A Yorkshire based parenting & lifestyle blog written by Claire Chircop.

MAMA IN QUESTION: ALICE POTTER.

Welcome to my new mini-series 'Mama in Question' a 10 question questionnaire filled out by mama's all across the country, hoping to serve motherhood realness and show all new mums out there that we're all in this together... When in reality we're all just winging it! Details of how you can get involved will be down below.

Mama: Alice Potter
Baby: Evangeline (15 months)


Q1. What's one thing you said you wouldn't do as a parent that you definitely have done?
 I’m going to be honest, there were SO many things that I was adamant that I wouldn’t do but you just have no idea what your baby is going to be like or who you are going to be as a parent, especially the first time round!
The biggest one for me was co-sleeping, now I know all of the safe sleep guidelines and we were lucky that Eve did sleep in her own crib 99% of the time but I would be lying if I said that I have never brought my baby into bed for the night just so all of us could get a good nights sleep. There have been times where we needed each other for support, when Evangeline was unwell I would sleep with her to keep her safe. When I sadly lost my Grandma I needed her comfort in the night to help me sleep and help me heal.
I don’t regret those nights at all, all of the occasions were planned and safe which is the most important thing when it comes to co-sleeping and it was such a lovely way to bond with my her too.

Q2. What's been the hardest thing about motherhood so far?
Besides the mum guilt (which is probably a daily occurrence!) I would definitely say our feeding journey. I had intended to try breastfeeding before Evangeline was born but after I had given birth she was quite poorly, we struggled to get her to latch and she just kept falling to sleep. I was trying multiple times a day to feed but she just wasn’t getting it and when we were feeding her formula it was making her projectile vomit everywhere. We were in a bit of a mess and I was recovering from a traumatic birth so this really didn’t help things. I hadn’t even considered pumping at all throughout my pregnancy but I asked my Mum to click and collect an electric breast bump from Argos because I was desperate for Evangeline to get some of my milk. That’s where our journey began into exclusively pumping, she never managed to feed off me but I managed to give her solely my milk for the first 6 months of her life.
It was extremely difficult and towards the end had a massive affect on my mental health; I felt like I was failing her if she wasn’t having my milk and that I wasn’t doing enough for her. I pumped 8 times a day, every 3 hours and boy that was a K I L L E R. I used to wake up twice in the middle of the night to pump whilst my baby and partner slept either side of me, it was exhausting but it was what I felt was the right decision and choice at the time.
When I was 5 months postpartum I had a coil fitted and over the next few weeks I noticed a decline in my milk supply. I was a wreck and had no choice but to introduce formula but I had no idea what I was doing, what to buy or if she would even stomach it. She necked that bottle of formula like her Dad would drink a pint and I sobbed because I had been beating myself up for months and months when she could have possibly been weaned onto formula earlier.
Now I look back to that portion of our lives 9 months on I am so immensely proud of being able to give her my milk - it wasn’t easy at all. I know that when I have another baby I’ll not feel so pressured. I would love to try breastfeeding again and to have that experience, it hasn’t put me off for the future but we will just have to wait and see how everything pans out. I’ve got my hands very full with one little girl as it is!

Q3. Have you settled into a routine with your little one? If so, how easy has it been?
We never thought as parents that we would be in a routine but since she got home from the hospital we fell straight into one and I can honestly say that it's been the best thing for all of us.
Over time it has changed and evolved but for us it has been so important to follow some form of a structure around Evangeline’s day and we really believe it has been key to her sleeping through the night from 3 months old. Because I was pumping every 3 hours we were forced to create a working routine around that, the first few weeks were a massive figuring out period but luckily my partner Paul was off work for the first month which massively helped. When he went back the routine really helped me get through the day, it felt more like little baby steps to get me to the end of the day when I had a tiny human to take care of.
Of course some days the routine goes out of the window but even now at 15 months Eve is doing so well and her routine is perfect for wherever she is and adaptable too so it doesn’t hinder us from doing anything that we want to as a family.

Q4. What's surprised you most about motherhood?
I was surprised at how naturally I fell into the role. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my child with every ounce of me but I’ve always been one of those people that has never been broody around babies at all. I’m not great with children too, they don’t tend to warm to me and I just had no idea whether I was going to be any good at this new chapter of my life.
I can confidently say that I am an amazing Mum, I don’t need anyone to tell me that or remind of that because I know that myself and it’s extremely rewarding to feel so positive about myself. I have sacrificed so much for my daughter and wrecked my body in the process but I would genuinely do it all over again for her. She has given my life so much more purpose than I ever expected, I’m so lucky to have a reason to get up every single morning with a smile no matter what I may be going through.

Q5. Do you think social media portrays motherhood correctly?
I think it's all down to who you choose to follow and interact with. I have always made sure that I include lots of honest parenting captions/posts/stories to my followers and I get the best response from that when I do! On social media people only show you what they want you to see and I think that’s important to keep in mind. They don't show the 80 shots of photos on their phone before they chose the best one or the battle of getting a toddler to stay still and look cute at the same time. They don't "perform" like they once did as a newborn, it does take work and I appreciate the work that goes into capturing content for social media, some people are lucky to actually earn a living from doing so!

Q6. How did you decide upon your baby's name?
Paul and I really thought we would struggle for the longest time choosing a name, as soon as we saw her on a screen we both desperately wanted a girl but didn't think we would actually get one. We had no names for boys whatsoever and knew we wanted a long name that could also be shortened and something that was unique but not too over the top.
I think naming a child is SO hard!
I was looking online and something popped up for Disney baby names, Paul and I both love Disney so I thought I would have a scroll through and I came across the name Evangeline. Evangeline is the star from the movie The Princess And The Frog, she is described as the most beautiful being who lights up the sky which is so relevant as she has brightened our lives in so many ways. In the movie Ray, the firefly sings "Ma Belle Evangeline" and it's such a beautiful song that we now sing to her, we love watching the film with her too and will continue to do so with her as she grows. Evangeline is also a Greek name that means "bringer of good news" and that's exactly what she did!
Paul didn't love it at first but we both liked the name shortened down to Eve and his favourite Pokemon is Eevee so it definitely grew on him, as soon as we had her gender confirmed we were dead set on the name! So there are lots of little personal things that actually went into choosing her name and that’s why we love it so much.

Q7. What's been your favourite memory so far on your parenting journey?
My favourite memory, actually favourite day of parenting to date would probably be Evangeline’s 1st birthday, it was the most special and wonderful day full of celebrations. We christened her and were surrounded with over 150 of our friends and family and the day was all captured by one of my amazing friends who is a photographer.
On the run up to it I thought that I would cry all day and be an emotional wreck but when the day came I was just overwhelmed with pride and happiness to have everyone come together for someone who was still so tiny! To know she has made such an impact on so many peoples lives is an incredible feeling and this is just the start with her.
I can’t wait to see the young lady that she becomes and I wish she knew just how loved that she truly is by so many people!

Q8. How do you feel you've changed since becoming a parent?
I have literally changed in every single aspect but I like the person that I am now a lot more than I ever liked myself before.
I have realised how selfish and high maintenance I was without a child, my entire outlook on life has changed and I feel like I see the world a lot differently than I did before. I think for a long time I told myself that I would never be a Mum as I was told it wasn't likely to happen, so to finally have that news and have the baby girl I had always dreamed of is something that I’ll never take for granted. I’m excited and nervous to see what kind of parent I am in her eyes. I would love for her to have the same relationship with me as I do with my own Mum, we literally can tell each other anything and I know that without my Mum I would not be any where near as amazing as a parent to my daughter.

Q9. What's been your proudest motherhood moment?
Being able to bring her safely into the world was definitely my proudest moment. I had an incredibly difficult pregnancy and at times I was at rock bottom with no belief in myself or my abilities to safely grow and deliver this baby. I managed 40 whole weeks and she was born on her due date which is actually very rare! My Mum used to say “difficult pregnancy, easy birth”, well she ate her words after my 37 hour labour which ended in a trip to theatre for an assisted delivery. Also throw in Group Strep A and the extreme risk of myself and my baby contracting Sepsis on delivery and you’ll start to understand the severe anxiety of what was my labour. When I look back on my labour now it feels like that wasn’t even me doing it, it was like I was a fly on the wall just spectating. It shocks me just how much my body was capable of, how much I physically and mentally was capable of and how I actually managed to get through the majority of it extremely calmly.

Q10. Looking to the future, what are you most excited for your little one to experience?

I don't want to wish her life away but there are so many things I'm excited for! I'm mostly excited for the days when we can actually have proper conversations where she understands everything I'm saying. I am so excited to teach her about the world that she is living in and the value of kindness.
Paul and I, fortunately, were brought up very similarly so our outlook on parenting is obviously different from how our parents raised us but all of our values and morals are the same which I think definitely helps with raising a child. 
I can’t wait to see the person that she becomes, she has so much to offer the world and the possibilities will be endless. I want her to know that she can do anything that she sets her mind to!

Alice's Blog: www.alicejanepotter.com
Alice's Instagram: @alicejanepotter
Alice's Twitter: @alicejanepotter

If you're wanting to get involved please feel free to DM me @ClaireMacBlog or send me an email to clairemacblog@gmail.com as I'd love for you to join the 'Mama's in Question' party bus.

You can answer whatever you feel comfortable answering, all I ask is that it's honest! I wan't to show others how flipping hard this parenting lark is!... Because I don't think we give ourselves enough credit for it! And we should! I'll of course be sharing the ish out of your social medias & blogs etc, so let's let loose, connect with one another and raise a glass to all those mamas just getting by!

Claire.X
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