Woke Mama: Katie

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Want to know WTF a Woke Mama is? Each week, we’re introducing awesome women who are making the world a kinder place, one happy baby at a time.

Name & age: Katie, 24

Kids: Ryan, 6 & Abigail, 2

What does being a woke mama mean to you?

Motherhood is hard. It can be stressful and testing at times but for me, being a woke mama means facing these trials with patience, kind words and a lot, a lot of love.

What made you choose gentle parenting? And what is your favourite aspect of it?

It wasn’t really a choice that I made so much as the natural approach for me.

My mother has been an amazing role model for me and I find that my kids listen to me when I listen to them; when I’m attentive, they’re attentive and in this way, we learn patience and understanding from each other.

Children are so receptive and will mirror whatever behaviour you model for them, so I try and be the kind of person that I want them to be.

Most awesome moment so far?

Of course their births, their first steps, their birthdays — all the milestones but even more than that, the most awesome times for me are when we’re simply together, at home, laughing and wholly absorbed in our little family bubble.

Those little moments are often just as special to me as the big moments.

Biggest struggle so far? How do you cope with stressful moments?

It’s so easy to get bogged down in all of the lows that life brings but I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and that it’s in how you cope with struggles that lays testament to the person that you truly are.

We’ve had a fair few struggles over the years — as a teen mum, it was hard from the get-go. And then I was on my own as a single teen mum and things got a bit harder, but I was so determined to make something of our lives that just after Ryan turned a year old, we moved an hour away from my family and I enrolled in University and began my degree.

But the first night in our new house, we spent in hospital. Ryan had an allergic reaction to a peanut, and I will never forget riding in the back of that ambulance with my swollen baby in a city that neither of us knew.

Ryan thankfully recovered well and now carries epi-pens for his nut and egg allergies. But my poor boy was put through the ringer again a year later. At two, Ryan was walking and talking and then he went through a massive developmental regression. He lost all his words and started crawling again. I was terrified.

Things like this make you second guess yourself, doubt yourself. What did I do wrong? But I had to stay strong for my boy. He began to be assessed for ASD aged two and a half.

Four years later, four speech and language therapists, one physio-therapist, two occupational therapists, a psychologist and two resource teachers and he’s making leaps and bounds in his progress but for now, he’s termed as ‘developmentally delayed’.

Despite all of this, he is the happiest little boy. He is a freaking trooper — and my inspiration now that it’s my turn. Recently, I’ve had my own health issues which have really challenged me physically and above all, mentally.

I fear being taken away from my children, and it’s especially hard on Ryan to see me in hospital when he just wants his Mummy home. He’s really struggling with anxiety at the moment, but I try to live in the moment and appreciate the here and now.

Worrying won’t take away tomorrow’s troubles, it will only take away today’s peace.

How do you juggle with gentle parenting?

The struggle is real here! I started my degree 5 years ago and I still have 12 weeks left to do because I have had to defer my semesters here and there.

I found out I was pregnant with Abbie at the beginning of my final year, but because of my health, I felt it was the best thing for me and baby, to defer my year. A good thing too as a couple of weeks later, I was hospitalised!

My boyfriend was also in his final year at the time and while it broke my heart every time he kissed me goodbye to go in for lectures, I couldn’t put my baby’s health at risk.

My time would come and thanks to my amazing boyfriend, it did. When Abbie was 8 weeks old, I sobbed as I left her to return to college. Stephen took on the primary caregiver role while also working three 12-hour night shifts a week!

He’s my rock and thanks to him, I completed my first semester of my final year with a first.

I had to take time out again last year because of my health, but I’m returning soon and Stephen and I are juggling everything again.

But most importantly, we’re juggling it all together.

He’s now working 5 nights a week, but the kids will be at school/nursery in the mornings so Stephen can sleep, then he’ll pick them up and I’ll take over when I get home at 3pm so he can go back to bed before work! It’s hard and exhausting but everything we do, we do for our kids.

Any advice you would give to new mums?

Follow your instincts and stick to your guns regardless of what other people might be thinking/saying to you.

We worry so much about what other people think or say but at the end of the day, no one but YOU knows whats best for YOUR baby.

What’s on your soundtrack to your first year of being a Woke Mama?

Wonderwall – Oasis. Every time, without a doubt. Ryan, you saved me, my Wonderwall.

Last word: After filling this out, I’m proud of how far I’ve come.

Like what ya see? We’ll be introducing more awesome Woke Mamas. But we want to hear from YOU. Share your stories on social media using #WokeMamas or write your answers here. ❤

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