I'm thrilled to kick-off our Positive Birth Interview Series this month. Each month I'll be posting uplifting interviews based around pregnancy, birth and becoming a parent. The overall theme of this series is sharing empowering experiences of positive mind-set, strength, and resilience – along with the ups and down of pregnancy, birth and parenting.
To get us off to a flying start, I'm delighted to be featuring first-time Mum Karyn and her inspiring story. Karyn is Mum to 1 year old energetic, curious and vivacious Olivia Rose, and lives in Dublin with her Corkonian fiancé and their 2 year old Beagle who she says is arguably the best looking member of the household! She works full time as a PA and is interested in all things health and fitness.
Thanks Karyn for sharing your story with us 🙂
So, Tell me a little about your family?
My little family; my fiancé John, myself, our 1 year old daughter Olivia Rose and our 2.5 year old Beagle, Nash.
Was motherhood planned, a lovely surprise or somewhere in between?
Yes, we decided we wanted to have a “little person” as John declared over dinner one night. We didn’t expect to get pregnant so quickly after our decision though. I suppose we assumed we might have a few months of trying but found out within a few weeks that I conceived the weekend we decided to start our family!
Initial feelings on finding out you were pregnant?
Thrilled and excited.
How did you tell your partner and how did they react?
I came straight home from work and just blurted it out! John was surprised I had news so soon but very much delighted.
How was your pregnancy?
It was my first pregnancy so I don’t have any comparisons but I recall it as very positive. I had the usual tiredness for the first ~3 months but that passed and I felt pretty good for the remainder. I kept up all my usual exercise and added in prenatal yoga at about 4 months, switched from my regular fitness classes to personal training at about 5.5 months and added in pregnancy strength and fitness classes then too. I felt great and was happy keeping as active as I could. It was only the last couple of weeks in work when it was particularly warm and I was stuck at a desk that I recall getting restless and uncomfortable. Olivia made her appearance early though so that period didn’t last too long!
Tell me about your birth experience…
Olivia was born at home as planned. From the very beginning I knew I wanted a homebirth. I knew that would be where I would feel most comfortable and in control. I wanted it to be as peaceful as possible, no interventions and no time pressure. I prepared by keeping fit and active and using the Gentlebirth app throughout my pregnancy. I had continuity of care with a private midwife who came to our house for our prenatal appointments and on the day that midwife was supported by another amazing midwife. She even walked our dog! 2 weeks earlier than expected, my waters broke at my yoga class at ~ 7 pm on the Thursday. Olivia was born in our bedroom at 10.55 am on the Friday morning. I used gas and air and a tens machine and had her standing up. That evening we were all tucked up together on the couch with a Bombay Pantry takeout for dinner! My midwives came back a couple of times to check on us that evening and every day for two weeks afterwards. We were so well cared for.
Most essential item in your birth bag?
I didn’t actually pack a bag as I was at home but I thought the Belly-bandit was great. I used it straight after Olivia was born and for a number of weeks afterwards. It helped keep good posture and helped with contracting the old tummy back.
Describe motherhood in a few words…
They teach you more than you teach them.
What was the biggest surprise about becoming a Mama?
I’m tired but at the same time I feel like a stronger, better person, I’ve more patience and it's changed my priorities, I don’t worry about some things I used to worry about before.
Best baby purchase?
A sling. John used it more than me! It was great for Olivia to snuggle onto his chest for a sleep while getting our dog walked at the same time.
I don’t thing there was a “worst” but we probably bought an unnecessary amount of bibs and the nappy bin was probably a waste of money.
What do you do when the baby sleeps?
There’s always something to do...whether its preparing meals for Olivia, keeping the house ticking over. I'm not great at taking time out. John has to tell me to just kick back when the chance presents itself sometimes. Things will get done!
What do you miss about life before kids?
Maybe being able to do things on a whim, lazy Sundays and brunches with John. But all my friends are in the same situation so we just have to plan more...
If someone agreed to mind your kid for a week what would you do?
Probably miss her so much I'd be distracted by day 3! Seriously though I'd definitely like to get away somewhere nice with John. It can be a bit of a tag team operation when it comes to our social lives now so just the two of us exploring a city or two, nice hotel, uninterrupted meals etc...Yes Please!
What do you love most about being a Mama?
You’re a hero in their eyes! She lights up and rushes to me when I come home, thinks I’m funny and loves being with me (I'll take it while it lasts!)
Best advice for new Mamas…
Trust yourself and your instinct.
Finally, happiness is…
Working out your own balance.
Fearne Cotton describes an inner pendulum in her book “Happy” .. understanding the swing backwards and forwards of the “good” and “bad” life’s winding, uncertain path throws up at you. Checking in with yourself now and again, looking at the overall balance by asking yourself some questions. If too many of your answers are swinging towards awful, your pendulum is swinging too far one way. At the same time, if you do have problems with some areas but you are flying in others, that’s a balance of sorts and is OK if you are comfortable with it.
Thank you so much Karyn, what a fab positive story, and wise words...I LOVE the idea of Bombay Pantry!
If you would like to take part in our Positive Birth Interview Series, please email me [email protected] 🙂
Claire Flannery is the Founder and Owner of Strength Within coaching and consultancy, where she focuses on helping people create the headspace and mental clarity to discover, cultivate and maximise their strength within. She is a qualified Business Psychologist, Executive, Business & Personal Coach and Gentlebirth Instructor with over a decade of experience working in HR leadership in Financial Services. She is also a Mum to two small boys and has personal experience of successfully managing her career while preparing to transition out of, and back into, the workforce; and is passionate about helping people to successfully navigate the huge identity and life transition involved in starting and growing a family. As a large part of her work, she is privileged to work with women and their partners as they make their journey through pregnancy, birth and early parenting. Along with Coaching services, she runs Gentlebirth and Return-to-Work workshops in Dublin, Ireland.