OF ISLAND OF SEA
I’ll start out by introducing myself, my names Allysha and I’m 27 from beautiful Australia.
From as far back as I remember I wanted to be a Mum. I fell pregnant to my amazing fiancé Brad when I was 19 and all the pieces kind of fell into place. He already had two adorable little boys and over the years we added 4 little ones to build up a tribe; chase who is almost 7, Crew who is 4, Cody Blue is our only little girl who is 2.5 and our newborn son Coa.
Why do you think it’s so important for a mother to listen to their instincts?
It’s important for parents to listen to their instincts because we know our children best. We know what’s normal for them and what’s not. Something that’s not an issue for one child could be a huge indication something is wrong for another. Doctors rely on this information, we are the best advocate our children have. Doctors also don’t see what happens at home.
What made you realise this?
I realised many years ago that this was important. Chase and Crew both displayed delays and sensory issues early on, thankfully I didn’t struggle to get them seen by professionals. Some doctors didn’t believe anything was wrong but the psychologist and paediatricians noticed the flags immediately.
Coa was another story. I knew his breathing was wrong from the day he was born, but it took three hospital admissions before they said it wasn’t normal. It’s easy for smaller issues to hide the big ones and for him, a virus and severe reflux masked his more serious issues.
We spent weeks in the hospital the third time around after being transferred to a children’s hospital in an ambulance. Multiple tests a day showed he has central and obstructive apnea. This essentially means his windpipe is floppy and his brain doesn’t maintain his oxygen levels while he sleeps.
While we were there the doctors kept telling me how important it was that I kept taking him back to the hospital and that they rely on parents to do this. So now we are home with our own oxygen machine and specialist apps in the future.
It’s important for parents to listen to their instincts because we know our children best. We know what’s normal for them and what’s not.
Has motherhood helped you get more in tune with yourself?
I definitely am more in tune with myself since having children. I trust myself more and am not afraid to voice concerns. I used to be the kind of person who would avoid any and all confrontation. I wasn’t shy but I was too anxious to speak my mind. Having children changed that, I wasn’t just a voice for myself anymore but for my children too.
Is there anything about motherhood that has surprised you?
Motherhood itself is surprising.
You go in with an idea of what it’s like but it’s almost never the way you imagine it.
I never pictured myself as one of those mums with children who have special needs or health problems, you always think ‘it won’t happen to me’ but then it does. My picture of myself was always two boys with an uncomplicated life. Instead, I have three sons, a daughter, two stepchildren and a life that’s probably messier than most. I wouldn’t change it for the world though. Motherhood has made me feel powerful and that probably surprised me the most.
What has been the biggest learning curve for you since becoming a mother?
The biggest learning curve I have overcome as a mum is probably losing control. I was so used to being in control of every moment of my life that I struggled with the mess children bring to the day. It was probably about the same time I had Crew that I learnt to let go of that control. Baby number 2 genuinely taught me that children can be guided but full control of your life has gone now. You can nudge them in the right direction but if you try and drag them there you will only be met with stress and resistance. (Hypothetically, of course, I don’t need to drag the kids haha)
What’s the most invaluable piece of advice that’s been given to you since you’ve gotten pregnant?
The most invaluable piece of advice I have been given was probably the most simple ‘Do what works’.
You go into parenthood with a million opinions on what you believe is right and wrong. You fight to hold onto those beliefs but then one day you realise those values don’t remotely work with the little soul you have been given to raise. What works for your child and your family may be something you were completely against before having kids. Things like co sleeping, extended breastfeeding, technology, food etc. You don’t release how many opinions you have that make your day harder until you have to let go when you realise your baby won’t fit into them.
Do you have any advice for other mothers on following their gut instincts?
My first piece of advice to all mums is to listen to your instincts. Call a doctor, see a specialist, go to the hospital or ask a heap of mums who may be able to help with advice on similar situations. Don’t let anyone brush off your concerns. It could be something simple or it could be your child needs help, your concerns are always valid. Something that has little effect on one baby can be deadly for another.
Coa’s reflux is common, but you mix reflux with a floppy windpipe and you get a baby who chokes to the point they turn blue.
My second piece of advice is, don’t sweat the small stuff. Being a parent can be stressful enough without you making it harder for yourself.
Wait until your child is ready before you toilet train, breakfast cereal is a perfectly fine dinner alternative, smoothies count as a meal and tv won’t make their eyes square. We are our own worst enemies when it comes to judgement. If your toddler loses the plot at dinner time, don’t fight them on it. There’s nothing wrong with a sandwich and I promise they will eat eventually. If you’re sick or exhausted, need to do housework or just want a break then there’s nothing wrong with putting on a movie and feeding the kids popcorn. Give yourself a break and give your kids a break too. Life is about balance and balance means it’s perfectly ok to take the lazy option sometimes.
With thanks to Allysha X
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