I'm mum to my girls Lenah and Marlo.
You'll find me on Quandamooka Country// Brisbane, Queensland.
“My reproductive health experience has been supportive, emotional, empowering.”
moode: Talk us through your lead-up to conception
Grace: “Before the conception of Marlo I unfortunately had two miscarriages. Once I was pregnant with Marlo I got into the BiOC program which meant I had the one midwife through my whole pregnancy and a family support working from the local indigenous health service in my area.”
moode: Tell us about your village of support
Grace: With my first daughter (Lenah) my village was a bit all over the place, we were in the thick of covid and my partner and I had to go live in a hotel hub for the AFL so he could continue to work. Because of the uncertainty of everything at the time I decided to get a doula who did an amazing job at supporting me emotionally and physically to the lead up and after (if you are financially in the position to get a doula I highly recommend it).”She was there for me the whole way. Being my first pregnancy, there were so many new emotions. And I had no idea how to deal with them, especially in the middle of a pandemic and about to move to a different state. She always made sure I felt empowered, whether it was through the words she used, or by coming over and allowing me to access the self care time I needed.
When it came to my two miscarriages and [then] pregnancy with Marlo, my friends were a big support for me. They made sure I was okay, and if I wasn’t- they’d always find a way to try and make me feel better.
“When it came to my postpartum support I was only with my friends, family and health professionals for the first 5 weeks before we moved to Brisbane. I never knew how much a mother needs her village until then. When we moved I didn’t know anyone so it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with. The football club my partner plays for offered to help if I needed it, but there’s nothing like your own village. Because of my situation it pushed me to find my people- which I definitely did. I found some amazing mum friends and I’m so grateful for them. My mum and step dad moved up [to Brisbane] at the start of 2022 and they have been my biggest support system through it all”
After my birth with Marlo they [my friends] set up a meal train which meant I had meals cooked and ready for the 6 week period of my postpartum. In those first few weeks it sometimes felt impossible to do everything, but my mum always made sure she was there to help with cooking, cleaning or even just entertaining my eldest daughter. Luckily my step dad is Lenah’s favourite person so she was always happy to be hanging out with her poppy.
moode: Having been through your own fertility struggles, what’s your wish for others looking down the barrel of their own fertility story?
Grace: “It does get easier. You will see light, no matter how you get there, and we all need to be easier on ourselves. Use your village for support by being completely raw and honest with them. People want to help and they actually feel privileged when you give them permission to. It’s not always easy to admit you need it, but it’s so much harder doing it all alone.”
moode: 3 ‘must haves’ that helped get you through it all
Grace: My loop ear plugs were a must, being a mum with undiagnosed ADHD I’m very prone to feeling burnt out just from noise. When I was through the thick of pregnancy with Marlo my anxiety was at a max so being able to block out the outside world just for a moment was a huge help.
My emotional support water bottle. That huge water bottle comes everywhere with me especially, when I was pregnant and now breastfeeding.
My baby carrier. I’m a big supporter of baby wearing and in the early postpartum days the second time around it’s a life saver.
Imagery thanks to Kate McConnal.
For more 'Village of Support' Series, see Rose's story here.