I went into motherhood like everyone else full of expectancy and anticipation that this new bundle of joy would bring so much light into our world and literally turn it upside down and inside out AND, I felt so ready for that!
My waters broke at 8:00pm at exactly 40 weeks to the day. We went into hospital within an hour because the contractions were becoming intense quite quickly and there I laboured for about four hours unassisted until they moved me up to the labour ward. By then I’d gone to 10cm dilated and I was so ready to meet my little bub. I’d done it thus far completely unassisted without any drugs or medicine and I was really proud of myself. However, what should have been a natural progression soon became a state of emergency.
The midwife discovered my bub was actually bum down and there was “no way” I was getting her out. Her heart rate had started to drop and before long the room was filled with doctors and nurses preparing me for an emergency c-section. I was devastated but in that moment of desperation I just wanted my baby to be safe and healthy. I did not know the implications of such a decision nor did I have a choice, I had to let go of the outcome and put myself completely into their care with 100% trust that they knew what they were doing.
At 1:20am my beautiful little girl was born. She was a healthy 6lb 8oz and had already begun to exercise her lungs. She was alert and wide-eyed. After initial checks, cleaning up and clearing her airways, she was wrapped and brought over to me. I so desperately wanted to hold her, to feel her skin against mine but since I needed to be stitched up, she was carted off with hubby and I was left in the surgery while they went to work. It would have been a good hour before I got to hold her skin on skin for the first time. It was such a beautiful feeling; my beautiful Lacey was finally safe in my arms.
We had a rocky start, Lacey and I. Not only was she born by c-section straight into a world of bright lights and chaos, but we also struggled to breastfeed. She couldn’t latch on properly and I was thrown into a world of frustration, unmet expectations and multiple cases of mastitis which of course led to repeated prescriptions of antibiotics….Oh if only I had known!
As you can imagine six rounds of antibiotics in three short months devastated my gut and little did I realise the repercussions to my health in the immediate years that followed.
On top of that, Lacey was about a year-old when she started to show signs of a compromised immune system and gut dysfunction. It started with constipation, a huge bloated belly and random unexplained crying episodes then developed into obvious immune system issues like chronic ear infections and rashes on her body.
Of course at the time I had no idea how to fix her, why her beautiful body had started to show signs of malfunction and I began questioning what had I done “wrong?”
Multiple courses of antibiotics were prescribed for her in her first year of life and a stool test confirmed that she had a parasite infection.
Dealing with my own health journey and then being forced into a position to also deal with hers, was the wakeup call I desperately needed.
You see I’d spent the majority of my life living in ignorance, acting like I was invincible and that nothing I could do would affect me. I lived indulgently, impulsively and unconsciously. I ate whatever I wanted without any thought as to what I was putting in my body. I used toxic perfumes and lathered my face with toxic makeup for years with no regard as to what it could be doing. I spent the majority of my life on some form of prescription medication whether it be antibiotics, steroids or the contraceptive pill….my body was a slowly ticking time bomb.
I don’t know why, but when you’re holding that precious bundle of joy in your arms, all of a sudden, caring about you becomes important. Statements float around in your head like “I have to be a healthy mummy, I have to take care of myself now so that I’m always around for her”.
So yes, the wakeup call came albeit a little late!
I realised very quickly, that I had wrecked my gut. I was diagnosed with IBS and was a prime suspect for leaky gut among other things. My research went deeper and deeper and I learnt all about the significance of the role of the gut and more specifically gut bacteria. More importantly I learnt that because my bubba was rushed out through a c-section, she didn’t get any exposure to beneficial bacteria through the birth canal. Not only that, but instead her first exposure was to the bacteria that was present on the first person that handled her and the bacteria in her environment.
Scientific studies and statistics show that babies born through c-section have less bacterial diversity in their gut and therefore an increased risk of ADHD, autism, obesity, type 1 diabetes & allergies.
I was convinced that the majority of her developing issues were related directly to her c-section birth and then subsequent doses of antibiotics and because of that, my focus was now on helping my little girl to heal.
We certainly had a mountain to climb and a lot of damage to repair and I knew that I had to commit to a journey of learning how to nurture her gut and increase the diversity of her gut bacteria.
Well, my “little bubba” is almost 7 now and over the years, we’ve literally done a complete shift in the way we do EVERYTHING; food, diet, lifestyle…you name it, we’ve changed it.
Some people call us “extreme”, but I like to call us “deliberate and intentional”. We now consciously and intuitively eat and see food as nourishment, not just merely pleasure.
Here’s some of the things we’ve done for our beautiful girl that has helped her gut to heal:
- Got her off gluten and dairy.
- Got her eating real wholefood – no additives and preservatives and rarely anything packaged other than the occasional rice cake or cracker.
- Started incorporating nutrient-dense, mineral-rich bone broth into her daily routine and cooked everything in it.
- Started giving her kombucha and water kefir to drink and sauerkraut juice on her veggies/salads as well as incorporating other fermented foods and drinks.
- Started using essential oils to help her tummy and to boost her immunity naturally.
- Started her on top quality supplements like probiotics, multivitamin and omega 3 fish oil.
- Stopped washing her every day and stopped being so obsessed with cleanliness. We encouraged her to play in dirt, climb trees and walk around bare feet. As mummies, we need to stop being so germaphobic and start exposing our bubba’s to beneficial living organisms in our soil and environment to help build their immunity naturally. With Lacey, unless she was really grubby we only washed her every few days and stopped using antibacterial products (especially hand soap)
- Reduced her exposure to toxic chemicals. We invested in less toxic household and personal care products or made our own using essential oils.
- Started to teach her about holistic health and encouraged her to move her body, get out into the sunshine and fresh air, get plenty of rest and sleep and drink plenty of water.
We haven’t seen a doctor in over 2 years now, haven’t paid a cent for pills and antibiotics and she rarely gets sick and if she does she gets over it very quickly and handles it like a trooper (usually she’s ask me which essential oil she should use lol).
It’s not been an easy journey, but it has certainly taught me a lot….WOW…how to put it into words?
My precious daughter has taught me:
- To let go…..there are only so many things you can control. Did I know that she would be born by c-section? No. Did I understand the repercussions? No. Did I know that antibiotics literally annihilated her gut? No. Did I know that I was making choices that were directly affecting her future health? No. Would I have done it differently if I had known….HECK YES! But the point is I couldn’t control any of these things back then. I could only go off what I knew at the time with my limited knowledge, doing the best I knew how.
- To trust myself and my intuition more….mummy really does know best! I wish I had listened to myself more, listened to those deep niggling feelings and thoughts that were leading me and guiding me instead of giving in to peer pressure or “professional advice”.
- To trust her more….second to our own intuition as mummies, we have to also trust our children and their own unique way of communicating their needs. All those times she said “she wasn’t feeling right”, I wish I’d been more inquisitive and ask a few more questions instead of brushing it off.
- That fear isn’t real, it’s just “False Evidence Appearing Real”. Most of the time I feared for no reason. She has and continues to teach me to let go of all fear and to trust that everything has a purpose.
- To be braver and stronger. When she was sick, she handled it like a trooper and rarely complained. When she saw me sick and in tears, she was always there telling me to “be strong mummy” and “it’s all going to be ok”.
- To not worry about what other people think or say about our approach to health and lifestyle. At the end of the day, we are the ones who have to live with our choices.
- And lastly, to not take myself so seriously, to laugh more, to smile more, to enjoy the little things in life and to not get so held up on trivial things.
I hope that in reading this, you’ll realise that, even though we all make mistakes, you’re the absolutely PERFECT fit for your children; you are the mummy they need and they have been gifted into your care for a time such as this. Their journey, no matter how painful at times, is there to teach you and guide you.
Happy Mother’s Day beautiful!