What I know now - Christy Hopwood and Freya Owen

This blog is double the value of "What I know now"  featuring the inspirational duo behind "Mama,You've Got This", Christy Hopwood and Freya Owen. Between them they've got seven of the most gorgeous kids you'll ever see (apart from your own, obviously). 

Christy and Freya felt so strongly that parenting with the support and sense of village was missing, they connected in the playground and created their own through classes, workshops and events. And what a great name too - because Mamas, we've all got this, but sometimes we just need a bit of exxtra support.

As they prepare to launch their 2020 classes, Christy and Freya answered the big questions around being prepared for parenting (something they both know a bit about), creating a village and how they made hospital feel like home.

 

Q

Christy and Freya, Hospitals are unfamiliar places for many new parents. What are your top tips to make going into hospital less daunting?

A

Going to hospital is a big day, it often means your little one is on the way.

To help take the anxiety out of it we recommend that you have your bag packed well in advance.
Buy yourself some nice soft trackies or leggings and a singlet which you can wear to bed as PJs but you feel comfortable to let visitors see you in (plus you can pop down to the café to get a coffee).
Hospitals are often hot and cold so a cardie is a good idea.
Bring your own pillow if you can, there is nothing like your own pillow. It is a great idea to do a tour of the hospital before your little one arrives. You will have an opportunity to meet the gorgeous midwives and it will help set your mind at ease. 
 
Q
Do you think it is possible to prepare for the change that having a newborn brings?
A
Having a newborn is the most amazing transformation you will ever go through. It’s hard to prepare yourself for it. Looking back we were quite naïve. We thought our life wasn’t going to really change but in reality life after the birth of your baby is completely different. You are suddenly on a 3-4 hour feeding clock, your hormones are all over the shop and you have disturbed sleep so you are so tired than there is the nappies and the baby vomit and the washing. But you also can't prepare for the intense love that you are going to feel, and the feeling of responsibility. We created Mama You’ve Got This for this very reason as we wanted to ease the transition for parents out there. By hearing Expert information about pre and post birth and the process, we hope we can better prepare Mamas for the journey. We also wanted to be honest with Mamas that becoming a Mama is absolutely incredible but it is also tough, and for this reason we wanted to create a Modern Village for them to be part of, so they could find a fellow Mama to go on the journey with.
 
Q
What do you think shocked you most when your babies were born?
A
The biggest shock was feeding. We didn’t realise that it was a skill that we – and our babies – had to learn. It was hard and it hurt. The responsibility was also a shock. Babies are 24/7. There are no weekends!
And we didn’t realise we would grow another heart with the birth of each child. The intense love and wonder you have for your children - there is nothing like it on this planet.
 
Q
Where did you turn to for support as a new mama? 
A
Christy My husband was incredible. We only had each other as our families lived interstate. I had a couple of close friends who had babies at the same time, we caught up each week. The child health nurse became vital for support and to help me know if I was doing the right thing plus my lactation consultant – I had a 2kgm baby so she required a lot of expressing and toping up, so she was a great support and helped me through a challenging fourth trimester. In the end my Mothers group became my biggest support system, we went on to have our second babies at the same time which was magic.

Freya - I was lucky to have a lot of support. My husband, my parents, my Grandma and my friends helped me through the first fuzzy months. I was lucky enough to have a friend who fell pregnant and gave birth at the same time as me. We went through everything together which was amazing. It was great to have someone who I could share the real side of motherhood with and we would lean on each other for support.
 
Q
How important is having a village?
A
Having a Village to help you as a new Mama is gold, we all need a Village. People that we can be honest with how we are really feeling, people who can give valuable advice, a shoulder to lean on and to bring over a cooked dinner on a hard day. When we had our children we didn’t feel that the Village was alive as it once was. We had our children around the birth of Instagram and Facebook and unfortunately although we were more connected than ever, we were also never more alone. There were lots of unrealistic images of new Mamas, which many of us could not live up too. For this reason we created Mama You’ve Got This, a Modern Village of Experts and Mamas to support and guide Mamas on their journey with a realistic look at motherhood so we can really support each other and get a hug and a coffee on ‘one of those days’.
 
Q
What was the very best advice you received before you became a parent?
A
Christy Listen to everyone’s advice and smile and thank them – most people are only trying to help, but to find what works best for me and my baby. Every baby and Mama are different so trust your instincts and try and enjoy every bit, even the hard bits as it passes so quickly. The days are long but the years are short.
 
Freya Every stage is a phase - this too shall pass. A reassuring phase when you’re in the middle of a four-month sleep regression!
 
Q
Is there any advice you think parents-to-be should ignore?
A
Christy You don’t need to do activities and buy baby gadgets. Your baby doesn’t need to do every activity under the sun or have every toy available to develop into the best child they can be. They just need you, the outdoors and love.
 
Freya  Don’t compare your baby to others. We are all different - and our babies are too. Don’t try to fit your baby into someone else’s routine, read your baby

Q
What was the very best thing you packed in your hospital bag?
A
Christy A big baby wrap and some snacks – I was so hungry (giving birth takes a lot of energy so bring some treats)
 
Freya  My favourite body wash. After a long labour the shower was so good!
Such excellent advice from these amazing Mamas, who  - like us here at The Suite Set -  are committed to serving new parents. For more, please make sure you visit
 

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