Almost a year…

It’s been almost a year since we welcomed our new little friend, Grayson, into the world… I can’t quite believe it.

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I don’t think it will ever completely sink in that I’m a real life ‘mum’ now… It feels like only yesterday that I was cycling in circles on our driveway and demanding that Mum made my pony tail as smooth and bump free as Shanna’s from school – which, sadly, she never did quite manage! Perhaps I don’t feel like a ‘proper’ mum yet because Little G hasn’t said it out loud… Typically, he’s said pretty much every other syllable besides ‘ma’.

As Grayson’s first birthday fast approaches, I’ve been reflecting on this last whirlwind of a year and how it’s shaped me and my values. It’s hard to put into words what becoming a mum does to you, but if I had to try I’d say it dissolves a big part of you to make way for the new person in your life. The things that matter seem to change almost overnight. All of those small sparkling trinkets adorning shop windows that once dazzled me with their promise… all of that and more can now be found in just one tiny moment with Grayson. In this year my whole life has changed; I’ve started my own makeup bag business, filmed my life each week for thousands of people to watch and, of course, become a mother. I feel like I’ve been watching my own life fly past me and I desperately want to press ‘pause’ and just soak it all up!

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There is a lot about becoming a mother that sometimes people don’t want to talk about or share… It might be embarrassing things, or things you aren’t ‘supposed’ to say or think, but after uploading a video of myself giving birth, I think I can safely say that I’m not embarrassed to be honest – so, I’m going to be.

Being a mother is the hardest job I have ever had, and is a lot harder than I anticipated. It’s challenged me in so many ways, but is the most rewarding and magical thing. I feel totally blessed to call Grayson my son. I want to savour every tiny moment and cherish every cuddle, when he rests his little ridiculously round head on my shoulder. He really is my world; I love how I feel when I’m around him, and I love him more than I ever thought could be possible.

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One of the many beautiful things about motherhood is that you actually want to give yourself to your child. Sure, there are still those days where I need a little ‘me’ time, but that’s totally normal. At first I felt so guilty for feeling like I needed time for myself, but now I understand that it’s okay, that I’m still my own person. I’ll admit, though, 99.9% of the time, all I want to do is be around Grayson, even when we have tough days and all he wants to do is scratch my face and pull my hair (yes, he can be a little savage sometimes!) Even when I’m away from him for just a couple of hours, I miss that little guy like crazy. Heck, sometimes I miss him when he has a long nap…

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Back in those early days, though, those first couple of weeks after having Grayson were definitely the hardest, both physically and mentally. I think no matter how much you read or how ‘prepared’ you think you are, nothing can truly prepare you for life with a newborn. We were thrown into this crazy world of nappies, sleepless nights and extreme emotions. The realisation that you have a tiny little person who is utterly dependant on you can be pretty daunting, and slightly terrifying! At the same time, your body is recovering from a pretty traumatic physical experience.

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I was very lucky with my water birth; everything went completely according to my birth plan (despite my begging for drugs in any form), but honestly, the part I was in no way prepared for was recovering from birth. There wasn’t very much about it out there that I could find to read – well, nothing completely honest, anyway, and I didn’t have any close friends with babies whom I could ask.

For me, recovery was worse than child birth itself – a pretty big statement to make, I know (I’m sure my husband will disagree here, too). I chose to stay overnight in hospital, which was something I never imagined I would want to do, but my whole body just felt broken, exhausted and weak. I remember looking down at my swollen hands and crying hot, wet tears of shock.  I just wasn’t mentally prepared; I had no idea what to expect, or what was normal. One of the main issues for me was that, for the first two weeks, going to the bathroom became terrifying, as I knew how badly it was going to sting (the squirty water bottles I left in the bathroom were life savers). Even when you don’t want to go to the bathroom, you can’t avoid it; unfortunately, you just don’t have very much control over yourself for a while, and little accidents do tend to happen every now and then. I wish someone had told me at the time, “this is normal”, because it’s really not a big deal, and certainly nothing to be embarrassed about, as almost 70% of women experience some form of light bladder weakness during or after their pregnancy. I know for a fact that one of my mummy friends suffered from it too, it’s just not commonly spoken about. There are also ways you can make it more comfortable and less of an inconvenience; I found that Lights by TENA were my saviours for this, they’re designed specifically for a little light bladder weakness and are so discrete you barely notice you are wearing them. I mostly found that those little ‘oops’ moments… you know when you laugh hard?! So I suppose, in a way, it was a good thing!

Copious amounts of coffee, big slochy PJs and Lights by TENA helped make my life as a new mum that little bit more comfortable…

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But of course, it goes without saying that the hard times and difficult physical recovery came alongside all those hazy, magical little moments we shared in our first few weeks of becoming a family: evenings where the three of us would curl up and fall asleep in a big pile together; the first time we ever took Gracie to the park to show him a little bit of the world; his first smile; his first proper crawl… all captured forever on camera. So much has happened in such a short space of time, and it feels as though the year has just flown past us, like I could have blinked and missed it.

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Since Little G was born, my husband Stefan and I have filmed and logged our lives as new parents every single week on my YouTube channel.

It’s like a little digital diary for us; you really get to see the ups and downs, and it’s a truly honest account of what becoming a new parent is really like. It’s something that I’m proud to say I’ve done, and I really hope that it has helped other new mums. Now, I’m even lucky enough to be able to call it a job; I’ll never be able to show enough gratitude for being able to stay at home, look after Grayson and film our lives together. It’s something I love doing, and sharing with you.

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Now it’s almost a year later, our days are filled with simple, but wonderful moments. Moments that we love capturing on film so that we will be able to re-live them one day. Each day, G’s little personality shines through a bit more, and every day I get to watch him grow and learn. With each month that passes, I think to myself, “this is my absolute favourite age so far”. I love seeing the little person Grayson is becoming; he has such a cheerful nature and is a bundle of energy – he doesn’t sit still for a moment! He now enjoys turning the pages in his books, playing with his puppets, having his playpen built into a fort (I secretly enjoy this too) and not to mention food – food in any form! One thing is for sure, my boy certainly has a good appetite on him… He also loves to stand up at any opportunity, on anything available… we think he’ll be walking pretty soon!

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And me? I finally feel like I’ve got control of my body back. I feel happy with my figure again, although it has taken a long, long time to get used to the changes that come with having a baby. I’m now able to have a decent night’s sleep and run my little make-up bag business and blog too, without having to survive on ridiculous amounts of coffee! I feel like we’ve really grown and settled into a proper family, something I’ve longed for, for as long as I can remember.

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It’s safe to say that Grayson’s first year in the world has been a crazy one, for all three of us. So far, motherhood has been everything I hoped it would be, and more. We’re looking forward to seeing what adventures our next year together will bring.

H

xx

*Disclaimer: I worked with Tena Lights on this blog post. All opinions are, as usual, honest and my own.

39 Comments

  1. Thanks for your wonderful post Hannah 🙂 I am only 20 and probably will not be having a baby any time soon, but I adore your vlogs and honesty regarding motherhood. When the time comes I will definitely be looking back at the early videos and your blog posts. Thank you for putting so much effort into everything you do. I am very excited for Grayson’s first birthday vlog and Christmas with the Michalaks!

    Emma
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  2. Hannah, what you just posted here is amazing, i am truly and honestly so thankful for this and as a woman and future mum (as i´m sure of it) i can´t thank you enough for blogs like these.
    I´t incredible the way you tell your journey through. Kepp doing it! (as long as you feel confortable).

    All the support and love,

    Euge

    (from Uruguay)

    • Hannah, what you just posted here is amazing, i am truly and honestly so thankful for this and as a woman and future mum (as i´m sure of it) i can´t thank you enough for blogs like these.
      I´s incredible the way you tell your journey through motherhood. Keep doing it! (as long as you feel comfortable).

      All the support and love,

      Euge

      (from Uruguay)

  3. Three of my friends are currently pregnant and I am so jealous. You are so lucky to have Grayson. I hope that one day I can have a child of my own.

  4. This is a great post. I’m still hesitant on having children, but reading posts such as this helps me a lot. I’m scared I won’t be a good mother, but I know that’s a fear most women will have. Happy soon to be first birthday to Grayson!
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  5. This post is beautiful! I always love how honest you are Hannah 🙂 xx

    xbeccabe.blogspot.co.uk

  6. Such a lovely blog post, I really love how honest it is and how I can really tell its you thats written it. Ever had an experience and thought that your not getting the most out of it? I get that feeling some times, But from watching your vlogs and reading your blog I can easily see you and stef are squeezing and savouring every minute of your life experience with your lovely son squeaky g!
    Becca-Lea recently posted…Leigh Bowser – Blood Bag ProjectMy Profile

  7. This was such a lovely and quite honest to gosh post!!! Loved reading every word and can attest to the truths be told! Motherhood is not only a little miracle but the joy of the miracle you produce as well. Being a mom for many years I still well up every time I see my grown up miracles!! Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. Loving your vlogs as well! <3

  8. I’m not sure whether its my hormones or the chocolate induced sensitivity, but I teared up a little reading this. I can understand how difficult it must have been as a young women journeying this world without her mother guiding her. I really do admire your strength and ambition in motherhood without the aid of a mothers wisdom. Your learning it all on your own, and thats such a beautiful thing. My mother went through the same thing, after her first child, her mother had passed away. She was newly married, 21, and lost and confused. I look at her now and see someone who not only grew into motherhood, but developed the thickest skin for life curve balls. You are living such a glorious, full life, and I commend you for it.

    Don’t mind me, I’m on 18 and am not even close to motherhood yet! I just always admire women like you, and your husband as well. I give you lots of love and good thoughts from Canada!!! Maybe someday you’ll come over to the land of the cold, I would love to meet you 🙂

    <3 Nithya

  9. Great post Hannah. As a first time mummy to a little boy born on the same day as Grayson, I try to be honest about my experience – from pregnancy, to labour & birth, to being a mum & trying to balance that with being a wife & an individual. Being a parent is too often sugar coated & it’s almost taboo to talk about the bad stuff, I’ve seen the shock on people’s faces when I tell them some days are sh*t. I love being a mummy & wouldn’t change my life for anything but some days, well it can be a pain in the butt! Love your honesty & love your vlogs. Well done… x

  10. Mr. G is the vutest Baby ever, all the best for your Family!
    Beautyleaks recently posted…«Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm“ от Aesop- отличный крем для рук.My Profile

  11. Hannah, in the last leg of my pregnancy I found your lovely videos. My little boy is now 4 weeks old, and I love him with all my heart and body and would do anything for him. But I’ve found it hard. Your honesty is something mothers need to be less afraid of. For the first two weeks I told people how great things were. But I was exhausted, my little boy suffers from acid reflux, and cries for long periods of time, and as a single parent it hard even with an amazing support group but having a baby you cannot help is mentally and physically exhausting. And I started to tell people if I was having a tough time and its helped loads. New mothers need to be encouraged to share the good and the bad, and not be afraid that it makes them a bad parent to turn round and say that it gets tough. This blog posts achieve that encouragement.
    Amy recently posted…Due DateMy Profile

  12. This is such a beautiful post, thank you for sharing with us. I can proudly say that I have watched every single vlog of yours since Grayson was born and I eagerly await your videos every Sunday night. I do agree with you that no one discusses post-pregnancy issues and I didn’t know about this myself until I read this post. You have such a beautiful family and it’s been absolutely wonderful to see you grow into that amazing mother that you are. I remember at the start you used to struggle so much and you would get so frustrated that now you are so calm and gentle and so supportive of Grayson. 🙂 squeaky G is one of the cutest babies ever and I love the fact that I can see him grow each week. Please always make videos and share your lovely life with this Hannah! Lots of love!!

    Ayesha xxx
    http://alycheeaday.blogspot.co.uk/
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  13. Loved the post. I will probably not be a mummy any time soon, as it’s just not possible yet, but this will probably help me when that day comes. Thank you!

  14. That’s so helpful for new mums! I’m not, but it must have taken a fair bit of confidence to post that. I have helped look after my sister since she was born (now 3) but I wouldn’t have known about using Tena as I doubt my stepmum would have told me those details haha!

    Seems like only yesterday I was reading “Introducing our Jeffy-bump” and here he is! Bless him for being ill, hope he feels a lot better now!

    Laura x
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  15. Hi! I’m really proud of your family. I want to be mum in the next couple of years and you’re such inspiring.
    I’m happy to be a part of your weekly Vlogs, waiting every sunday to see.
    Congratulations for making a beautiful child like Grayson. Please keep going with what you’re doing because you’re doing great!
    Kisses for all family 🙂
    Andreia

  16. I can completely identify with it being harder, especially at first, than expected. I think it does make us feel more grateful when you get out the otherwise and they are just your little best friend 😉 You guys have worked hard this year and deserve for it to have become a job. I find it hard doing a video and mine are no where near as beautiful as you guys make them. Amazing editing skills Steph!

  17. This is a beautiful post Hannah. I love how real you and your little family are. Keep it up, and I wish you all the happiness in the future.

    xxx
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  18. Loved this post, Hannah. Its weird to think that I have been watching your little family videos for over a year now, and have looked forward to read each one every week. Watching G grow up into the little boy he is has been a pleasure too. This post was lovely to read xx
    Emily
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  19. I really enjoyed this blog post. It was incredibly insightful and honest which is what I love so much about your blog. I wish all three of you the best for christmas and the upcoming new year.

  20. What a beautiful post Hannah. I am super clucky at the moment (have been for quite a few years now) and absolutely cannot wait until the day that I become a Mother. You have the best job in the world as far as I’m concerned and I honestly can’t wait to experience the unconditional love that you speak of in this post.

    If you have any tips on how to keep my cluckiness at bay while I wait for my partner to propose/marry me, I’d love to hear your thoughts on my latest blog post. It’s not a long read, but it’s very honest and heartfelt.

    xx

    P.s. Grayson probably hasn’t said ‘Ma’ yet because you’re always around and he doesn’t need to get your attention. My baby brother, Lucas, who is the same age as Grayson is exactly the same with my Step Mum. 🙂
    Felicity recently posted…When the future feels out of reach.My Profile

  21. Great post Hannah! You are such a talented writer! All the best for you and your lovely family for Christmas and Year 2015!

  22. It´s quite a while I started following you in virtual space and I love everything what you´ve posted. Your personality, sense of humour and your talent for writing is something what makes me feel good and relaxed every single time.
    In these days when so many people are getting through divorce, when family is always at the second place after career…you, Stef and Grayson are bringing back the real meaning of family. I´m so grateful for that. As a 19 year old woman I know that in my generation it is completely off, everyone is so busy to chase their school success and career that they don´t realize they should be with someone when this beautiful succesful time comes…and share these moments with them as you do.
    I also want to thank you for your honesty because it must be really challenging for you sometimes.

    I hope your family will have many many happy years together as this first one. 🙂 (Hope Grayson is now okay after his sickness.)

    http://www.infinitetreasure.blogspot.com

  23. So honest and witty in the right moments! You’re a brilliant Mum to Gracie & your Mum would be proud of you. Laura & Amy x
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  24. I adore your blog, Hannah. Just the same as I adore watching the life if your gorgeous little family. This post is so beautiful, so heartfelt and educating as well. I always feel that new moms don’t often share what it’s really like to be a mom, to give birth, to recover.. And girls like me, who have no clue, we really need that. I am deeply grateful for opening up like that. Best wishes, sunshine. Take care. Ieva xx
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  25. Great blog post I love your honesty!!!

    I first discovered your vlogs when I was pregnant. I quickly went through all the ones I missed and watched your weekly updates hoping for some insight into how I might feel myself in that crazy but amazing experience of pregnancy. I loved them all and since then look forward to seeing your vlogs every week, I appreciate your honesty and even when you apologise for being negative I can’t help but feel appreciation. As motherhood is hard!!!!!! and seeing you go through the hard times gives me relief I’m not the only one so please never apologise.

    Grayson has grown into an amazing little person and yourself and Steff are testament to that. Grayson will have these beautifully shot,edited and honest insights into his life and he will cherish in many more years to come.

    X

  26. I can’t wait until the day I can start having children. At the moment it feels like it will never happen, but I’m not giving up hope. I am so envious of you and your little family.
    Kezia-Eloise. recently posted…What I Learnt From Black Beauty.My Profile

  27. hannah, your baby truly has stars in his eyes. i swear i see galaxies in them every time you vlog his gorgeous peepers gazing up at you. i can only hope to give my future kids the love and happiness you so clearly pour into grayson in every moment; you and stef should be immensely proud of yourselves. lots of kiwi love x
    katy recently posted…life | getting personalMy Profile

  28. Dear Hannah,

    Words cannot properly describe how much your weekly videos have comforted and helped me both through my pregnancy and my first weeks as a mommy.

    On November 12th my life had changed completely. At 23 years old I welcomed my son Harrison into the world.

    Every Sunday since the beginning of my pregnancy I have tuned in to watch your home videos, and on occasion so had my fiancé (although he’ll never admit it).

    Thank you Hannah, Stefan and Grayson for guiding me through pregnancy and motherhood.

    Jessica

    xxx

  29. Such a wonderful post Hannah , I have watched your YouTube videos from the start and I will never forget when Gracie was born, you and Stef make such wonderful parents and I bet your mum would be so proud of you and your family. Your truly an inspiration and someone to look up to. Im only a few years younger than you and I just cannot wait to start my own family with my fiancé and reading your post makes me even more excited.

    Keep up the amazing work and on those tough days know there is always another side and you will push through.
    Keep smiling 🙂 xx
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  30. Thank you so much for this post Hannah!!! You are such a wonderful woman and every Sunday, we look forward to getting a glimpse of your life. Thank you for sharing your family with us, you three are so sweet. I’m glad you and Stef found each other and created lil’ Baby G! I wish you continued success, joy, and happiness. 🙂
    And, may I please say that this is the first sponsored post that I’ve read that had absolutely no sponsored feel to it?! How refreshing! I commend your talent, Hannah! <3 <3 <3
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  31. I completely agree and I always say this to people. After Births is worse than the birth and no one warns you! x x

  32. Your child is not your friend!

  33. Awww Hannah this is absolutely beautiful :)) you and Stef are such wonderful parents, Gracie is so lucky to have you guys ♥ God Bless

  34. My little boy is a week younger than Grayson, its so sad but exciting how quick they grow up and develop. Enjoy every special day with your bundle of joy xx
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  35. Thanks for the auspicious writeup. It in reality was a leisure account it.
    Glance complicated to far introduced agreeable from you!
    However, how can we be in contact?
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  36. I really love your site.. Very nice colors & theme.
    Did you build this site yourself? Please reply
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  38. Keep this going please, great job!
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