New mum of two, Zoë Foster Blake loves a good birth story and she knows we all do too! Sparing no details, she’s shared everything on her blog about giving birth recently to daughter Rudy including the labour, recovery AND how she’s struggled to adjust to life with a newborn and a toddler.
A story worth sharing
The 36-year-old author and skincare mogul has spilled on her birth and post birth story to help those facing motherhood for the very first time as well as those who – like she was – in desperate need of a refresher. The lead up to birth and all the days and weeks following can be tough for mums, so it’s great to hear it frank and fresh from a mama who’s been there and living it now.
I'm a huge perv when it comes to birth stories, and a desperate fiend for recommendations, (especially when it comes to birth/breastfeeding stuff because I forget/am nosy/have no clue/time so I just need Internet Friend Advice from people who’ve been there) so to pay back the favour, I wrote a (long and pretty boring) blog on my birth, and what I packed for the hospital, and some great breastfeeding clothes, and the tights I wish I knew about when I brought my first baby home, because when I was pregnant, I bloody inhaled blogs like that. I wanted ALL the details. Thank you, Internet, for allowing us women to share our stories, and also our favourite maternity pads. Link in bio! 🤰👶🏼
A positive and significant experience
Thankfully, after a great first birth experience with 3-year-old Sonny, she was lucky enough to have another great birth with little Rudy, but the Aussie mum is quick to sensitively note that she knows all mums aren’t that fortunate.
“It was awesome….I know how quickly things can get serious, and heavy, and how out of control it can all get in there for some mothers and babies, and I feel intensely fortunate to have had two positive births. Really I do,” writes Zoë on her blog. “Your birth experience is incredibly significant; it stays with you for life, good or bad. I know how lucky I am.”
Labour and the actual birth
Rudy was keen to arrive on time for her birthday with Zoë revealing she spontaneously went into labour the day before her due date. Zoe and husband Hamish Blake hot tailed it to the hospital a few hours after the contractions began as the mum-of-two had heard the second bub can often prefer to make a speedy entrance.
Turning to gas for pain relief in the early stages of her labour, it wasn’t until her doctor broke her waters that she hurried that epidural along before her window for it closed. Interestingly, she wasn’t primarily seeking it for pain relief.
“[The epidural]…pressed reset on my exhausted head and body, and gave me the strength to PUUUUUSH. (My doula angel lady, the magnificent Marie Burrows, taught me to use the epidural for fatigue, not to escape pain.) (I may have used it for both.),” she says. An important reminder for all those mums who think they need to avoid pain relief during birth.
The quick-witted mum says she almost forgot how to push when the time came, but when it did click it was only a 15 minute interval and little Rudy was safe in her arms.
“My body did a fantastic job, and so did my baby. Rudy helped me as much as I helped her. I am so grateful to her. She was an exceptional birthing partner, in the true sense of the term,” she gushed.
Junk food and visitor restrictions
After the birth Zoë celebrated with a meatball sub, fries and a glass of champagne because, “Birth is hardcore. I needed to replenish with a tonne of shitty junk food.”
She also limited the amount of visitors to make things easier on herself too: “…as we all know, no sleep + remembering how to breastfeed + newborn + hosting visitors is a really shit idea.”
A GOOD idea however was the food delivery service their friends gave them, a gift Zoë herself loves to give other new parents now, too.
Her mother of a recovery
Physically the new mum reports she’s doing well and feels good, with at home pilates, strengthening exercises and walking helping her body recover – although there are a few areas that need a bit of work.
“I mean, my neck, back and shoulders are completely fucked from breastfeeding and constant baby-jiggling and resettling, but that’s standard,” she states frankly.
When it comes to mental health she’s doing great too, although she has suffered from PND – just not the one you’re thinking. “This PND stands for Post Natal Depletion. Being hormonally, physically, and emotionally depleted…. Or in other words: being a mother. Getting mastitis repeatedly and wanting to run away and sleep for 12 days straight were pretty good clues.”
Support where you need it
Zoë admits that she was very lucky to have support in the form of a night nurse to allow her and Hamish some decent shut-eye for a few nights each week (another great gift voucher idea for new parents).
“Cos when mum gets sleep, the whole family benefits. To have a baby who is thriving, and in good health. But many, many mums aren’t nearly so lucky. I send them love, strength, good coffee, and this link.”
Life with a toddler and newborn
For Zoë it wasn’t until she hit the 6 or 7 week mark that the blissful newborn stage was over and she began floundering in her new role as mum of two.
“Managing a toddler, even a quite independent three-year-old one, and trying to feed and settle a wailing baby at the same time threw me. The fact that two children need you constantly, and at exactly the same time, was an entirely new and wildly challenging experience. After three years parenting just one (pretty chilled) kid, I felt totally unequipped and out of my depth,” she claims.
The hardest job there is
Juggling multiple children and their different needs can be quite tricky for any parent, but Zoë also realises that there are others out there doing it so much tougher.
“Parenting is, without a lick of competition, the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and the hardest job there is. They were the toughest few weeks of my life, I reckon,” she says.
“How single parents, or parents with twins, or three, four, five, SIX kids do it, I have no idea. I salute you. Cos there’s only so much pacing back and forth in a pitch black room with white noise blaring and a screaming baby one can take. Fuck me. The fourth trimester is REAL.”
Amen! We love your story Zoë! How was your birth and life after with a newborn?