Next on our Motherhood Journey Q&A series is Teri Popple! Teri talks about the multiple facets and challenges of pregnancy and how she found the support she required.
How did you find the journey to motherhood with your baby William?
It felt like a long journey because I’ve wanted to be a mum for so long. When that baby alarm went off, it was all I could think about but it took my husband a little longer to catch up, so I impatiently waited!
What did you find the most difficult to adapt to?
It has definitely been the lack of sleep. I had laboured for over 26 hours and was finding it impossible to catch up on sleep after that. Everyone says sleep when the baby sleeps but I have not nailed that yet, day napping has been a big challenge for me. But we will get there, for now I will continue to stare at him during his nap time!
What was your first reaction when you found out you were pregnant?
I had experienced a loss earlier that year so when I saw those two lines pop up on that test I was overwhelmed with excitement but also instantly anxious I would experience another loss. This continued for months until I started to feel him kick, that finally reassured me he was in there, happy and healthy and wasn’t going anywhere.
Most exciting or memorable birth moment?
Definitely when I pushed him out and they put him straight onto my chest. I just couldn’t believe he was finally here and having him on my chest was a moment I had dreamt of for years. My husband and I just couldn’t stop staring at him — that was definitely the most beautiful moment of my life.
What did you pack in your hospital bag?
I was lucky enough to be sent a hospital pack from the beautiful team at The Birth Bundle. And they had put everything in there from Maternity pads, breast pads, compress pads, raspberry tea, disposable undies, all my toiletries, big thick socks and lip balm (my lifesaver) I also packed button up PJs for easy feeding, a nightie, maternity bras, comfy blankets for labour, my pillow, slippers.
And of course my Noonie perineal spray and padsicles. I am still continuing to use my Noonie spray as I did have some stitches and this has been amazing for my recovery.
We love offering uplifting advice to new mothers — what’s one thing you wish you knew or figured out a little earlier (maybe something surprising and less discussed)?
So much of social media portrays a perfect glowing image of pregnancy and you can go into that thinking that will be your experience which in fact was not the case for me and a large majority of other women. I was very unwell and extremely tired through a lot of my pregnancy and I would put a lot of guilt onto myself for not enjoying it more because I had wanted it for so long. So I was very open about all the things I experienced through pregnancy as painting the perfect glow was not the reality for me.
My advice for other women is we all have different experiences and just because yours looks a bit different and you aren’t enjoying it like you expected to doesn’t mean you are ungrateful for it. I put a lot of guilt onto myself for feeling this way and I wish that I hadn’t. You don’t have to pretend you are enjoying every second of it. The journey to your bub can be so up and down but it will all be so worth it when you have them in your arms.
I am already enjoying the motherhood journey so much more than my pregnancy journey and to me that is what matters most.
You’ve mentioned that the fertility and pregnancy journey can be challenging and emotional. Do you have tips on how to support other women going through similar challenges?
When I experienced a miscarriage I kept to myself and really didn’t open up about it to anyone. My husband was extremely supportive but I still felt like I was experiencing it alone as I was struggling a lot more with it and it was happening to my body. I was seeing my fertility acupuncturist (Jenna at the Fertility Suite) at the time and she was such a big support for me. Through acupuncture and herbs she helped my body recover and prepare for another pregnancy.
But I do wish I opened up to other women about it. At the time when I looked on social media, all I could see was everyone falling pregnant so I went offline during this period to give myself the time I needed. It wasn’t until I fell pregnant again that I really started seeing so many women opening up about their miscarriage experiences online. That was a big comfort for me while I was healing as I was able to connect with other women who had gone through this experience as well.
Connecting with others who have experienced what I had gone through made such a difference and really helped me feel less alone, I just wish I did it sooner.
What do you think is key to building a calm and beautiful environment for the family?
Working together with my husband as a team is really important. He works 6 days a week so it is just myself most of the time, but when he is home with us he makes sure he is present and connected. Family is a big value for us and not something we want to take for granted so we make the most of the time we do have all together.
He can also tell when I really need a break and when he sees that, he does everything he can to help take the load off like when I have a long shower on my own or when he batches up a whole lot of meals so I don’t have to think about food. It makes all the difference.
What does 2021 hold for the family and what are the adventures ahead?
My family lives in QLD so I will definitely take my little man home for regular visits as soon as I can. My husband and I also want to plan little family trips together whenever we can as we love getting away and escaping the craziness of Sydney even if it’s just for a weekend. We cannot wait to travel together as a family especially when we can explore the rest of the world again!
You can follow Teri’s journey on her Instagram.