Why is it that there is so much fear about being real? Why are we afraid to post photos we deem ‘bad’? Are we afraid others are going to be like “damn girl, you look like shit” and I’m all “thanks, I just pushed a baby out of my vagina”.

The number one compliment I get around my blog and what I share is that fact that its real. I am far from well-presented, I barely have my shit together and make up to me is mascara and BB cream (sometimes I splash out and wear foundation). I’ve been a tomboy most of my life and have never been one to ‘dress up’ so when I do, I feel awkward as fuck and it shows in everything I do. I always feel like I don’t fit in and this, along with me currently not being happy with my body is half the reason I don’t go out.

I am just like you, well, I don’t know you and its highly likely that you’re better looking than me but you get the idea. Somebody messaged me the other day and said “you’re so lucky, your life looks amazing – you have it all”. I don’t, I am over-worked and I am tired. I have problems just like everybody else (if you don’t, I’m hella jealous). I am kind of sad that they had that impression of me because I am very honest online and with what I share.

Sure, I may take some nice pictures of the kids, that’s the bonus of being a parent and a Photographer but have you seen many photos of me? Nope, they’re few and far between. If Reuben or somebody else happens to snap a good pic of me then I am gonna use the shit out of it (haha) and I don’t know the last time I felt I looked good enough to justify a selfie. Reuben’s idea of a spontaneous photo without me having to ask if me in bed eating KFC and sharing it on Snapchat.. yeah, thanks babe.

Let’s be real people, let’s stop being scared and shy about showing off what’s really happening. Let’s share squares of reality, not carefully composed works of art. It’s unrealistic and fucking hard to maintain. I know your real life isn’t like that, especially with a child. It’s simply not possible. You might be fooling some, but you ain’t fooling me.

I am a Mum. I am struggling with my identity these last few years. I know I am more than a Mum but I am also not the old Jess (and I don’t want to be). I am quite depressed and I am working on it but old habits are hard to break (lack of patience, high expectations for everything). I am really down on my body but in all honestly, I am currently doing nothing about it. I want to lose weight, I want to be healthy but I also want to eat shit food. Time is not something I have a lot of right now so that also plays a big part in my lack of motivation to be better and feel better. I am winding down and will be finishing up my photography & work for the year so hope I can get out and do some exercise of the Christmas holidays. What a stupid time to start right? The time of year when everybody binges – ha. So there, I got my own issues, don’t you worry about that. More issues that vogue but I’m treading about water. I am honest with you guys, I see no reason not to be.

Being real is so refreshing and only then can we slowly start becoming accepting of ourselves and our own lives because we start to see others are just like us too! These unrealistic portrayals of motherhood and life in general are stupid and I am so over seeing them. They affect so many people and this makes me sad. People are so confused by social media and are literally comparing themselves, their children and their lifestyles to something that isn’t even an honest representation. We’ve all been there, I used to do. The best thing I ever did was learn to stop caring so much about what others think (thanks to reading “The Life Changing Magic of not giving a fuck) and I feel better for it. Sure, I am human. I am the queen of overthinking but I’ve stopped comparing myself to others. I have my own hustle and I don’t time to be worrying what you’re up to. In saying that, I care a lot about those close to me and I treat them right.

So here’s me, stuffing toast in my face about 10 minutes after giving birth to Lily while Reuben dresses her. How fucking good is that milo & toast post birth though!? While the images isn’t what I would deem ‘pretty’, it tells a pretty bloody cool story and that’s what photos and memories are all about.

As I sit here stuck under a sleepy baby (thanks to 6 week imms), I can’t help but do a lot of thinking. To be honest, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking since Lily arrived. I was stuck in hospital for a week without family being able to visit so I reflected a lot, I didn’t sleep much and the mind wanders.

I’ve been through a lot of shit in my life, who hasn’t? When you’re in the thick of it, it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But there’s generally a positive to every negative.

Every poor decision (and I’ve made a many), every shitty situation, every friendship gained and lost has helped me get me where I am today. 

I’ve written blog before that have touched on the friendship topic. Motherhood really made me reevaluate the friendships and relationships I held. Reuben and I have started a bit of wedding planning and we were having discussions around the guest list and how many people we think we’d have there. My thought process was around the whole would they invite me to theirs? Have they met our children? Have we ever met their partner? Would I regret not inviting them? Have I seen them/had contact within the past year?

It really made me realize that I can count my ‘friends’ on less than 2 hands these days. Sure, I have a lot of contacts and connections (personally & professionally) as well as Facebook friends but how many actual friends do you have? That you can confide in? Communicate often? Hang out or couldn’t imagine your life without? I’d be curious to know. Am I the only one with such a small friend group? Is it my own doing? Before meeting Reuben I lived alone for a really long time and was single (about 5 years), I became super independent and often went into my own shell and ended up becoming a bit of a hermit. I became at peace with my own presence and didn’t feel the need to be surrounded by others. Sounds odd, but if you’ve been in that situation, you may know what I mean. I was never a drinker, I never went to town or anything like that. I’ve drunk more since becoming a Mum (those end of day Pinot’s are my saviour).

I hold my friends dearly and would do anything for them, sometimes I am slack, I get busy and I don’t reply but that is not a reflection on how much I value their friendship. I try and tell my friends how much they mean to me, even though most find it corny. I would hate for tomorrow to come and something happen to myself or one of them and have had not told them how much I appreciate them.

As I mentioned above, I’ve made poor decisions in the past. I’ve allowed people to walk all over me and treat me badly. I’ve settled for less than I deserve and I let people hurt me. But looking back now, yes, those actions and situations changed me. They’ve shaped me into the person I am now and that I deserve a hell of a lot better. They’ve helped me find this drive that I didn’t realize I had.

Throughout my adult life, I’ve always been about helping people. Being there for everybody else even though at times I felt as though nobody was there for me – and maybe that’s why I am the way I am. I treat people how I would like to be treated. I like to tell them I care, I love giving my friends gifts – it genuinely makes me smile. I absolutely love doing things for others.

Building this blog into what it is today and getting amazing private messages from people saying how much I’ve helped them has made the negativity bearable. The support group for mums that I created now has over 13,000 members and daily I see mums empowering and helping our other mums. Giving support, guidance and positive praise. Sometimes all we need is a non-judgemental ear and some reassurance. It truly does make me feel so damn good. 

I have struggled with mental illness, this is no surprise. I talk openly about it because there is so much unnecessary stigma around it. I thought I was managing it, and then developed PND with Baxter. I have this new body that has been difficult to be comfortable in until I learned that acceptance was the key to my happiness. This body grew life (2 even). I jiggle more than I used too, I have scars that will never go away – and I am now OK with that.

It’s been a tough road this mum gig, I never imagined myself being a parent. To be honest, after some pretty shit past relationships – I thought I’d be on my own for the rest of my life. Then Reuben came along, unexpectedly – and changed all of that. Falling pregnant with Baxter had us both freaking us – new and unknown territory is scary but we owned it and embraced it, what other choice do you have? We’ve fought like mad and we’ve shared so much joy together. We’ve watched Baxter reach milestones and we’ve been so extremely proud, we made that and by god is he handsome. With the recent arrival of Lily, we still don’t know what we’re doing – no day is the same. Becoming a Mum has shown me a strength I never knew I had, emotions I didn’t know existed and it’s made me laugh and cry – sometimes at the same time. My family is complete and I have never been so happy in my life.

I truly don’t even know what the purpose of this blog was all about, I had feels I needed to get out.

As if the 3 trimesters of pregnancy weren’t enough, there’s actually another one. Yes, the fourth trimester is an actual thing. Basically, it’s the idea that the first 3 months of life are very much an extension of life in the womb for baby.

In my opinion, the first 12 weeks with a newborn (see my survival tips here) are the most difficult. Hence why it’s been dubbed ‘the 4th trimester’. Nobody really tells you (warns you) or talks about it and I’m not really sure why. In the hospital they often tell you about the dreaded 2nd night, I’m pretty sure with Baxter we were even given a print out on what to expect. Constant feeding being the main thing and most babes don’t know their day from night in those early days (sometimes weeks).

I did some googling….

“Your baby’s fourth trimester starts from the moment he/she is born and lasts until he/she is three months old. The term is used to describe a period of great change and development in your newborn, as he/she adjusts to his/her new world outside your womb. You may find the term “trimester” odd, since your baby is already born.”

So there. It is a ‘thing’.

I’ve always told people that things get better after the first 12 weeks, they’re not so fresh, they respond (some what), they smile and are a lot less fragile and become more interactive each and every day.

Back to the whole ‘fourth trimester’ thing. Imagine what the life is like for you wee one tucked up inside your womb: tightly cocooned in a warm, dark, comforting place. Constantly hearing the safe sound of mums heartbeat. This is why they’re like koala’s once earthside. They take comfort in the sound of mum’s heartbeat and her smell. Mum’s chest is their safe place. Your baby will want to be held by you, and only you. Babywearing can help during this period to enable you to still go to the bathroom and do things that help you feel sane without being stuck under a newborn 24/7.

I look at the fourth trimester similar to the third trimester for many. You’re tired, your uncomfortable and many of us are anxious. Some of us still look like we’re pregnant, I know I did – just a lot more squishy!

Nobody warned me about the contractions after birth if you’re breastfeeding, your uterus contacts when you feed and it can take up to 12 weeks for it to return to is normal size. I found I bled more during those first few feeds too.

Don’t worry too much about creating bad habits during this time, you can’t spoil a newborn. They’re still too young to form bad habits.

The fourth trimester is an adjustment period for all, mums/dads & babies. I just wish there was more discussions surrounding it so we can align our expectations and not be so overwhelmed.

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Firstly, thank you. Words alone cannot express the gratitude I have for you. 

You’re a Midwife, a Mum, and a damn good friend.

You made me see a strength in me that I didn’t know I had. A strength I didn’t even know was possible.

You reassured me that everything was going to be OK and that I could do this.

You let me ask all the ridiculous questions I had including a late night text freaking out because my poo was black (thanks iron pills). Questions like “what if I don’t know I am in labour?” haha, how fucking naive was I? You know alright…

You helped us in ways you will never even know. Pre and post-birth.

You’ve never questioned our decisions and you’ve always supported us 100%. I start to ramble and you stop me and remind me that our decisions are exactly that and I don’t need to justify myself.

You’ve been totally honest and straight up with both Reuben and I when we needed it most. 

You made us see sense when we were in a sleep deprived state and it was all getting a bit much.

My midwife is also a personal friend, I was always a little worried her seeing me at my most vulnerable (and seeing my lady bits) but honestly, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. She is a total champ and I don’t regret my decision even when she challenges me – generally for my negativity and crap attitude (and I thank her for it). She was well aware of my past mental health issues and was so amazing seeing signs of PND early on with Baxter and jumping on it straight away, educating me and making me see that it’s far more common than we realise and there is so much help and support out there. She made me feel confident in talking about how I really felt which in turn has allowed me to help others going through the same thing by speaking openly in my blog about my struggles.

Her love and support throughout the pregnancies/births of both Baxter & Lily is something I will be forever grateful for.

You know who you are… thank you doesn’t seem like enough.

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20.04.2017 | 3.43am | 8lb5oz – Lily Luca Bemrose


I kept going to start this blog post and simply don’t know where to start because it all happened so quickly. I wrote about Baxter’s and had trouble remembering all the details so figured I’d get onto Lily’s sooner rather than later.

For the days/nights leading up to the birth I was certain that she was ‘coming that night’. Nobody knows your body like you do and I knew stuff was going on but clearly she wasn’t quite ready.

I’ll set the scene…

The morning of the 20th rolls around, 2am – I am laying in bed and think ‘hmm, did I just wee?’ I get up and go to the toilet. It wasn’t enough for me to think much of it. I figured I was just loosing my mind. 5 min later, def not wees. I feel a warm surge of liquid – “REUBEN, get a towel! She’s coming” haha.

A friend of mine had kindly gifted me some adult nappies, what a god send. I put a pair of them sexy panties on and jumped back into bed. Reuben tells me “go back to sleep, reserve your energy” yeah, ok – thanks for that. This is what we did with Baxter but clearly Lily had other plans. Less than 5 minutes after laying in bed mildly freaking out that it was all finally happening contractions started and hit me like a freight train. 2 minutes apart from the get go and getting stronger and stronger each time. We called the midwife at 2.30am and told her what was going on, she said to come in and said she’d see us within the hour as we had to call on Reuben’s parents to come out as Bax was in bed fast asleep. Waiting for them felt like an eternity to the point that we were down in the garage with the car running. Contractions in the car are honestly hell. I thought to myself “why the fuck am I doing this to myself all over again?” and then I remembered we’d soon meet our little girl who’d complete our family and it’d all be worth it.

They finally arrived and we were on the road just after 3am. Shit was getting more intense as time went on and I kept saying to Reuben “this baby is coming, I feel like I need to push”.

We were traveling from Lower Hutt to Wellington Hospital where we’d chosen to give birth and we most definitely ran a few red lights when Reuben realized I wasn’t exaggerating and this baby was coming, and fast.

We arrived at the hospital carpark delivery suite lifts, they’re locked after hours and you have to use the phone of doom. We called up and said “yeah, we’re about to have a baby in the carpark” and we waited, and waited, and waited…. I was literally leaning against the parking machine, nappy and all, crossing my legs in an attempt to keep this baby in all while some teens were in the carpark getting wasted. Fun times. After what felt like 10 minutes, we called the midwife to tell her we were in the carpark and an orderly had still not come to let us up. She shortly greeted us in the lift and we were on our way up to delivery suite. It would have been about 3.30am by the time we got into the room which Reuben labeled the dojo.

I literally when into sheer panic within seconds as everything was happening so insanely fast. I yelled at my midwife saying I needed to push, I felt SO much pressure it was insane. She said the rest of my waters hadn’t gone and that was probably the pressure. Within seconds of her observation and examination, WHOOOSH – the rest of the waters go and I shit myself at the same time (I’d hoped I wouldn’t as I didn’t with Baxter but honestly don’t even give a shit now I think about it – see what I did there). Great idea on the chicken tandoori, Reuben. Lol.

I am not even exaggerating, within seconds I was pushing, 2 pushes and Lily Luca was born at 3.43am. 13 minutes after arriving into the delivery suite. If you were following our live updates on Snapchat you would have seen the gap in Reuben’s story, it literally happened THAT quickly. I am scared to think what had happened if she didn’t come down and get us from the carpark when she did or if I’d gone into labour at a different time of day and had traffic to compete with.

Lily was born happy and healthy (well, so we thought). In the days prior we learned that she’d potentially contracted some type of viral infection and her body was not strong enough to fight it off. She was having trouble with her breathing and was not maintaining a healthy body temp. We spent 4 days in the Wellington Children’s Hospital and I cannot express enough how amazing the staff were throughout our stay.

It was an extremely tough and emotional time for me since EVERY single family member on both sides got hit with Gastro. Dad, Mum (passed out at our place while caring for Baxter and got concussion), Baxter, Reuben’s Mum & Dad and then Reuben dramatically collapsed at the Children’s Hospital and spent the day in a private room there in isolation vomiting etc. It was fucking tough I tell you, due to everybody being sick and us not wanting Lily to be exposed to it I was doing this all on my own. It was difficult for Reuben and the rest of the families as they weren’t even able to see Lily. We communicated via text, FB chat and FaceTime. It was one of the loneliest and toughest few days I’ve experienced to date. It was so hard knowing Baxter was really sick and I couldn’t even see him and had to take everybody’s word that he was OK. I knew he wasn’t. I could feel my depression and anxiety coming flooding back and cried myself to sleep every single night. I put on a brave face/voice for Reuben most of the time but he knew it was killing me.

Everybody is OK now, Lily and I are back at home. Reuben and the rest of the family has recovered. Baxter seems to be 95% although I think some of his not being 100% is the getting adjusted to the fact there is another person in the house now. He is really good with Lily and comes in and says “halllooo lilllllly”. Cute af.

Reuben has been absolutely amazing despite all the drama. I can tell already that him and Lily are going to have the cutest bond ever.

So there you have it, the birth of Lily Luca Bemrose. Quite the exciting and dramatic story.

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