adult hands encircling baby feet

The Path of Least Anxiety and your Fourth Trimester

The Path of Least Anxiety. This is a phrase that made SO MUCH SENSE to me when I first heard it! As new parents we’re trying to do so much. Learn a new job, care for older children, recover from birth physically (and perhaps emotionally), run a household and potentially ‘entertain’ visitors (who may be very helpful or as welcome as a hole in the head). All on less sleep than normal.

The Path of Least Anxiety means you do what’s best for you and keeps your stress levels lowest. It’ll hopefully help protect your ability to cope, your mental health and make the newborn period just a little more enjoyable.

An example could be if it takes you 45 minutes to try put baby in the cot for them to only sleep 15 minutes, and the whole process stresses you (and bubs) out, then the Path of Least Anxiety would suggest you go buy a baby wearing sling/wrap/carrier, let them sleep on you to skip the stress.

If having visitors is causing you anxiety, let everyone in your social circle know that you’re not accepting visitors for a week. Or two. Or indefinitely.

If it’s week 9 and you still cringe and feel your blood pressure rise whenever you think of breastfeeding your baby, maybe it’s time to reconsider whether that’s the right path for you.

It’s your life. It’s your family. It’s your mental health. You do what’s best for you. Ignore everything non-essential that doesn’t help you stay as low-stress as possible. Stress will squash the ‘love’ hormone oxytocin, which is an essential part for the first days and weeks with your newborn as it assists with bonding, breastfeeding and feeling more content with your monotonous little bubble. Oxytocin has a short half-life (3-5 minutes) so you’ll need to constantly get new hits to experience its full benefits.

When I’ve shared the reasoning behind the Path of Least Anxiety, I often get the follow-up question “but what about bad habits?” in response to the baby-wearing suggestion. In my opinion, in parenting, something is only a ‘problem’ if *you* feel it is.

For example, if you rock/pat/feed your baby to sleep every nap/night, and you’re happy to do that routine, then ignore anyone who tells you it’s a “bad habit”. The day that the thing becomes an issue for *you* is the only day where you need to worry about changing it. Of course this extends to so many scenarios where other people have an opinion about how we parent our children.

As a Postpartum Professional, I’ve recently started offering 2 hour Postpartum Preparation Sessions via video call. These sessions are designed to take you through the topics you and your partner should discuss during pregnancy in order to prepare mentally for the Fourth Trimester, and give you a rough idea of what to expect.  In these sessions I discuss both these trains of thought and the role of oxytocin (and HOW to boost it) much further. We’ll also discuss topics like having realistic expectations about this season of your life, ways you and your partner can work together to navigate this period, and information on where to turn for professional assistance and general support if you find you need it. If you’d like to book a session, head to the Contact Me page.

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Rachel Angelone is the founder of Your Birth Your Baby and has been working as a birth and postpartum professional since 2018. She is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Postpartum Doula and NurtureLife Pregnancy Massage Practitioner based in Melbourne. Rachel offers independent childbirth and early parenting education to pregnant families before baby arrives. Once babies are Earth-side, she offers practical and emotional in-home support for families as you adjust to their new life as parents. She is also a loving wife and mother to two young girls.

baby hand in adult hand Melbourne doula melbourne birth

About the epidural

Epidurals are brilliant pain relief, but they’re not without drawbacks. There are subtle differences to the epidural and spinal blocks, and each has different instances where they’re used, but for the purpose of this blog I have lumped them in same basket.

Firstly let me say that the decision on whether to have an epidural is a personal one. If you’re not planning on one going in to labour but then up having one, for whatever reason, you have not ‘failed’. If you’re set on having one from the first contraction, then that is absolutely your choice. No-one should be judged on what happens during their birth. But I do strongly believe that parents need to have all the information about any pain relief option they choose so that they can make fully informed decisions. I also strongly advocate for people to learn this information during pregnancy, not be hearing it for the first time in the birth suite (which is why I’m such a strong believer that every pregnant family should receive independent childbirth education!)

If you’re on the fence about what comfort measures and pain relief options to use, then you’re best to work up to the epidural, since it’s a final decision – not typically reversable. I explain this by referring to the epidural as the ‘ten’ of the labour coping/pain relief world, with other comfort measures and pharmaceutical options appearing at different points of the scale from 1-10. Alternative methods of coping and pain relief to consider having first include:

  • Use of warm water (shower/bath)
  • TENS machines
  • Sterile water injections
  • Counter pressure and massage on the lower back/pelvis
  • Rebozo application
  • Movement (walking/swaying/rocking on a yoga ball)
  • Pethidine injections
  • Nitrous oxide (gas and air/laughing gas)
  • Birth doula – studies have shown that having a birth doula at your birth results in a 30% reduction the use of analgesia and specifically a 60% reduction in epidural use. Check out my blog on how to budget for a doula.

One other thing to keep in mind is potential problems with the application of the epidural. It may take multiple attempts by the anaesthesiologist to get correct placement, it may provide incomplete coverage (only getting relief on one side of the body or having ‘holes’ where contractions are still felt) or severe headaches during the early postpartum period as a result of a dural puncture.

Epidurals can be very beneficial if a birthing parent is approaching exhaustion, or are holding conscious or subconscious tension in the pelvis/pelvic floor which may be stopping labour from progressing.

To download infographic, click here

The infographic above lists some of the main ‘cons’ of having an epidural. But by asking questions and discussing epidurals during pregnancy with your care providers some of the cons can be mitigated by:

  • Having an ‘upright epidural’ – eg kneeling facing the back of an upright bed
  • Having assistance to change positions periodically – eg lying on your side, rather than your back, and changing sides every 30-45 minutes.
  • Using a peanut ball to assist in leg positions to keep the pelvis open – check out the Lamaze blog Peanut balls for labour

The upright epidural utilizes gravity to assist with baby’s decent through the pelvis. The assisted position changes and open pelvis may help mitigate the problem of being stationary with an epidural. Movement helps baby descend into and navigate through the pelvis. Without movement, a baby may descend very slowly or not at all, resulting in a longer labour, a fatigued baby which may show signs of foetal distress, and need for further intervention like assisted vaginal delivery or an emergency caesarean surgery.

As always, ask the BRAIN questions (see my blog Have you got your BRAIN?) about any interventions you’re considering or are offered. With careful considerations as to what other comfort you’ll use, it is absolutely possible to get through labour without an epidural. But if you choose to have one they can be of great benefit and with planning and discussion with our care provider, some of the drawbacks can be mitigated. 

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Rachel Angelone is the founder of Your Birth Your Baby and is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Postpartum Doula and NurtureLife Pregnancy Massage Practitioner based in Melbourne. Rachel offers independent childbirth and early parenting education to pregnant families before baby arrives. Once your baby is Earth-side, she offers practical and emotional in-home support as you adjust to your new life as parents. Along both journeys she can provide relaxing and restorative massage treatments. She is also a loving wife and mother to two young girls.

Cover photo by Seif Eddin Khayat on Unsplash

Rachel Angelone in birth suite birth Melbourne

Why keeping mum and baby together after birth is best practice

We’ve all seen those movies or TV shows (or heard a real-life experiences) where baby is born and is instantly whisked to the other side of the room for weighing, measuring before being swaddled and returned to the eager parents for their first real look at their baby.

I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t need to be like that, and in face, that’s not best practice.

There’s an abundance of well conducted research which shows that keeping mum and baby together and as undisturbed as possible for at least the first hour helps the baby adjust to terrestrial life, reduces the chance of postpartum haemorrhage for the birthing parent, and can help get breastfeeding off to a positive start.

An undisturbed or minimally disturbed first hour (aka the Golden Hour) means waiting for the weight and length, and keeping mum and baby together and skin to skin while APGAR tests are completed, injections are administered and ID bands are attached.

Having an undisturbed Golden Hour also gives your baby the opportunity to find the breast and self-attach to it for the first time, which can be beneficial for establishing breastfeeding. If you’d like to view a breast crawl, there are some great examples of it here (great example from 45 seconds to 1 min 15).

To download this info graphic click here.

A minimally disturbed Golden Hour can be completed even if the baby is born by caesarean section (either emergency or planned) BUT you will need to discuss your preference with your care providers. This is why it’s so beneficial to have a discussion with your birth partner/s about your preferences for birth in different scenarios. See also my suggestions on what to consider when thinking about your birth preferences.

Of courses there will be instances where an undisturbed Golden Hour is not possible. If, for whatever reason you’re not able to have this time with your baby, do not fret. Your baby will still have an opportunity to learn to breastfeed, you will still bond with each other, and they will still adjust to terrestrial life. Skin to skin at any point in the first 6 weeks post birth will be hugely beneficial for both yourself and your baby.

No matter what happens, you’re an amazing parent and your child will love you for whatever you’re able to provide them.

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Rachel Angelone is the founder of Your Birth Your Baby and is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Postpartum Doula and NurtureLife Pregnancy Massage Practitioner based in Melbourne. Rachel offers independent childbirth and early parenting education to pregnant families before baby arrives. Once your baby is Earth-side, she offers practical and emotional in-home support as you adjust to your new life as parents. Along both journeys she can provide relaxing and restorative massage treatments. She is also a loving wife and mother to two young girls.

adult male holding newborn baby

To the new fathers

So, you’re a brand-new father.

Or you will be very soon.

Perhaps you’ve been through this stage in life before; you already have children and you have some insight into what’s about to go down, and how your life is going to change (again).

Or maybe this is your first time, and you have no idea but you’re excited for the journey.

Are you worried about returning to work, and how both you and your partner will cope? Would you feel more at ease with this transition if you knew there was someone caring for them, helping them rest and recover by providing nourishing food, company and help? Someone else to make sure they have sleep and support?

Would you like to come home at the end of the day and know your partner has had a decent nap, a decent conversation, and the laundry that had been piling up is done?

If you’ve answered yes to some or all of these questions, the professional you need to find is a Postpartum Doula. We do all these things and more for a new family, giving you the peace of mind that you and your partner is supported physically, emotionally and spiritually as you undertake one of the biggest learning curves a family can undertake.

If you’re in Melbourne, contact me today to arrange your 1:1 interview and discover the value of my support in the early weeks of parenting.

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Rachel Angelone is the founder of Your Birth Your Baby and is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Postpartum Doula and NurtureLife Pregnancy Massage Practitioner based in Melbourne. Rachel offers independent childbirth and early parenting education to pregnant families before baby arrives. Once your baby is Earth-side, she offers practical and emotional in-home support as you adjust to your new life as parents. Along both journeys she can provide relaxing and restorative massage treatments. She is also a loving wife and mother to two young girls.

Cover photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Why massage during pregnancy and early postpartum?

Pregnancy is never static. Every day your baby and body grow, organs shift position and ligaments stretch to accommodate the changes. Aches and pains can come hand in hand with pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you have to ‘put up with it’. Seeing someone who specialises in pregnancy massage can help reduce those discomforts, can increase your capacity to cope with the changes, and help you connect with your growing baby and body.

It also provides an opportunity for ‘me’ time, when so much of the focus can shift to your baby, or is already on existing children.

The top four potential benefits of massage in pregnancy include:

  • Improvement in sleep
  • Boosted immune system
  • Lowered stress levels
  • Reduction in pain and discomfort

Other potential benefits may include:

  • Increased connection with baby
  • Improved posture & reduced postural tension
  • Reduction in oedema
  • Improved circulation
  • Stimulation of cell nutrition
  • Increased acceptance of your changing body
  • Improved mood
  • Boosts to your immune system
  • Boosts of feel-good hormones, which boosts your mood and reduces anxiety

Postpartum massage can also be hugely beneficial as you recover from pregnancy and birth, and shift into this exciting but often exhausting phase of parenting a newborn. A postpartum massage can achieve all the same benefits as listed above, as well as giving you a boost of oxycontin – the feel-good love hormone that’s vital for bonding and milk production.

Rachel Angelone is the founder of Your Birth Your Baby and is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Postpartum Doula and NurtureLife Pregnancy Massage Practitioner based in Melbourne. Rachel offers independent childbirth and early parenting education to pregnant families before baby arrives. Once your baby is Earth-side, she offers practical and emotional in-home support as you adjust to your new life as parents. Along both journeys she can provide relaxing and restorative massage treatments. She is also a loving wife and mother to two young girls.

Why should you keep using my services, despite COVID 19

*Edited to add: Due to Government restrictions, my massage service is on hold from late March to further notice. Doula services are classed as ‘care giving services’ and are still available.*

There’s much discussion about close personal contact at the moment. Two thirds of the services I offer rely on this type of interaction. So, should you keep engaging in these services?

Short answer, is yes.

Massage

Massage has many benefits, for any person. I exclusively offer pregnancy and postpartum massage. The main two that will be relevant at this time are:

  • Boosting your immune system
  • Boosting feel good hormones, which boosts your mood and reduces anxiety

The following are the measures that mean you’re as safe as possible in having me come to you to provide a beautiful relaxation massage:

  • I only do a max of 2 massages a day, and never back to back.
  • Every piece of linen I or a client touches during my time at their house goes in the washing machine as soon as I get home, washed on the hottest, longest cycle with sufficient detergent.
  • Linen is dried in the sun when possible, or in a dryer. Not left on clothes wracks for days to dry.
  • I wash my hands thoroughly when I arrive, and of course when I’m finished because I have oil all over my hands!
  • My massage table gets wiped down at the end of each massage with disinfectant wipes, and again when I get it out of the case at the next appointment.
  • I would never come to an appointment if I felt unwell, or had had contact with a person who is positive for Covid 19.
  • I contact all clients on the morning of their massage to check they’re feeling well. I’ve temporarily suspended my $30 cancellation fee.

Postpartum doula services

This virus may have seriously disrupted the support plans you had in place for your first few weeks home with bub. You may have had planned to have family come in from overseas or interstate – plans which may now be in disarray. Postpartum doulas can help restore a calm confidence to your postpartum care plans. Please get in contact if you have any questions about this service.

When it comes to hygiene when visiting for postpartum support, again, the upmost care is taken.  

I would never come to an appointment if I felt unwell in any way, or knowingly had contact with a person who is positive for COVID 19. I have a back-up doula so that you will still receive the support you need if I am unable to attend.

I wash my hands thoroughly when I arrive, follow the most stringent personal hygiene for coughing and sneezing at all times, and have an existing policy of only supporting one family at a time.

Online sessions now available: Childbirth education classes, & Birth and/or Postpartum planning sessions.

These services I am able to move to a virtual format to reduce face-to-face interactions.

I’ve tweaked my content and delivery to be suitable for conducting sessions via Zoom.

Pricing for the virtual services sessions will also be reduced, because I wouldn’t incur car petrol/servicing costs:

  • Face to face Childbirth education (7 hours-min 2 sessions): $350
  • Virtual Childbirth education (7 hours-min 2 sessions): $275
  • Face to face Birth and/or postpartum planning sessions (minimum 3 hours): $50/hour
  • Virtual Birth and/or postpartum planning sessions (minimum 3 hours): $40/hour

If you have any questions about any of my services, or any of the measures I’m taking in order to protect clients, please get in contact via the Contact Me page. I’d love to chat to you.

Rachel Angelone is the founder of Your Birth Your Baby and is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Postpartum Doula and NurtureLife Pregnancy Massage Practitioner based in Melbourne. Rachel offers independent childbirth and early parenting education to pregnant families before baby arrives. Once your baby is Earth-side, she offers practical and emotional in-home support as you adjust to your new life as parents. Along both journeys she can provide relaxing and restorative massage treatments. She is also a loving wife and mother to two young girls.

pregnant tummy with question mark post-it notes childbirth education melbourne

The mine-field of the Due Date

Due date: estimate of when a baby will probably not arrive.

Due dates. Family, friends and strangers alike will all be asking during your pregnancy: ‘what’s your due date?’ But did you know that only about 4% of babies are born on their due date? Some babies come a little earlier, some come a little later, but they all eventually come out!

Did you know that a 19th century ‘rule’ is used to estimate your due date?

It’s called Naegele’s rule: Take the first day of an expectant person’s last menstrual period, add a year, subtract three months, and add seven days. Crazy huh? But there is one massive assumption made when using this rule; that the birthing person has a 28-day menstrual cycle, with ovulation on day 14. But in reality, cycles range anywhere between 21 and 35 days. Add on top of this that babies don’t know about months and days, and ultimately, it’s a very inaccurate way of estimating when a baby will arrive.

On a related note, do you know the difference between pre-term, term and post-term gestational ages?

Pre-term: Born on or before 36+6 weeks
Term: Born anytime from 37+0 weeks to 41+6 (that’s a 5 week swing!)
Post term: Born after 42+0 weeks

But, due to the inaccuracy of the due date estimation, you can have a baby born at 37 weeks who looks skinny and premature, and another baby born at 36 weeks could looks fat, healthy and full term.

When it comes to inductions, if you do not have a medical reason to be induced, it’s best for your baby’s development that you wait for labour to being spontaneously until you are 42+0 weeks (and even then, you can choose to decline). If your care provider is pushing to induce you earlier without a medical indication, ask the BRAIN questions, ask for a second opinion, and be confident enough in your body to say ‘no’ if needed. You can say no to any procedure or intervention offered to you at any time if it doesn’t feel right for you. It’s called informed consent/refusal. 

If you’d like to know more about your rights as a birthing person, understand more about where the pros and cons start with and end with any labour option, and so much more, consider doing a Lamaze Childbirth Education class. I hold mine privately with each couple/family, at a time and location that suits. Contact me to find out more.

Rachel Angelone is the founder of Your Birth Your Baby and is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Postpartum Doula and NurtureLife Pregnancy Massage Practitioner based in Melbourne. Rachel offers independent childbirth and early parenting education to pregnant families before baby arrives. Once your baby is Earth-side, she offers practical and emotional in-home support as you adjust to your new life as parents. Along both journeys she can provide relaxing and restorative massage treatments. She is also a loving wife and mother to two young girls.

woman having a dentist checkup

How to Take Care of Your Gums During Pregnancy and Why It’s Important

This month I’ve got another guest blog for you – Dr Amanda Tavoularis has written a post on oral health during pregnancy, and why it’s important not to neglect this area of your body!

Dr. Amanda Tavoularis (dentably.com)

When you become pregnant, it can be a very special time as your body changes and prepares to bring a new life into the world. While it’s important that you remain as healthy as possible for yourself and for your baby, many women can develop inflammation of their gums, or gingivitis during their pregnancy. This is often referred to as pregnancy gingivitis and happens because of the changes in hormone levels.

Gum disease can result in premature births, so it’s important to be aware of this disease and take care of your gums to help prevent this disease. In a study conducted in the postnatal ward at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide, most women were aware of dental disease, but over 80% of women surveyed were not aware of periodontal disease!

I have been practicing dentistry for nearly 20 years and have worked with women on prioritizing their dental health during pregnancy so they can carry their baby to term. Oral health issues can worsen quickly, especially if women are unaware so, it’s important to take proper measures in preventing and treating them for the safety of you and your baby.

1. Dental Visits Are Vital for Gum Health

It’s important to continue regularly visiting your dentist during pregnancy to try and prevent gum disease. Professional dental cleanings are more important during your pregnancy and are essential to preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Your dentist can also evaluate your periodontal health so you both can work together to decrease the chance of adverse pregnancy complications. Let your dentist know that you are expecting, and they will be able to accommodate to your needs.

2. Seek Treatment Immediately

If you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease or believe that you may have it, it’s important to seek treatment quickly to prevent potential preterm labour. Research has shown that there is an association between gum disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes such as low birth weight and premature births. According to the Australian Dental Journal, a recent study found that, “Women with prenatal loss due to extreme prematurity were more than four times as likely to have periodontal disease, compared to women with full term, live born infant.”

The cause is most likely because the bacteria from gum disease can attack the ligaments, gums, and bones surrounding your teeth to create infected pockets similar to large infected wounds in the oral cavity. These pockets can provide access to your bloodstream and allow bacteria to travel throughout your body, down to the uterus and placenta.

Visiting your regular dentist is the best way to treat your gingivitis or gum disease. Most doctors recommend waiting until your second trimester before receiving dental procedures. Your dentist will give you a deep cleaning to get rid of plaque and build-up that’s contributing to the disease. If your gum disease is severe your dentist or doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help combat the infection. Your doctor will know which medications are safe for you during your pregnancy but be sure to let them know of any allergies that you have.

3. Maintain a Healthy Dental Care Routine

Finally, be sure to continue an effective dental care routine during your pregnancy to help prevent gum disease and gingivitis. Good dental hygiene consists of brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and using an antimicrobial mouth rinse. Another great way to keep your mouth healthy during this special time is to avoid sugary foods. Excessively eating foods high in sugar can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, so try incorporating more vegetables, lean proteins, and nuts and seeds into your diet to help prevent any disease. 

It’s important that you take precautionary measures to make sure your mouth is as healthy as possible for you and your baby because premature births are more common in mothers with poor dental health. Regular dental visits, seeking treatment, and continuing a good dental care routine the best ways to help prevent gum disease. Remember to enjoy this time in your life and embrace the changes happening to your body.

newborn baby yawning Vicky Palmieri

Vicky Palmieri – My ‘WHY’

From Rachel: I’m honored to have teamed up with a fellow birth-space professional Vicky Palmieri to do some guest posting. If you’re in Melbourne and wanting to find a passionate, talented photographer for your maternity, newborn or family portraits, look no further than Vicky. Read on to get a feel for what makes her tick! 🙂

Hey there, I’m Vicky, a wholehearted Lifestyle Photographer for families and business, located in Melbourne’s inner west. I’m the kind of photographer that loves keeping it real and honest. When it comes to maternity, newborn and family photography, I love to create emotionally evocative images that can be felt, right here in the heart.

Vicky Palmieri Photography

Working with women in business is such a rewarding experience for me also. Helping women show up for their brand by taking a bold stand in their business; making them shine to anyone and everyone though their socials and website.

I’m so drawn to photographing people, because quite simply, I adore human connection. No matter who is in front of my lens, I love drawing out their best personality features, quirks and uniqueness.

This stems from my childhood albums, that contain pictures that lack the very thing I love – human connection. The photos seem quite stagnant and sometimes awkward. For example; me standing behind my birthday cake waiting to blow out my candles or my Dad holding me while posing in front of the family car. Don’t get me wrong, I love these photos to bits, but when my kids were born, I wanted something more for them and me. I wanted to be teleported back to that very moment when we looked at a photo, and feel all the feels.

This is what I want for my clients. I want to take them on an experiential journey from the beginning right through to the delivery of their photos. My emotive photographic storytelling and playfulness capture those truly authentic in-between moments. The kind of moments that make you remember and feel.

The sessions I offer are:

Maternity – Empowering women to embrace the now of their femininity and celebrating their body.

Newborn – Finding the beautiful in simple everyday moments, as parents get to know their brand new bub. Relaxed, natural and intimate.

Family – Embracing the chaos of family life is what makes my family sessions truely unique. It’s a crazy, cuddle love fest and we have an absolute ball.

Motherhood – Mum getting in the frame and spending some chill time with her wee ones, to receive some seriously beautiful images that tug (hard) at her mumma heart strings.

Vicky Palmieri Photography

Women in Biz – Not your run of the mill headshot. Uh uh, women is biz looking for authentic and real. Something that screams personality to showcase their service and/or products on their website, socials, or anything that promotes what they do.

I’m located in West Footscray, but service all of Melbourne (and beyond) as I’m a mobile photographer. If any of these sessions sound like something you need in your life right now, please head to my website for more information.

Want to get in touch? Too easy, head to my enquiry form. You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram (quite regularly hehehe)

Much love to you

Vicky

xx

The toughest thing.

The toughest thing you’ve ever been through, is the TOUGHEST thing you’ve ever been through.

I remember hearing this in high school. It clearly stuck with me, as things that seem so obviously true often do, and I’ve thought of it often since then.

There is no point in comparing your own struggles with someone else’s. We all have different cards to play in life, and we all have different perspectives on those cards. But if the hardest thing you’ve ever faced is the not getting into the university you had your heart set on, and someone else’s is cancer, that doesn’t make your struggle less relevant, or less important. It’s the toughest thing YOU have ever faced. It’s your measuring stick. That’s not something to be embarrassed about or shamed for.

It may sound like what I’m saying is the old ‘don’t compare your life to others’, ‘the grass isn’t always greener on the other side’ etc. All that is true, but really what I’m really trying to get at is to not diminish your own experience just because it’s not as ‘big’ as someone else’s. If it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever faced, then it’s no small thing for you. And if anyone makes you feel like it is a small thing, you might want to consider pointing this out to them.

To bring all this back to pregnancy, babies and parenting, it doesn’t matter what ‘type’ of baby you have, what your birth experience was like, whether this is your first or third or sixth baby, it’s all hard. Just because someone’s baby doesn’t have silent reflux, or a tongue tie, or whatever, doesn’t mean a new parent has it easy. All babies are hard work. Learning new skills like parenting and breastfeeding are hard work. There are tough days. Some days might be the toughest you’ve ever experienced, and that’s ok. You don’t have to pretend to love every minute. You’re still a good parent.

Rachel Angelone is the founder of Your birth Your baby and is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and Postpartum Doula based in Melbourne. Rachel offers independent childbirth and early parenting education to pregnant families before baby arrives. Once your baby is Earth-side, she offers practical and emotional in-home support as you adjust to your new life as parents. She is also a loving wife and mother to two young girls.

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