Emmas first Mothers Day
It can be a challenge to grasp the true sentiment of Mother’s Day until you have a child of your own. It has a way of bringing a smile to your face, a lump to your throat and a fullness to your heart.
These are the feelings 35 year old Melbourne woman Emma Gaffy experienced for the first time this year. Emma gave birth to beautiful baby Meadow nine weeks ago.
For Emma, Mother’s Day is particularly special. Emma experienced a stroke at the age of 19 and in the early days of her recovery doctors expressed doubt that she would be “mother material”.
But, time and love had other plans. With the support of partner Gareth, Emma and Meadow have proved the doctors wrong.
Emma admits she didn’t expect the path to parenthood would be smooth for her because her body had been a source of grief, frustration, pain and disappointment for many years. However, her pregnancy was straight forward, it involved the aches and pains, exhaustion and general discomfort typical for most pregnant women.
Then Meadow came along and instantly filled her heart with joy.
Tell me about Meadow - what is she like?
Meadow is nine weeks old. Meadow is a dream, she is the best sleeper and wakes up every four hours on the dot for her bottle. Meadow wakes up with a holler though - she knows what she wants already and lets you know about it! I love that trait in her, even if we have to run around madly getting the bottle ready.
Recently, Meadow has started smiling and having little giggles, which feels like such a big milestone as new parents.
How are you finding life as a mum?
It is rewarding, challenging, very fun, a little stressful and life-changing. Just like any new mum, there’s a whole mixture of emotions! Although, in COVID-19 [coronavirus] times, emotions are heightened and sometimes not for the best. Social distancing and self-isolation has affected us and fellow new mothers in so many ways. There are no mothers’ groups, no visits from midwives and no family drop-ins. That means little or no support for some people.
I’ve been blessed with a wonderful partner, who gives as much support as I need. Post-stroke fatigue is an issue so he is doing the night feeds, while I get my rest.
The day I gave birth to Meadow, was the best experience of my life.
This will be your first Mother's Day - what emotions does that bring up for you?
Firstly, I’ll miss my own mum who lives in Queensland along with the rest of my family. We’re a very close and having the borders closed means there’s no opportunity to spend it together.
Mother’s Day for me? Celebrating a special day thanking mothers, I don’t think I’m ‘worthy’ of that yet. It’s surreal to me that I am mother to this gorgeous being, so I guess I’m still thanking her for choosing me to be her mummy.
Is there anything you would say to other young women with stroke who are in a similar situation to you?
Surround yourself with support. That can be support from family, friends, a mothers’ group, or a carer. All mothers need support. As the saying goes, it takes a village.
If you have survived a stroke and have thrived in your life post-stroke, you’ll be able to be a fantastic mum.
Do you think the challenges you have faced in your recovery will help you on your parenting journey?
Definitely. All the emotions, struggles and strength I needed in my recovery, I’ll eventually rely on while parenting. Especially when Meadow becomes a stubborn and strong-minded teenager – similar to her own mummy!
If you would like to follow Emma’s journey visit her website onegirlandthesea.com
Stroke Foundation would like to wish all the mums in the stroke community and their families a very happy Mother’s Day!