{The Nest Writes} What I wish I knew before her

Before having children I thought I was complete. I liked myself, my husband and the little life we were building together. We were two people that together faced the world and lived a life of adventure, travel and snuggly movie nights on the lounge.

Our life was lovely, but we decided not long after being married that it was time we extended our family to include a new little human.

Putting aside the fact that creating a human life is absolutely tremendous and amazing, it is a pretty damn extraordinary that a whole person (or three!) would not exist if my husband and I had never met.

Like most young couples we were excited and nervous to start trying, thankfully we didn’t have to wait long before those little blue lines confirmed that our lives would be changing forever.

I don’t think you can ever prepare yourself for the introduction of a child into your life, I know for sure that no matter how many books you read or how many classes you attend that you never will really know the power of a child on your life until you hold your own babe in your arms.

Having been around children my whole life (I was the oldest of five, with my brother being 12 years younger than me!) I thought I was all over it. I knew how to change a dirty nappy, how to prepare a bottle. I knew how to read nursery rhymes and how to wash singlets. They are all the things I knew how to do, but parenthood is so very much more than that. It’s so much more than the things to do, it’s the feels that are the strongest.family

So, I wrote this letter to pre-baby me…

Dear Me,

So, you’re going to be a mum. Congratulations!

I need you to know though, you are about to change in more ways than you will ever really know. Parenthood is overwhelming and suffocating. It is the longest marathon of your life, blended seamlessly with numerous amounts of sprints that are over before you know it. It is empowering and satisfying. Devastating and uplifting.

I think the part you are likely to struggle with the most, is the eternally paramount urge to worry. You will worry about everything. Has your baby eaten enough, does she weigh enough, is that rash normal, is she smiling early enough. That’s the strangest part, the worry begins long before you even held her in your arms. You will worry about the foods you eat during pregnancy, worry about how many kicks you feel, worry about giving your new little person a name and how that name will grow with her over the years.

The worrying during parenthood is completely overwhelming, it never truly ends. To be honest you have always had a moderate level of anxiety that you have managed quite well during your life, but be prepared for the fact that suddenly those anxiety levels are going to be heightened exponentially.

Elizabeth Stone once said that “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” I really believe that no truer words have ever been spoken. Once you have a child you are no longer one. There is a part of you that exists outside of yourself.

That is the really difficult thing to get used to, the fact that you are responsible for another entire human life. A few days after her birth, your husband will return to work. The visitors will stop coming. It will just be you and your little pink bundle left alone together. The responsibility you feel will be encompassing, but my darling, so too is your instinct. That’s the thing no one really tells you about. Deep inside, somehow, you just know what to do.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not easy! but, somehow you survive. You learn, you develop, you grow.

After a couple of days you will know her tired cry and her hungry squeal. You will learn that she likes to be patted on the back when going to sleep and does not like her feet being touched. You will learn that she likes cuddles but won’t fall asleep in your arms. Like anything it will get easier the more time that goes by.

Darling, the challenges are strong; the lack of sleep is a killer. Everything is worse when you are tired, everything is harder, everything is tougher. I promise though, it doesn’t last forever. One day, when you don’t even realise, it is you who wakes during the night and not your baby. Then the next night the same thing happens until one morning you wake up and realise you both slept throughout the whole night.

I just say, take the time to breathe in those sleepy moments, while it may not feel like it when you are buried in the trenches of sleeplessness, those little moments of you and your baby in the cool hours of the morning will be gone before you realise. The dark mornings are quiet and a wonderfully brilliant time to bond. There is no distraction, just you and your little one.

As they grow the worrying just gets worse, on their first day of school you are likely to cry, not because you are necessarily sad but because you are proud, you are realising your little baby is growing into a unique little person of her own. You will not be able to fight their battles for them, nor make sure everyone is nice. You little person needs to find their own place in the world. Just know though, you have done everything you can to prepare her.

You heart will bound when she takes her first steps, starts to run and learns to jump. Just as you start to think she no longer need you, a little voice will cry out for you in the night and you will be reminded that the little part of you on the outside is still only young and vulnerable and in desperate need of her mummy.

Your heart will break the first time she comes home crying because someone was mean to her. You will want to fight the battle for her and march into the school, but instead you have to teach her to be brave. Teach her to stay strong and teach her to take a stand.

Above all, the most devastating moment of your life will be when she gets hurt. It will literally feel like you are breaking into a million pieces. The pain associated with a sick child is nearly unbearable and you will feel desperately hopeless. on the flip-side there is no moment greater in life than seeing your child healthy and, even more importantly happy.

It is so easy to become engulfed in your new little person but remember those other people around you. Make time to be with your husband. A baby is an extension of your relationship, not the only glue that joins you together. You had a wonderful life together before so work hard to keep that spark alive. It will be hard, but he is worth it. You are worth it.

You will realise how easy it is to make sacrifices for another person. The last piece of cake, the rest of your pay check, the chance to go exploring the world yourself. Funny enough though, the price you pay in sacrifice is nothing compared to what you get in return.

So, my dear, you will never be the same, but you will be a better kind of different. You will learn patience and resilience. You will instinctively become protective of this small little human. You will forever be changed because a little part of you is now roaming around on the outside. Don’t give yourself too many heavy expectations, just aim to raise a little person who is happy and kind. She doesn’t need to be the best at everything, really at the base of it, she just need not be a jerk.

Embrace it the journey. AND remember, sleep is for the weak.

Love from,

Post-child you. 

Audrey&Mama

{Christmas Prizeapolooza 2016} Aimee Cook is capturing you this Christmas 

​I genuinely cannot tell you how much I love Aimee from Aimee Cook photography. She has been a brilliant supporter of The Central Nest from the very beginning. I have even recently had photos taken of my little family through her expert lens.

What you see with Aimee is what you get, she is fun and approachable, talented and an absolute crack-up! If my baby-bird doesn’t want her photo taken it is hard to convince her not to be an absolute gremlin but somehow Aimee managed to flick the switch and charm up even the moodiest toddler. Your kids will love her self-proclaimed ‘dad jokes’ and allow gorgeous memories to be captured for always. 

Aimee Cook Photography is growing so quickly that they now have their very own custom built studio! Great for newborn and baby photos as well as beauty and product shoots.

The future is only looking brighter for Aimee Cook photography with the introduction of video services very soon.

So if want to capture your today so you remember it tomorrow then talk to Aimee Cook Photography today!

| Phone 0422 082 929

| Website http://www.aimeecook.com.au

| Facebook @aimeecookphotography 

treeline4To make this Christmas just a little more memorable Aimee Cook Photography is giving a family/newborn session including 40 high resolution images to one lucky nester. This prize is valued at $995!

To be in the running all you have to do is be a ‘liker’ of Aimee Cook Photography Facebook page as well as The Central Nest’s facebook page and like the ORIGINAL competition post on our facebook page.

Remember to ‘tag’ a friend and ‘share’ the post for an additional entry.

Winner will be drawn 5pm (AEST) Thursday 22 December 2016.

To see the full terms and conditions go here -> Christmas Prizeapolooza 2016 Rules

{Raising Little People} Family password – Does your family need one?

While it is completely horrible to even contemplate, there are some truly horrendous monsters that we share our world with.

I stumbled across this article and it made perfect sense. It is a completely simple concept that really could save the life of your little one.

You can find the full article here -> Do you have a family password? family password

Basically this article suggests that each family should have a private password that only they know. This could be any word that allows your child to know that the person collecting them is safe and trustworthy.

Jump over and read the article, it can’t hurt to have another level of protection for the bambinos can it?

Do you have a family password?

 

{The Nest Opinion} Asking questions about surrogacy and secondary infertility

Today one of our gorgeous Nesters discusses the complex topic of surrogacy, secondary infertility and the damage that can be done when asking women questions about their family plans..  line4 A few months ago, some friends and I had a conversation about having children, and situations in which women have babies by themselves. We discussed circumstances where the right man has not arrived on the scene, but that primal urge to raise a child had become an uncontrollable force. When you couple that with the booming beat of the biological clock and the heady cocktail of hormones reminding you monthly that it’s your ‘birth right’ and you can see the writing on the wall. Having been blessed with a wonderful husband and children myself, my naive curiosity about how women go about this has become quite an interest area for me. When I started looking into it deeper I became aware of entire sperm donor communities that are much like dating sites! Basically, they allow you to connect with willing parties for donation, from a variety of situations (including childless couples), in a safe transparent way.Mutter und Kind During this conversation with my friends the discussion moved to surrogacy and in what circumstances we might consider ourselves able to do that. For me, I just can’t imagine giving up that little bundle – no matter how much I’ve watched friends suffer. Not long after this conversation Lauren Sams ‘She’s having her baby’ flashed up in my iBook store – the purchase was made instantly. It’s written with a strong voice and a quirky sense of humour, but with utter respect for the struggles faced. Without ruining the narrative, a woman (Georgie) agrees to be a surrogate for her childhood friend and her husband who have tried for many years to have a child without success and experience a number of miscarriages along the way. The reason Georgie agrees to be a surrogate is that she is strong in her affirmations of not wanting her own children. So ensues a story that I thoroughly enjoyed for its truth and emotion.lauren sams shes having a baby The problem I have since reading this book is that now I have been left with a restless mind and far more questions. For instance, the main character Georgie raises the idea about why it is that women ‘of a certain age’ (ie in their 30s) are constantly questioned about their marital status (or lack of), and their position on having children. And further to that – why their statement of “I never want to have children” is constantly met with laughter and the placating “you’ll change your mind once you meet the right person”. I’d have to call myself guilty on all counts, my only defence being I’m caught up in my own happy bubble and just want everyone in it. But in all honesty, why do I consider women living differently to me are naturally unhappy? The flip side of that coin is, as a married woman with children, I’m constantly asked about when I am having my next child. People don’t realise that this simple statement can bring a whole new world of pain. As a part of the narrative in Sams’ novel, she touches on the idea of secondary infertility – that is, a woman has been successfully able to bear her own children, but for unexplainable reasons is unable to sustain subsequent pregnancies. While I feel grateful this wasn’t our situation, we do have very close friends that have endured losses in this way. The amazing thing about it is that the primal urge to have children has not diminished in any way for them and they continue to be the strongest most inspiring people we are lucky to have in our lives. But I wonder too, how many of us have innocently questioned women in these situations (without knowing it) about the status of their next child? Is that something YOU are guilty of as well?

The afflicted girl sits in bed and sees result of the test for pregnancy

Maybe this time?

In my opinion the questions or feelings that go along with surrogacy, secondary infertility and child rearing in general are complex and overwhelming. I don’t think the answers are simple, nor that they are necessarily possible. So, in the end I can only offer the following advice. Be kind to your fellow woman – just stop putting the pressure on ourselves and each other. A child, no matter how they are in your life, is precious. They are all little miracles! line4 ABOUT THE WRITER:  Viv is a fiercely independent woman who

{Our Nest} A new bird, a name thief and an elephant selfie

To say the last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind is the biggest understatement since someone said Kimmy K might like a selfie or two.kim selife

We are overjoyed like a kids with wagon wheels to announce that we welcomed Charlotte into our nest. She is perfection. She eats. She sleeps. Repeat.

I do feel she is placing us into a false sense of security and in the not too distant future you are likely to find me hiding in the stationary aisle at woolies rocking back and forwards begging for a straight jacket but until that time I plan on absorbing all her newborn goodness.14

We had such an interesting long birth experience, I cannot give enough thanks to the maternity staff at the hospital that helped bring our little lady into the world. In particular, there are a few people that really deserve special thanks. There is the girl I knew from school who was full a humour and positivity. There was the girl who kept me calm and somehow instinctively knew when to talk and when to just hold my hand. There was the girl who was encouraging and patient. The girl who followed us up even after her shift finished and finally there was the doctor who believed in me and offered to give me a chance. A sincere-from-the-bottom-of-my-toes-to-the-tip-of-my-nose thank you to you all. P.S Happy Midwife Day to all the midwives out there for yesterday!midwife

In very exciting news I have discovered one very beneficial outcome that comes with delivering a baby that weighs over 4.5 kilos is that it is the bloody quickest weight loss regime ever! Literally nearly 5 kilos a gonski in less than 1 minute!

I have to admit the hubby-bird and I had this delusional romantic idea of the moment that our other birdies would meet their new little person. We were sure the birds would croon, the angels would sing and we would have a wonderful photograph of all the love. In reality, when the toddler-bird and kid-bird met their new little sister it was definitely less than a magical hallmark moment. Kid-bird walked in and spontaneously burst into tears because she wanted a brother NOT ANOTHER SIIIISSSSSTER! The toddler-bird didn’t care nearly as much. She was simply there for the hospital custard and free apple juice. When we asked if she wanted to kiss her sister we were met with a solid eye roll and a statement consisting of “She stinks weird. Maybe we should sell her back to BigW”. Such a solid family moment to remember for ever.

text

They like each other now.. mostly

If you know me at all you will know that I am a complete tragic royals fan. They are just coolest and I am crushing hard. Well, this chick Kate (she’s like totes the duchess) is my unrequited best mate. We are BFF’s (but she just doesn’t quite know that yet). Anyhoo, she also had a bambino this week and it was PINK! Pink ones are the best, but admittedly I am a smidgeon biased because I am the mother to only pink dragons. BUT there is an issue in our wonderful imaginary friendship and that is that she stole my baby name. We both have new little Charlottes which is definitely going to be akws when we are at the park together sipping tea and one of us yells at our Charlotte to stop licking the slippery dip… Okay, princesses probably don’t lick stuff, I am sure she has people that do that for her and I spose probably thousands of other Strayans also have Charlottes, but you know that aren’t friends with my mate Kate. I like her, and she sent me this card with a virtual high-fiver so we have moved on and are BFFing all over the place again.

Charlotte #2 (1)

I hope to be back on board and publishing on the blog again soon, just depends on the state of Mount Washmore in the spare room, ahem, I mean nursery and on how long the little birdie keeps me in this state of eat. Sleep. Repeat.

I do want to share that later we will be running a competition giving one very lucky nester the opportunity to win a photography session with the very talented team at No Added Cheese! This is a special competition for one very deserving mama. WATCH THIS SPACE!!

Thanks for all the well wishes you beautiful Nesters!

CentralNestSignature

 

{Raising Little People} Single mother by choice, not circumstance

Having a child is a massive decision, probably the most important choice of your life.

So what happens if you don’t want to do it like everyone else?

Here is an interesting view on Being a Single Mother by Choice.

single

No two families are the same and what works for one family may not work for another. At least this lady is honest. This is what she wanted and what she stands by.

Good luck to Katy Chatel with her son Jessey.

Happy reading Nesters x

CentralNestSignature

{The Nest Travels} Manly, a close family escape

Recently we were lucky enough to spend a wonderful couple of days as a family at Manly.

SLEEPS:

We stayed Novotel Manly for two nights and were genuinely pleased with our stay.

A downfall is that it is quite pricey for a standard hotel room. Having said that, the room was lovely and clean, but nothing spectacular.

We had a room with two queen beds (which worked perfectly for our little family) but if you had more than two children you would need a bigger room.

The room had a small balcony which overlooked the back of Manly (in particular the cricket field) which entertained the little birdies for ages!

Another great feature was the inclusion of complementary towels for the pool. This was brilliant for our little family as we were able to use our beach towels soley for the beach and not have to use wet, soggy towels again for the pool.

The staff were friendly and generous with their time. They offer a concierge facility which can assist you in many ways.

For the grown ups, there is a lovely bar in reception that offers beautifully cold drinks after a long day at the beach.manly

EATS:

One of the best features of staying at the Novotel is the breakfast that is offered daily at their own restaurant Zali’s. For $20 per adult (kids eat free) you can eat at a delicious buffet. Once eating here in the morning we didn’t eat again until dinner time! Offering everything from coffee, yoghurt and organic fruit for the mumma-bird, to pancakes and fruit salad for the kids. It really was delicious. The hubby-bird especially loved the personalised egg bar when you could choose how you wanted your eggs cooked. Plus, of course there was loads of bacon, sausages and general hubby-bird favourites.Manly Novotel

Another brilliant meal we had was when we ventured into the city (after a very exciting Ferry trip) and ate at Eat Love Pizza at Darling Harbour. The little-birdies delved into calamari, chips and salad from the kids menu (that also included a drink and icecream) and us big people enjoyed a Zucca pizza (think roast pumpkin, sage and gorgonzola, topped with toasted pine nuts) as well as a Salumi pizza which was full of chilli, sopressa and gorgonzola. Bloody delicious my friends and would go back in a heartbeat.

DO STUFF:

The obvious at Manly is the beach. It is patrolled, the lifeguards are friendly and it’s a pretty great beach for kids.

One of the highlights for any visit to Manly is the opportunity to catch the Manly Ferry. This heads directly into Circular Quay and offers quite the exciting adventure for the little birdies in your life.

You can spend time in the shops of the ‘Corso’, or as I am a self-confessed shopaholic I used the excuse to catch a ferry to the city as an opportunity to explore David Jones, Myer and Michael Kors.

LOCATION:

We loved Manly because it was only about three (3) hours from home.

The location of where we stayed was perfect because we were directly opposite the beach and after a short walk (that even the toddler-bird completed without significant whinging) we had the choice of two patrolled beach locations.

Immediately opposite the hotel and located on the edge of the beach was a park for the little ones. This was brilliant for burning excess energy.

The ‘Corso’ offered excellent surfwear shopping and an easy way to waste a couple of hours.girls

We found that Manly was an ideal location for a quick family break, you don’t feel like you are in Sydney, to us, it’s almost like a closer Terrigal.

CONTACTS:

Accommodation | Novotel Manly Pacific |

Eats | Eat Love Pizza – Darling Harbour | Zali’s Restaurant – Manly

Visit | Manly Ferry | Manly Beach