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illunah: Nicola Cross captures the rich tapestry of motherhood

illunah: Nicola Cross captures the rich tapestry of motherhood

illunah nicola cross

illunah: Nicola Cross captures the rich tapestry of motherhood

Adelaide mum, Nicola Cross, dreamt up the idea of her exquisite online store, illunah, in what she calls a “moment of everyday mum mayhem”.

Wanting to find a tangible way to capture the messy, wonderful season of motherhood in all its sticky, magical, crazy, wonder, she was inspired to create homely pieces that evoked emotion. Pieces that would help teach her children how much beauty could be found in the little things.

We chat with Nicola about launching illunah, what’s on the cards for 2021 and her personal sources of inspiration.

Congrats on launching illunah, tell us about it?

illunah is our latest passion project. We’re starting small, with just two tapestries (didn’t want to put all our life savings on the line and finish 2020 beautifully bankrupted hehe). Lots of things are coming slowly, and thoughtfully, we’ll be adding treasures to the virtual shelves. It’s an online store for mothers, for lovers and for all others; trying our best to create things that evoke emotion and act as a snapshot of this chaotic life with little ones.

illunah nicola cross

What are your future plans for Illunah?

We have some fun little things in the works for 2021. Bringing a few local, talented friends on board to help me out in the regions I am not so talented in (aka graphic design) to hopefully create some magic!

You have such a beautiful presence on Instagram and would be called an influencer, but what influences and inspires you?

Thank you! Cliche but my family inspires me; my Rosie Bear, photography, sunrises and sunsets, the ocean, the moon and the smell of cripsy hot chips.

nicola cross illunah

TELL US…

Favourite SA beach?
Butlers Beach, hands down! It’s the inspiration for one of the tapestries we have released at illunah. Pat and I have been camping at Butlers Beach since we were teenagers, it has seen us go from vodka filled New Year celebrations, to bringing our pup Atticus for a roll in the sand, to a pregnancy, the addition of a baby who is now a toddler and soon to be a place for our latest little one to play. We have many family memories there and it’s a place I hold very close to my heart.

nicola cross

First thing you do in the morning?

Open all the blinds and assess the weather, the weather app is never accurate. lol

Favourite pastime?

Maybe when the beach was a relaxing place to drift away listening to the waves.. it’s now very different. Not bad, just different.

Last book you read?

Haven’t read a book in many moons, but I do listen to them and my latest one was ‘The book you wish your parents had read’

nicola cross family

Last podcast you listened to?

‘Everyone has an ex’ by Georgia Love

What song can you play on repeat and never get sick of?

Fix you – Coldplay

Favourite time of the day?

Sunrise.

For more information on Illunah: 

illunah.com
@illunah_

 

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ART-edlaide: BE INSPIRED by Adelaide’s ARTIST Mums!

ART-edlaide: BE INSPIRED by Adelaide’s ARTIST Mums!

adelaide artists

ART-edlaide: BE INSPIRED by Adelaide’s ARTY Mums!

If there’s one thing we know for sure about Adelaide, it’s that it’s absolutely full of amazingly talented and creative people. You only have to wander around one of the myriad of local artisan markets to see that we have a wealth of creatives at our doorstep, crafting beautiful and inspiring wares and brightening up spaces both in our homes and our local streetscapes.

adelaide artists

Adelaide artists

We sat down with four Adelaide creatives, who also happen to be mums, to talk about discovering their talent, what they’re inspired by, and how they get their kiddos involved in art!

leah grant adelaide artist

ADELAIDE STREET ARTIST LEAH GRANT

@leah.grant

How did you discover your talent for and love of art? You’re also a teacher… can we assume…art teacher?

Yes! I’m an art teacher and absolutely passionate about CREATIVITY, and I squeeze as much painting and parenting in as I possibly can. Life is busy and hectic, but I love the variety in both teaching and painting large-scale murals. I was always making something growing up, trying new ideas and I would hold on to everything, like wrapping paper, and make collages and all sorts of gifts for people. There are a number of family, friends and teachers that encouraged me and it’s because of them that I kept on making and creating.

adelaide artist leah grant

What got you into street art?

My high school art teacher ignited my passion for Street Art and I was eager to try it out, but didn’t want to do anything illegal. I experimented with aerosol in my backyard, I taught a Street Art unit with Year 9’s, but I still hadn’t painted a mural myself! It wasn’t until about 6 years ago I painted my first public art mural here in Adelaide. What led me to these opportunities was an eagerness to learn and experiment. I applied for a grant with the Adelaide City Council that I was totally not skilled for, but I did get to the final interview stage and that meant I was able to make some contacts with council.

What’s your fav piece that you’ve done around Adelaide?

This always changes when I paint something new! Currently I love the piece I just completed in North Adelaide for a resident’s courtyard. It was a 5m high, plain brick wall and is now totally transformed and the design is inspired by the garden. This was such a fun and creative project and I’m really happy with the new risks I took painting more detailed layers, higher and bolder then I’ve done before.

leah grant adelaide artist

Tell us about your work in schools and school holiday workshops!

I love sharing what I know and providing opportunities for others to grow their creativity. I’ve recently started running children workshops that are all about creating unique pieces and experimenting with different materials and techniques. I’ve designed these workshops to be fun, challenging and spark big ideas so that everyone (including me!) walk away inspired. For the recent workshops I ran in Prospect we focused on colour, pattern and plants. I loved doing this so much I plan to run more over summer and maybe even some adult classes and aerosol classes too! I’ve had so many people help me get to where I am because they openly shared their techniques with me, I want to do the same for others.

jessica thompson adelaide artist

ADELAIDE ARTIST JESSICA THOMPSON

@birdsnestsforhair

How did you discover your talent for and love of art?

I had a mad love for drawing as a tiny child and I always seemed to have a pencil in my hand.. it’s a bit like that now, too! Art is such a big part of my life and it’s an amazing privilege to be able to explore creativity and put things out into the world. I love living life as creatively as possible, whether that’s through gardening, the house or making things with my children.

jessica thompson adelaide artist

What inspired you to paint pots? They’re so colourful and HAPPY! What other types of things do you create?

Oh, thank you! I am so glad my pots make people feel happy! They actually started as wonky little things for my friends & family for Christmas many years ago. I still remember making the first one and enjoying the process so much. Plants & painting are 2 of my greatest loves so putting them together felt right. Aside from painting pots, I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with amazing Adelaide creatives like Kitty Came Home and Rhicreative in the last year. I’ve recently become mad for painting walls and windows which feels like such an exciting new journey. I’ve been able to spend time in amazing places run by wonderful people doing this and I’m currently working on a giant kindy mural which I am seriously loving. Words are a big part of my art, so I create designs for cards and wall hangings when I can…and I have a not so secret dream of creating a little book someday.

adelaide artist jessica thompson

Do you have a favourite piece you’ve created?

I think the words are always going to be the part of my work that I have the biggest soft spot for. The thing that made me love creating my pots in the first place was being lucky enough to experience when someone would find particular words that resonated with them in some way. If my art can bring someone even the tiniest sliver of comfort or joy or they feel less alone when they read the pot or print nestled on their windowsill, I feel like I couldn’t ask for more.

adelaide artist jessica thompson

How do you involve your kids in your art?

When Alfie & Mabel were bubs, I was so intrigued to see whether they would be interested in art and wanted to let them find their own way toward what they love to spend time doing… turns out they’re both super creative which is pretty amazing. I’m realising more and more that they love to have a look at what I’ve been up to in the studio and I try to have paint easily accessible to them all the time so they can do something when the mood strikes.

 

caroline gliddon adelaide artist

ADELAIDE WEAVER Caroline Gliddon

@caroj

How did you discover your talent for and love of art?

For as long as I can remember I have loved doing creative things and being around all things creative. I honestly think that my creative skill is due more to practise than natural talent and I practise because I love it!

How did you learn to weave? And what do you love about it?

One birthday, just after my second daughter was born, my husband gifted me a voucher for a one-on-one weaving lesson with local textile artist, Megan Walsh-Cheek. I had been interested in weaving for a while but really had no idea how it was done. It was so nice to have that afternoon doing something just for me and straight away I knew that this was a craft I would continue with. I’ve tried so many different things over the years but never really stuck with anything for more than a few months. Ever since that lesson I have always had a weaving on the loom. I find it relaxing, rewarding and a great creative outlet away from my computer. I’m a Graphic Designer so I spend way too much time looking at a screen!

adelaide artist caroline gliddon

What inspires you?

So many things! I love the way different colour combinations can make you feel, most of my weavings start with me picking out particular colours. I also love patterns and geometric shapes. And I am of course inspired by other weavers and artists that I follow on social media.

Do you have a favourite piece you’ve created?

I’ve recently started making my own circular ceramic hoops which I weave onto. They are all hand built so each one is unique and the weavings just evolve as I go. Another favourite is one I made for my brother and his wife as a housewarming gift, that one was actually inspired by a floor rug that I saw a photo of and loved.

adelaide weaver caroline gliddon

I noticed you sometimes create weavings based on drawings your daughter has done, can you tell us a bit about this!? These must end up some of your fave pieces!

When I first started weaving my eldest daughter would be so excited to see my weavings grow overnight. Every morning she would look at my loom and comment on the section of weaving I had done after she went to bed the night before. I have a little book that I sketch up ideas for weavings in and one day she found it and started adding her own ideas to it. Most of her designs also had a family or friends name scribbled next to it. I started making and gifting them to the people she had designed them for. It was such a great way to practise technique and a really sweet gift from the two of us.

adelaide artist Jess Hayton

ADELAIDE PAINTER JESS HAYTON

@jesskhayton

How did you discover your talent and love for art?

I think from an early age I always loved drawing and really enjoyed art in high school. Life was busy after that, working full time and other priorities! It wasn’t really until I had my daughter and went on maternity leave that I started painting again.

Jess Hayton Adelaide Artist

What inspires you?

So many things! Ive always loved faces and portraiture, but recently I’m finding most of my work is nature inspired. Also, there are so many incredible artists on social media, just scrolling through my insta feed motivates me to get out the paints!

What’s your creative process like?

To be honest, a dog’s breakfast! I have two small kids at home, so the process is basically to steal a few minutes here and there to add to a painting, or plan for a longer stretch when the grandparents come to the rescue.

adelaide artist jess hayton

What’s your favourite medium to work with?

I love painting with oils.

Do you have a favourite piece you have created?

Probably my tiny little Frida Kahlo painting.

jess hayton adelaide artist

You have done some kids portraiture, is it challenging recreating the likeness of a child?

I think all portraits are a challenge, as every face is so different. I think my portrait painting style is very illustrative, so suits little faces and makes it easier to capture their likeness.

adelaide artist jess hayton

How do you involve your kids in your art?

They are pretty much a part of the process from beginning to end as I don’t have a studio so I paint in our kitchen / family room. My 5 year old daughter is a harsh critic and I know I can always count on her honesty! My son is teaching me how to draw construction and emergency vehicles.

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HONEY. Label: For the adventurous souls and the wild at heart

HONEY. Label: For the adventurous souls and the wild at heart

honey the label

HONEY. Label: For the adventurous souls and the wild at heart

Adelaide mum, Renèe Barendregt, has always loved fashion, but when her boys, Harry (3) and Sonny (19 months) were born, her love of fashion grew just as they did! And while her gorgeous boys mean Renèe is kept a very, very busy bee, she’s certainly managed to make honey… HONEY. Label, that is.

Stylish pieces made with love

HONEY. offers stylish pieces for little ones to grow into, made with love, made to fade and most importantly, made with children in mind.

Think practical, eco friendly, soft, beautiful and fun designs, that feel good on and look great too!

honey label renee

Life is better with a bit of colour

“When designing my pieces I always keep the children in mind, for not only comfort, but also for fun designs they will love” says Renèe. “We aim to create simple and fun designs that are for everyday wear, made with durable cotton, perfect for kids daily wear and all their messy adventures! We also searched for the softest cotton that is kind to their skin and made with no harsh chemicals”.

And whatsmore, all the HONEY. pieces are unisex because the team behind the brand believe people should be able to wear any colour and style they like!

Hear, hear!

honey label

Quality is key at HONEY. and was top of mind for Renèe when sourcing the fabric.

“I wanted quality fabric, made to last, and to be handed down for years to come. And because I know our clothes are durable, I also designed our pieces to be oversized so kids can get that good couple of years or more of wear out of them”… which means the gorgeous HONEY. pieces can be passed on to their siblings too!

honey the label

Matching with your mini

2021 is set to be a big year, so keep an eye out on HONEY. over the next few months as Renèe is set to launch matching sweats and t-shirts so your little honeys can twin with their queen bees (and their daddy bees too!).

@honeylabel_
honeylabel.com.au

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EveryBODY is Beautiful

EveryBODY is Beautiful

everybody is beautifulEveryBODY is Beautiful

After having her second child, Adelaide photographer Louise Agnew’s body had gone through a lot of changes. She’d finished breast feeding and lost 32kgs. She’d seen the skin she was in change elasticit and texture and with our old mate gravity kicking in, but she also found herself both stronger and healthier. Louise celebrated these changes; she had learned so many new things about the body she lived in and felt truly empowered in the idea of embracing what her body could do.

So, when local Beauty Therapist, Re Wetherall, contacted Louise telling her she’d noticed many of the women who would strip down for a spray tan would lead with apologies about their bodies, and said she wanted to do something to prompt a shift in this rhetoric, Louise was all in.

everybody is beautiful campaign

Re & Louise

The two women, passionate about making a change in how women see themselves and each other, came together to create the EveryBODY is Beautiful self love campaign; an incredible celebration of women and people in all their spectacular shapes and sizes.

We chat with Louise about how it all came together on the day and how this campaign has been such a positive force in the lives of so many.

EveryBODY is beautiful self love campaign

everybody is beautiful campaign self love

How did you come across the individuals taking part in the photoshoot – what were their reactions when you first asked them to take part?

We each knew some of the people personally, or had seen them about either on social media or in our community. We wanted to make sure we included lots of bodies with different shapes, ethnicities, ages and stages of motherhood.

We were honoured to have a gender fluid person included in our campaign, creating more discussion around LGBTQIA+, and some of the girls had autoimmune issues they wanted to raise awareness about. We really wanted to ensure that the message of everyBODY is beautiful, was represented.

Everyone was super keen to be involved, but of course a little nervous about stripping down to their undies!

everybody is beautiful self love

The images are incredible – what was the vibe on the day of the shoot?

We were lucky enough to be provided with some space to shoot in at local cafe, Presto Eatery. Re and I were joined by the eight people involved and makeup artist Jess Creek. Everyone was buzzing with nerves but we had some bubbles, a platter and some good tunes and that eased the anxious shakes.

When everyone stripped down to their undies, not one person apologised for their body and there was the most magnificent, contagious and electric energy in the room! Everyone was so empowered and it really felt like such a celebration of the bodies in the room.

You are so clearly passionate about the subject of body love, where do you think this passion comes from?

I have lived in many different bodies – ranging from a size 8 to a size 22 and what I have noticed is that how you feel on the inside about yourself, ultimately is how you shine from the outside. I have felt depressed about my body in all of those sizes, and I have been confident in those sizes too. I have copped flack about my body at most sizes, so that has told me that no matter what your body looks like, someone out there will have a problem with it. It’s up to you to embrace and celebrate your body and create a positive dialogue about it. I don’t want my own children to feel a pressure from society to be that “one” body type that saturates the media. I want my children to love and embrace what they have. I want them to celebrate and accept what their friends have. Life is so short, our body is but a shell that carries our soul around. It doesn’t make you the person you are. Look after your body and enjoy the time we have with it.

everybody is beautiful

What’s been the reaction to the campaign?

The reaction has been so incredible, beyond anything we ever imagined. Those involved have said they feel so empowered by the shoot and the images. Some have said they feel honoured to have been asked to be a part of the campaign and that it has helped them to embrace and celebrate their bods.

We have received an excess of emails, inboxes and messages to congratulate us on this movement, which is so lovely. Many women have said it has helped them to embrace the skin they live in. It’s really encouraging to see real bodies in social media, but also real bodies that you know personally.

What is the overarching message you’d like people to take from this campaign?

The physical attributes of our body do not define us. Beauty comes from the inside and radiates out. Focus on the things that we can do in our short lives, with the bodies we have been given, and not what they look like. This is such an important message for our children and for their future(s).

Louise Agnew: @louiseagnew
Re Wetherall: @reannasbeauty_
Jess Creek: @jess.creek_makeup.artist
Presto: @prestoeatery

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REBECCA MORSE: I don’t want a lot for Christmas

REBECCA MORSE: I don’t want a lot for Christmas

REBECCA MORSE: I don’t want a lot for Christmas

Rebecca Morse is co-host of SAFM’s breakfast show, Bec, Cosi & Lehmo. She has a degree in Journalism and started her media career at the ABC, where she was named SA Journalist of the Year in 2005. Rebecca is actively involved in community and charity work, as a proud Ambassador for Kickstart for Kids, the Animal Welfare League, the Premier’s Reading Challenge, Uniting Care Pancake Day and the Port Adelaide Football Club, She is married with three daughters, Grace, Milla and Frankie and an adopted dalmatian named Henley.

To quote Mariah Carey, I don’t want a lot for Christmas.

But that’s a Santa-sized lie.

Because I actually want quite a lot.

For a start the only tangible thing on my list is a laundry appliance. When did I get so old and domesticated that I covet appliances?

I’ve asked Father Christmas for a clothes steamer. Because I don’t iron and I dress off a floordrobe so my ensembles are always wrinkled and my children often look decidedly dishevelled.

I feel like this will be a satisfying addition to my life and my level of anticipation can be compared to that Christmas I received a pink Walkman.

I wonder, do I also need an air fryer? I’ve concluded that requesting two household appliances pushes me into behaviour patterns that are way past middle age, especially since I purchased a vacuum cleaner in lockdown.

So these material items aside, my Christmas wish list is as follows..

  •  I wish to get my Christmas shopping done with plenty of time to spare. So I’m not re-gifting a candle to a teacher, trying to find a park at Marion or lining up outside Haighs.

 

  • I wish that I could purchase just the right amount of wrapping paper. And that I cut it to the correct size the first time. And that I can find the end of the sticky tape.

 

  • I wish that the food I contribute on Christmas Day will be edible. One year I tried to cook a soba noodle salad from Ottolenghi’s cookbook and I over-cooked the noodles so badly that they stirred into a sludge that is still described as Bec’s Christmas porridge.

 

  • I wish for beach weather on repeat.

  • You know those magical days when the water is turquoise and sparkly? When you take a book and a mag in your beach bag, set up an umbrella and you’re good to go for the day. Lunch is hot chips and a Frosty Fruit. And you wash the sand off your feet but leave the salt on your skin.

 

 

  • I wish that my children, while on school holidays that seem to last FOREVER, would help out around the house and not argue over who unpacked the dishwasher last time.

  • I wish for mangoes, ripe tomatoes, potato salad and beetroot. And my Mum’s special Nuts and Bolts recipe she only ever makes over the Christmas holidays. Nutri-Grain and peanuts, name a more iconic duo, I’ll wait.

 

  •  I wish that my plants would not die in the summer heat. (But let’s be honest they die in the cold as well)

 

  • I wish that all the chores I have procrastinated over all year would be done, starting with the cluttered surface that we have labelled “The Desk of Shame” because it is covered with old bills, receipts and ink cartridges and we never tackle it.

 

  • I wish to be able to find the time to work through the pile of partially-read novels that have been on my bedside table all year.

 

  • I wish to be able to find the time to work through all the TV shows everyone has been banging on about this year. Starting with Normal People. Because that is one book I have actually read of late.

rebecca morse

  • I wish to cut down on Adding to Cart after too much festive cheer. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ME, I’M WORTH IT, EVEN THOUGH I ALREADY HAVE VERY SIMILAR SANDALS/BATHERS/SUNNIES FROM LAST YEAR.

 

  • I wish that businesses who’ve done it so tough this year would receive a Christmas bonus as South Australians look to support their own by purchasing local products, food and wine. (If that means I need to keep Adding to Cart, so be it!)

 

  • I wish that the borders will be open.

 

  • At the time of writing, we’ve just had another cluster. I hope that families can be reunited to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year together.

 

  • My wish for next year is pretty simple, that it’s better than this one.

 

  • And my final wish is that all of our KIDDO readers and their families have a happy, safe and healthy Christmas, thank you for your support this year.

 

@rebeccamorse107

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Two Dads + 1 Surrogate = a Beautiful Baby Boy

Two Dads + 1 Surrogate = a Beautiful Baby Boy

surrogacy adelaide

Two Dads + 1 Surrogate = A Beautiful Baby Boy

This is our absolute favourite kind of maths here at KIDDO – the kind that multiplies love and kindness with the absolute wonder of bringing life into this world; the sum of which all adds up to a happy, healthy family.

But what looks like a simple sum is actually a far more complicated equation when it comes to surrogacy in Australia, a process which is, as Brendan and Matt describe it, a marathon not a sprint.

It was a journey that involved two men, an egg donor and their surrogate, and we are thrilled to be able to share Brendan and Matt’s story about their experience of becoming new parents via the generous surrogacy of Anna, how the process worked, and what it has been like to become new dads!

surrogacy adelaide

Tell us about yourselves! How did you guys meet, how long have you been together?

We are Brendan and Matt, two new dads through surrogacy here in South Australia. We met online almost 8 years ago and live in the Western suburbs of Adelaide. Over the past 3 years we have been on a journey to start our own family and recently welcomed our beautiful son Baker to the world!

Can you tell us about your parenthood journey?

Brendan spoke openly about his desire to have a family when we first met, so it has always been something that we have been working towards, but until 2018 didn’t really know what our path to parenthood might look like.

Over the years we’d looked at adoption and fostering options, but were quite shocked, particularly with adoption, about the lengthy timeframes and limited avenues for same sex parents. This lead us to start researching more about surrogacy, both overseas and within Australia, to see whether this would be a more viable option for us as a couple.

Matt had also previously been a sperm donor for two of his close friends, and having such a close relationship with the children and their mums, really highlighted for us that a similar journey and relationship dynamic was something that we desired four ourselves and our child, and so eventually we decided that embarking on a surrogacy journey within Australia was the best fit for us as a couple and our values.

surrogacy dads

Talk to us about surrogacy! What’s the process like generally and how was your personal experience?

We could honestly write all day about surrogacy and our experience! The journey is unlike anything else we have ever experienced in our lives. It is the most beautiful, challenging, unique, unbelievable journey, that has completely changed us, in ways that we never expected.

Firstly, an Australian surrogacy journey is very different to an overseas experience. In Australia, surrogacy must be altruistic, which means that a surrogate cannot be paid to carry a child for her intended parent(s). Because of this, people like Brendan and I, rely on the incredibly selfless gift of someone offering to carry a child for us, to make our dream of having a family a reality.

In addition, we also needed an egg donor for our journey and were so very blessed to have a close friend make an offer to us, before we met our surrogate.

The biggest thing we learnt, very early, was that there is definitely no handbook for surrogacy in Australia. The initial phases for us included a lot of self-directed research and education (Google was our best friend!) and we attended quite a few local seminars with fertility clinics in South Australia to try to find out as much as we could! Unfortunately, we did find that the clinics didn’t really seem up to speed with surrogacy, especially for two men, and so we started to join a few online communities to soak up all of the shared knowledge and experiences of other surrogates and intended parents around Australia, who had either already completed their journey, or were actively working towards starting a family of their own.

surrogacy adelaide

This is when we stumbled across the ‘Australian Surrogacy Community’ on Facebook, a private group that really kickstarted our learning, and where we first met our surrogate Anna. We relied very heavily on the kindness and support of this online ‘village’, of others who were happy to share their own experiences, to help make our experience a little easier.

After chatting for a while online, Anna agreed to meet with us in person and we had a wonderful catch up at a local pub, having one of the most open, raw conversations you could imagine having, with a complete stranger! With the blessing of her husband, the three of us ‘surro-dated’ for almost 6 months (building relationships with Anna, her children and her hubby!) before she officially offered to carry a child for us. That incredible offer then started our journey of egg collections, counselling appointments, legal agreements, medical checks, failed embryo transfers, more counselling, a successful transfer and finally pregnancy!

surrogacy adelaide

What was Baker’s birth like? It must have blown your mind watching it all happen!

No words can explain how special Baker’s birth was (and the week that followed). Anna had previously had a home birth with her son, and early on had flagged with us that she would like to consider a home water birth for Baker.

As a team we joined the Northern Midwifery Group Practice, who we cannot speak of highly enough. The level of love, care and support we were given throughout the entire pregnancy, and for months post birth from the midwives, was extraordinary! Together we also completed a hypnobirthing course with the incredible Lauren from Intuitive Beginnings, which equipped us with different breathing techniques, guided meditations, exercises and stretches, that we could use during birth, as Anna’s birth partners, to support her as she bought life in to the world. It was really important to us that we played an active role in the birth (as much as we could) and we wanted to embrace every single moment of this once in a lifetime experience.

surrogacy adelaide

One thing that we are so glad that we did (Anna’s suggestion!) was have a photographer at the home for the birth. These photos and videos have allowed us to go back and relive every moment from that night, including the moments that you forget because you are so in the zone at the time. Anna has also found that this footage has been a big part of her healing process, which has been incredibly important.

When we look back on that night, from the moment that Anna hopped in the pool to the moment that Baker was born, was only 45 minutes! Watching her birth, so naturally and so quickly was unbelievable. Just thinking about it now – it still blows us away!

For the week post birth, we hired accommodation near Anna’s home, so that we were always nearby. We saw each other every single day (even having a sleepover one night!) and Anna breastfed for that week. Having that closeness and time alone together, to soak up those first days of Baker’s life earth side, is something that we will treasure forever, and that bonded us closer as a team and as friends.

surrogacy adelaide

What’s your relationship with Anna like and how would you like her to continue in your son’s life? Where does Anna fit into your family now?

We have a very close relationship with Anna and her family. It was important to us from the beginning that our egg donor and surrogate would have an active role in our lives and our child’s life moving forward. We always wanted them to be known to our child from birth and to have open and honest conversations when the time came, about the role that they both played to help us start a family.

We see ‘Aunty Anna’ regularly, especially because she expressed breast milk for Baker for the first 2 months of his life. Frozen milk deliveries (lovingly referred to as ‘boober’) were a regular occurrence, and when Anna would visit, if Baker was hungry, she would also breast feed. The intensity of our catch ups continued for a while post birth, to help support Anna with her transition as a surrogate, to provide Baker with feeds and to also ensure that Anna’s children felt supported during what was a massive change in their own lives.

surrogacy adelaide

We already have some friendship traditions that have started, including helping Anna and her family put up their Christmas tree and lights each year! We love seeing how excited her kids get decking out the house with all of the festive decorations, and that we now get to share in these moments together, and that Baker will grow up taking part in these traditions too.

Anna will forever be a close friend, who did something extraordinary for us! We can’t wait to share in many more Baker milestones with her over the years and for him to develop his own relationship with her as he gets older.

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How are you finding fatherhood? How has life changed?

Fatherhood is amazing! We have definitely been blessed with such a beautiful little boy who brings joy to our lives every single day.

He does also bring a few sleepless nights, nappy blowouts, power chucks and lots of gas, but we wouldn’t have it any other way!

In such a short amount of time Baker has managed to shift our life focus, in the best possible direction. It’s amazing what having a baby will do to your view of the world and what is, and is not important.

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What advice would you give to other families looking into surrogacy?

We would definitely say that surrogacy is a marathon, not a sprint!

If families are looking in to an Australian journey, it’s always good to remember, and be prepared for the fact that there is no guarantee that they will meet someone who is willing to be a surrogate for them. If they do meet someone, it could take many years to make that connection and start their journey.

We would also say, always be yourself and be kind to yourself along the way. It can be a very emotional process that has many different relationships that need to be nurtured and supported. Don’t be afraid to lean on the surrogacy community in Australia, it’s an incredibly passionate group of people who are always happy to support others by providing as much information and resources as they can.

What does Christmas look like for your family this year?

This year we have not had the opportunity to see Brendan’s family as they live in country NSW.

We have everything crossed that we will get to jump in the car and spend a few weeks with them (pending restrictions), to celebrate the birth of Baker, the best thing that has ever happened to us, during a year that threw some of the greatest challenges to the world!

Follow Matt and Brendan’s parenthood journey @the_real_dads_of_adelaide

 

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