Category Archives: Personal Goals

What I want my children to know about breastfeeding…

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Breastfeeding means a lot to me.

After my disappointing attempt at breastfeeding Hannah I did a lot of research on the dynamics of breastfeeding and what helps a woman become a successful long-term breastfeeder (this was my goal with my future children). I realised that I had missed out on one of the key aspects – watching and being around other women who breastfeed. So I made sure I changed that in preparation for Blake’s birth. I searched out new groups of friends, I watched those women breastfeed, I asked them questions, I made mental notes. Going into Blake’s birth I felt confident that he was going to get my breastmilk no matter what, and seeing other women breastfeed played a big part in me feeling so confident. I needed to see it in real life all around me, just like women before me had for most of time.

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I knew I wanted my children growing up feeling that breastfeeding was a really normal, achievable way to feed a baby. That our bodies were made to lactate and that although it can be a hard skill to learn, it can be done with support and love. I wanted them to grow up seeing their siblings be breastfed and friends babies grow up breastfeeding so that this would become part of their world view. I believe our bodies are amazing, and I want to pass on that amazement, that pure respect,  onto my children. And so far, from what I see in their play and in the way they relate to babies, I can see it has made the difference that I hoped for.

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The health benefits of breastmilk are amazing and we still don’t know so much about this incredible milk our bodies were made to give our babies, but for me the benefits to breastfeeding Daisy right now are very much for our whole family and the community in general. As a wonderful friend of mine said “The more we see it, the less we will see it.” and I believe that to be true. I find breastfeeding as normal now as any other type of eating and I love that my children, and my husband do too.

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So yes, breastfeeding means a lot to me. But now, it also means a lot to my children.

(In honour of World Breastfeeding Week 2014)

[Photos 2 & 3 by Documenting Delight]

~ Goals for 2012 ~

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I often write a personal list of resolutions for an upcoming year. I thought a good way to keep myself accountable for 2012 would be to share my goals here and the following are my personal goals that I want to achieve for myself. I always strive to be a better mother, wife, daughter and friend but this list; this list is just for me.

365 Project 2012

I have been inspired to dedicate my time to this goal by the amazing Georgia at Gregarious Peach. She completed a fabulous 365 Project in 2010 for each of her children. Yes, AMAZING! Check out her blog on why you need to do this fabulous project and why you don’t need to be a professional photographer to do it. Another wonderful friend of mine also completed this project in 2010 for each of her children with a point and shoot basic camera. Seeing her fall in love with photography through the year as she learnt how to use her camera (and in the end buying a new one) was heartwarming.

So…. this is a big commitment, both in time and energy and my reasons for wanting to commit to this big project are twofold. Firstly, this appeals to my sentimental side. Did I ever tell you that I came to Australia as a refugee with my parents and brother at the age of 9? That meant that I have barely any photos/toys/photos/books/photos/clothes and did I mention photos…. of my childhood. So I am over-compensating for my children, I admit it. I have so many photos on my computer and printed that are not even in albums, argh…. anyway that is another post unto itself. I want to preserve my memories of my children. I want to be able to share their childhoods with them all over again when they’re too old to sit in my lap. I want to be able to remember every little quirk, every little smile and every little cuddle with my two little kiddies.

The second reason for the project is because I love photography. I want to nurture that passion more in 2012. I really enjoy it, it is a creative outlet for me and I want to keep improving. I think next year will be a good time for me to pursue this hobby in more depth. I hope I still enjoy taking photos on day 366 (it’s a leap year next year)!!! I have been thinking about some special things I can do during the year to tie in with the project so there will be a few sweet suprises in store.

Hubby also bought me this gorgeous notebook for my birthday from kikki.K and I plan to use it to record daily thoughts and reminders of what I am grateful for throughout the year.

Learn to Sew

Honestly, I can’t believe I am commiting myself to this next year…. Those who know me well will be suprised too! I was only bad at 2 subjects in high school, maths and home-ec… Home-ec being the subject where you learn to cook and sew. I nearly failed the sewing semester. I had to complete a simple cushion and I barely passed. I believe I recieved a C- and now, more than 10 years later I want to place my hands near a sewing machine once again! Why? I blame it on Facebook and Pinterest.

The amount of beautiful homemade, handmade items that clog my newsfeed each day on Facebook and that fill my imaginery pinboards on Pinterest is what is enticing me to sew. Surely now that I am finally using cloth nappies, sewing is the last hippy frontier? Once I learn to sew I guess there will be no going back, I won’t have any excuse not to create those gorgeous dresses for Hannah or those adorable overalls for Blake……hmmm, maybe I am getting ahead of myself.

My goal for next year is to sew AT LEAST one handmade piece by myself using a sewing machine (see, I don’t have a sewing machine, I plan to make use of the one my best friend owns….seeing as we’re living together now (more on that in a future post)) preferably something functional as well as beautiful! Eeek! Watch this space 🙂

Complete Childbirth Educator Course

If you don’t know it already I am an out and proud birth junkie 🙂 I loved giving birth, I love researching and learning about birth and I loooooove talking about birth. I used to run an Active Birth Preparation thread on a parenting website and I gained a lot of satisfaction from sharing my knowledge with the other women in the group. I decided that I would love to gain some qualifications in the birth field and began a Childbirth Educator course through CBI earlier this year. I have barely managed to even flick through my books this year but hopefully by the end of 2012 I will have completed the course. However, I have also decided to accept the offer for the midwifery degree this week so I will  be studying part-time again next year. I hope I somehow get time to do both!!!

Here’s to 2012!!!

It’s Over!

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Things have been quiet here of late because I have been busy finishing my university degree. No big deal hey. Tons of people have a degree right? Well, it is a big deal to me. Probably a bigger deal than I realised when I was sitting in lecture theatres and typing essays whilst breastfeeding a baby.

5074533 – a number that has defined part of me for over 6 years will no longer be mine from Wednesday. I will graduate tomorrow. It has so long in the making that it still feels surreal that I will no longer be a QUT student after this week.

I began my Human Services degree in 2005 after doing one semester of an Education degree the year before. I realised that my passion for working with young people would be far too constrained within the system of a high school and therefore I changed degrees. At the time, I was doing as much volunteering with local youth organisations as I could. I loved it! University classes challenged me, but I felt up to the challenge. Everything was perfect. I love learning. It is something that is a part of me, but towards the end of my degree, it was very hard to find the passion for it.

When we lost May (check post 1) I spiralled into depression and nothing was thrilling me anymore. I very seriously considered quitting my degree and if it wasn’t for the amount of money I had to re-pay for the units I had already completed, I would have. Brian and my family encouraged me to keep going with it, but I have to admit from that time on, the passion was lost. I had a newfound priority now, and it had nothing to do with other people’s wayward teenagers.

When I became pregnant with Hannah, I began to do uni part-time. The two practical work placements that I knew I would have to do were weighing heavily on my mind. For the first one we were lucky that Brian worked part-time to support us while I did the placement and he stayed home with Hannah. The second placement (that I just completed!) nearly killed me…

I know that sounds melodramatic but this semester was such a difficult experience for me. I was not looking forward to doing the work placement at all. Blake was exclusively breastfed when I started the placement. He refused to drink anything other than water from his sippy cup, he refused to drink a normal bottle completely and was only eating a miniscule amount of solid food. I was extremely worried about being away from him all day, 3 days a week and whether our breastfeeding relationship would survive. I was very fearful that it wouldn’t, and for that to happen because of study was unimaginable to me.

Fortunately, my work placement ’employers’ were very understanding and accommodating, allowing me to bring Blake to work with me one day a week and to work in the afternoon when Brian came home the other days. I still had to put Blake in Family Daycare one day a week, but only for 3 or 4 hours at a time thankfully. Hannah was enrolled in a local daycare 3 days a week.

Paying for other people to care for my children whilst I worked my ass off for free for 4 months – that’s what hurt the most. It dawned on me as I dropped Blake of at his carers house with tears in my eyes, that I was not cut out to be a working mum. Certainly not cut out for work that meant that neither Brian or I would be able to take care of our babies during the day. Every week, I desperately wished that I didn’t have to put our family through this process and I felt very selfish to be doing it… even though everyone kept telling me it was for the best.

I missed my babies more than I thought I could. Although it was nice at times to have intelligent conversation and to pee in peace, those were benefits I would have happily done without if it has meant that I didn’t need to do this work placement. I really resented it, it ate at me every day. I didn’t like that working took so much of my energy and time away from the kids. I barely had any left for anyone else and all I could do was count down my hours knowing that eventually it would be all over and life could return to normal.

The other big issue was that I didn’t only have the placement to complete to satisfy my course requirements; I had mountains of reflective essays to write and a portfolio to organise, projects to run and workshops to attend. All this whilst trying to mother my children, maintain a house, participate in 2 mothers groups, spend time with family, be wifely and supportive of my husband, sacrifice many personal wants and needs and try to sleep. We had some HARD days in this house. REALLY HARD DAYS. The entire experience took a toll on our family that we really didn’t need after a difficult first 6 months after Blake was born (more on that in a future post). I know neither of us realised just how much of an effect having me out of the house part-time would make on our family life. I am certainly looking forward to a more peaceful home and more naps now that uni is over.

And it is over. I was quite stressed in my final weeks of the semester as I was writing my portfolio and written reflections. My lecturer had deliberately been quite vague in her expectations of this assessment in order for us to strive for higher standards I assume. I was certain that I had either done too little or too much ;). However, an agonising fortnight after submitting my final assessment I received some welcome news from my lecturer that she wanted to use my portfolio as an example to show future students! This was such a relief and meant that I had passed my unit and therefore my degree.

So after all that, call me crazy, but I am still a studying mama. I have a Childbirth Education course to complete and I have applied for a Midwifery degree for next year. I will find out soon whether I have been accepted but if I am, I will more than likely defer the degree for a little while. I need some time at home, with my babies and my husband first; I need sleep and I need peace.

Oh and by the way, our breastfeeding relationship did survive. 14 months and still going strong 🙂