If you could go back to before you had your first baby, what would you tell yourself?

If you could go back to before you had your first baby, what would you tell yourself?

Motherhood is the greatest journey of your life and nothing can prepare you for it. As a mother, you’re constantly learning more about yourself and your child...

Imagine if you could go back to before you had your first baby, what would you tell yourself? Go easy on yourself? Love yourself? Remember to laugh? We asked a handful of stylish mamas we’ve previously profiled on The Grace Tales to spend a little time reflecting and answer this question…

Photo: Julie Adams

Zoe Foster Blake, Founder of Go-To Skincare and Author, Mother to Sonny

“Hey preggo. Cute pants. You should wear them every day. Oh! You do? Fantastic. So. I was thinking, why not read up a little bit on newborns before you have one in your hands? Stop focusing on the labour and birth (15 hours of your life) and focus on the first six weeks of little Dwayne/Darlene’s life instead, which will be unlike anything you can possibly imagine, filled with dizzying highs and epic lows and far too many tracksuits and cakes. Also: ask other mums of babies and toddlers anything and everything in those early days. They are in the zone, they know current and valid recommendations and websites and products. Those with grown kids, may not. And finally: enjoy the bubble. Don’t rush it, or resent it, or hanker for a life past or future. Be present. Be positive. Be grateful. Be smart about going to bed early. Be kind to yourself and your husband. And be sure to buy a dressing gown you REALLY love cos you will friggen live in it.” www.zotheysay.comwww.gotoskincare.com

Photo: Julie Adams

Sigourney Cantelo, Founder of Beauticate, Mother to Max and Luella

“It’s actually really hard because I’m in that new mum zone again – and I’m not even taking some of the advice I thought I would give myself. So, thank you, I’ll let this be a reminder to myself. Okay, here goes. Most importantly I want to remember that this time is so so short. Newborns are only newborns for twelve weeks and then they’re infants. That’s a mere blip on the radar of life. All those moments where you stand rocking the bassinet in your vomit covered pyjamas and zombying through your day, falling asleep during the feeds… they’re hard, but they’re short and you might never get to do experience those moments again, so TRY to treasure them. Drink in the smell of her fluffy little head. Stare into those eyes for as long as you want and don’t worry that your inbox is out of control, that the laundry pile has it’s own postcode or that your roots are showing and your toenails aren’t done. Try and enjoy the sheer joy that is watching this little human grow – that gummy smile that she saves especially for you, the way she kicks her legs with excitement when you pick her up in the morning, the way she nuzzles into your neck and coos to herself in her cot. And it’s not just about enjoying Lulu – remember to stop and be in the moment with Max as well. Listen by the door when he sings himself to sleep at night. Spy on him when he ‘reads’ his books in bed (so much cuter that he’s just making up the words). Rejoice in watching him learn to love and care for his little sister and how important and grown up that makes him feel. Every age has the most delicious moments and milestones and motherhood give us a front row seat to all that gorgeousness. Now, stop getting distracted with what’s on the other channels or trying to fast forward to the good bits and just bunker down with some popcorn and enjoy the show.” www.beauticate.com

Lena Catterick, Founder of Yoli & Otis, Mother to Yolanda, Francesca and Louie

“Looking back; Well, firstly I think it helps to understand that they’re each born with their own personality. Having only just realised this since Louie’s arrival, and being able to compare them in terms of their varied responses to the different parenting techniques. I now know all those times I broke down when Yoli would refuse to sleep or wake to the sound of a cicada, or the door creaking, after only 15 minutes of sleep, that it wasn’t because I had missed something, or didn’t get the bedtime regime right. Thinking maybe she wasn’t fed enough or I hadn’t burped her correctly. That guilt of not knowing, not being able to help her sleep would draw out so much frustration and anxiety in me. If only I had known, she’s just not a sleeper and this is still her today. Her hearing is so sensitive, she’s so in tune with what’s going on, she just prefers to be awake. Amongst all the action, she’s a live wire, the life of the party and I wouldn’t change that about her for a damn thing. That’s why baby wearing worked so well for us, she could sit there taking it all in rather than fight it, she would drift away into a deep sleep, whilst my motions rocked her back to sleep when she would peel her eyes open for a brief second. It really was the only way to get her to sleep. As much as it was amazing to have discovered this wonderfully effective patently tool, I still struggled with the fact that she wasn’t one of those babies that just slept routinely. If I had known it was just her personality, and if I had known it wasn’t a ‘problem’ which needed to be solved, just to accept and embrace what was every little bit her character, it would have allowed me to feel completely at ease. COMPLETELY. I now realise the importance of reading the signs, rather than reading the parenting books. Every baby is born with their own inherited personality, no book could have changed that. But more so, why would you want to change who they are? When Louie arrived, I expected the same. Boy we were in for a surprise. Two completely different sleepers and not just sleeping, everything was different. They are each very much their own person, the same way Carlo and I are different. He falls asleep within seconds and I need to lay there awake going over every little detail about our day, in my head, before drifting off. Our little Louie is his father, through and through. He’ll fall asleep on his own on a rug under a tree. It’s bizarre! And Yoli still to this day needs to do backflips, forward rolls and ends up falling asleep mid flight, upside down, half off the bed. Her mind is SO active. It doesn’t just switch off. SHE IS ME! Having that empathy towards her as a baby at two in the morning or two in the day when she refused to sleep, would have really, really helped. Empathy creates harmony. Words to live by.” www.yoliandotis.com

Photo: Julie Adams

Elsa Morgan, Hair and Make-up Artist, Mother to Jet and Jasper

“I have nothing to say and a million things to say! Perhaps it’s to photograph the messy gross moments as well as the beautiful ones. And the only reason I say that is because we’ve had such a laugh going through photos lately I take photos when the kids are cute, but Nick pulls out the camera at the worst times, like when one of the boys is vomiting or having a tantrum. And actually his photos are the ones the boys just love looking at!”. www.reloadagency.com

Photos: @little.winnie

Aimee Winchester, Founder of Little Winnie, Mother to Coco, Autumn, Juniper and Clementine

“I would quote Elizabeth Stones’s powerful message: ‘Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.’” www.littlewinnie.com.au

Eva Galambos, Owner of Parlour X boutique, Mother to Alexa and Paloma

“Time becomes much more precious, allocate your time wisely.” www.parlourx.com

Georgie Abay, Editor of The Grace Tales, Mother to Arabella and Lottie

“That it’s not easy. That motherhood will push you to your limits and test you in more ways than you’ll ever imagine. That sometimes, it’s ok not to feel ok. It’s ok to cry. Don’t keep it in – talk to your family and your friends. Laugh with your girlfriends. They will keep you sane. That motherhood will change the way you view life and your career and that’s ok because life is meant to change. Change is good! Your career is not everything. Your family and friends are everything so build your life around them. That you’ll bicker with your partner over whose turn it is to settle the baby, but that you’ll get through that phase and the bickering will stop because eventually your baby will sleep through the night and not even need bottles. That your whole life will change and never be the same. But for the better because life will finally make sense. Life will finally feel full and complete and you’ll never experience a love like the love you feel for your child. The moment you first meet your child will be the most exhilarating moment of your life – nothing can prepare you for the mind-blowing love you feel. That time passes quickly, so remember to smile and laugh when it gets hard. Also, it’s ok that you can’t carry babies past the second trimester because they’ll be ok and grow quickly into healthy, happy, chubby little babies. So don’t beat yourself up. Finally, I’d tell myself to cherish this time because before you know it your children will be all grown up, so cuddle them, teach them about the world, laugh with them, play with them and most importantly LOVE them to the moon and back.”

Jacqueline Perrett, Communications Manager at bassike, Mother to Harriette and Henry

Photo: Julie Adams

“Surrender to the early days of life as a new mother. There is no rush to have everything perfect and under control – and it’s a very unrealistic expectation to put upon yourself. Sloth around the house in your dressing gown until 3pm… 7pm… even until bedtime… and enjoy lazy day sleeps with your new baby whenever you can. The washing can wait! Also, hold back from passing judgement on the parenting choices of others, instead, replace judgement with compassion and understanding… No one is perfect. Finally, ask for, and accept help from others. It takes a  village to raise a child.” www.bassike.com