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 Aimee in 2018 when she was pregnant expecting her first child and I remember being greeted by a GIGANTIC puppy and trying to dodge her running around the field we were photographing in. It was like a giant kangaroo bouncing towards me I swear! All fun of course, but certainly not your typical maternity portrait session I can tell you that! I've since photographed Aimee's beautiful daughter Rylee when she was born and also Rylee's 12mth Milestone Session more recently!

I am so excited to have Aimee share her Motherhood story with us because I can relate to it on so many levels... work, parents, outsourcing cleaning (yes i'm on the hunt for a cleaner right now thanks for the reminder Aimee), trying things you never thought you would, even slowing down and wanting a sea change. I hear you Aimee, I'm feeling those same things and I bet alot of other Perth Mums are too!

I know you will love Aimee 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 Aimee's Motherhood Story...

Tell us about your children?

Rylee Marie Francis - 18 months - Female

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

I always wanted children but also was very career focused. I had huge amounts of anxiety leaving my job to become a Mother. I had a huge realisation that I put so much of my self-worth / self-validation from my job so the thought of doing what I know and what I was good at, scared the sh*t out of me.  

Once Rylee was born, it was as if I went from career to carer overnight, well I did in reality. I honestly struggled with the sitting still and feeling like I wasn’t achieving much in my days. Especially when I would look back to what I would output in a day pre-baby vs being at home with a newborn.

However, it is true what they say (well what mother’s say); it is hands down the most rewarding job ever & my priorities, values everything has shifted & for the better :)

What has surprised you most about Motherhood?

How much little sleep you can survive off. Coffee becomes your best friend.

Before becoming a mother I wondered what mothers would do all day?! Now I know…Everything takes a lot longer & you basically cook, feed and clean up after meals repeatedly all day.

I’m actually a big softy with Rylee and i'm not the hard parent. I was so sure that I’d be strict, run a tight ship and that her Dad would give in to her but it’s totally opposite her Dad is more firm & stricter…. Probably because she has worn me, down throughout the day haha!

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?

I was 100% set on a natural birth but it resulted in an emergency C - At the end of the day Rylee is healthy & she came out perfect! 

But if I’m honest I’m still a little disappointed & ripped off we were so close, I had gotten all the way to the pushing stage with no pain relief but she was very wedged in my pelvis and wasn't going to come through easily.

My labouring phase was actually really calm and relaxing (Well I think so, not sure, my husband agrees). I was 5cm dilated when I got to hospital and then jumped in the bath with a pillow, music and my oils. I was in there for 2 hours, when I got out I was 8cm so felt good about the progress. The last 2cm dragged a bit because I was struggling to block out the pain more & we were starting to stall. My cervix was still quite firm and my waters still hadn’t broken, so we decided to try breaking the waters to see if Rylee’s head sitting on the cervix directly would soften it – didn’t work. In the end, they manually moved the cervix over her head- it was the most painful & horrific part looking back. After that we started the pushing stage but after an hour or so of pushing she was not moving through, we tried vacuum & forceps but too much force was been applied by the ob, so off to theater we went.

The operation for me felt like an out of body experience, I was wiped out. After such intense feelings in my body through labour to completely numb I felt as if I was mentally numb too. 

It was not until I was in recovery and breastfeeding Ry I felt the felt the excitement and joy of our new baby – it is a bloody roller coaster of emotions birth. :)

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

Definitely watching your child come into their own, seeing their personality shine through and nothing is more rewarding than hearing or seeing the laughter of your child.

What is your best memory from your own childhood?

We grew up in a coastal town north of Perth so had lots of summers day parked up at the beach just playing, been outside, active, building cubby houses, tad-poling, swimming etc .

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

Unfortunately, we do not have a relationship, which has been challenging and honestly it triggers a lot of anxiety in me. I think once you become a Mum yourself it normally gives more common ground/ understanding and I see a lot of my friends etc and I guess what I thought it would have been like for me as well that the relationship becomes closer as it's your Mum you want to go to/ feel comfortable with, so that saddens me that we don't have that relationship. In addition, I really struggle to ask for help – I hate feeling as if I am burdening others yet I would have felt more comfortable to ask Mum.

In terms of how my relationship or feelings towards the relationship has changed since becoming a Mother I think more confusion and I now struggle to understand as I simply couldn’t imagine missing out on watching Rylee grow up or being present in her life, no matter what it takes.

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

I think more consciousness around emotions & feelings, I think in my childhood I saw a lot of bottled feelings that eventually busted out in not so pretty ways. I also feel though our generation is becoming a lot more comfortable with open conversations & now there is a shift in society embracing this - I guess platforms like this, people sharing their stories. 

I do work hard to try not to let my experiences and feelings shape Rylee; I want to give her the space her for her to grow into her own and be influenced based on her own experiences rather than mine.

Other than that, I would say travel – it is a huge value for my husband and I. lt has really opened my eyes up to a lot of things, the different cultures, ways of life, views, beliefs etc. I want that for Rylee as well, more experiences and less materialistic things.

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

I felt/feel a lot of pressure about work/career but it’s all me....I put the pressure on myself, I expected a lot from myself haha but I’m working on it! :) 

I think with motherhood there are soo many different approaches, so sometimes I feel judged about the choices I have made on how I raise my child, if it is not so mainstream so to say.

In addition, sleep I think is a big one – we put so much pressure around the ‘sleeping through’ I think we’ve got to stop asking new mum’s ‘oh is he/she sleeping though’ as this is really a challenge for a lot families and for a sleep deprived mother to have to turn around and say ‘no’ can make you feel like your maybe failing in that area.

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

Trying not to lose yourself in amidst it all. I am routine driven, love order & can really loose my sh*t if things don't go to the plan. But having Rylee has made me learn to let it go, release the control and surrender at times.

Who do you turn to for advice?

My Aunty Deb she has been amazing! Gives me that safe and judgement free space. My girlfriends who have already been there, understand and can relate.

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

My daughter - she's happy, healthy and as challenging as it is at times now we are in the toddler stage she's strong & determined.

Myself it's one of the hardest things I've done and as mentioned my husband FIFO doing shut downs so he is away a lot, so I've had to navigate a lot of it on my own but I'm not the only one, I have such an appreciation for Mum's who are doing it on their own.

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

Yes - I work a 5 day fortnight in my previous role before Rylee - Digital Marketing Manager in a construction company and I also self contract to a number of clients providing digital marketing services. I am lucky I work with some amazing and understanding clients.

I would say my challenge is what a lot of working mum's would battle with.....time constraints it's all a balancing act really. I have just got a cleaner to come fortnightly. As days I have at home with Rylee, during her sleep times I work on my clients, so I was finding I was having to do to the house work during her awake times. Anyone with a toddler knows this is basically setting yourself up to fail. I want to be present with Rylee on the days I am not at work, so something had to give, I looked at where my time was best valued and I decided the obvious choice was to let go of the things that gave us least amount of joy and that's certainly scrubbing the floors and bathrooms. :) 

Also food prep is massive in helping our household run smoothly so I try to bulk cook and plan ahead. 

I guess learning to surrender and accepting you don't have to physically do it all and you know what works best for your own family.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

At the moment I'm trying to un-pack my life a little - I have a tenancy to take a on a lot and get myself stressed out, I put a lot of pressure on myself and in turn the pressure flows onto our family. 

I want to strip things back a bit, do things that brings fulfillment and joy to our lives and get comfortable with not always having to be so-busy. So I feel like sea change could be in store for us?! I grew up by the ocean in a small town whenever I leave Perth I feel like i'm exiting the pressure cooker, so I think i'd like to move somewhere coastal, less busy and my husband would love some more space as the things that bring him joy seem to require a lot of it (insert eye roll, cars, bikes etc. haha).

We are hoping Sean can also move into a more friendly family roster within the next 12 months. We would like to expand our family at some stage and I think i'm ready to be Mum for a bit - which given it was the biggest struggle I had going into Motherhood I am interested to see how i'd go next time around. :)

In terms of our travels and adventures we want to discover more of Australia so before the kids are in school we would like to do some longer camping trips away in Aust. Sean's pretty set on having us all in a camper trailer, I think this is where i'll have to practice my surrendering part. As the kids get older and will remember our trips look into more international destinations.

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

Integrity to act in fairness and honesty. Also authenticity - I want them to be content with just being true to themselves, stay in their own lane in life.

What is your best piece of advice to other Mothers?

Just do what feels right for you and your family. Be open minded, I have tried different things along the way that I didn't think I would and i'm glad I have.

What are your hopes for your children?

Ultimately to have good health, to pursue her dreams in whatever it is that lights her up and to be happy. Also be compassionate, caring and kind towards others.

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

We do a lot of meat & veg. But to make the process quicker I pre-cut bulk veg on the weekend and keep it sealed in the fridge so I just have to chuck it on a tray to bake or in the steamer. Anything I haven't used by mid week I bake before if turns and then use it for lunches.

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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