We’ve all heard the saying it takes a village to raise a child.
But what happens if you don’t have a village? What happens if you find yourself home most days, away from family, in a completely different phase of life than most of your friends, with a baby that just won’t sleep, and feeling alone?
For Olympian and mum-of-two, Giaan Rooney, this is the exact situation she found herself in after she had her first child.
The former champion swimmer recently spoke candidly to Mum Central about her experience as a first-time mum. And her honesty is refreshing to say the least.
‘I thought I was meant to know how to do this’
Before she became a mum, Giaan, like most of us, thought that she had a pretty good idea what motherhood was all about. But things didn’t go quite to plan. And she found herself with very little support around her.
I was so used to being able to problem solve. Used to being able to work hard and relying on that hard work to fix things. But that doesn’t work with a child.”
This stark realisation came when her son, Zander, was six months old and she was getting very little sleep. Although Giaan was always a good sleeper, her son wasn’t, leaving Giaan not only sleep deprived but also unsure about how to fix it.
For the first time in my life, I thought that I was failing. Significantly failing at something that seemed so fundamentally natural. I thought I was meant to know how to do this.”
Giaan recalls how one day, after a particularly restless night, she drove through a set of traffic lights with Zander in the back. To this day, she can’t say if the lights were green, orange or red.
I was not coping without sleep. And I didn’t have my village set up to help me. It’s time to swallow my pride and fix this.”
It was the wake up call she needed. The swimming champ made it her mission to get help, first in the form of sleep school, and then by focusing on finding ongoing support.
I very much had to work on it. I found friends that had children, opened up at work and focused on becoming much more social.”
Sleep improved, village found
These days, Giaan is back in Queensland where her mum and dad live. She’s found a tribe of people to support her, she’s welcomed another baby, Lexi, who is now 18 months old and she’s preparing for another MASSIVE transition next year as Zander heads off to prep.
She has her sleep regime (for the most part) back in order and she is finally able to fully enjoy the days (and nights) with her two “little beans”.
I absolutely love revisiting the world through their eyes. I think it’s made me more grateful for the world around me. They are my joy, my happiness, but certainly also, my biggest challenge. They are going to challenge us their whole way through, I’m sure.”
Raising children: ‘This is not something that we should do on our own.’
This lack of support is something many of us can relate to. I know I can. With my extended family in Canada, I had to step way outside my comfort zone to find a tribe. It wasn’t easy admitting these feelings of loneliness but bundling it up inside was a lot worse.
Reach out to family, to friends, to co-workers, to mother’s groups, even to online communities. It might mean putting yourself out there, but, hey, you pushed a baby out. You can do anything!
Regardless of who you are or where your support comes from, one thing remains the same when it comes to motherhood. You don’t need to have all the answers.
What you do NEED to do is look after yourself before you can look after your kids and this means surrounding yourself with support.
We can all find it challenging, especially during those first few months. Many of us refuse to admit that we need help. Many of us, like Giaan, wait a little too long to ask for it.
I’m very grateful to be able to balance work and family life at the moment. But if anything changes, that’s okay. That’s what my village is here for.”
Putting yourself first
Here’s the truth, mums and mums-to-be. We’re supposed to have help, to be able to offload our fears, to focus on ourselves on occasion and to be a hot mess after a few weeks of little sleep.
Without support, parenting can be frustrating and lonely. And it can challenge your wellbeing.
But, for many mums, like Giaan, keeping a family well is non-negotiable.
Although I have always been really good at looking after myself, I didn’t realise how difficult it would be to look after someone else.”
Every mum has a different regime when it comes to supporting their health but for Giaan, she relies on three main things – a nutritious diet, plenty of exercise and Life-Space probiotics.
Before we started trying to conceive I wanted to be in the healthiest place I could be. Research kept coming back to how much of our health is related to our gut health. This is how I stumbled upon Life-Space.”
Since then, Giaan has converted the whole village around her. She started with Life-Space Probiotic for Pregnancy & Breastfeeding and now takes Life-Space Broad Spectrum Probiotic, as does her hubby. Even Giaan’s parents take Life-Space Probiotic for 60+ Years.
Giaan has since transitioned Zander to the Probiotic Powder for Children and Lexi gets the Probiotic Powder for Baby. She mixes the powder in with the kids’ morning smoothie, and being neutral in flavour, they don’t even know it’s there.
Benefits of probiotics include:
- Supporting a healthy microbiome
- Supporting a healthy immune system
- Assisting in the restoration of intestinal flora following the use of antibiotics
- Supporting digestive and gastrointestinal health
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Both the Life-Space Probiotic Powder for Baby and Life-Space Probiotic Powder for Children contain beneficial bacteria to help support a healthy immune system as well as supporting digestive and gastrointestinal health.
Life-Space Probiotic Powder for Baby is suitable for babies aged 6 months to 3 years while Life-Space Probiotic Powder for Children is recommended for kids aged 3-12 years. Both retail at $41.99 but are currently on special for just $29.99 at Life-Space’s Online Shop.
Have a look at the range online and see if it’s right for you and your family.
Always read the label. Use only as directed.
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