I am so excited about this new blog series... each month I am featuring a group of strong, real women and their very own, personal Motherhood Stories on my website as part of a blog series with the intention of inspiring others. Those who are about to embark on their own journey into Motherhood while also connecting local Perth Mum's who may be going through the same experiences, the beauty, the tears, the chaos and the messy!

I first met Emma around 18 months ago when I photographed her Maternity Session, we instantly hit it off she and her hubby are so kind, friendly and down to earth! I next photographed baby Elodie's newborn session and upon arriving at Emma's home discovered her living room wall covered in inspirational and motivational quotes alongside moments I had photographed at her Maternity Session. She went on to explain this helped her get through her labour. How incredible is that!

We continued to chat and talk all things motherhood in her home during the session, while we took a break so she could feed Elodie I remember opening up to her about my own struggles parenting, she had so much great advice and it was incredibly comforting to share our stories with one another. I know you will love Emma just as much as I do so grab a coffee or brew your favourite pot of tea and read on if you would like to learn a bit more about Emma's Motherhood Story...

Tell us about your children?

I have James who is 4 and Elodie who will be 1 at the end of January

Tell me about your journey into Motherhood? Did you always want children and is it what you expected?

I always wanted to be a mother, probably even as a child I knew I wanted children. I've definitely always been a caring and nurturing person. I was almost 23 when I had my first baby, so quite young. I had been a nanny and swimming teacher which I think kept my expectations of motherhood pretty realistic.

What has surprised you most about Motherhood?

My own strength, my ability to mother through some of the most difficult times in my life..

Tell us a little about your birth story? Did it go to plan and was it what you expected? How do you feel about it today?

James was born in the UK. I was induced for post dates at 41+5 and it was a long slow induction process with minimal progress. He was born by emergency Caesarean at 4 2+1. He was posterior so when I was pregnant with Elodie and knew I wanted a vagin al birth, I did everything I could to not have a posterior Bub. For my second birth, I decided on a home birth VBAC with a private midwife and was so lucky to be able to book in with the most empowering, supportive midwife. I had chiropractic care from around 24 weeks and did spinning babies exercises to make sure Elodie was in optimal position. I researched a lot! I was so sure I wouldn't go as long as I did with James because Elodie was in a great position!

My husband was working FIFO and was home from 39 weeks. I tried to be positive but honestly felt so disappointed by the time I got to 41 weeks! I had an appt booked with the hospital for 42 weeks (Friday), I told myself I wouldn't try all the old wives tales again this time, I would just wait, but I wanted to avoid that hospital appointment and have my home birth! So I was gutter walking, walking sideways up stairs, doing spinning babies exercises, plus all the old wives tales! I ended up going to a highly recommended acupuncturist on the Monday, my hind waters leaked a little on the Wednesday morning and I did so much walking around the neighbourhood to get things going, which they finally did late Thursday night.

I laboured most of Friday in the shower. I hit transition and was asking to go to the hospital, but my midwives knew, looked at me with smiles and said "you're exactly where we want you, your baby is so close now!" Not long after I started to get the Foetal Ejection Reflex, so I got into the birth pool. I explain the FER and birth like that feeling you get when you vomit and you can't stop it coming, your body just does it! So my body did all the work and I didn't actively push until I birthed the placenta. I still feel all the adrenaline when I think about it! Craig was actually out picking James up from pre-kindy and missed the birth! But she was born into the water at 42 weeks exactly!

What has brought you the most joy in this season of Motherhood?

My children. They are so clever and every tiny thing they do amazes me! I am in constant awe of them. Their personalities are so beautiful.

What is your best memory from your own childhood?

I had a really fun childhood, I had lots of friends around and look back with fondness on the holidays, beach time and everyday life. My parents definitely instilled in me a love to travel, which I have continued with my children. I didn't get on a plane until I was 13, but after that we travelled to New Zealand, Vietnam, Singapore and Borneo on family holidays and I really appreciate the sacrifices my parents would have made for us to experience those places together!

How has your relationship with your Mother changed since you became a Mother yourself?

I have definitely become closer with my Mum since having children. I have a new appreciation for her as a mother to me as a child. I remember making Milos on the bench and leaving the drops of milk or milo there and walking away with my drink. When I had my first live-in nanny job, they had older children as well and the 13 year old did the same thing with the milo. So I called my Mum and said "I am so sorry!!" 

What would you say is the biggest differences between your childhood and the one you are creating for your children?

Probably that my husband's family is in the UK and my family is nearby, so the main difference would be the amount of big travel we do, and the support that we have. My parents and my husband's parents had their parents and siblings nearby, but from the time James was 1 until he turned 4 I didn't have any family within the same state. When we moved to Perth all my family was on the East coast and my husband was working FIFO so the support was minimal and I know I'm not alone in that, with the world being so spread out nowadays. 

What societal pressures on motherhood do you feel most? (ability to work, judgement, housework, body image, always having it together etc)

I struggle with judgement and expectations. The expectations of society about children and what they are developmentally and physically able/unable to do, and also that society so heavily blames mothers especially for children's behaviour when so of ten it's an underlying factor of hunger, boredom, tiredness, illness etc.

What do you feel has been the most challenging in this season of motherhood? How did you deal with it?

Asking for help! I have always strived to be independent, but since having Elodie I have realised that being independent doesn't mean doing it all on my own and struggling!

Who do you turn to for advice?

My husband, Mum, friends, cousins.

What are you most proud of in your motherhood journey so far?

So much! I am proud of myself! My children, my relationships with them. I am proud of my births, saying yes to a caesarian that I didn't plan, researching and empowering myself for my home birth, breastfeeding through allergies, being calm in many small and big moments, having patience I didn't know was possible. 

Are you employed? Tell us about your work and the challenges you experience juggling work and family. How do you overcome those challenges?

I'm not employed at the moment. I am studying to become a postnatal doula and lactation consultant. I've just started my course but already feel the pull to be with m y children, even though they are well cared for by my Mum or husband in those moments I am studying!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I would really like to be studying midwifery by then maybe almost finished my degree, living with family and friends around. 

What life lesson or important value do you want to teach your children?

I hope they know it's ok to ask for help and I want them to be kind and helpful towards others too. I really want to encourage them to take care of themselves physically, but also in their mental health as well. I also want them to be respectful of everybody, wherever they may land in society. 

What is your best piece of advice to other Mothers?

Follow your gut and mother's intuition. Some people may have text books or studies, but you will always know what's best if you can tune into yourself and your children.

What are your hopes for your children?

For them to be kind to themselves in times of happiness and strength, but especially in times of sadness and weakness. 

What is your go-to meal for busy mums? Please feel free to share the recipe

Sausages and veg! I'm obsessed with frying baby broccoli in a teaspoon of butter an d garlic. But for an easy tasty spag Bol recipe I use onion, mince, tinned tomatoes, tomato soup, beef stock and Italian herbs. Sometimes I add mushroom, carrot and/or zucchini. It can also be made into lasagne, or pasta bake with cheese sprinkled on. I always make enough for leftovers or for freezing if my husband is working away.

Melissa Sprlyan Photography specializes in newborn portraiture in Perth, Western Australia. Melissa Sprlyan Photography also specializes in maternity and family lifestyle sessions in the Perth metropolitan area including Fremantle, Rockingham, Mandurah, Scarborough, Joondalup, Yanchep and Perth Hills. If you are looking for a newborn session in Perth I would love to begin planning your newborn portraits in the comfort of your own home. 

Our stunning client wardrobe is filled with high end pieces for Mum and children up to age six. If you are interested in a custom portrait session with Melissa Sprlyan Photography and would like more information, please learn more about me and this experience.

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