Running my fingers along the twisted scar on my abdomen I wince at the tissue’s thickness and what it represents. 

The baby cries impatiently as I fumble for my glasses. I haven’t slept more than a three-hour clip in four months. For a moment I flopped back down in bed and pulled the blanket over my head. What if I just refused to get up?

Less than six months ago. I felt that close to giving up. Every. Single. Day.

I tried to prepare for my second child. Took all the preventative measures to avoid or minimise a second round of postnatal depression. The emergency caesarian was not part of my plan. Nor the reflux issues and sleeplessness that followed.

This is what 'not coping' looks like for me.

I retreated from my social networks. I couldn't taste food. I felt equal parts overwhelmingly busy and bored. My interests faded. The negative self-talk had a freaking field day on my self-esteem.

{There were several exceptional humans who helped with my responsibilities, allowed me to nap, brought me coffee, let me cry, DM'ed me the best midwife advice. Thank you, my village.}

My husband was also sleep-deprived and stressed beyond recognition. His usual positivity gave way to worry due to uncertainty at work. Lucky guy, he bounced from one stressful environment to another. It took every last breath in his tank to make sure I wasn't going to completely lose my marbles. We barely saw one another, he barely saw the girls.

This too shall pass, they say. But when you’re in the middle of it, the end alludes you.

When my Grandmother passed away in New York and I couldn’t get home for the funeral, it was the closest to a nervous breakdown I’ve ever felt.

It was time for the BIG question. What’s it all for?

That’s when we flipped the Goddamn table on our life.

Flip the table on life

Matt got his Commercial and Residential builders licenses. With this massive goal achieved, it was like someone flung open a window in our house full of closed doors. As a family, all four of us managed to squeeze out of that little escape hatch and bust into the sunlight.

This is how we flipped the table

1. By Being a Good Person

Matt worked his ass off for fifteen years in the construction industry. He made great relationships with subcontractors and built a reputation for himself as a fair, respectful and honest person. Don't burn bridges unless they're toxic, stand up for what's right, people will remember you for it. Protect your reputation.

2. Making Time

There's never enough 'time.' Never for anyone, ever. Throw out that excuse. Matt pursued a life-long dream of getting his builders license even though the timing was downright shitty after having our second baby. I supported him and complained every step of the way. Two days a week I only saw him during night feeds. We got through it and I wouldn't change a thing.

3. Sacrificing Something Big

We sold our dream home. At the end of the day, it’s sticks and bricks. Better that we have more autonomy, more time as a family. It was an emotional rollercoaster selling in today's market. But we've done it! Cashed-up, and cashed-in, ready to start our business. Something had to give and I’m glad it was the house and not one of our brains.

4. Creating The Scariest Thing We Could Think Of

We started our own construction company. Everyone Matt speaks to about starting a business says the same thing, “Starting my own business is the best thing I’ve ever done, my only regret is not doing it sooner.” It takes gonads. It takes teamwork. It takes trust. Our chips are in and we are high-fiving all the way to the starting line.

Living in the Present

Matt has been home with the kids and I for the last few months. We’ve been tested with two deaths in the family, my depression, the four of us getting sick for a month, a baby who didn’t sleep through the night, selling our home in a declining market….I’m not sure how much more pressure you can place on a partnership.

The experience has absolutely galvanised us.

We made all the difficult decisions as a team. We trusted one another. We supported each other. We snuggled our babies and took turns sleeping-in (he only had a few turns).

My mental health is the best it’s been in years if not decades. THIS is what it's all about.

I know if all goes to plan, life will get busy again. Matt will be working long hours and the pressure will ramp up. The difference is that this time it's on our own terms. The risks are greater but so are the potential rewards.

Life is too short to stay on a socially constructed path. There are other ways to do things. Take a risk, get off the grid, travel, love, create. It’s probably going to involve a trade or a sacrifice but what’s more important, being safe or living?

“Life is all about not knowing, and then doing something anyway.” Mark Manson (from Screw Finding your Passion).

Please take care of your family, heads, and hearts, my friends.

What’s the biggest risk you ever took? What did you learn from it?

Nicole and Rachel are sharing their knowledge with parents of fussy eaters.

You never know how one conversation with someone can change your life.

After meeting Nicole Wu of ‘Learn to Eat. Love to Eat.’ at a birthday party, the kitchen table in our home turned from battlefield to picnic blanket.

When I met Nicole, a typical meal-scene at home started with me sternly 'suggesting' eating food, then would escalate to bribes and threats. A broken mother, I would eventually resort to begging or guilt-tripping which made me feel like a hypocrite.

Why wouldn’t my child eat? I swore I would never make ‘alternative meals’ (almost as bad as 'alternative facts') but found myself angrily slapping together cheese sandwiches and globbing yogurt into bowls.

It took an open mind, a few weeks, and soon I went from having a kid who only ate white things to one who scarfs raw veggies on the reg. Best of all, my stress levels plummeted and I could enjoy meals too!

Nicole helped me understand that my daughter 'eats with her eyes.'

Immediately I implemented all of the tips I remembered from my convo with Nicole and slowly dinnertime stress dissipated. We had calm…pleasantness...and eventually, eating (and fist-pumping).

Nicole and I bonded over a mutual passion for helping mothers and families. I told her about my blog and she told me about her career as a speech pathologist, I had no idea that speech pathologists dealt with fussy eating but it makes sense- it’s all about the mouth skills. Werd.

Nicole and her colleague Rachel are both busy Mums who wanted to use their knowledge and experience to develop workshops to teach parents how to get their picky eaters to not only eat, but to LOVE eating.

No more making separate kid meals. No more battles. No more stress. And most importantly we can align our kids with a lifetime of healthy eating habits.

Get Rid Of Fussy Eating

I wanted to learn more about her approach so Nicole invited me to a workshop. After attending I realised that though we already had decent results with Lavinia, there was room to improve. I took notes furiously!

As busy, working Mums themselves, Nicole and Rachel’s suggestions are practical and simple. For me, the biggest game-changer was number five.

Thanks for saving mealtime Rachel and Nicole!

Here are five basic tips to help your child learn and love to eat.

1. Eat with your child.

This one is self-explanatory. Eating is social time and food should be shared.

2. Take the pressure off.

Offer at least one food you know they like and anything else they eat is a bonus. It's our job as parents to offer nutritious food and it's the child's job to eat. Let them decide what to put in their mouths. Speaking of mouths, parents: ZIP YOURS. Don’t make food the focus of conversation (it's really hard but completely worth it).

3. Keep mealtimes relaxed and interesting.

Make meals a time to be with the whole family. Turn off TV, put the phones away. Make the table THE MOST INTERESTING PLACE TO BE. Kids will eventually come to the party. We started playing the game “What was your favourite part of the day?” at dinner. The answers are usually memorable.

4. Encourage food interaction.

'Trying' new foods does not necessarily mean eating them straight away. Encourage children to interact with the food until they become comfortable and familiar with it. Start with the food near or on their plate. Encourage them to touch the food with their hands or taste with their tongue. Serve meals family style at the table and get your child to serve him or herself. This will give them confidence and autonomy.

5. Redefine what success looks like.

It may take a while and several interactions (maybe more than several) with new foods before your child eats them. Maybe success means they touched a tomato, or licked a spoonful of curry. Now I consider mealtime a success if we have an enjoyable, stress-free meal and if we’ve made some sort of progress with a new food.

I feel so much better now, and when Mama feels better, so will the whole fam bam.

For more specific advice on serving meals, snacks, and personalised tips, head to the Learn to Eat. Love to Eat. website, check out their Facebook Page or better yet attend a workshop in person. I really hope they do an online course someday to reach even more parents!

In the workshops you will learn how to:

You can even arrange a private workshop with your parent’s group.

Learn to Eat. Love to Eat. also have a workshop for babies- introducing babies to solids. I can’t believe I’m back there again, but alas. It would have been great to have this knowledge before the eating battles began!

Click here to find more info on workshops near you

Bon Appetit!

There's a baby on a boob under there and I'm actually still smiling!

Pumpables Milk Genie gave me a pump to try and it’s a beauty so I’m going to tell you about it here (post contains affiliate links).

Bright lights, a blue sheet, instructions spoken in serious tones. I'm shivering despite the lower half of my body being deadened. Unfamiliar faces briskly go about their business around me in the crowded room.

I never imagined giving birth by caesarian section. My four-week-old daughter Imogen is fine and healthy but her birth was a terrifying experience. I still can’t really think about it without getting teary.

When you give birth this way, even if you go through labour first, often your milk supply is delayed. Add to that my extensive blood-loss and I was even more disadvantaged due to dehydration.

These factors worked against me, someone who already had low expectations for breasfeeding because the first time was so awful. During my pregnancy I did everything I could to get myself in a better position to breastfeed my second baby.

I did some research on breastfeeding and even made this video with Bupa- with helpful, honest advice for women in their first thousand days of parenting (from conception to age two). In this one, I'm chatting with a lactation consultant, Jess Krigstein and Chantelle from the amazing blog, Fat Mum Slim. Real mums talking about real issues.

Video by The Lifestyle Suite

After arriving home from the hospital I knew my daughter was hungry. She was a big baby already and had a ferocious appetite. My nipples were shredded from her constant feeding and I knew we needed to give her some formula until I had the chance to get my milk going.

I sent my husband out for some and as soon as he walked in the door with that magic tin, I felt instantly better. After her first bottle, Imogen was a different baby, quiet and sleepy. With my first, I would have felt like a failure. Why? I can’t say. The pressure to breastfeed exclusively can be not only enormous but dangerous too.

I set about giving my hungry bub formula top-ups after feeds and and started expressing every two hours. Luckily I have this kick-ass pump which allowed my sore nips to heal and assisted with bringing in my milk after a few days.

With my first kiddo, a friend lent me a pump to use, and I broke it. I bought her a new one to replace it (even though she said I didn’t have to) no surprise that I wanted to try a different brand next time.

Apparently, not all pumps are created equal. I wanted a really good one but had no idea where to start. What’s a parenting blogger to do? Well, poll my audience asking them for recommendations of course!

The Medela swing came highly recommended along with the Spectra. I considered renting a hospital grade pump because they are supposed to be incredible but talk about an investment! Very expensive, even with an ABA discount.

Pumpables read my post and offered to send me theirs to try. I said yes but still planned on buying another one as a backup but never did. When the Milk Genie arrived I was pleasantly surprised with its quality and it had all the features (and more) that I wanted.

The Milk Genie is a double pump and chargeable which means PORTABLE. No more being chained to one power outlet while expressing.

The pump itself has a timer on it- which makes life easy. And the face lights up- I didn’t realise how handy that was until feeding at night when I used it as a little flashlight.  Um, and did I mention the motor is super quiet too? I can’t tell you how many videos I have of Lavinia (my first) with the obnoxious sound of my previous pump grinding in the background.

The Milk Genie is simple to use but also has some fancy features I haven't even tried yet- like memory mode where you can create and store a little program for expressing.

And want to know the best part about this pump? At $180.00 AUD costs less than other, more popular brands.

So yes, I had the right pump and a tin of formula, but the main tool that helped make breastfeeding a success the second time around is me and my open mind. I took feeding one day at a time and resolved to stop judging myself. I would get my precious baby full no matter the method.

I'm happy to report we are exclusively back on the boob with a nice, big supply of milk. I've still got a tin of formula in the pantry and I'm not afraid to use it! Imogen is a great feeder and we have nailed our latch to the point where I'm no longer sore. We did it...For now.

So give yourself a break, do the best you can and instead of creating crazy expectations, be kind to yourself. Fed is best.

How did you go with breastfeeding? Would you do anything differently next time?

Sponsored by Bupa

My daughter is an awesome sleeper. Don’t hate me! It hasn’t always been that way.

I’ll never forget that night. My husband stood between me and the doorway, while our four-month-old daughter wailed and my heart shattered.

This is not a story about controlled crying. It’s a story about how I found a combination of gentle methods to teach my daughter to self-settle. You would think sleep is something humans would do naturally because it’s so essential to our development. Nope, it’s a learned skill that we can help our kids to master (or try to anyway!) in the First Thousand Days.

“If you go in there,” he said, “it will be to make yourself feel better. If you stay out here, you’ll help her long term.”

That was night number one of our sleep-training routine. She had been crying for about eight minutes, and I had already been in the room twice. I knew my husband was right. He suggested I go outside for a walk, but I couldn’t, I had to suffer with her, even if she didn’t know it.

In hindsight, I probably should have taken his advice and gave myself that break – but as a first-time mum, it was hard to walk away.

It took four nights of protesting and tears (hers and mine) until she went down happily on the fifth. Fast forward to age seven-months, she slept 12 hours each night, and napped like clockwork during the day.

Our daughter is almost four-years-old now, she still sleeps 12-13 hours per night, never protests, and occasionally nominates herself for bedtime (which totally blows my mind. As a child, I never once admitted to being tired let alone asked to go to bed.)

DISCLAIMER: I’m not trying to sound smug here, just trying to show you that I found something that works for us. Don’t get me wrong, getting to this point was difficult, but worth it, so I’m sharing how we did it, in the hope it might work for you. But don’t worry if it doesn’t, there’s lots of options to try if you’re having issues with sleeping. Check out some of the resources below.

Set Yourself Up for Success with These Tips:

The good news is, there are lots of different techniques you can try until you find something that works for your family. It might take patience and diligence, but it’s worth it in the long run. Not only do I love a good night’s sleep, I NEED it for my mental and physical health.

You probably have heard the theory that some kids sleep and others don’t. I have one child so I’m not an expert, but I know that my ‘sleeper’ was not heading in that direction innately and needed some additional help to make it happen.

There are instances where some babies different or special needs, and parents do try everything with limited or no success. But, I truly believe that for many kids, through trial and error, and with the right support, you’ll eventually find an approach that works.

Note: if you find that nothing works to settle your bub, or you’re just exhausted and need some additional support, don’t be afraid to check in with your doctor or health care team.

If you haven’t already closed this post, tuned me out, or given me the mental middle finger; I’ll tell you what steps we undertook to get my stubborn, intense, and dramatic little infant to sleep like a pro. She still has the same personality. #karma

Real Parents Guide To Baby Sleep

1. Nighttime Routine

Apparently, a good nighttime routine starts in the morning. The first change we made was wake that baby at the same time every day (even if we’d been up through the night and the baby was still asleep). There’s nothing I hate more than waking a sleeping baby, but I got over it.

An hour before bedtime we dim the lights, bath bub, give her a gentle massage, read a story and play some white noise. These are all her signals that it’s time for bed. I’ve done our routine at the in-law’s, on airplanes, and in hotel rooms, so it’s portable and we can do it anywhere.

2. Sleeping, Feeding and Napping Schedule

I love a schedule but appreciate that it’s not something everyone digs. The thing is, our bodies love routine, especially baby bodies. They like to be able to predict what’s coming next.

I followed a very strict routine with naps and feeds. My daughter would nap at the same time every day whether we were home, out in the pram or in the car. Being able to sleep in different environments is a bonus if you want some semblance of a life.

I followed a schedule I found in a book but you can get one from your Maternal and Child Health Nurse, sleep school, doctor or a sleep nanny.

3. Gentle Sleep Training

Teaching a baby to self-settle to sleep can help them at bed-time and nap-time, and encourages them to drift back to sleep if they are startled awake.

There are a million ways to teach a baby to self-settle that don’t involve ‘crying it out.’ Do a bit of research and test out different methods on your bub (make sure to try each one for at least one week because it will take several nights and often get worse before it gets better).

We ended up combining a few different methods, including ‘longer and longer, fading, and pick up/ put down.’

4. Persistence and Flexibility

Know that developing good sleep habits for your baby will probably take hard work, dedication and occasionally you’ll slip and you’ll need to start from scratch all over again. Don’t stress if that happens – in a few nights we found that she would slip back into routine, and it was never as hard as that first time.

Good luck, keep an open mind, try and surround yourself with support, and don’t forget that if you need help, you can always reach out to your medical team for extra advice and guidance.

There’s also a bunch of advice and tips over on Bupa’s First Thousand Days site; covering not only sleep, but pretty much any aspect of raising small humans in the period from conception through to the age they are two.

These hacks were passed down on my Italian-American side of the family (it's no surprise that many of them have to do with food- mangia!) These low-tech tidbits ended up in our family cookbook and I thought it only fair to share the wisdom with the wider world.

My Great Aunt, Kay (right) and my Grandmother Carolyn (left)

Before they became meme’s or pins, life hacks were advice passed down from generation to generation.

I came across a section in our family cookbook called “Did you know tidbits,” a section jammed with tips, tricks and life hacks many of which I never knew. Goes to show how important the written word is for passing down information.

These hacks were too good not to share, so here’s a list of my favourites. From the ‘Barres Family Cookbook’ (lovingly put together by my Mother’s side of the family including my Grandmother and my beloved Great Aunties, Aunts, and Cousins).

Grandma’s Low Tech Life Hacks

Bits & Pieces

Reducing Static: Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip when wearing a dress or to the seam of your slacks if you're wearing stockings to prevent static cling. (Does anyone wear slips anymore? How adorably retro).

Extra Hair Conditioner: (There's always extra) Use it to shave your legs.

Broken Glass: Clean it up with a wet cotton ball (cotton wool)

Reopen a Sealed Envelope: If you forget to put something inside, place inside your freezer for an hour or two and reopen easily

Foggy Windscreen: Keep a chalkboard eraser in your car to wipe away fog, works better than a cloth.


Garlic Taste: If you want a light garlic taste in a recipe add it early in the cooking, if you want a stronger garlic flavour, add it later

Get Rid of the Grease: Add a teaspoon of water when frying beef mince, it will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking

Eggs still fresh? Place eggs in a bowl of water, if they float throw them out. Good eggs will stay submerged. For easy deviled eggs, add filling to a zip loc bag, cut off one corner and pipe into the hard boiled egg halves.

Revive Veggies: Soak in ice water with a dash of vinegar to crisp them up. If they are past their peak, use them to make stock (roast them first for a deeper flavour). If you overcook them, serve as a puree with olive oil or a little butter.

Use Overripe fruit: 1. Cut off the parts that are still edible and freeze them to use in smoothies. 2. Cook down with a little water and sugar or juice to make a fruit syrup. 3. Cook down, add a little sugar for a quick fruit puree/ sauce to use on yoghurt, dessert, pancakes or ice cream.

Bananas: 1. Peel bananas from the bottom to avoid picking off the stringy bits. That’s how primates eat them! 2. When you get bananas home from the store, seperate them at the stems. Individual bananas last longer than if you keep them in a bunch.

Double Frosting: When you buy frosting from a can in the supermarket, whip it with your mixer and it will double in size. You can frost more cupcakes or cake and you’ll reduce the amount of sugar in each serving.

Measuring Cups: Before you measure sticky substances like peanut butter, syrup or honey, rinse the measuring cup with hot water (don’t dry) and watch how easily the sticky ingredient slides out.


Weeds: After you plant, add a layer of wet newspapers about 4cm thick around the plants, this will prevent weeds getting through and add a layer of compost to your soil as it breaks down.

Get rid of fruit flies: Fill a small glass halfway with apple cider vinegar, 2 drops of washing liquid and mix well. Fruit flies will be drawn to the cup and drown in the liquid.

Get Rid of Ants: Put small piles of polenta where you see them, they will take it home and since they cannot digest it which kills them. It will take a week or so but it works without having to worry about poison around pets or children.

Enjoy! X

Brought to you by Maternity Sale.

Pregnancy is not only hard on the body, it's painful to the wardrobe. Here, I'll show you six ways to style a simple black maternity dress so you can save money, brain power, and aggravation.

As a pregnant woman, I want to feel confident, stay comfortable, and save skrilla on clothes that I can only wear for a few months. Do you people realize how much STUFF a baby needs? $tart saving and $acrificing now Mummas.

Here I will show you one LBD (little black dress) worn six different ways- with items you probably already have in your wardrobe. 

It’s my second pregnancy so this time I know exactly what I’ll need to get me through the next few months. My best piece of advice is: stick to basic, neutral, pieces and accessorize like crazy. Save yourself time, aggravation and cheddar.

Stick to the basics and accessorize like crazy.

Bonus- recreate each of these looks after bub is born as this LBD doubles as a nursing dress as well. That’s a LOT of mileage out of one purchase. It's machine washable so no need to worry about the plethora of body fluids which will end up on it after bub joins the world.

I’ll never forget my friend Jodie’s advice when I was pregnant with my first baby; “Make sure you buy clothes you can get your boobs out of.” Nursing wear is a whole new animal, people. I can’t tell you how many tube dresses I bought last time to ‘show off the bump,’ they were completely impractical (and a waste of coin) after my daughter was born and my body went squishy.

I love that most of the items you can get on the Maternity Sale website are nursing friendly. They will last you a long time.

Want to see how I styled mine?

Six ways to style a black maternity dress

1. Nashville

Add any pair of cowboy boots (I collect them but if you don't, they're a great investment because you can wear them with ANYTHING), some chunky turquoise jewellery, and a denim shirt, open or tied above the bump.

2. Boho

For a relaxed, romantic, Boho style, add a fring-y scarf, crystal necklace, strappy sandals and a slouchy bag. Great for hitting the markets or grabbing a coffee with friends or a date with Baby Daddy.

3. Night Out

For a night on the town (if you can stay awake that late) add maternity tights, a sparkly necklace, wedge heels, and a metallic clutch. Simple. Easy. Done.

4. Sporty

For a more casual look when heading to the shops, coffee with friends or for those of us who already have little ones- perfect for a playdate. A plain tee-shirt over the dress, tied with a knot, some beads, and your favorite comfy sneakers.

5. Work Chic

Working in an office? I did during my first pregnancy and comfort was a necessity. Grab one of your cardigans and belt it (open) over the bump (because you probably can't button it anymore) some ankle boots and don't forget your watch!

6. Rockstar

Bust those leather jackets out while you still can (un-zipped of course), I added some animal print maternity leggings, chunky heels, and a gypsy necklace. Not sure where I would wear this one (in my former life this would be a perfect night on the town get-up) but I might just have to make up an excuse to put this on again. It was the hubby's favorite look.

What Mood Are You In?

So there you have it, One little black dress styled six different ways. Affordable, easy and hopefully inspiring.

You can check out the rest of the Maternity Sale range here on their website.

Follow them on Facebook.

Note: I ordered one size larger than I normally wear, Maternity Sale clothing tends to run small but don’t worry, their return policy is a piece of cake (mmm cake, I’m making myself hungry).


Some Women regret Motherhood and I can see why. So much of it is tangled up in our identity whether we like it or not. I'll explain what I mean.

Motherhood and Identity

My daughter gave me an identity but not How you Might Think.

Yes, she made me a Mother, the instant shift which occurs with a child’s birth, but that’s not what I’m talking about. When ‘Mother’ landed on-top of my identity totem pole (wife, mother, sister, friend, employee) I crumbled and splintered under the weight of it.

Then, the scramble began.

When something breaks it’s time to evaluate. To remove the rubbish and rebuild with only functional pieces. The process is uncomfortable at best and downright painful at the worst. For me, depression settled among the sawdust.

No one talks about how Motherhood dredges up any painful childhood memories you might have been band-aiding for decades. In order to fix that stuff permanently you need to revisit every awful detail.

For me that meant therapy. Lots. It meant a year-long bout with postnatal depression and it’s cousin, anxiety. It meant figuring out who I was, who I wanted to be, and no longer caring about anyone else’s opinion. Former people pleaser, right here folks <————-

Setting an example for my daughter became my sole motivation to get my shit together. I wanted to be a woman who had passion and fulfillment in life. So when I say my daughter gave me an identity, I’m not talking about the label ‘Mother,’ but rather how she was the catalyst for me to reclaim, create, and decide who I wanted to be.

What about the Women who aren’t sure They Want Kids?

I always wanted children and remember helping when my little brother was born. Always the babysitter, I have over 20 younger cousins on my Father’s side alone. I knew how to hold a baby, how to change a nappy. I had no idea how my own flesh and blood would try to swallow me whole.

The moment we came out of the birthing suite and laid her in the hospital bassinet she started choking on mucus. I thought all that stuff would have been squeezed out from the two hours she spent in my birth canal. Immediately terrified and from that moment on I felt completely unprepared to take responsibility for her precious life. She was so delicate and I, so clueless.

You don't have to look closely to see the fear in my eyes

For someone who always wanted kids and who had low expectations for Parenthood, even I was crushed by the weight of it. Well-meaning strangers amplified my feelings of failure by telling me to enjoy every single moment (maybe I would have enjoyed it more with some sleep and regular showers). The old me was buried under expectations, martyrdom, judgment and guilt. Imagine if I were a woman previously ‘on the fence’ about having kids? Someone who expected the baby to light up my world? Regret could have easily followed.

So what got me thinking about Motherhood and Identity In the First Place?

I came across a controversial article on about Mothers who regret having children. A taboo topic yet I felt empathy for those mothers. The honesty and bravery of the piece surprised me and then again, it didn’t.

Modern motherhood sets us up for failure. The myth that children will magically give our life purpose. Few people speak up about the harsher realities of motherhood (I don’t say parenthood because I feel the expectations on women are far greater). We are supposed to fall in love with the child immediately (not everyone does), enjoy every single moment (only if you are insane), we must always put children first (no one can parent successfully with an empty cup). Oh yeah- and we must do it all in isolation because our villages are gone.

Photo by Sara Heidinger Photography

So while I personally don’t regret Motherhood, I can completely understand how some women would. I shared the article in on my Facebook page and insightful and honest discussion ensued (it could have gone in the opposite direction). 

Sited in the original article is this one written in 2005. It’s written by a woman who publicly stated that she loves her husband more than her children. I remember seeing the author on Oprah, hearing the boos, watching the audience’s negative reactions. A young adult myself, it never occurred to me that my parents had lives outside of the home. A year later they would divorce as soon as my brother graduated from High School, a classic case of ‘staying together for the kids.’

Side Note: Don’t stay together for the kids! Show the kids how to be truly happy!

There are More Important Things in Life.

Having my daughter made me want to be a better person, much like with a love affair, because I wanted to be worthy of being her mother. Deep down I felt unhappy with myself. I desperately wanted to be the example of a fulfilled, confident, successful and satisfied woman but I was far from it and I’ll be damned if I was going to put that responsibility onto my little girl.

So maybe I differ from the honest Oprah guest in that it’s a constant struggle for me to PREVENT making my daughter the centre of my universe. To remember to save some energy for my relationship and for myself. After all, someday kids leave. And you're still there.

No matter what you see on social media, there is no perfect way to parent (and no perfect parents). I think it would be better to share our struggles and support one another more openly. Maybe that we could admit to ourselves and our children that life isn’t meant to be one, long highlight-reel. But rather a series of attempts, failures, resilience and forgiveness. I think those are good lessons for both parents and children.

Can you understand why some mothers have regrets?


Brought to you by Homedics


To maximise enjoyment of items on this list, take part while children are in bed or in front of the television. Go on already, you deserve it.

Many of these suggestions won’t be mind-blowing or original. What I suggest is that by being mindful, attentive to detail and really deliberate about each of these ideas, it will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the experience.

It’s not about spending money to relax but rather to let go during a normal day. To allow yourself time to enjoy simple pleasures. We all get too busy, give too much but if you remember to fill your own cup every once in a while, you’ll be a better version of yourself. And therefore better prepared to help others.

reading nook

Which brings me to my first idea.

1. The Perfect Cuppa

It sounds simple, because it is. This suggestion comes with strict guidelines for maximum enjoy-factor. First, you need to find a place, it can be a comfy nook or a blanket on the grass. Somewhere quiet, away from technology (music excluded). Set it up first, get the details of the setting juuuuust right. Next make your perfect cup of coffee or tea, exactly the way you like it, in your favourite mug. And for the next 15 minutes, sip away while focusing solely on your drink and your environment. You’ll feel ready to tackle the rest of the day.

the perfect cuppa

Need something a little fancier?

2. A Professional Home Pedicure

This is the real deal. I just got the Homedics Footspa with True Heat to try and it's like foot heaven. For the price of two salon pedis, you could own one of these massagers yourself and pamper your peds without stepping outside the house.

Homedics Footspa

Escape! (At home)

3. Read In Bed

Calling all bookworms. Reading in bed is like a vacation. Grab a book or magazine, recline on your pillows, then just lose yourself in the stories or articles. I would recommend a book because magazines just get me thinking about my to-do list, and a good book has the power to transport you. Set an alarm for the added insurance that you can really take that trip in your mind without worrying about forgetting to pick up the kids. 😉


4. Order Dinner

No groceries, no cooking, no dishes, no problem. Make sure you do something nice with all that time you save, like eat dessert in front of the TV. Hey, life's all about balance.

Sink in...

5. Take A Bubble Bath

This one is a no-brainer. Take it a step further and add some lovely essential oils to the bath, and give yourself a full body scrub. You can easily make your own with coconut oil and Epsom salt like in this recipe here.


6. Meditate

This is something I attempt every now and then. It’s a practise people swear by and it’s been proven to help with all sorts of stress related ailments. Give it a try- there are so many different methods and no wrong way to do it. The key is to get still in mind and body. I used an app called Headspace which is great- they offer 10 free meditation lessons.


7. Write It Out

Have you ever tried writing a gratitude list? I have and it’s helped me through some dark times. Journalling does not come naturally to me. Even if your day is so crappy that the best thing about it is that someone held a door open for you and that you got to eat lunch uninterrupted, it forces your brain to start focusing on the more positive experiences in your day to day. It’s an instant mood booster. Start with 5 things per day, if you don’t feel like writing make a mental list.

So there you have it. My twist on your typical ways to pamper yourself without leaving home. Being short on time is no excuse not to treat yourself. All you need is an hour or less and you'll be feeling brand new in no time at all!

It's not a tumor or a prawn, it's just a fresh bean.

The 12-week rule is mainstream. Every day parents post joyful, clever, pregnancy announcements on social media...but only after the first trimester is done and dusted.

Questioning this socially-accepted timeline will usually garner a stock-standard reply: there is a higher risk of miscarriage within the first 12 weeks. This answer bothers me because it implies miscarriages should be kept secret too. What about women who prefer to have social support through such a difficult time?

Speaking of support, the first trimester is when some of the worst physical symptoms (like fatigue and morning sickness) present themselves. It's when women make diet and lifestyle changes which can lead to some serious fibbing if people notice (and they will). How many times can you claim food-poisoning or dodge a delicious Chardonnay?

My argument is that such a personal revelation should be left to the parents, not some societal standard- especially when people judge when you choose not to follow the guide. When we told friends about our first pregnancy at 8-10 weeks there were lots of big eyes, gasps, and comments like, "Wow, it's early!"

Let's stop making Mothers do the hardest weeks alone

I genuinely want to understand the reasons why people adhere to the 12-week rule. This is what I've found after speaking to friends, my Obstetrician, and Google but if you have a different point of view- please leave a comment. I'd love to hear it.

Reasons People Stick to the 12-week Rule

1. Most miscarriages occur in the first trimester. The risk reduces to 0.5% at week nine (Source) so why don't we spill the beans at ten weeks if it's really about miscarriage risk?

My thoughts: A miscarriage occurs in one out of every 4 or 5 pregnancies (depending on what stats you read). Miscarriages can happen well after 12 weeks. Stillbirths happen. Is a pregnancy ever really ‘safe’? Of course not. So how long do we wait to celebrate or prepare?

2. The Pain of telling people about a miscarriage. Yes, it would royally suck 'un-telling' people about a pregnancy but isn’t pain part of the grieving process? Should we really expect women to grieve alone?

My thoughts: The realist in me says that open honest discussion around the frequency of miscarriage would lead to better expectation management in early pregnancy.

“Are we 'allowed' to have it qualify as a grief? Are we expected to suffer in silence if it's such a common experience?” Bee Rowlatt

3. Workplace Discrimination. It is illegal to fire a woman for being pregnant but it happens. 

My thoughts: This is a societal problem. It should be addressed. Talking about it more might help.

4. Fear of the Unknown. Some women may experience an unplanned pregnancy and need to process the information slowly.

My thoughts: Understandable however will they magically feel ready to speak up at 12 weeks? Not necessarily. I say, let her speak when she's ready to.

5. Subsequent Miscarriage or infertility. This can be a long, emotional process for couples who have trouble conceiving. They may want to keep their journey private and that comes down to personal choice.

My thoughts: This is a personal and individual decision and your medical journey should be a private one if that's easier for you.

6. Superstition. In my opinion, this is the most intangible reason for secrecy because it implies the Mother is to blame. 

My thoughts: A women can no sooner ‘jynx’ her pregnancy than she can control it.

Where Did The 12-week Rule Come From?

Historically women would share news of their pregnancy during ‘the quickening’ which is when they first felt fetal movements and after several missed periods. This is usually after 20 weeks or the fourth month.

Ultrasounds were developed to detect chromosomal abnormalities in the 1970's and couples could decide whether or not to terminate based on the results (Source.) Perhaps this is the seed that started the whole 12-week-rule societal standard. So maybe waiting 12 weeks comes from the shame of not wanting to care for an 'imperfect' child.

Has it now morphed into something even bigger with more superstitions, taboos, and restrictions?

I used to silently judge people who shared the news 'too early.' As a woman, why would I default to that type of thinking rather than support? Seems rather passive of me not to question why.

So if I can't pinpoint the origins of the 12-week rule, maybe it's time to break it.

6 Reasons to Break the 12-week Rule

1. Society does not have the right to dictate something so personal. The decision to announce a pregnancy should be left to the parents based on their level of comfort and desire for privacy. There should be no societal standard, end of story. 

“For those who want to let people know their news, we should join them in celebrating their news and offering our support not our judgment.” Steph, Writer

2. Miscarriage should not be shrouded in secrecy. For such a universal, human experience, we don’t share about it enough. Some parents may move on quickly, sure, but some will experience a lifetime of grief. We have rituals and protocol for death but none for miscarriage.

3. You won’t have to lie. Most women have to change their diet and lifestyle during pregnancy. I would hold a glass of wine and steadily pour it into my husband’s glass throughout the evening (he was drinking for two and I was eating for two.) Unless you enjoy secrets, we have the opportunity to replace secrecy with empathy. 

“Staying quiet for 12 weeks while you grow a human being inside of you is nothing short of completely insane.” Wendy Zamora

4. We can support women. I have not suffered a miscarriage personally but I can relate to suffering from depression in silence. I tried my hardest to push through, cover up, act like everything was FINE. This reinforces the societal stigma and fear of the disease and I fear the same happens with miscarriage. Let's talk about it, above a whisper.

5. To have boundaries. Today we live in a culture of social media where many people share ‘too much information’ where personal boundaries are often stretched to the limit and beyond. The decision of when, where, and how a pregnancy is revealed should be left to the individuals. End of story.

6. To build a village. Whether you're having a difficult first trimester or suffer a miscarriage, it helps to speak to women who have been there, who can offer advice and support. Having a solid network in place will better prepare you for new parenthood when it happens.

"Let us destroy the ‘perfect pregnancy’ myth. Are we ‘saving’ women from sharing the news of a miscarriage or are we saving our culture from the knowledge that pregnancy can end unexpectedly, that it can get ugly, that it’s not all about cute bumps and a glow."

Conclusion and My Announcement

Let us destroy the ‘perfect pregnancy’ myth. Are we ‘saving’ women from sharing the news of a miscarriage or are we saving our culture from the knowledge that pregnancy can end unexpectedly, that it can get ugly, that it’s not all about cute bumps and a glow.

Pregnancy is not 'polite' and women should not be burdened with making it appear to be.

Writing this today, I am seven weeks into my second pregnancy (probably 8 by the time I publish this). Part of me wanted to share immediately (I found out at exactly four weeks) but another part of me wanted to keep it close for a while because I share a lot of myself online. 

I am telling you our news because you are my people. We connect through stories and your support means the world to me. If this pregnancy does not result in a healthy baby, I will share that too- in my own time. Meanwhile, we will celebrate this bean because he or she means so much to our family already.

Editors note: I've gotten some feedback from women who choose to wait 20+ weeks to share their news. To them, this post probably seems like I'm more strongly advocating for announcing early but only when that helps the woman feel more supported. Wait if you want to wait, tell if you want to tell. Let's embrace the news no matter what. And let's better support women who experience miscarriage.

what do you think of the 12-week rule?


Sponsored Post

I’ve been a probiotics user for years. Recently I’ve been checking out different brands to compare benefits.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or an expert. This is simply my experience with my own personal probiotic use.

Warning: Bodily functions discussed. Okay, now down to business.

I shout about mental health from the rooftops and about how I’ve overcome challenges with postnatal depression and anxiety. I’m a firm believer that our physical health is directly correlated to our mental wellbeing. For example get this- These days my main reason for going to the gym is for stress relief. When I don’t get there often enough I feel a dip in my mood.

Taking a holistic approach to overall health has always been part of my life, starting with a Chiropractor for a Father. Without going overboard on any one ‘fix’ or fad, I try methods that make me feel healthier, feel more energetic and stay in a positive mind-frame.

This Spring I was unlucky enough to have a sinus infection which required two rounds of antibiotics. Typically I avoid anti’s but when I can’t, I reach for probiotics…which got me thinking about all the other times I reach for them too.

1. When I’m on Antibiotics

Ladies- you all know what happens if you don’t use probiotics along with antibiotics right? If not I’ll spell it out for you T.H.R.U.S.H. Trust me on this.

2. When I have an Upset Stomach

Sometimes the tummy feels ‘off.’ Maybe I’ve been eating junk or sugar because I’m tired. Probiotics are the first thing I reach for when I decide to get my body and tummy back on track.

3. When Depression Creeps In

Lot’s of studies have linked poor gut health to depression (and other ailments) so when I start feeling down I start popping probiotics.

4. When Energy is Low

I think this is somehow linked to my point above. But you know that low energy feeling? Yup, I grab a bottle when that happens too.

5. When I’m Hung Over

This is absolutely a situation where you need all the good bacteria firing on all cylinders. Goes hand in hand with rehydration.

6. When Kid Germs Come Home

I also up my vitamin game when this happens (which is often). I like that Life-Space has infant and toddler probiotics- their main draw for me, other than effectiveness, is that they have different probiotics for different age groups. I’ve given them to my daughter when she is sick or has a tummy-upset.

7. When I Travel

Traveling can stop you up or run a river through your intestinal tract (poop!) I find probiotics help keep me ‘regular’ when on the road (or plane). I forgot to pack them on my recent trip to Queensland and oh how I paid for it. Keep some in your pillbox. Life-Space Probiotics don’t need to be refrigerated.

You’re supposed to take probiotics daily and sheesh- after looking at this list you may as well because it covers A LOT. Take care of your TUM by giving probiotics a try.

Join in the conversation on the Life-Space Facebook page here.

let's hang on the 'gram
Contact me today to learn more about how website content writing, blog writing services, and more can help you take action and paint a picture with words.

My website copywriting services amplify and communicate your message, call customers to action, establish cohesive branding, get you seen and remembered, reach your audience, step away from the pack, solve problems, gain exposure, foster loyalty and attract your troops. My experience with digital content writing, SEO-friendly content creation, and more, you can count on me for quality content that will help you level up and out of the pack. Website Content Writer Melbourne, at your service.

Dawn Rieniets is both a visual artist and brand copywriter. She uses her MA in English, journalism and sales background to craft engaging brand identity copy for small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) globally.

Dawn exhibits artwork independently and with groups; Thou Art Mum and Melbourne and Victorian Artists (MAVA). In her online store, you can find original pieces, wall art prints, and other home decor. A few times per year she accepted personalised and sentimental art commissions for clients.

Dawn creates out of her home studio in Wurundjeri country, the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne.
Copyright © 2010 – 2024 Dawn Rieniets Site built with love by A Lined Design
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram