WELCOME TO THE VILLAGE FOR MAMA POSTPARTUM STORIES SERIES, WHERE WE CHAT WITH SOME OF OUR FAVOURITE MAMAS ON THEIR BIRTH, POSTPARTUM EXPERIENCE AND HOW THEY GATHERED THEIR VILLAGE.
Maddy, you are the incredible recipe developer behind Village for Mama, and you are newly a mama yourself to the gorgeous Delilah. As a first time mama, I would absolutely love for you to share a little about yourself and your postpartum experience.
Firstly, would you like to introduce yourself and share a little about you and your family?
Hi! My name is Maddy. I grew up in Currumbin Valley on the Gold Coast and currently live here with my little family, I am a first time mum to my beautiful 4-month old daughter Delilah. I married my first love, Joe, and we also live with our very loved golden retriever, Billy.
I have worked within the food space for over a decade. For the past 5 years I have worked as a freelance recipe developer. My job is never short of creativity and I absolutely love what I do. My passion lies in nourishing individuals and families and I love showing anyone who will listen how easy it is to prepare nutrient-dense food.
Becoming Delilah’s mum has truly shifted my identity. She is my greatest work. I feel more confident, calm and more ‘me’ than I have ever felt. As cheesy as it may sound, seeing the world through her eyes has made mine fuller, more magical and more abundant than I could ever imagine. This motherhood chapter of my life has been my favourite yet.
We so often prepare for the birth and forget to prepare for postpartum. Something else we don’t tend to acknowledge is how much the birth can impact your postpartum experience. What type of birth did you have with Delilah?
My birth was amazing, empowering and challenging. After 9 months of relentless sickness from a terrible HG pregnancy, I went in to birth beyond excited for what was to come. What started as a very straightforward (and quick!) vaginal delivery became very complicated right at the end and resulted in an emergency caesarean. Despite the complications I look back on birth as a mostly positive experience, and one that I am excited to do again! Between my amazing husband, the midwives and obstetricians, the room was full of unwavering support and encouragement.
HOW WAS YOUR RECOVERY FROM BIRTH AND DID IT IMPACT YOUR POSTPARTUM EXPERIENCE?
Honestly, recovery was HARD! I completely underestimated the pain that comes in the immediate days following the caesarean. Getting out of bed the morning after birth was humbling to say the least, I remember thinking to myself ‘how can I look after this baby with all of this pain?’. But sure enough each day gets a little easier. In addition to the caesarean recovery I also had some stitches from a vaginal tear. Pain all around!
On the 5th night of postpartum I started to feel extremely unwell almost instantly. I put it down to sleep deprivation and all of the pain medication I was on post-birth. I had a short shower and moved to my bed to lie down when I was overcome with an awful feeling of doom, like something really terrible was about to happen. Unable to string a sentence of words together. Begging my husband and mum drive me to the hospital (with a tiny newborn Delilah in the backseat) where I ended up being diagnosed with postpartum pre-eclampsia. My blood pressure was through the roof and my reflexes indicated that if I hadn’t come in I would have more than likely had a seizure at home. I spent another day in hospital figuring out medication to manage my condition and ended up back home by the next night.
There were definitely moments where the pain took away from my blissful newborn bubble, but despite the setbacks I wouldn’t say my experience was terribly impacted by my birth recovery – it was just another reminder to surrender, slow down, ask for help and most importantly always, always listen to your intuition!
WHAT ARE YOUR NON-NEGOTIABLES FOR POSTPARTUM RECOVERY?
- Deep nourishment and lots and lots of filtered water.
- A comfortable space to rest – a super comfy bed with nice linen and supportive pillows. A shelf on wheels with all the essentials for recovery and easy nappy changes/feeding. I purchased a 3-tiered trolley from Target and it was my best friend in those early weeks – it stored my haakaa, water bottle, nappies, silverettes, wipes, burp cloths, overnight snacks, a warm thermos of herbal tea, magnesium cream for my tired body. I could pull my trolley over to me when I needed something – it’s perfect!
- Soft and comfortable button up loungewear. I loved my set from Deiji Studios and another from Country Road. You also can’t forget warm socks.
- High quality supplements – for me this looked like: Foraged for You, Gelpro collagen powder, Inbound Nature liposomal vitamin C and magnesium, Rosita cod liver oil and The Tenth Co flow state capsules. It can be easy to forget to take care of yourself in early postpartum, so I would make a list in my phone of what I wanted to take daily and ensure it was all ticked off before bed.
WE ARE OFTEN TOLD TO SLEEP WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS WHICH CAN FEEL IMPOSSIBLE. YET REST IS SO ESSENTIAL FOR POSTPARTUM RECOVERY! DID YOU MANAGE TO HAVE MOMENTS OF REST DURING YOUR POSTPARTUM AND HOW DID YOU ACHIEVE THESE?
I spent the final weeks of my pregnancy planning my postpartum recovery and setting intentions for how I wanted this to look. After feeling like I lacked so much control during pregnancy due to being so unwell, this was my way of taking back some of the power I felt I had lost. One of the biggest intentions I set was to rest as much as possible, for as long as I felt I needed to. I decided to have visitors depending on how I felt each day, and asked them to check in the morning of to make sure it was a good time.
Following Delilah’s birth I was on cloud nine. I felt human again and wanted to see everyone and anyone. We ended up having plenty of friends and family visit in those early days, which I don’t regret at all! No one showed up empty handed or expected us to host, and all catch ups were done on our big cosy couch, with a beautiful newborn resting and feeding on me. Instead of draining my battery I felt more recharged than ever and sharing her with our loved ones was incredible.
For those first two weeks I did nothing but move between the couch and bed, with the exception of showering or going to the bathroom. At around the 2-week mark things started to shift and I felt as though I wanted to leave the house and get back into the real world as the new ‘me’. In hindsight I had forever to do this, but I honestly loved these short outings, embraced baby wearing and never left for too long before returning to our cosy nest. Even four months on from birth I still prioritise rest as much as possible and try to spend at least an hour each day horizontal if I can, to assist my pelvic floor recovering.
THERE ARE SOME THINGS WE NEVER FORGET AND I THINK THE FIRST MEAL YOU HAVE AFTER BIRTH IS ONE OF THEM! WHAT WAS THE FIRST THING YOU ATE AFTER HAVING DELILAH?
This is going to sound terrible but I have no idea! The first couple of days were a complete blur. HOWEVER, I do have a very vivid memory of a chicken curry delivered to my bedside around day 3. This curry was heaven and I devoured it! I remember sending photos to my mum and best friend, laughing that only a few days before I would have been sick just at the thought of it.
WHAT WERE YOUR FAVOURITE MEALS DURING YOUR POSTPARTUM?
It’s hard to narrow it down, but if I had to choose three they would be:
Confit chickpeas with yoghurt – my aunty stocked my deep freezer with her delicious spiced tandoori style chickpeas and these were my go-to breakfast most days. Served warm over brothy rice with a big dollop of yoghurt.
Crumble – another delicious breakfast meal. Something about a bowl of warm crumble feels like a big warm hug.
Congee – this will forever be my comfort meal and is something I make whenever I am feeling low – physically or emotionally.
A VILLAGE CAN BE ONE PERSON, IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A TRIBE OF SUPPORT! DID YOU HAVE A VILLAGE OF SUPPORT FOR YOUR POSTPARTUM? HOW DID THEY IMPACT YOUR POSTPARTUM EXPERIENCE?
Support was everything in my postpartum and I feel so lucky to have the best village around. Throughout pregnancy my husband and I had plenty of conversations about how these early months may look. Going in to it with the mutual understanding that we wouldn’t resist any help that was offered was a great position for us to be in. I think that asking for and accepting help is a learned skill, especially in this current society, but I knew how crucial it would be to our entire experience as new parents.
After Delilah was born we were truly held by our village, it is something I will never forget. We had meals delivered for weeks on end, constant check ins, laundry folded and rooms cleaned. My parents live next door to us and they were always there for a helping hand, to hold the baby while we napped or to grab us a coffee in the morning. Those early weeks were a truly magical time. Our parents, siblings, grandparents and friends were incredible in how many ways they supported us and continue to.
WHAT WAS THE MOST HELPFUL THING SOMEONE DID FOR YOU DURING YOUR POSTPARTUM?
I feel that some of the deepest support I received in my postpartum came in the form of memorable conversations in the immediate weeks that followed my birth – sitting on the couch with a herbal tea debriefing my birth experience. Middle of night text conversation with girlfriends who were also up with their babies. Family members who I could call at any time for advice. I don’t think there is enough emphasis put on how these conversations can shape our postpartum experience. I think the best thing we can offer to a new mother is simply backing them up and telling them they are wonderful. Even if their decisions are different to yours or not what you are used to. A mother always has their babies best interest at heart. And by filling her with confidence that she is doing a great job, you are teaching her to trust her new mother’s intuition and from that the flow on effect is positive for everyone.
SOMETHING THAT MOST MUMS ARE MOST SURPRISED BY IS BREASTFEEDING. IT IS BIOLOGICALLY NORMAL YET RARELY COMES NATURALLY AND OFTEN IMPACTS OUR POSTPARTUM EXPERIENCE. IT IS ALSO SOMETHING WE SPEND THE MOST TIME DOING DURING THOSE EARLY MONTHS! WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR BREASTFEEDING JOURNEY? INSIGHTS, TIPS OR ESSENTIAL PRODUCTS?
We have had a really positive breastfeeding experience from the very beginning. I have always been fascinated by all things birth, breastfeeding and postpartum and researched all things lactation well before Delilah was born. I was antenatally expressing colostrum from about 36 weeks and requested early skin-to-skin immediately after birth. Ultimately it just came naturally for both of us, a win I am so grateful for. Sharing those intimate feeding moments with her are so magical and those beautiful blue eyes staring up at me melt my heart.
Some products I have loved for feeding include my haakaa for collecting let down, silverettes between feeds in those early days and a great feeding bra – I love the Bonds bases range. My main tip would be to make sure you are staying well nourished and hydrated all the time. In the early cluster feeding days you may need to snack all night long – that is so fine. A nourished mum = a nourished baby
THIS WAS YOUR FIRST POSTPARTUM EXPERIENCE, WHAT DO YOU WISH SOMEONE HAD TOLD YOU?
That time flies by so fast and that there is absolutely no need to rush anything. Life will always be waiting for you, but your tiny newborn is only tiny for so long. Embrace it all – the messiness, tears, hormones, laughter, happiness and the deep deep love (and allll the oxytocin that comes with those early days).
AND LASTLY, WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE RECIPE FROM THE VILLAGE FOR MAMA BOOK?
I am a forever fan of the veggie bake! It is so colourful and nourishing.
Maddy is a wholefood cook, recipe developer, food stylist, photographer, caterer, content creator, wife, mum to Delilah, dog mum to Billy, nature lover and self-care enthusiast. explore her e-book ‘everyday nourishment’ here.
AT VILLAGE FOR MAMA, WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT WAYS TO SUPPORT NEW MAMAS ON THEIR POSTPARTUM JOURNEY. WE ASKED MADDY WHAT HER POSTPARTUM ESSENTIALS ARE AND HER IS HER LIST:
- Foraged for You Mothers Blend
- Mere Botanicals Heat and Cold Breast Pads
- Prae Store Drink Bottle
- The Tenth Co
- Mayde Tea Nursing Tea
- Hommey Robe
- Chief Bars
For more of our favourite postpartum essentials, download our guide here.