on 400 acre property on the outskirts of Sydney. I’m one of 10 children. 5 biological siblings and 5 foster/adopted siblings, who we consider our blood.
I studied journalism at university- have travelled to 35 countries and pre-motherhood worked for Fairfax Newspapers then the BBC channels at FOXTEL.
Where in the word do you call home?
We live in Sydney’s Inner West. After 10 years in and around Bondi, we traded apartment living for a beautiful federation home. We still miss the lifestyle of living by the beach, but love so many things about the Inner West.
Can you tell me a little bit about your creative journey so far and what made you take that first leap of faith to turn what you love into a business?
I started working on NSM a year into my two year maternity leave. I was craving creativity and a sense of purpose so decided to combine my skills in writing and marketing with passion for fashion and photography. I felt that although “Mummy blogs” were a dime a dozen, none really spoke to who I was as a mother and a woman who still placed importance on sense of self and style. Once I started I knew it was my passion and knew there was an untapped market for what I was doing. It grew organically. Within months I started collaborating with brands and a year in I had an agent and was starting to make money. I didn’t set out to create a “business” more a brand and community. When you do what you love and put in the hard work, the rewards come.
Describe a typical week at your place. What care arrangements do you have and what tricks make things run smoothly for you?
Archie goes to pre-school Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. This is when I try and cram in as much work as possible, but with meetings, showings and events it often means my real work starts when Archie goes to bed at night. Wednesday is “Mummy Day” where I try not to do any work and take Archie somewhere fun. At the moment my husband is away so we’ve had to get our sitter in for a half day so I can keep up with my work. Friday we go out to my mums. Saturday is “Daddy Day” when he is home- this is Archie’s favourite day and Sunday is “Family Day” where we log off and go do something fun.
As a working Mum, I am constantly trying to find balance. Is there even such a thing as balance!? How do you take care of yourself amongst the busy demands of daily life?
I don’t think there is a one size fits all when it comes to finding balance. I think each mother and family has a different definition of what it is that makes them feel like they are juggling it all. I think like all working mothers, it’s impossible to feel like we are doing 100% at everything and we have to learn to be OK with that.
I must admit since Archie started pre-school it became much easier to have dedicated work days and dedicated “mummy” and “family days” where we log off our phones and work and do something fun.
The hardest part for me is that social media is such a big part of my work, but I don’t want to be on my phone 24/7. So I found a balance that worked for me- an hour or so in the morning and evening and the rest of the day (try) not to get into the Instagram Vortex!
You are very open and honest on your blog. You are currently sharing your fertility journey and your struggles trying to conceive another baby. You have suffered two miscarriages and both have been quite traumatic. I remember reading about your first miscarriage over a year ago and crying. My heart was broken; not only for you, but for all the women out there who have experienced loss. There is very little support for women who experience miscarriage and often women suffer in silence. For those who don’t know your story, can you share a little bit about this time and what helped you come to terms with this devastating loss?
When Archie turned three we decided it was the right time to try for our second child. We fell pregnant straight away, heard the heart beat at 6 weeks but to my shock started bleeding at 10 weeks. It was late at night my husband was overseas and Archie was sick with a fever. I spent 8 hours bleeding, crying and praying on the bathroom floor in between tending to Archie until the sun came up. A neighbor came to look after Archie and I took myself to the hospital where they removed the fetus that was stuck in my cervix.
I was in absolute shock- after having a healthy pregnancy with Archie miscarriage wasn’t even on my radar. I spiralled into Anxiety which lasted months. I had chest pains and other physical symptoms and could barely function. It took us a few months to be ready to try again.
After 4 months of trying, I decided to have a break and join my husband in Europe for a month. Of course we found out we were pregnant two days before we were due to fly out. I considered cancelling the trip, but Archie had been so excited to go with Daddy – we had booked Disneyland- and I didn’t have the heart to tell him we weren’t going. I was nervous and extra cautious and 3 weeks into the trip I started bleeding. Deep down I was kind of expecting it- of course I was devastated -but because I had been through it before I wasn’t blindsided. I didn’t allow myself to fully connect with this baby. After a week of bed rest and spotting we flew from remote Sicily to Turkey and went straight to the hospital where I was told there was no heartbeat. A few hours later I had a D&C. Again we took a few months to heal before trying again. During this time we visited an IVF clinic to have all the testing done to see if there was a reason we were loosing the babies. There wasn’t- we were both fine. We also wanted to look into IUI insemination as my husband travels so much and my PCOS means long, ever changing cycles so timing was an issue. Once there, we were told about PGD testing- a process of IVF where they can test the embryo for any abnormalities to dramatically increase success of a viable pregnancy. I was totally overwhelmed- I never thought we would be “IVF people” we were super healthy, had a past healthy pregnancy- I couldn’t get my head around my own stigma I attached to “IVF”. I felt like a failure.
Just when we decided to start with an IUI we were invited to Bali Holiday to promote some resorts. We decided that a nice family holiday would be the perfect way to relax before starting our fertility treatments. Bad move. I contracted Dengue Fever and Salmonella poisoning, my husband also got Dengue and Archie contracted Giardia. It took me 3-4 months to fully recover and obviously we weren’t able to try to conceive in that time. What’s worse than not falling pregnant? Not being able to try. But on the flipside the best thing to come out of that experience was that it made me value my and my family’s health above all else. It put things into perspective. To stop pining after something I didn’t have and start focusing on what I did have. I remember saying “I don’t care about having another baby- I just need to get healthy for Archie.”
When I was finally able to try again we started with a stimulated IUI cycle that wasn’t successful, we then tried a stimulated natural cycle. After another failed attempt I decided I needed to speed this process up and give myself the best chance to fall pregnant before moving on and living my life again instead of being in limbo, so we went for a full IVF round with PGD testing. Unfortunately they couldn’t insert the embryo in the same cycle as I overstimulated, so we had to wait another 6 weeks, but finally we are in our first 2ww with IVF! I’m just so happy we are getting a shot!
What has helped me the most is to share my story. When I shared my miscarriage on social media and my blog, the response was overwhelming. So many women shared similar experiences and it made me realize I wasn’t the only one and I took a lot of comfort in that. I have received hundreds of emails and comments from women thanking me for sharing my story. Some came back to read my blog post after suffering a miscarriage themselves. That’s when I knew my sharing had a purpose- not to just help me , but to help many others.
Practicing gratitude, meditation, exercise and kinesiology were also instrumental in my healing. I have learnt to be in the present moment and be grateful for my blessings. A grateful heart can’t be anxious or stuck in the past or worry about the future. I am trusting the universe that my story will unfold as it should – however that may be- and finally I feel OK with it.
Most people decide to share their fertility story when they have their happy ending and a baby in their arms. You have taken a different approach and we are experiencing the highs and lows of your journey alongside you. Can you tell me a little bit about this decision and how hard it is to continue to share your story when you are emotionally and physically exhausted?
I think there is more power in sharing a journey as it happens. It’s nice when people share fertility struggles in retrospect, it of course gives hope to many, but what about the women who don’t get their happy ending? Isn’t their story just as valid? I don’t know what my outcome will be, but I want people to know that this is my reality and to offer support to the women who are in the thick of it right now. Injecting themselves with needle after needle, getting poked and prodded with invasive scans, driving to the clinic to give blood every second day, dropping their child at school before going into surgery, and pretending they feel OK when they pick them up, getting nerve-wracking daily updates on how many, if any embryos survived, those who are agonizing their way through the two week wait- too scared to go to the bathroom in case they see blood, who are optimistic one day and can’t get out of bed the next. I see you. I hear you. I know your struggle and I want to say you are not alone.
We connected on Instagram and I know this platform is extremely important to you, not just personally but for your business as well. Are you tell me about your experience and why you think Instagram is so important for connection?
When I first joined Instagram I felt like I found my people! I connected with so many like-minded women from all over the world and it really felt like a community. It was like a virtual mothers Group- where you could choose your members- A positive space to share motherhood.
Even though it’s grown and can seem harder to connect on that one to one level with everyone, I still feel a sense of community and meet new inspiring women every day.
You had a complicated and traumatic first birth experience with your son, Archie. Can you tell us a bit about that and what helped get you through?
Within the first 24 hours of Archie’s birth he was diagnosed with a malroated bowel and rushed to NICU for emergency surgery. It was beyond traumatic. I had planned to be an “Attachment parent” and found myself unable to hold or nurse my child for days and weeks. I was convinced he wouldn’t make it and mentally I didn’t cope very well. He would scream in pain and hunger and I sat by him with breasts exploding with milk unable to feed him. All I could do was concentrate on expressing so when he was able I would give him the best start possible. 2 weeks after he was born, he finally latched on and after a third week in hospital we were finally able to take him home.
The newborn phase is such an intense and shocking time and there is so much advice out there for new mothers – what defined it for you?
Prior to having this traumatic experience I would have been a stressed out new mum, worrying about not sleeping etc, but I was just so happy to have my baby alive and home that the sleep deprivation, chronic reflux, none of it mattered.
How has your role as a mother changed now Archie is older and what do you find most challenging? How do you manage this?
As he has grown he has become such a Daddy’s boy. For the first 2.5 years we co-slept and breastfed and I was his comfort and nurturer. Now he is so curious about everything. I love our conversations about the world. His questions are so innocent and complex at the same time. With the age also comes the attitude! He has a sweet nature, but definitely likes to test boundaries. The naughty corner works pretty well for us though.
You breastfed Archie until he was two and a half and you’ve often said that you felt judged for continuing to feed him beyond 12 months. Can you tell me a bit about your breastfeeding journey? What did you find challenging and what made you stick with it?
I just followed my instincts. When Archie was nil by mouth in hospital screaming in hunger I promised him I would never deny him and feed until he was ready to wean. but even if he didn’t have any issues I think I would still have fed until he was (almost ) ready to wean. It was such a beautiful bond and I miss it to this day! After he turned one I felt the judgments start- mostly from friends- mothers- close to me. By 18 months we only fed in private and I regret caring about what others thought so much.
You and your family love to travel. Personally, I am still jealous of the 6 months you spent in New York. Often people shy away from travelling with kids because they think it’s too much effort – why do you think travel is so important and do you have any tricks that make the journey easier?
I have always loved to travel and was determined to continue this as a mother. I think it is the best education for a child to experience other cultures and customs. We are in the fortunate position to be able to travel and even live abroad for my husbands business and I can work from anywhere, so why not? Unfortunately our travel has been restricted because of our fertility journey, but whatever the outcome we have decided to pick it back up next year and spend 2-3 months abroad each year. The best travel tips- ipad – presents on planes- let go of routines- make sure your kid can sleep anywhere!
I am a hopeless romantic – can you tell me a bit about your husband and how you met?
We “officially” met on a weekend away through mutual friends. A year earlier we were both at a party. I was with my boyfriend at the time, and he was confiding in my now husband that he felt uncomfortable that my ex boyfriend was there! Little did he know that Dave was thinking- I’m going to marry that girl! The night we officially met, we stayed up talking ALL night and he told me we would get married! I thought that was a bit of a cocky move, but here we are! 11 years together, 7 years married!
What are a couple of your favourite brands and shopping websites?
Spell, Zimmerman, Rag & Bone & Decjuba & Cotton On for basics.
ShopBop, Net-a-Porter, Stylerunner & Iconic
For Archie I love I am Chi Khi, Featherdrum, Cotton On and anything from BabyDino,com
And finally, who should we follow on Instagram – tell us what accounts inspire you and why?
This is hard! There are so many great accounts!
@shalicenoel is my ultimate mama style account
@jetsetmama Hilarious and real- she has become a real life friend!
@mikutas for lustworthy travel and when I need a break from kids stuff!
@masha_theone for beautiful motherhood moments.