My name is Michelle Jackson and I am a Registered Midwife, Registered Nurse, Childbirth Educator and Infant Sleep Specialist. In the past 20 years, I have worked extensively in both private and public practice in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast. My experience includes all facets of pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting including sleeping and feeding difficulties. To ensure my practice and knowledge remains at the forefront of maternity care, I continue to work in one of the Gold Coast’s leading obstetric practices: maintaining a good working relationship with many of the Gold Coast’s Obstetricians and Paediatricians.
I am also a mother of 3 children, and as a mother and as a midwife I am passionate about supporting families – which is how Parents 2 B was founded. I often get asked if I had the perfect labours and the perfect babies especially being in my line of work. Let me share something personal.
I honestly think I was sent my pregnancies and my babies for a reason – they have made me who I am today. I remember when I was doing my midwifery training (over 18 years ago!), all the ‘older’ midwives would say that ‘you should be a mum before you are a midwife’. My response was an eye roll – What would they know?
So my story goes a little like this:
I never believed in morning sickness and I honestly thought morning sickness subsided at 12 weeks, not 9 months! – until I was pregnant with baby #1
I never believed that pelvic floor exercises were important – until I was pregnant with baby #1
I always thought birth plans were set in stone. My birth plan was to labour at home, come in fully dilated, no drugs, no inductions & no interventions. I never thought I would ever have to be induced or have that epidural or those forceps – until I actually laboured with baby #1
My greatest fear was that I would ‘fail’ at ‘birthing’ until I realised that a healthy baby at the end is all that matters. I never understood what it would be like having a baby in the intensive care unit for weeks and weeks on end, wondering every day if I would ever take him home – until I had baby #1
I never realised just how hard breastfeeding was, the second guessing involved as to ‘is my baby attached well and is my baby getting enough (?)’. I also never realised just how hard it was to establish your breastmilk supply. I never realised how hard it was to go home, leaving your baby in special care nursery and expressing milk in the middle of the night without your baby. And I definitely never realised the guilt associated with deciding that I no longer wanted to breastfeed – until I breastfed baby #1
I never realised how much money I would spent in useless baby ‘stuff’ that I never used – until I had baby #1
I never realised how hard it was to take a baby home. I thought babies slept and I never realised how noisy babies are when they sleep, that baby’s cry for no apparent reason and how much hard it is to try and work them out. I never realised how some days become just a blur, I accomplished absolutely nothing but sitting on the couch with an unsettled baby. I never realised that being in my PJ’s all day is absolutely OK. I never realised how much sleep deprivation can affect you, your life, your relationships … everything – until I had baby #1
I never realised how silly my ‘pre children’ parenting ideas were (and trust me I had many!) and that many a tear would be shed … some for no apparent reason – until I had baby #1
I never realised I would fall in love with my husband all over again watching what a wonderful dad he was – until I had baby #1
I never realised that many of your friendships change and that new and amazing ones are formed around the fact that you now had a baby. I never realised either how much respect I had for my mum & dad or how close (my often fractured relationship) with my mum would soon become – until I had baby #1
I never understood the term ‘reflux’ – until I had baby #1
I never realised how amazing seeing that first smile and all of those amazing milestones felt – until I had baby #1
I never realised how much unsolicited advice and opinions there is out there – from complete strangers, other parents and your best friends (with and without children) on the ‘should(s)’ and ‘shouldn’t(s)’. I never realised just how different and diverse everyone’s parenting styles are – until I had baby #1
I never realised the pain of secondary infertility and multiple miscarriages – until we tried for baby #2
I never realised that I could embrace morning sickness (for another 9 months) as a ‘good sign’. I never realised that coming home from work to another baby who needed me at the end of the day is exhausting … and I mean exhausting – until I was pregnant with baby #2
I never realised that it really is OK to have a caesarean section and how much I actually wanted a baby girl (I ‘thought’ I wanted 4 boys lol) – until I had baby #2
I never realised that reflux can show itself in different ways with different babies. I never realised that sometimes breastfeeding isn’t enough and when your baby is classified as ‘failing to thrive’ that you second guess everything about yourself as a mum and that it is Ok to give formula – until I had baby #2
I never realised just how hard it is to juggle 2 babies and return to work – until I had baby #2
I never realised that morning sickness doesn’t skip pregnancies and once again, for 9 months, I had to embrace it – until I fell pregnant with baby #3
I never realised that having 3 babies can be a logistical nightmare and that you only have 2 hands. I never realised how many people can be so judgmental with the parenting choices that I made and continue to make. I never realised how much a shower (or even going to the toilet) alone or having a cuppa or even a hot meal can be so magical – until I had baby #1, #2 and/or # 3
I never realised how lifelong friendships can be made when you are parked outside the front of the preschool breastfeeding baby #3 in the car, with baby number #2 asleep in the car and another mum, who I didn’t know at the time, goes in and explains the situation and brings baby #1 out to the car and puts them in their car seat (she is now one of my best friends) – until I had my 3 babies
I never realised just how proud I can be of anyone than I am of my 3 beautiful children. I never realised just how different your baby’s personalities can be and how each baby needs/has their own little ‘way’. I never realised just how much you can love something more than life itself – until I had my 3 babies
So hindsight is a wonderful thing – because I never realised until I became a mum that those ‘older’ midwives were right! My children have made me a better mum and a better midwife. They have helped me become the person I am today. They have taught me so much, not only about myself but about how different everyone is and how everyone should be supported no matter what their choices may be.
So what you all need to realise is:
It doesn’t matter! Nothing else matters except the fact that you love your baby(s) and that you do what’s right for you and your family. Support each other and be proud of your choices.