Interview Series: Nicole Ricketts talks about how building her relationship with herself changed her experience of pregnancy, birth and parenting with her 2nd child.
Can you share a little about yourself and your family?
I am 38 years old and in August 2015 I gave birth to my 2nd child – a little girl, Charlotte Rose and such a little joy she is. My son, Kaiash has just started school and will be 6 in April. My pregnancies were both different. Seeing there were 5 years between them, I was actually in a very different place while pregnant the second time. My partner and I were ‘trying’ for the second child and were a lot more settled in our lives, whereas with Kaiash we had only been together for 4 months and the pregnancy was unexpected.
What is the stand-out thing you have learnt so far in raising your children?
Not only am I raising them – but they are raising me, I am learning more from them each day and they are a massive reflection. Our children are so much more aware of everything around them than we give them credit for. I am not only a mother but also an early childhood educator, and my children and other children I work with, teach me so much everyday. The stand out point would be how aware and in tune our children are – to me now it feels insulting to talk to them as children. A lot of the ways we talk to them, is like they really don't understand.
What is the craziest advice you were given when you were pregnant?
It was just after I had given birth to my first child, I remember sitting in the hospital room and I had a craving for a mocha (chocolate & coffee) – they were what I used to drink all the time. During my pregnancy I had a few of these but always with decaf coffee. I asked the midwife about having coffee and was if it correct that I should order decaf because of the coffee passing through the breast milk. The midwife responded by saying you can have up to 5 coffees a day before it affects the baby. I remember thinking to myself if I had 5 coffees in a day it would so affect me, I wouldn't be able to sleep for weeks – I would be so racy! It didn't make sense to me, because it would affect me. That to me seemed crazy advice even though it may have been the recommendations at the time.
Is there a 'right' length of time to breastfeed, what is your feeling?
I don’t feel like there is an exact correct length of time to breast feed a baby – as long as both baby and mother are happy, continue on. I do remember this feeling when my first child didn’t want to suck anymore, – it was this feeling of 'oh no, he’s not my baby anymore', and I realised then how much I loved having that connection time – that one on one with him that no one else can give him. I didn’t want to let this go. I can see how some mothers could continue breast feeding because they don’t want to lose that feeling, which I feel may not be the best choice for either mum or baby. Quite quickly I found new ways of still connecting with him and having some loving one on one time, which continues today and I will also have with Charlotte after we finish feeding, but right now I am loving breastfeeding her and cherishing every feed!
Was your birth experience different the second time, if so what do you feel created the change?
During my second pregnancy, I really feel I looked after myself a lot more. I would rest when I felt to and took more time for me to stretch my body, go for walks and had some very loving massages. This though, was just continuity from how I had been living before I was pregnant. I had already truly started to nurture myself a lot more. Kaiash was born right on his due date, where Charlotte Rose decided she wasn’t waiting and came 4 weeks early.
Is there time to celebrate yourself as a woman when your a mother?
With my first baby, for the first 5 weeks, I don't even think I got dressed – it was all about the baby. After my second baby, I was dressed from day two. Whether or not I have been celebrating myself as a woman – I am definitely working on that!
There is a massive label that gets put on you when you have a baby and you can start to see yourself just as a mother, you can forget that first of all, you are a woman before you are anything else. Is there time to celebrate myself as a woman? – there is definitely time but whether we take it or not – that is the answer. What I have learnt with my second child, is they really reflect what is going on with you, in your house and in your family. If I am stressed out and not spending the time on me, she feels that and she will let me know – it stresses her out also. Once she is stressed out then you get further stressed out, with no time to do anything and you keep running around, going around in circles, in a little rat race. The more you can start off going, 'no, I am going to spend more time on me and stick with my rhythms before giving birth', the more the child falls into that and they pick up on that and appreciate that. They know, 'my mum is awesome, she is staying with herself and her rhythms, I am safe and I don't need to stress out.' Taking time to celebrate yourself as a woman is super important not just for you but everyone else in the house. So the answer is yes, there is definitely time – but you need to take it.
Deeply Nurturing Blog
The Deeply Nurturing Blog serves as an online magazine, full of articles, interviews and stories relating to pre-conception, pregnancy, birth, caring for babies, transitions, raising children, relationships and women's health. By and about everyday women who are inspiring by their simple everyday choices in taking responsibility for their health and wellbeing.