As I've been sharing some amazing stories of women during my "March of Inspiring Mums" interview series, it's got me thinking a lot about why I set up Halia Rose.
Also as it's Mother's Day, I've been reflecting on my very own journey into motherhood and how I felt on the eve of becoming a mum for the first time...
... well it was certainly a long "eve" but after a long 54 hours of labour, I joined my new world of motherhood. I'm sharing my story, not just as a reminder to myself as to how far I've come but also for those of you that may be going through a tough time right now - it's ok to not feel ok but know that you can and you will get through this.
I'm not going to lie, my experience was tough, bloody tough! I know everyone has different experiences with their labour and no two labours are the same but when the first contractions came a couple of days before my due date, I felt ready. I’d done some hypno-birthing preparations, was looking forward to a natural birth and meeting my son.
However, my plan was just that, a plan! ...and it definitely didn't happen the way I thought or hoped - and I certainly wasn’t expecting to be in labour for well over 2 days! I was so exhausted after 24 hours that my contractions pretty much stopped and I needed 3 lots of epidural to relax my body and kick-start the contractions. I was being quite sick at this time too so my body was really struggling. Long story short and after a serious 3rd degree tear, my baby boy finally arrived into the world...but he wasn’t breathing. After some very quick-thinking by the hospital staff, oxygen was applied and, after what felt like an eternity, we finally heard him crying. My husband and I were shattered – physically and emotionally, and it was a really tough time for both of us. On top of this we were living abroad at the time so had no family support around us.
I had met some lovely ladies in our antenatal classes but we all seemed to want to portray a feeling of “we’re doing ok” as we didn’t really know each other all that well. (Some of them are now my closest friends despite us now being in all four corners of the world and it made such a difference having mums going through exactly the same thing at the same time and being able to meet up with them and have some adult conversation!) But those first few weeks were a whirlwind of first-time parenthood learning, visitors, endless nappies, feeding and sitting on a rubber ring!
This left me totally exhausted and my emotions were shot through. With sleep deprivation and no wider support network around me (other than my amazing husband but he obviously had to return to work), I felt quite alone and struggled to feel like "me". Having always been a pretty resourceful and independent person, I hadn’t expected the mental and emotional changes within me. My body hadn’t popped back to its pre-pregnancy shape (obviously!) so buying clothes was not something I enjoyed doing at the time but wearing gorgeous jewellery was something I could do. However, I couldn’t find anything that I liked and wanted to wear that was also safe for me to wear around my baby as I didn't want it to harm my baby plus he was tugging, breaking and chewing through everything. I realised I wasn't alone feeling like this and I also found that wearing a splash of colour really helped my mood and how I felt. The idea for Halia Rose jewellery was born!
My children (yes, even after that birth experience I went back for round two - thankfully it was a lot smoother and quicker!) continue to be my inspiration both for my business but also my outlook on life - their love of colour, the outdoors but ultimately doing whatever they enjoy doing without caring what other people think is something I try and remember too.
Without doubt motherhood is one of the toughest jobs you can do but I think it's also the most rewarding. And with March being the time we celebrate International Women's Day and Mother's Day, I salute all you ladies, whatever your story (and we all have one right!)
Life is too short to not feel good so do whatever YOU need to do to help make you feel great - I truly believe that in order to look after your families in the way you want to, you have to loo after yourself too.
For me, selfcare is healthcare and comes in many different forms. Whether you need time to relax or energise (or something in between), my aim is to provide stylish but practical accessories and gifts for Mums (and their young children) to feel good, look good and be celebrated.