Phases of Motherhood | Melissa, Mother of Two
Captured by Amelia Fullarton
We have long been enamoured with the complexity and unique DNA of all relationships, from romantic to platonic and familial, and as Mother’s Day nears we are honoured to share with our community different stories of Motherhood.
Captured by Amelia Fullarton, we meet Melissa as she candidly shares her current phase of Motherhood, welcoming newborn Bobbie to the world. Reflecting on the wild, joyful and sometimes chaotic juggle of being a Mother of two, Melissa considers what it means to be at the centre of your child's universe and how her Sollune necklace is a gentle reminder of being that guiding light.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself...
My name is Melissa, I’m 36, a mother to Paloma and Bobbie, a sister and daughter in a big blended family, and girlfriend to Pat. We live in Bangalow, a usually sleepy sometimes quite busy town in the Byron Bay hinterland. We moved here at the end of 2019 - amid the devastating bushfires and before the pandemic - from the NSW Central Coast where Pat and I grew up a suburb away from each other, yet never crossed paths and had moved away from, before meeting in 2007.
Since making the area our home, we have had two beautiful babies, said goodbye to our good girl Boo (our dog) and juggled our careers and family - with the help of beautiful friends and a steady stream of visitors - to build our life here. Pat is a GP, who works in a small seaside practice - which isn’t as stress free as it sounds - and prior to having Bobbie, I had been working with Bassike for the past seven years, both from their Northern Beaches HQ where we lived a ferry ride away and remotely from home, when a shift in Pat’s career saw us move away.
You recently welcomed Bobbie into the world, tell us about your current phase of Motherhood
Bobbie arrived - predictably late and then all at once - in January and completed our family, as a little sister to our two and a half year old, Paloma. Motherhood the second time around has been a really different experience. With Paloma, I had been waiting, anticipating and longing to have a baby so when she was born I was not only totally overcome with love for her, but the heady, sleepy, inexperienced joy of becoming a mother. Paloma was born in a strange time between pandemic lock downs, when things slowed down and everything felt like it might have shifted permanently. It was coming into summer, the first time in my life I’d not had a busy work schedule and some of my best friends had babies and little kids at the same time. It felt like I really got to sit in, and soak up every moment of her and our new life as a little family, and at the same time was so grateful to be able to share it with people we loved, in nature, after the weird stop-start-open-close-up-down that 2020 brought with it.
Even being pregnant with Bobbie felt quite different. Both times, I was so lucky to have uncomplicated pregnancies where I felt well, had energy to go about life as usual. But with Paloma I remember consciously feeling every movement and moment, imagining what life would be like when she was born. With Bobbie, life was definitely a new level of busy, whole days would pass and it often wouldn’t be until I stopped in the evening that I would feel her moving or take a moment to connect with her. I also had an underlying feeling of apprehension about her arrival, and mostly how Paloma would adjust to having a baby sister.
Everyone assures you, your love just grows - but like everything about becoming a parent, you can’t properly imagine it until you’re in it - and then usually, like they often are, the mothers around you are right. When Bobbie arrived, I loved her immediately but it was with a different intensity to the love I felt when Paloma was born and I was made a mother. Bobbie was Little Baby for nearly a month while we tried to land on a name and she is definitely the yin to her sister’s yang. She has been the most beautiful, calm, patient, easy-going girl in these early days and weeks. Paloma adores her and is so full of pride when she sees or talks about her baby sister, which just makes my heart want to explode, but it has also been a rollercoaster of feelings. My old boss and friend told me not long before Bobbie was born that someone had once told her to prioritise the needs of her first baby who will experience the change and that has been in the back of my mind as we navigate and feel our way through the more emotional moments. At the same time, I have been working throughout these hazy, early days with one of my best friends on his wedding photography business and as we work towards a project of our own.
So… this phase of motherhood has been joyful and a juggle, amazing and surprising, challenging and tiring, busy and monotonous, beautiful and messy — punctuated with a feeling of finality.
What part of the day do you most look forward to?
I tell my girls my every night as I pat them (sometimes for hours) off to sleep… “see you in the morning for my favourite time of day”. It’s usually not long after the sun comes up. I’m usually feeding Bobbie, Paloma comes into our bed for a big snoozy snuggle and chat and Pat brings coffee while he gets ready for work. Sometimes it’s beautiful, sweet and calm and no-one is crying, and sometimes it’s a big, beautiful, tired mess… and either way, I just try to soak it up and appreciate how lucky we are.
Becoming a parent is transformative, what has been your biggest learning on this journey so far?
I don’t think there has been one big lesson, but every day and for different reasons you are stretched and challenged, pushed and pulled and grow as a mother, a daughter, a partner and a person. The thing I most commonly remind myself is that nothing is permanent - when it’s tough, and when it feels easy. It’s also the most confusing and contradictory experience. You simultaneously want space and cuddles at the same time, praise day-care but linger at drop off and sometimes spend what feels like hours wishing them to go to sleep but instantly miss them when they do. Go figure.
Another thing that has been kind of a beautiful surprise is the sense of community motherhood brings - not just in a neighbourhood sense. You literally become part of this universal community that isn’t bound by age, time or locality. Strangers are happy for you, open and sharing about their version of motherhood and curious and interested in your family - all bonded by a shared experience.The Sollune Necklace is an ode to the many evolving phases of motherhood and how a mother is at the centre of their child’s universe - a guiding light. What wisdom do you hope to instil in your children?
Gosh, at the moment, what I am probably imparting on my girls is that everything isn’t always going to perfect, but it will also be OK. But really I just hope we can raise them to be kind, balance strong self worth with humility, to have a sense of humour, and to appreciate the value in people, things and the planet — and hopefully in doing so they will know love, friendship and happiness.
What does your Sollune Necklace represent for you?
I think it beautifully embodies; the love, the responsibility and the boundlessness of it all.
Being a Mother means...the whole wide world to me.
Captured by Amelia Fullarton
Designed as a tangible expression of your journey, our new necklace – Sollune – has been created in honour of the unique and ever-changing forms and shades that motherhood is rendered in.