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123: Checking in with Carly

This is the second of our special episodes of Straight and Curly, one where Kelly was keen to shift the focus from the sadness of losing her husband Anthony to the joy she felt for Carly in welcoming baby Harriet into the world and also moving to the country. As with the previous episode, Kelly will draw on questions from the listeners in the Straight and Curly Facebook group to see how Carly is managing these two very major life changes.

Questions Carly answers include:

  • Would you be okay sharing your birth story?
  • How has all the personal development you have done over the years helped you cope with the huge changes you have faced over the last few months?
  • What’s been the biggest surprise for you in motherhood? And what expectations did you have that you have thrown out the window!
  • How is the city vs country mouse thing going or is it hard to tell what change is what after having a bub simultaneously?
  • What’s been the best gift you’ve received (or thing or task)?
  • How have you handled the lack of control that you have experienced recently?
  • How have you adapted your self-care to adjust for your life changes?
  • Have you had any big surprises since having your baby, or is everything ticking along like how you thought it would?
  • Sanity savers, life hacks, activities, places or people that are helping you keep it together
  • Carly, is there a theatre scene where you live now so you can indulge your thespian passion, either on stage (when the time is right) or as an audience member?
  • I know you like to plan ahead so I’m curious if your planning ways have changed since Harriet, and what’s become a priority for you now?
  • I would be interested in the effect on both of your anxiety levels following such major changes in your lives
  • Are you managing to get in the same amount of exercise since moving to the country & leaving F45? Obviously, intensity will be lower as you recover from the trauma that is giving birth. How ‘country’ are you? Are there other new mums around you? Are you craving human contact or are you not that deep in the OZ Bush??!

Listen in

Read the transcript

Ben:                      Welcome to this second special episode of Straight and Curly, one where Kelly was keen to shift the focus from the sadness of losing her husband, Anthony, to the joy she felt for Carly in welcoming Baby Harriet into the world and also moving into the country. As with the previous episode, Kelly will draw on questions from listeners in the Straight and Curly Facebook group to see how Carly is managing those two very major life changes.

Kelly:                    So, Carls, so we remember when we finally got to talk on the phone after Ant died and I downloaded on your for half an hour and I bawled my eyes out. I may have even gotten a cry out of you, I think.

Carly:                    Yes, you definitely did.

Kelly:                    And then I finally got to the point where I said, “All right, enough about me,” because there have been many points in the last two months where I have gotten very sick of talking about myself. So, I said, “Let’s talk about you.” This is going to be the podcast version of that part of our conversation because I said at the end of the last episode that we recorded, I’m so thrilled that Harriet arrived safely. But most importantly, that you are enjoying her. So, how many hours do you reckon you have spent just staring at her? Because I do know that when Jaden was born, Ant and I just spent a lot of time just looking at him and thinking, “Wow, look at this guy. We’ve got a baby.” So, have you and Ben been the same?”

Carly:                    We do exactly the same. We just cannot stop staring at her. And I know that everyone feels this way about their baby, but I actually think that my baby is the most beautiful baby in the world. She’s got such a little doofus face. Like, I look at her sometimes and I think, “Oh my god, you are so beautiful. You look like an Anne Geddes baby, and then she’ll pull a really stupid face. And then I’m like, “Oh my god, and you’re funny as well. How did I deserve this?” She’s just an angel child. We’re loving it so much, so much more than I thought I would, which is a huge relief.

Kelly:                    Yes.

Carly:                    Because you don’t-

Kelly:                    You just don’t know.

Carly:                    You don’t know.

Kelly:                    That’s right. And I do always worry about when people go in, just all they’ve ever wanted is to be a mom and you just kind of hope, “Oh my gosh, I hope this is kind of in line with their expectations.” Whereas, you, I think, you’re a bit like me, you kind of had no expectations.

And I think we’re going to talk about this later, so I’m not going to do this one now. But yeah, I do feel like when you kind of go in with that no expectations thing, it’s nice to go, “Oh my god, I totally love this,” because I was a bit the same as that. Yes. So, I think I’m just going to go straight into the listener questions. I get to be the question asker this time

Carly:                    Sure.

Kelly:                    So, Claire kicks off with the big one of, “Would you be okay sharing your birth story?”

Carly:                    And my response is shit yeah. I love telling a good old birth story now.

                              I do need to preface this with a warning that I hated hearing birth stories when I was pregnant. So, if you’re pregnant and that pisses you off like it pissed me off, you need to skip ahead. Before I was pregnant, I was indifferent to birth stories because I didn’t really understand them. Like, if someone told me a birth story, I’d be like, “Cool. Yeah. That’s fine.” It was no different to kind of like, “I fell off my bike,” like that kind of a story. But now I’ve given birth, I’m really into them and I’m like, “Tell me your birth story.” And I’m making everyone I know re-tell me their birth story because I wasn’t really concentrating the first time. So, I’m quite into birth stories now. But if you … Like, when I was pregnant, I was like, “Do not tell me you gave birth because I do not want to hear it.” I was just irrationally angry about it. I can’t even tell you why because I’m fine with it now and I was fine with it before. But when I was actually pregnant, I was like, “Get out of here with your birth story.”

                              I’ll tell it super quickly. So, I was unusually tired on the Friday of the weekend when she was born and I went to bed early. And I woke up at three AM on the Saturday morning. I didn’t actually need to go to the toilet. I just went to go to the toilet for no reason. And when I was in there … like, this is a way overshare. If you don’t want to hear the overshare stuff, then skip ahead. But I lost my mucus plug. And I was just kind of like staring at the toilet paper being like, “Is this happening?” And then, I heard Ben’s voice from the bedroom. He was like, “You’ve been in there for a really long time, what’s going on?” And I was like, “Okay, this may have happened,” because you don’t … You only really … Some women don’t lose their mucus plug.

Kelly:                    Well, I didn’t. Yeah. I mean, my waters didn’t even break.

Carly:                    Yeah, well that’s the thing. Not everyone experiences that, so not everyone knows what it looks like. And I thought that that’s what had happened because I knew one of my friends had that happen, and she told me about it. And it was exactly what she told me. And I was like, “Is this happening?” And then my waters broke.” And then Ben was like, “Sweet, well I guess this is happening.” So, we went into the car and went to the hospital and then they did the whole thing. And they’re like, “Yeah, yeah, go home. You’re going to be in labour for a while,” because they do that, because once your waters break, they’re just like, “You just have to wait until contractions come.” And so, they sent me home, and I basically leaked for 16 hours. And then contractions started at six PM on the Saturday evening. And they were long and strong immediately and about 10 minutes apart straight away. I was ripped off.

                              So, they were 120 seconds long and excruciating. And for some reason, the only position I was comfortable in was bolt upright. I couldn’t lay down, I couldn’t even lean back in a chair. So, I was either standing up straight or sitting on a ball up straight or sitting on the couch with cushions behind me up straight. I could not lie down, not on my side, not on my back at all. It was horrible. And so, I laboured at home for about 24 hours. And then, because they don’t let you go to the hospital until your contractions are one to two minutes apart and 120 seconds. And I was like, “Mate, my contractions were at 120 seconds two days ago. Let me come to the hospital.” And so, when I got to the hospital, they did an exam and they said, “You’re six centimetres dilated, you’ll have this baby in a few hours.” And I was like, “Yeah, let’s do this.”

                              And I was aiming for an unassisted birth. So, that just means drug free, just because I didn’t want any complications. And that’s what I was comfortable with and I had done my research and I had come to my own personal conclusion that that was going to be the best way to have an uncomplicated birth. And then, so I laboured for a few more hours. And then they examined me again and then I’d gone backwards. And the-

Kelly:                    That’s not cool.

Carly:                    Yeah.

Kelly:                    Come on, Harriet. What are you doing?

Carly:                    Yeah. I was like, “Come on.” And then the nurse was like, “I’m really sorry, but you’re at four centimetres.” And I was like, “I will be requiring an epidural immediately.” I was so done.

Kelly:                    And was it the greatest thing that you ever had?

Carly:                    It was the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me in my life. But I was very comfortable because I knew that if I had a short labour, I knew I could do it for eight hours and have the baby, that’s fine. I had hit 30 hours and I was like, “I’m done. I am done with this.” And those were the circumstances under which I was very comfortable having an epidural. So, I had it and it was amazing. I slept for a few hours, and so did Ben. And she arrived at 8:45 AM on her due date, which was also a Monday.

Kelly:                    Nice.

Carly:                    And I had minimal tearing and the delivery was unassisted. So, they didn’t need to use forceps or anything, which was-

Kelly:                    Great.

Carly:                    … the scenario that I was after. Sorry, what did you say?

Kelly:                    I just said that’s nice when they don’t have to add anything into the delivery.

Carly:                    Sorry.

Kelly:                    That was not my experience because I had a giant baby.

Carly:                    I thought you said grapes, like a bunch of grapes. And I was like, “Is that a thing that they use in birth or something?” Did you have to have one of those things?

Kelly:                    I had to have vacuum extraction with … Like, I swear my obstetrician had his foot up on the bed for leverage. Yeah, Jayden was a bit of a giant baby with a giant head. So yeah, people would come … the nurses would come into my room after the birth and they would look at me, look at him, and then just do this massive double-take. Like, “How did you get that out?” And then they would see Ant and they would go, “Well, now we know where the size came from.” So yeah. I had all the assistance. But yeah, and all the everything. So, I’m glad that you didn’t.

Carly:                    And it’s not that I was against having that, but it’s just-

Kelly:                    No, it’s just better for recovery if you don’t have to.

Carly:                    It is, yeah.

Kelly:                    But ultimately, you just do whatever you need to do to get the baby out.

Carly:                    God yeah. It’s just, “Get that kid out.” So, I ended up with minimal tearing. And the epidural only half worked, which was actually a blessing because I could still feel my contractions and work with them. And because I laboured for so long on my own, one of the midwives reckons that that’s why the actual delivery itself went so well was because my body had prepared itself for it, even though I had the epidural in the end. Recovery was excellent, I felt normal within a couple of days. It was really good. And apart from the epic labour that was 41 hours in total, the actual birthing experience was brilliant. It was just … Like, that was a really, really long weekend.

Kelly:                    Oh my god, that is epic.

Carly:                    Yeah.

Kelly:                    Like, epic is actually the only word for it. I had relatively short labours. But both very intense. But I think I’d take short and intense over 41 hours thank you very much. No thanks.

Carly:                    Far out, it was crazy. But I say that the birthing experience was really good. And when I say that to people, Ben’s just like, “You have completely forgotten, haven’t you?” Like, he said it was horrible. He said that whole weekend was awful.

Kelly:                    And it is horrible-

Carly:                    Because I just screamed in his face.

Kelly:                    … for the guy because they can’t do anything.

Carly:                    And they also don’t have that lovely hormone that makes you forget how horrible it was.

Kelly:                    That’s right.

Carly:                    I fully have that hormone.

Kelly:                    Yeah.

Carly:                    Yeah, so that was my birth experience and it was lovely. And the Royal Women’s Hospital, people were fantastic, and I met literally every midwife that’s ever worked there because I was there for so long. One of them was rostered back on before. She was like, “How are you still here?” She said, “You were meant to leave like three days ago.” I’m like, “I know.” But yeah, it was awesome.

Kelly:                    That’s awesome. So, Vanessa asks … and some of these questions will crossover with some of the questions that I answered in the last episode because people were asking them to both of us because we were actually going to do this podcast … Like, answer them both at the same time. And then we were like, “Well, no, that’s too jarring to go back and forth between happy and sad.” So, we split them up. So, Vanessa said, “How has all the personal development you have done over the years helped you cope with the huge changes you have faced over the last few months?”

Carly:                    It’s been really good, because I already have and had a well established eating exercise regime, I just kind of stuck with it. So, obviously babies throw a huge spanner in your life works. But Ben and I were both in a really good place with our habits when I fell pregnant. So, maintaining them has been much easier than I thought. Like, obviously I have bad days where I’m tired, but I can generally always manage to chuck a salad together or take Harriet out for a walk.

                              In the past when I’ve been super overwhelmed with life, and I think I mentioned this in Kelly’s episode, I’d just drink a lot of wine over the weekend and then feel even more rubbish. But that’s not an option with breastfeeding. So, I tend to have lots of cups of tea and naps and stuff when I’m feeling a little bit over, over it, which is obviously much better for me, but way less fun.

Kelly:                    Yes. Yes, welcome to babydom.

Carly:                    I know.

Kelly:                    So, Vanessa … I think this is a different Vanessa, asked, “What has been the biggest surprise for you in motherhood, and what expectations did you have that have been thrown out the window?” That is a great question, Vanessa.

Carly:                    It’s a very good question. So, I think the biggest surprise is how much I’m enjoying it. So, I really hate being interrupted and I really hate wasting time. And babies are masters of both of those things. And not that I think that spending time with my child is wasting time, I don’t think that at all. But it’s time I’m spending not doing other things that used to be important to me. And I’m shocked that I’m not frustrated by how little I’m getting done. But I’m really not. I just love hanging out with her, and she’s just a complete delight. One expectation I had to let go of was the notion of sharing parenting.

Kelly:                    Yes.

Carly:                    It’s not … Like, in the beginning … I know it will be easier down the track, and I didn’t think … Like, I went in with the expectation that a lot of the physical stuff would be up to me in the beginning. But if you’re breastfeeding your child, your partner just cannot help as much as you think they can. I mean, I definitely-

Kelly:                    As you want.

Carly:                    Yeah, exactly.

Kelly:                    Literally nothing that they can do.

Carly:                    Exactly. And I keep trying to life hack this. And I’m like, “This is dumb. There has to be a way that I don’t have to keep doing this.” And I keep going round and round in circles. And guys, there’s no solution. There’s absolutely no solution. It’s crazy. And I mean, I knew this because people told me. But on a practical level, it’s just astounding how useless Ben is. And I mean, he’s amazing, obviously and he’s brilliant.

Kelly:                    Purely emotional support, purely emotional support.

Carly:                    Yeah, and I mean, he can change nappies and hold her when she’s being grizzly and all that kind of stuff. But I’m literally essential to her survival. And until I’m not essential to her survival, I have to be the primary caregiver. And that’s just a really, really huge thing. I mean, again, it’s not a surprise. But by the time I finish breastfeeding her, my body will have been on loan to her for two full years. Like, it’s a really, really long time. But you can bet your ass that the second she can eat a sandwich, we’re going 50-50 on that situation.

                              Like, Ben went to Milan for work for 10 days literally a week ago, and that’s not even close to being available to me for a really, really long time. So, one thing … and this is not an everyday thing. Most of the time I love it and it’s brilliant. But once every two weeks, I get quite jealous of Ben and I think that being the dad is a much better deal. Like, if I could be the dad, I’d probably be the dad.

Kelly:                    Yeah, it was really interesting when I had Jaden, I did not breastfeed Mia because I did not really enjoy breastfeeding Jaden. I kind of went in to-

Carly:                    Was it painful for you?

Kelly:                    No. It wasn’t painful or difficult. I just did not enjoy it. That said, I really enjoyed the closeness of it and the intimacy of it. But just the overall general … I found it very tiring.

Carly:                    So tiring.

Kelly:                    And I really hated having to get my boobs out every two seconds to feed the baby.

Carly:                    Oh my god, it’s so annoying.

Kelly:                    Yeah, it just … I didn’t enjoy it. So, with Mia, I kind of made the decision before that I wasn’t going to. And it actually ended up being a really good decision for a number of reasons. But yeah, and interestingly, no difference between the two for one that was breastfed and one that was not. Just saying. But-

Carly:                    Did Mia sleep better, though? I heard formula fed babies feed better. Sorry, sleep better because they’re more full.

Kelly:                    No. She … No. She didn’t. She was just-

Carly:                    But she’s Mia. So …

Kelly:                    Yeah, and she was also just a hungry hippo. Like, she came out … within an hour of birth, she was wailing like she was wanting milk. And I said, “Look, I think she’s hungry.” And they’re like, “No, she’s just really new. Like, normally they’re only getting colostrum at this point in time.” And I was like, “I feel she’s hungry. Maybe try her with a bottle,” because I couldn’t do anything. I was all … I had quite full-on births, so I was all wired up to very different things. So, they had to give her a bottle and she just nailed it. And then they had to give her another one and she nailed that as well. And from that point on, oh my god. And that was why I was kind of glad I had made the decision not to breastfeed her, because I don’t know if I could have kept up with her. She was feeding every two hours. Yeah, she was a bit out of control. But yeah.

                             But the point that I was trying to make was that even though I didn’t really enjoy the whole breastfeeding thing, there were moments at like two o’clock or three o’clock in the morning when I was in the chair with Jaden feeding him and thinking, “How sucky for dads that they don’t get to experience this, like this moment.” Yeah, it was just … so yeah, it’s interesting, because I’m a bit like you that I really probably want that little bit of freedom, but there were just moments where I was like, “It’s so much better being the mom.” Yeah.

Carly:                    Yeah, I definitely get that too. And I’ve had some lovely moments with my girl. And in the last few weeks, she’s just … Like, her personality’s starting to shine through.

Kelly:                    Yeah, that’s so good.

Carly:                    And I get these little smiles that I know are just for me, and I’m just-

Kelly:                    And they’re not wind, they’re smiles.

Carly:                    Yeah, no, definitely not. They’re absolutely smiles. And it’s just … Yeah, like breastfeeding was a nightmare for me in the beginning, just so much pain. It was really horrible. I actually was in pain for probably the first eight weeks. It was really-

Kelly:                    Carly, oh my god.

Carly:                    It was horrible. Yeah, it was really awful. But we got over it and now it’s just a non-issue. But yeah, I quite liked kind of the snugly … Like, way back in the beginning, she’d take like an hour to feed.

Kelly:                    Oh my god.

Carly:                    I know. So, I was feeding like eight hours a day. And I would just snuggle up on the couch and I’d have my snacks and my cup of tea. And it was cold, so I’d put her under a blanket, and they were really beautiful moments. But also, they wear thin pretty quick.

Kelly:                    Yeah, I just … Yeah, I did struggle a lot with that whole … there was just a point where I was like, “No, I need my body back to myself.” And it’s a different experience for everybody. But I just reached a point where I’m like, “No. I need my body back. And you are going to have formula now.”

Carly:                    Yep.

Kelly:                    Yeah, so now I’m just waiting for the avalanche of angry emails. But anyway. So, moving on … don’t send me angry emails, I’m in a very bad time.

Carly:                    One thing is that there’s no judgement on any moms with anything that they do ever. Like, you do whatever the hell you need to do to get through the day.

Kelly:                    Yeah, I just think whatever works for you, because something has … It’s not just good enough that it works for the child, it has to work for you too. And if it doesn’t work for you, then it’s not really working for the child.

Carly:                    Agreed.

Kelly:                    That was my philosophy anyway. So, anyway. Amanda asked, “How is the city versus country thing going? Or is it hard to tell what change is what after having a bubs simultaneously,” because yes, Carly and Ben did up and suddenly move to the country … what? Two months after Harriet was born? Six weeks?

Carly:                    She was six weeks on the day that we actually moved. So, it seemed like it was really sudden. I wrote a whole blog post about it. If someone reminds me, I’ll share it in the group. It did happen very … it seems like it happened suddenly, but it kind of didn’t. We were looking at doing a tree change for a while. And we just found this property that we really loved. And we put in an offer and didn’t tell anyone because you kind of either move house or you don’t. And telling people we’d put an offer on a house … we didn’t want to move to Beechworth, that’s kind of the area that we live in. We wanted to live in this particular house. So, there was no point in saying we put an offer in Beechworth because we weren’t inevitably moving to Beechworth, we were moving to this property or probably somewhere else.

Kelly:                    Yep.

Carly:                    So, yeah. And then, the sale went through like two days after Harriet was born. And then we were even forgetting to tell people that came to visit Harriet. Like, my cousin came to visit and then I texted her after she left. And I was like, “Oh my god, I’m so sorry. I meant to tell you we’re moving to Beechworth.” And she was like, “Yeah, my mom told me that you were moving to Beechworth and you didn’t mention it. And I thought it was weird, but I figured you didn’t tell me for a reason.” And I was like, “Babies are distracting.” So, it seems like it was a weird thing. But yeah, so we have moved to the Beechworth area. And we just keep waiting for the, “Holy shit, what have we done,” feeling to kick in. But it just really hasn’t. It feels like home immediately.

                              And I had to drive back to Beechworth from Canberra on my own with Harriet last week. And when we turned down the road to Stanley, which is actually where I live. It’s 10 minutes down the road from Beechworth, it just felt like I was driving home. Like, it felt really lovely. It was a really nice feeling. And I still don’t even feel like we left Melbourne, which is weird. And our life is really similar because we’re very insular. Like, Ben and I both work from home. And just this little life that we have with the three of us, we didn’t love where we were living in Melbourne. We loved the suburb, but we were living in kind of a not great area of the suburb, and we couldn’t walk anywhere cool and we just felt kind of isolated. And we were like, “We might as well just leave and live somewhere really beautiful.” And so, we did. And it feels really, really good. We’ve got no regrets at all. There’s … yeah, it’s really great.

Kelly:                    I love that. So, Chloe asks … back to babies. “What’s been the best gift you’ve received? Or thing or task?” And I’ve just read your answer and I’m laughing.

Carly:                    We actually honestly didn’t really get any offers of help. Like, people have been like, “Did you get heaps of help?” I was like, “Actually, now that I think about it, no.” But we didn’t really care that much because both sets of our parents live really far away, so they couldn’t exactly bring us prepared food or anything. And one of my closest mates had a baby 10 days after me. So, aside from texting each other constantly, we’ve been so useless to each other because we both have newborns. So, I had a newborn for 10 days and she was in the last 10 days of her pregnancy.

Kelly:                    Yeah.

Carly:                    So, she’s like, “I can’t do anything. I’m not doing anything.” And my best mate brought me lasagna, which was beautiful. So, that was really nice. But honestly, Ben and I just really liked being left alone in those first few weeks. So, I found visitors extremely stressful because Harriet had jaundice in the first week of her life, and breastfeeding, I cannot even describe to you what a nightmare it was. It was awful. And most people were really respectful. But there were moments where we were just like, “We just want a full week to ourselves to get used to this new life.” And we didn’t really get that, which is a bit of a shame because people are so desperate to see the baby when it’s brand new.

Kelly:                    That’s right.

Carly:                    And you’re kind of like, “I can understand it, but also, she’s not going to remember it.” So, I got a little bit jack of that, not hugely. And there was no one in particular that really pissed me off.

Kelly:                    It was just a collective thing of everybody wants to see the baby.

Carly:                    It was a collective thing.

Kelly:                    And I’m tired. And also, as you said, if you’re feeding for an hour at a time, oh my god.

Carly:                    So long. And also, I wish that I could have two first months of my baby’s life, the one I had, and then a second one where we don’t have to see anyone for a whole month. Like, I just get her all to myself for a whole month. It’s selfish, but you know, that’s what I want.

Kelly:                    It is what it is.

Carly:                    The most practical gifts ever were Love to Dream Swaddle Ups. If you don’t know what those are, that will mean nothing to you. If you do know what they are, you will be like, “They’re the most amazing thing in the world.” They’re these little zippy bags where you put your kid in and it swaddles their arms up instead of down.

Kelly:                    Yes, yes, yes.

Carly:                    Oh my god, Harriet loves them so much. I cannot put her to sleep without one. And they were brilliant. Cloth nappies, one of my aunties brought me this big box of cloth nappies and I use them for wiping up spews and drool. And Hydrogel Breast Discs. So, one of my really close mates who has two babies gave me this beautiful package that had everything I needed in it. I didn’t know what these were. I was like, “Okay, cool. I don’t know what they are.” But they were for nipple pain, but I used them literally for three months. It was so weird, because I didn’t actually have nipple pain, I had engorgement boob pain. And for some reason, they helped with it. I don’t know why. I only just weaned myself off them. But they’re brilliant. And also, hot tip, be the last of your friends to have a baby and none of the gifts will be shit because they all know the good stuff. I didn’t get one crap present.

                              And Chrissy from Hair Romance gave me an ergo baby that one of her mates had finished with. And she also gave me a travel cot, and I use both of them all the time. So, amazing gifts from Chrissy as well.

Kelly:                    Yeah, that is an amazing gift, Chrissy, great job Chrissy.

Carly:                    Yeah.

Kelly:                    Shandos asked a really good question. She asked me this as well, but I didn’t have an answer for it, so I didn’t. And I don’t like talking about lack of control. So, Carly, “How have you handled the lack of control that you have experienced recently?”

Carly:                    That has been hard. Not the day to day stuff, it’s more having my body on loan that I’m struggling with. I obviously adore Harriet and she’s a beautiful very calm baby. I don’t know where she came from, but she’s just an unbelievably chilled baby. But the pressure of her relying on me to survive is really intense. And never being away from her for longer than an hour and a half is really tiring. I’m making it to the gym and I go shopping and for walks and stuff. But I can’t just go and see a movie with a mate or sink a bottle of wine and chat for hours. And it’s those things that really make me feel like myself. So, I’m trying to find other things to do that are just for me, but it’s really hard.

                              I do still feel like I have control, though. So, I control the way I respond to her. So, she is a very chilled baby. But every 10 days or so, she’ll go through a growth spurt and do something that’s out of character for her. Like, two nights last week, she decided to scream for three hours before bed two nights. And I was like … out of nowhere. So, that’s like, I’m not used to her crying that much because she pretty much only cries when she’s hungry. And I was like, “Okay, so I can respond to this in a calm way, or I can lose my shit.” And I tried to choose to do the former. I’ve also figured out a weird little hack to get things done during the day. So, I do computer work when she’s asleep and housework when she’s awake. So, I can chat to her or wear her in the carrier while I vacuum or cook or tidy or dust. And we go for walks and stuff. I put her on the kitchen bench with me in her little pillow. And I always make sure she’s not going to fall off the bench, so don’t be-

Kelly:                    Don’t send us emails.

Carly:                    Like, it’s fine.

Kelly:                    Don’t send us emails.

Carly:                    Don’t send me emails about having my kid on the bench. I’m not just letting her freewheel around on the kitchen bench. And I chat to her while I’m cooking dinner and I show her all the things that I’m chopping up. And I can involve her in physical stuff, so I do physical stuff when she’s awake. And then when she’s asleep, I do computer stuff. Also, because I don’t want to constantly be on my phone or my computer around her, because even though she’s only 12 weeks old, she knows what’s going on. And she’s started noticing the TV, which is horrifying. So, we’re going to have to be a bit careful around that. So, that’s what’s working for me at the moment. And I know that’s not available to everyone, but if you have a fairly calm kid, that’s what works for me and how I can kind of get things done in the day.

Kelly:                    Yeah, that’s pretty cool. Just on the topic of talking to her, I’m so glad you talk to her while you cook. And I will bet any money that you don’t talk to her in baby talk. I will bet that you just talk to her normally.

Carly:                    I do talk to her normally.

Kelly:                    Yes. And I will just say that I always talked to the kids very normally when they were very … Like, from the very youngest age. And I remember Ant saying to me, he was like, “They do not understand what you are saying,” but do you know what?

Carly:                    They do.

Kelly:                    Like, they understand more than you think.

Carly:                    So much more.

Kelly:                    And both my kids … not being boastful or anything, but both my kids … like, people comment on how articulate they are and how they speak in full sentences both from a very young age. And I was like, “Well, kind of N equals two, but I kind of feel like it’s because I’ve never spoken down to them or talked baby talk to them.” Like, I’ve just always spoken to them in full sentences. Not like an adult, but just properly, like you would talk to another person. So, I would be interested to see if Harriet too is a-

Carly:                    Well, it’s kind of already paying off because she’s 12 weeks, but she’s unbelievably alert. Like, terrifyingly alert. And I take her to the maternal health nurse, and my maternal health nurse was like, “I can tell that you talk to her all day because she’s an incredibly engaged baby.” And she just … Like, if you go, “Hi,” and you talk to her, her face just lights up. She just loves it when people talk to her. And I mean, why would I not talk to her when every little smile is just a gift from heaven?

Kelly:                    That’s right. No, it’s good.

Carly:                    I just talk to her all day.

Kelly:                    No, that’s cool. Yeah, I really … It’s one of those weird things that I really believe in. I truly believe in talking to your babies properly and not in baby talk.

Carly:                    Same.

Kelly:                    Cool, okay, so Juniper asked, “How have you adapted your self-care to adjust for your life changes?”

Carly:                    I’m maintaining more than anything else at the moment. I still prioritise exercise. I’m doing bits and pieces of work here and there because I’m trying not to make my whole existence being about my baby because that’s not healthy for me. I’m not saying that other women shouldn’t do that, because sometimes that’s what’s healthy for someone else. But I need for there to be something that exists in my life that’s not about her. So, it’s hard, particularly when you’re breastfeeding on demand. But I do try to leave the house, and Ben’s extremely supportive of that. He’ll be like, “Okay, I’m taking her. You’re going.” He said, “Go to the shops or go to the gym or just do something that’s not related to her right now.”

Kelly:                    Awesome. Good. So, Amy asked, “Have you had any big surprises since having your baby? Or is everything ticking along like how you thought it would.”

Carly:                    I know people are going to hate me for this, but it is pretty much just ticking along the way I thought it would. I went in with very realistic expectations, though. So, I think what you were saying … was it at the beginning of this episode or the last episode? You were saying that people who have always wanted to be a mother may have slightly rose-tinted glasses about the concept-

Kelly:                    What it actually looks like, yeah.

Carly:                    … and have a bit of a shock. I was extremely realistic about it. And so, there have been very few surprises. And in some ways, it’s not been the crazy shit storm that some people warned us about. She’s slipped extremely seamlessly into our lives and just adds way more to it than she detracts from it. And yeah, it’s like … I don’t know. I kind of feel like a lot of people expected me to lose my shit when I had a kid, and I feel like I’m disappointing everyone by not doing that. And I mean, yeah, I have bad days. Like, I will freely admit that a week ago, I was telling you about those two nights where she just wanted to scream for no reason for three hours before bed. That night was awful and I cried. I cried a lot that night. It was horrible. And you have days like that, but I fully expected to have days like that.

                              So, it’s easier to be okay with those really hard days because I was expecting them to happy. But most days are lovely. And I had a kid on purpose. And we wanted our lives to change and we wanted another member on our team. And she’s just like … She’s just such a funny weird little thing. And she’s got such a funny, cute, quirky personality. And I just get so much joy out of her. She’s started waking up happy, recently, which is really nice, because when they’re newborns, they just scream for food and-

Kelly:                    Well, they wake up angry because they’re like, “I’m so hungry, feed me.”

Carly:                    Exactly. But I can see her learning. She’s actually almost stopped crying altogether, unless she has a particularly bad day, because she knows that if she just goes, “Wah,” in her bed, I’m like, “Oh, cool. You’re hungry.” And I go and get her. And she’s like, “‘Sup fool? Time for some food.” And I’m like, “Yeah, this is great.” It’s … yeah, just watching her learn that making positive noises rewards her better than crying at me. And also, please, no one hate me for this, but the last two nights, she’s slept from 10:30 until 7:30 two nights in a row. It’s never happened before. I’m really hoping it’s going to happen again tonight. But I’m just like, “You’re a miracle child.” I couldn’t believe she did it.

Kelly:                    Oh my god, that is amazing.

Carly:                    I don’t know if that’s normal at three months. But I’m just like, “If you do that, you can do whatever you like during the day. I don’t care.”

Kelly:                    That’s it. Oh my god, yes. That’s amazing. Good job, Harriet.

Carly:                    Honestly, this kid can read my mind. She’s a very, very awesome baby. Honestly, she does have bad days, though. It’s not completely smooth sailing. I’m not sitting here going, “Oh my god, I’ve got this amazing baby that just sleeps and smiles all the time.” No, she definitely has her moments. And she can really give me a run for my money. But most of the time, she’s delightful. So yeah, it’s ticking along.

Kelly:                    Bless. Well, Steph asks, “Have you had any moments of, ‘Shit, I did not expect it to be like this,’ or any ideas of how you really wanted to be a mom that kind of went straight out the window, or anything that you found easier than expected?”

Carly:                    Not really. I’m calmer than I thought I’d be, which is a great relief, because even though I am quite calm in general, I’m prone to some pretty intense anxiety from time to time. In motherhood, that presents itself in constant checking of Harriet.

Kelly:                    Yes, I was a mega checker. Like, total checker.

Carly:                    I don’t do it all the time, thank god, because I’d go spare. But most days I pop her down for a nap, totally fine. On other days, I need to check her constantly, and I need to put my hand on her chest to make sure it’s going up and down.

Kelly:                    Well, I had to get one of those … like, they have those pads that you put under the baby’s mattress that will alert you to if the baby stops breathing. My kids slept on one of those until they were about four, both of them.

Carly:                    Oh my god. I heard that they are not super accurate.

Kelly:                    Yeah, they do give off false positives and do give massive heart attacks.

Carly:                    I just could not deal with that.

Kelly:                    But otherwise it was … But I would still check them even with the little pad thing, so that was how paranoid I was. Anyway, sorry, carry on.

Carly:                    No, no. I purposefully didn’t get one of those because I was like, “All of those false positives are just going to drive me up the wall.” But yeah, so if she has a rough night going to sleep and I have to rock her while she’s crying for two hours, I always just think, “This is exactly as hard as I thought it would be.” And I’ve seen my mates do it and it looked really hard, and I knew that going into it. And no one gets off scot-free, no one has a perfect baby. Babies, even the most placid babies will give you hell nights because they get sick. And her cells are doubling every day and there’s so much shit going on in her body that she’s going to do weird things. And I’m not going to know why because my cells aren’t reproducing the way that hers are, and she’s experiencing everything for the first time. So, I always try to just be like, “She’s not doing this to piss me off. She’s not doing this to upset me. She’s doing this because things are happening inside her body that she doesn’t understand and that’s scary. And she’s experiencing things for the first time. And all I can do is just hold her and try to help her through it.” So, I always try to keep that in my mind when we’re having really shit times.

                              And my cousin told me that you have endless energy for your own child, and it’s totally true. Like, I love all of my friends’ kids, but after spending all day with them, I’m totally ready for a break. But with Harriet, I just can’t get enough of her. And she’s been just like … Yeah, waking up in the morning super happy and copying noises. And yeah, because she’s so cheeky and she started laughing which is just … Oh my god, it’s the cutest thing in the world. I can’t even deal. She’s just adorable. And I just kiss her cheeks all the time because they’re just so … just these snappy little cheeks and I’m just like, “Oh my god, she’s gorgeous.”

Kelly:                    Bless. So, Annie asks for, “Any sanity savers, life hacks, activities, places or people that are helping you keep it together?”

Carly:                    So, my mate Nina, she had a baby 10 days after me, and she’s basically my reason for existence. So, we text each other at least 40 times a day. We did so throughout our pregnancies. So, we both found out we … It’s actually funny. She got married last year to a very good friend of mine. So, Nina’s a friend of Ben’s and her husband is a very good friend of mine and they got married last year. And we were both pregnant at her wedding and didn’t know. So, I found out the next day, and she found out a week later. And then, she told me she was pregnant and I literally got to say, “Me too.”

Kelly:                    Oh my god, that’s awesome.

Carly:                    Which was really cool. So, we texted each other like a billion times a day during our pregnancy and also like-

Kelly:                    Now.

Carly:                    Now that we have babies. And we texted each other through our labours as well. We didn’t even include our parents in our labours, but we were texting each other because we were just like, “We’re so on this journey together.” And it’s so lovely having her because I get a second opinion on things. And her kid is completely different to mine. All of our issues are totally different. So, it’s just lovely having someone who’s literally right there with you because if someone had a newborn and wanted to text me, me having a newborn is so long ago now that I’m like, “What? Your baby’s … I don’t know why your kid’s doing that.” That’s just such old information that’s not in my head anymore. So, it’s lovely having that person who’s in the exact same place.

                              And I’ve got a lovely little gym up the road that I found. A lady runs classes out of her garage, and I really love popping up there for a workout whenever I can. It’s really nice. And it’s on a chestnut farm. And the trainer’s called Whitney, and she’s really funny and I really like her. So, yeah, those two things.

Kelly:                    Awesome. So, Megan said, “Carly, is there a theatre scene where you live now so you can indulge your thespian passion either on a stage or as an audience member, when the time is right obviously?”

Carly:                    Well, I actually saw a sign for auditions the other day, so I’ll definitely be looking into that. I haven’t actually been on stage in maybe two years. So, I’m really looking forward to that. I also got asked to join the Stanley Choir the other day. So, watch this space. So, the town I live in has a population of like 370 people.

Kelly:                    So, you’re going to have to basically do everything. Like, you’re going to be on the stage. You’re going to be in the choir, you’re going to be on this committee.

Carly:                    Yep.

Kelly:                    Nice. I love it.

Carly:                    I have to do all of it. But yeah, I love my town. It’s awesome. And as soon as … Like, Harriet’s really great and she’s in a pretty good routine at the moment. But I know that that can go balls up at any point. So, when we’re kind of more solidified. I’ll start doing more things.

Kelly:                    Doing more stuff. Understandable. So, Christina said, “I know you like to plan ahead,” on that topic, “So, I’m curious if your planning ways have changed since Harriet, and what’s become a priority for you now?”

Carly:                    My plans have relaxed a little bit. My main plan is just to earn as much money as I can in the smallest amount of time so I can just enjoy a comfortable and calm life with my little family. But I also really love working, so just trying to find a good balance between the two would suit me perfectly. But everything is pointing in the right direction of where we’re living and how we’ve set up our lives and how we’ve set up our businesses is all heading in the right direction of exactly what we want to do. And Ben’s doing a lot of work overseas at the moment, so there’s lots of overseas travel in our future as well. We might end up living overseas for a while. Like, just because we’ve moved to the country, doesn’t mean we’re like-

Kelly:                    Yeah, I do wonder about that, whether the overseas plans were done now, or whether … Yeah.

Carly:                    No, they’ll definitely happen. We’re going to put Harriet in some school in Copenhagen and we’ll just do all the stuff. So, everything’s still on the horizon. But yeah, I’m really enjoying our little family. And I know a lot of people kind of when they have kids, it makes all of their decisions seem so much bigger. But I feel like it’s made a lot of my decisions and plans a lot clearer.

Kelly:                    Yep. That makes sense to me.

Carly:                    Yeah.

Kelly:                    Of course that makes sense to me, we are the same person. So, Kerry has asked if there has been any effect on your anxiety levels following these major changes?

Carly:                    I am better than I thought I would be, but being responsible for a baby is really intense, as people who have had babies would know. But I just keep reminding myself that total dip-shits raise kids and they’re fine. So, I’m kind of like-

Kelly:                    Isn’t it crazy that anyone, anyone can walk out of a hospital with a baby and they are expected … It’s like totally cool and you are going to look after that baby and keep it alive? Like, anybody, doesn’t matter who you are.

Carly:                    Totally. That’s my whole point. And I’m just kind of going, “There are people that wouldn’t be able to get a licence to have a pet that could have a baby.” And so, when you look at it like that, I kind of go, “Even if I do a very average job of this, that’s still fine.”

Kelly:                    It’s still going to be a good job.

Carly:                    It’s still … she’s going to be fine.

Kelly:                    It’s a bit when people are … Like, they know that they’re there, you give them the baby to hold and they’re like, “Oh my god, I don’t know how to hold a baby.” And I’m like, “Literally, you would have to try hard … It would be so hard for you to drop this baby or hurt this baby.” Unless you’re-

Carly:                    Totally, yeah.

Kelly:                    You’re not throwing it around, just hold the baby. It’s not that hard.

Carly:                    Yeah, just support its head.

Kelly:                    Exactly.

Carly:                    For a little while, and then you don’t have to support its head after then.

Kelly:                    That’s right. And final question is from Katie. She wants to know, “Are you managing to get in the same amount of exercise since moving to the country and leaving F45? Obviously intensity would be lower as you recover from the trauma that is giving birth.” And she also wants to know, “How country are you? Are there other new moms around you? Are you craving human contact or are you not really that deep into the Australian bush?”

Carly:                    So, that’s a lot of questions. And I just really liked the whole lot of them, so I was like, “Yeah, I’ll just answer all of them.” So, I get a walk in most days, and I’ve got the gym up the road that I go to about three times a week, not at the moment though because Ben brought a cold back from Milan with him. And this is another thing that just really shits me about the whole breastfeeding thing is that you can’t take hardcore cold and flu drugs.

Kelly:                    I know. How bad is a cold without cold and flu tablets?

Carly:                    It’s so bad. It’s so bad. And I am so pro-medication. I’m like, “Just give me all of the Sudafed.”

Kelly:                    Like, anything that’s going to make you feel better, just take the goddamn drugs. I’m a bit like you.

Carly:                    I know. I would snort pure speed if it was legal when I have a cold. I’m like, “Just bring it on.” And I just feel rubbish. Like, she’s been an angel. Harriet has been an angel in the last few days. And I’ve had … I got eight hours of sleep last night, Kelly, eight hours. I couldn’t believe it. Even if that doesn’t happen again for three months, I’m so grateful.

Kelly:                    Yeah.

Carly:                    But I’m here with my saline nasal spray and fricking Panadol. And like, this sucks, guys. It’s awful. So, I haven’t exercised much this week. I’ve just been going for walks. But I go to the little gym up the road that’s on the chestnut farm, and that’s awesome. And there’s the gym in town that I’m planning on going to as well. So, Harriet keeps changing her schedule, so there’s less classes available at my gym. So, if I miss a class, then that’s it. There’s no alternative. So, when I had F45, there was eight classes a day. So, if she fed at nine, I could go to the 9:30 class, and if she fed at 10, I could go to the 10:30 class. Here, it’s like, “Oh, I missed the one window of opportunity that I had.” So, that will get easier. But I can always just chuck her in the carrier and go for a big walk, which is great because it’s cool enough now.

Kelly:                    Yes.

Carly:                    So, on a 35 degree day, you cannot take a newborn outside in Australia. It’s just horrific. She was asking if I’m craving human contact and I’m just really not.

Kelly:                    Have you turned into me, Carly? Like, yes. I don’t need people.

Carly:                    Well, I was finding that when I was in Melbourne anyway, my best mate has two kids so … Well, no, she’s got one kid and she’s pregnant. So, trying to catch up with her is impossible anyway because she’s tired and has a toddler.

Kelly:                    God, yeah.

Carly:                    And then I was pregnant for most of last year, so I was tired. And then I had a newborn and she was pregnant and had a toddler. So, just this crazy combination of things getting in the way of us actually being able to see each other. And my other friend, because I only have two, she has a newborn as well. And our whole hanging out together was both of us holding newborns and talking about having newborns anyway. And we text each other all the time. So, it was kind of like, we weren’t really seeing much of our friends in Melbourne anyway. And since we’ve moved, our friends come here. We’ve had so many visitors, we’ve only been here for two months. And like, seriously, it’s crazy. And one of Ben’s friends came to stay with me for a few days while he was away, and it was just lovely. And my parents have been here, and his parents have been here. And it’s just so nice and you get quality time with people and it’s not like a 20 second coffee on their way to somewhere else. And you also don’t have that all, “Ugh, I couldn’t be bothered trying to get from this suburb to that suburb in Melbourne.”

Kelly:                    Yes.

Carly:                    Like, people get in the car and they drive three hours and then they’re at our house and it’s quality time. So, that’s just so much better. And also … yeah, and other moms around me. So, I joined a mother’s group last week and I went to my first session. This is just like the worst story ever. And I’m just so good at making friends immediately. So, the maternal health nurse asked us to go around the circle and say the best and worst thing about motherhood. And of course, I had to go first. And I was like, “The best thing is that I bonded with her straight away.” And I’d read about sometimes people don’t bond with their babies straight away and it’s a real struggle. And I was like, “Thank god I bonded with her, otherwise taking care of her would have been really shit.” And then my other thing was, I was like, “And breastfeeding, oh my god, I’m so over it. I’m just so over lending my body out to my baby all the time. And it’s just so physically draining.” And it turns out, I was in a room full of children who didn’t bond with their children and couldn’t breastfeed.

Kelly:                    Oh Carly.

Carly:                    There was four of us in the room, and the other three of them … I was like, “Far out. Oh my god, are you kidding me?” I was like … I just couldn’t believe it. I was like, “Come on, anyone? Anyone?” No, I was completely alone. I’m like, “Oh man.” And then I was like, “But hey, you formula feeders, you sure do get good night’s sleep though, don’t you?” Like, oh my god, it was so bad. They were fine, but I just felt like such a douche bag. I was like, “Cool. That’s great.”

Kelly:                    Oh my god, because I can see it. It’s so funny. Sorry. I’m sorry to the other moms, but yep, welcome to Carly world.

Carly:                    I know. I was like, “Far out. Come on.” But we did have a big chat about breastfeeding versus formula. And there’s so many pros and cons with both of them, honestly. I don’t think one is better or easier than the other one, it’s just whatever-

Kelly:                    Whatever works.

Carly:                    … works for you, because, yeah having my body on loan to my baby is a pain in the ass, but it’s super convenient. Like, I don’t have to pack anything or sterilise anything. And the snack is just there all the time. But then, I’m the one that always has to do it.

Kelly:                    You are the provider of the snack, yes.

Carly:                    Yeah, exactly. And no one else can give her the snack. So, yeah, that was my first foray into the mother’s group. And I’ve got my next mother’s group tomorrow. So, I will let you guys know in the group whether or not they’ve forgiven me by next week.

Kelly:                    That’s just been a really appropriate way to finish the show, I think, on Carly being very Carly.

Carly:                    Being a douche bag in a mother’s group.

Kelly:                    So yeah, that does bring us to the end of the show, guys. And so, briefly let’s talk about the future of the show. And in brief, we’re not too sure what we’re going to do. It’s really dependent on me because it has to be a time when I feel like I can talk about self-improvement and everyday hacks and just the things that we talk about. I don’t want there to be a heaviness … I want to be able to talk authentically and genuinely and with real feeling about these topics that I’m very passionate about normally, but right at this moment in time, don’t seem so important.

Carly:                    Are not a priority for you.

Kelly:                    So, we are going to check in with each other in July, and we’re going to see where we are placed. And then we may decide just to wait a bit longer, or we’ll see what we see. So yes, this is the second special episode for now. We hope this has answered a lot of questions that you guys have. We do appreciate how much love and support you have shown us and how delighted you were when we said we were going to record these shows. That did make us feel very good about ourselves. Thank you.

Carly:                    And thank you so much, Kelly, for recording these episodes. It’s so much harder for you than for me. And I think you’ve just got such a big heart, and it’s so lovely of you to do this for our readers, so thank you … readers. I said readers again. Listeners. Thank you for doing this for our listeners because they really appreciate it. And I appreciate it too because I’ve missed talking to you so much and I’ve really enjoyed recording these two episodes with you.

Kelly:                    Ditto. Like, yes. Okay, so I will tell everybody that we actually had to … We started recording this show and because we were coming off the back of recording the last show and because whenever I speak to Carly she just boosts my mood and makes me feel happy, so-

Carly:                    That’s really nice.

Kelly:                    You know? And so, yeah, so I was quite … I wanted to record these shows just for the excuse to talk to you. But also, it was just very funny that I started reading the intro for this show and it was talking about Ant having died. And I did it in far too upbeat a voice because I was coming off this high of having just talked to Carly for an hour for the previous show. So, it was so inappropriate, we had to record again.

Carly:                    We had to re-record it because Kelly was like, “Hey, Carly.”

Kelly:                    “Hey, remember when we were talking and Ant had just died?” And it was like, oh my god. So, this is where we’re at. This is what Carly does to me. So, she just … Yeah, it makes me happy talking to her. But there’s got to be appropriateness around these things. So, yes, we will check in with each other in July. I don’t know where I’m going to be at that point, but we will see. And hopefully we can start recording our normal shows again at that point. But for now, thank you for listening in to these two episodes and we will see you all in the group.

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