The Tale Of Annika & Henry Speakman
Annika Speakman is refreshingly honest about how hard the first year of motherhood can be. "No one ever tells you!" reflects the beautiful Sydney-based model holding her adorable blonde-haired son Henry. "It's an emotional roller coaster, and takes a toll not only on you, but your relationships too. You feel like you give 110% of yourself to your child that there is no way there could be anything left for you or your partner." She's also quick to point out how rewarding the first year is. "It's so worth it. You forget about those night wakings when you go into their room in the morning and they have the biggest smile on their face. For me, the best part of being a mum is watching them smile at you and knowing that alongside their dad, you're the most important person in their lives."
Speakman became a mother for the first time a year ago when her son was born. "I got home from the hospital and broke down, because I had no idea what I was doing. I think the first few days are so overwhelming because you're exhausted, your hormones are raging, and there was no manual for how to look after a baby. It was after this, that I read a few books for some guidance and started Henry on a very loose EASY routine (eat, activity, sleep, you time)."
"She started modelling again when Henry was around three months old. I would take my breast pumps on jobs and pump in the bathroom between shots so glamorous! It was so nice for me to get out and about and talk to familiar faces", she says. Speakman is also designing a collection of baby and toddler block printed bed linen called Henrys Friend Radha, which is launching early this year and inspired by her honeymoon in India. "It's really great to be able to work on a business from home, because its flexible and you can work at your own pace", she says.
I don't really have as much time to myself as I did before Henry was born, so I have really simplified my beauty routine to elements that give the most impact with little effort and time! I use Ren Rose Cleanser and also a Dermalogica Skin Prep Scrub twice a week then a little makeup. I love Mac Studio Face & Body Foundation or Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, Maybelline mascara, MAC Shell Cream Colour Base, Stila Convertible Colour in Peony, Nars Bronzing Powder in Laguna. I usually mix some moisturiser (Dr Spiller Collagen Cream and Neostrata Renewal Cream) with my foundation to create a tint, and rub that on with either my fingers or foundation brush. Quick brush of my eyebrows, two coats of mascara, highlighter on cheek and brow bones, and a little blush or bronzer.
On her fitness regime:
Exercise for me has to be super child friendly. I've started walking around Centennial Park or the Bay Run with girlfriends, which is also a great excuse for a catch up and a coffee! I also do yoga two to three times a week. I really enjoy that it's not as physically demanding as high impact training, and it's a bit of quiet time during the day to yourself, which I appreciate so much more now. My parent's look after Henry when I'm at yoga, so it's also a good excuse for them to spend time with him too.
On her diet:
My husband and I eat relatively healthy, but we definitely love to indulge. I come from a European background, and Tom is a typical male, so we grew up with pasta, pizza, meat, the list goes on. We have a little rule that during the week we try to have one vegetable based meal, and usually the other nights there are proteins, and on the weekend we can eat what we want! It works for us. We like to feed our bodies with meals that make us feel good, but of course there are days when we splurge!
I really enjoyed my pregnancy but I was lucky, as I didn't get any morning sickness. The best part of it is watching how dramatically your body changes to accommodate another human inside you, and a large on at that- he was 4.55kg. The worst part of the pregnancy? The acne I got from the surge in hormones, the constant aches and pains in the last few weeks, and the 21-hour labour!
On exercising during pregnancy:
During my pregnancy, I was walking a lot and still did yoga three times a week up until 9 months. The last few weeks of my pregnancy, I found it really hard to do anything at all so I just rested in preparation. After Henry was born, I walked a lot with the pram, and started back with yoga at about 6 weeks.
On her advice to new first time mothers:
Everyone always says oh you must nap when the baby is sleeping, but this is always easier said than done. I think the number one tip is to invest in a capsule that can click out of the car, and onto the pram. It's a lifesaver, and doubles as a rocker when you're in the house. You never have to disturb your baby while they are taking their naps, and it makes those first few months that little bit easier. I've just lent mine to my girlfriend (mother of a five month old), and she can't believe what she ever did without it. Spend the weekend cooking and preparing big batches of food that can be frozen and defrosted on short notice, for those nights (most nights in the beginning) when you just can't be bothered. I'm not so sure mother's groups are all they are hyped up to be- I never joined because I didn't want to compare myself, and what I was doing to every other clueless mother who was in the same position that I was in. I didn't want to hear their problems and issues, because I had my own and surely didn't need someone elses problems on my mind. I think it's best to go with your instincts, and do what you feel is right. Never doubt yourself, or your capabilities. You have to start somewhere. Keep hydrated, especially if you're breastfeeding. I found out the hard way when we were in Thailand when Henry was five months old. Try to make time for yourself; get your nails done, read a magazine, go for a walk, talk to someone- an adult preferably who speaks more than two or three words.
On achieving balance:
Find the time, and if you can't find it, then make time. Cancel something that can be rescheduled. We try to sit down at the table every morning for breakfast together as a family, and most weekend nights when we can have an early kids dinner. It's amazing just how much conversation you can have when the TV is off. On the days I have to work, my parents look after Henry, and sometimes take him for the night so Tom and I can have a break. Without them, it would be really hard as my in laws are in Adelaide."
Annikas little list of loves:
Carry on, Warrior- Thoughts on life unarmed by Glennon Doyle Melton, creator of Momastery.com
Taking Henry to the beach and watching him crawl straight into the waves but hate being the packhorse with our endless beach paraphernalia!
Travelling make the most of it while theyre not mobile!
Green grapes straight from the fridge.
A bacon and egg roll with Tabasco sauce from our local Orange Grove farmers markets.
Korean kids clothes by Lury the most amazing quality and eye for detail.
The sound of crickets as soon as the sun goes down signals that summer is here.
Black peppercorn pecorino drizzled with truffle honey.