Real-mom Interview Meet: Rachel

Rachel is easily one of my favorite human beings on this planet. I’ve never met someone with a bigger and more generous heart, or that’s more in touch with their emotions. She embodies a calmness and strength that I find absolutely beautiful. She sets clear boundaries, and has a sense of self-love and respect I find admirable, and refreshing in this day and age. Her motherhood story is one of strength and resiliency. Thank you Rachel!

Let’s raise this mother!

Tell me about yourself

Upbeat mom and wife, lover of nature, volleyball, photography, yoga and
chocolate. I became a mom in 2013 and it started the most incredible journey of my life since! Recently just had baby number two in October 2018.

Have you always wanted kids? If not, when did that change?

I’ve always known that I wanted kids but could never picture what it would really be like to be honest. I babysat and loved kids since I was 13 but having your own was a completely different feeling and experience nothing can prepare you for! 

Tell me about the birth or infancy stage of your child?

I will keep this short as I am currently writing a longer version that is very emotional and difficult to write! Overall the infancy stage was challenging because I suffered from a rare femoral neuropathy which left my legs partially numb for weeks. The size of baby and length of time pushing pinched a nerve that made it feel like I went to the dentist and he partially froze parts of my legs. The beautiful newborn baby scenario I pictured didn’t quite exist and I was having a hard time functioning and even caring for myself and baby due to physical limitations and safety concerns.

If I could look back now, I’d tell my 23 year-old self “you should have asked for help sooner! You didn’t need to suffer alone, but also you were not as aware of your well-being like you are now. Thank god you pushed through and had the right people around you to help and love you.” I feel so much strength overcoming that, as it was one of the most difficult challenges in my life. Thank you to my husband Phil who literally picked me off the floor when I fell and pulled my pants up when I couldn’t (ha). I love you babe!

Funniest memory?

When Phil & I were just changing a diaper as a newborn (too slowly apparently) and it literally shot across the room 5 feet.  It was explosive liquid and looked like mustard hahahahha. Gross but we laughed so hard.

What’s something you wish people knew about your son?

That he has such a kind heart and wants to be your friend. Bullies are NOT cool.

What’s something you wish people knew about you?

I’m constantly working on feeling happy every day and living with a long awaited diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I try to make food and lifestyle choices that make my body feel good, which in turn helps my mental well-being. It’s a challenge and we all have our down days but the good days are what we live for! I’ve started loving my body and trying to live past my anxieties that lie below the surface that prevent me from doing things I want to do. It’s an everyday effort with lots of feelings involved but I am becoming the person who finally listens to her body and is trying to stress LESS about things that don’t matter or don’t make me feel happy.

What was the biggest sacrifice of motherhood to you? And how are you coping?

Okay aside from the obvious lack of SLEEP. With my first it was my physical mobility. I felt robbed of that and felt as though I couldn’t be the mom I wanted to be because of my physical and mental limitations. I looked at my baby and felt sad because this was not the feeling I wanted to feel. I wanted to hold my baby and walk and bounce him but I couldn’t because I was at risk of my legs giving out and falling. It was surreal and I truly tried to pretend it all wasn’t happening, like the reality of it all wasn’t as traumatic as it really was. After two months my mobility was almost back to normal and I finally felt a weight lifted. Like I could start being myself again and think about playing volleyball and hiking and doing the things I loved. Yoga played a big part in this as it helped me gain my strength and confidence back. I started realizing I was actually so lucky.

What do you love most about being a mom?

The newborn cuddles on your chest, the tight hugs and I love yous, watching them live life with such joy and enthusiasm.

They say ‘it takes a village to raise them’ Who does your tribe consist of? What’s something you wish they knew?

I’m blessed to say a lot of family and badass mom friends. Even those friends without kids who stuck around have been so important to me over the years. They probably know this but it’s worth saying again, I wish they knew how lucky we feel to have them in our lives. The nights out knowing our babies are safe and being looked after is such a relief in the constant job of raising children.

What lessons and values do you hope to instill in your child?

Kindness and I’d like him to understand the true effects of bullying. How mental health is important and to have conversations with them about it. I talk to them about diversity so they are aware our family isn’t the only type of family. Funny story, my 5 year old came home from school and said “Mom, Sophia said there ARE such things as girl and boy colours! So I told her ‘no’ they are just colours, my mom said. I know, because she likes green”. My heart was so happy, and I couldn’t stop smiling! Stop forcing gender stereotypes on our children and let them be children.

Social Media?

 To be honest, I’ve witnessed a lot of negative experiences with social media in the past, myself included, and I don’t feel like it contributes to a positive well-being in my life if I’m on it too much. I tend not to post very often, but it’s because I can’t be bothered sometimes or literally have too much to say I couldn’t possibly sum it up in a caption. I’m much better at expressing myself in person. I turn all my notifications off on social media so my phone never goes off unless I check it. I love it. The best parts of my day are away from my phone, so I usually don’t post a lot, or have a lot of strangers on my followers list. Don’t take it personally, that’s just me! I do support the body positive movement, and woman supporting other woman! I’m all for it and love it! Send me a message if you want to be friends ☺

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4 Comments

  1. Sarah Manielly

    Rachel, you are a beautiful soul and all who meet you know, right away, how special you are. Your ability to show genuine acts of kindness, while still standing up for what you believe, is your true gift. I admire you and love you so very much.

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