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Vashti | Mother of 3 | Be present and enjoy the “now”

Something I hold onto dearly is the saying “your child will never be as young as they are today,
ever again”, it really is a bittersweet fact that keeps me going.

Your family

I live in west Auckland with my husband, Ryan; our 3 children – Malachi (6), Miriam (4), Ollie (6
weeks) and our American staffy, Guy. Ryan and I are both South African born but met in Auckland
shortly after I moved up from Taranaki. We enjoy the beach and bush walks, our weekends if not
raining are mostly spent outside.

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Journey to conceiving and pregnancy

My children were all planned, I have always felt very blessed to have conceived naturally and also
very shortly soon after deciding to try for a baby each time.

How were your pregnancies?

My first two pregnancies were nearly identical, no morning sickness and hardly any lingering
symptoms. My pregnancy with my last born, Oliver was surprisingly different. I had experienced
morning sickness for the first time and felt extremely exhausted most of the time, given we had a
really hot summer. I run a very strict routine at home, it keeps me sane and I am a stern believer
that it provides children the security they need to thrive – this had a huge part to play in how well we
functioned as a family despite me having less than half the energy I normally do.

Birth story

All my children were born vaginally and spontaneously at 38 weeks. After the first two, I feel like I was so familiar with my body and I had predicted the day I would go into labour correctly. My last labour and delivery was extremely fast, my active labour was 2 hours long and delivery was less than 10 minutes. So fast that I nearly birthed in the hospital reception area!

After I gave birth, I waited the minimum 3 hours at hospital before I was discharged and I came
home to vacuum my lounge. For me, it really comes down to perspective. I’ve been asked how I was
able to transition to three children basically on my own without outside help and it’s really come
down to my mentality, believing I’m capable in already half the work done. Having established
routines at home also made the transition a smooth one.

Your little ones

How did you choose your children’s names and does it have a meaning to you?

Ollie had no name for an entire week after he was born. Malachi and Miriam are both very
traditional, old names and we wanted something that wasn’t too modern. The few names I had in
mind during pregnancy ended up being a bad fit for him as I had one boy name and about 10 girl
names shortlisted. Eventually, my husband and I decided to go with one of the kids’ choices which
was Oliver.

Tell us about the first few weeks with your baby?

Ollie is 6 weeks and has only met one of his aunties. While the world may be in the recovery stages
of the pandemic, it has been really comforting for us to have him home and in no close contact with
anyone outside of our household. We have thankfully not had any trouble with people not respecting our boundaries.

How did you adjust in the fourth trimester? How has each subsequent arrival changed your family

My husband and I dedicated one on one time with the older two children to support them in their new roles. Emotions were high and my daughter (4) in particular found it challenging, dealing with feelings of displacement I suppose. The truth is, we knew a new baby would bring its own challenges and nothing could’ve prepared us or the children enough. There was no way of knowing how each child would respond to such a drastic change in our family dynamic. We are now on the other side of that steep hill, things are settling and we are enjoying the bigger family of 5.

What were your must-have items, and what others were a waste of time/overrated?

With this being my third baby, I felt like a seasoned shopper if you will. I had learnt my lesson with
unnecessary purchases after my first baby, as we all do. I didn’t set up a nursery for Ollie, I made a
baby nook in my bedroom as I knew it was the most practical thing to do for us.

So far, I cannot rate the moonie bear sleep aid and shnuggle bath enough. I say these two are my top
must haves because I know they would’ve made the world a difference if I had them with my other
two babies.

Is your parenting different to how you thought it would be?

I think the typical belief is that you become more relaxed and carefree with each consecutive child
but for me it’s been the opposite. My parenting has become more intentional with each one, I often
think back to my first baby and there has been a huge evolution in my approach to nearly
everything. I had a working mum while I was growing up, a nanny cared for me since I was 6 weeks
old and I never really tried to imagine what sort of mum I would be before I had kids. As a stay at
home mum now, my philosophy is ultimately to be present and to give my children a childhood they
don’t need to “recover” from in any way. With that being said, I know I will never be a perfect mum
but my goal is to always allow my children to see me own my downfalls, hear me apologize.

How does your typical day look? Are you a stay at home parent/juggling work/kindy?

My days are full on, Malachi is year 1 and Miriam goes to kindergarten 3 days per week. Between
drop off and pick up time, I’m breastfeeding on demand, doing the housework and trying to
maintain some creative outlet with my photography. A little optimistic but I would hope come spring
this year, to start booking mini sessions. However, if that doesn’t happen so soon I’ll be okay with
that. Over time I’ve learnt that flexibility always prevails when you have kids.

Relationship

How has having children affected your relationship, what challenges has it brought? 

Since pregnancy with Ollie, being our third baby I think my husband and I have learnt to pick our
battles. We also went in very realistic and we spoke about our new reality very often. I think
expectations often throw people off when they’re expecting a new baby, so we made a point of
highlighting the possible challenges. My husband works full time but when he’s at home, he focuses
on the older two children and I get to enjoy my newborn which I’m absolutely thankful for. Finding a
balance is key.

Tips & advice

What would your top 3/5 parenting tips be for a new parent?

My tips for any new parent would be to

  • Do what best works for you and your family. Babies are all different as are we, and I think there are enough existing stressors of parenthood that we don’t need to add to it by comparing our journeys to anyone else’s. We all are busy winging it despite how that may appear on Instagram.
  • Another thing I would advise is to have a routine! With my first baby I had no routine for the longest
    time, the thought of a routine was so intimidating to me until I made the effort and realized how
    much easier it made my life. I suddenly had enough time to do everything I needed to do and more.
  • Lastly, I would say that the quote “you will never think back one day and feel like you spent too
    much time with your children” runs so true. So, be present and enjoy the “now”.

What is the most helpful advice you can offer to other parents and what advice has someone passed down to you that you’ll always remember?

I think it is so important for new parents especially, to know that everyone struggles. Our struggles
may be different but we all have them. Whenever you feel as if you don’t know what you’re doing,
remember we were all once a new parent. None of us came into parenthood with all the answers,
there was trial and error, experimenting and lots of tears involved.

If this has helped you, would you consider sharing your story to help others too? Please submit your details through this form. Whether your story is about trying to conceive, pregnancy, surrogacy, loss or parenthood, we would love to hear from you.

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