“Motherhood has been the catalyst for realising how badass I am, allowing me to celebrate and feel comfortable in my uniqueness.” Stylist and mum-of-two Yvadney Davis discusses the beauty and empowerment of motherhood (as well as the tough stuff)…
Yvadney Davis, 35, lives in London with her husband and their children: a four-year-old boy, MG, and an 18-month-old girl, Lolo. She’s a stylist and writes Mums That Slay blog.
“I always planned on having a family… three by 30. But then I got to adulthood I realised university, meeting someone and forming a career kinda gets in the way of that. After we got married we decided to enjoy life together before starting our family, so I didn’t have my son until I was 30.
It’s funny; I first got pregnant after being scared into getting on to it by a friend. We used my Period tracker app on my phone, expecting to try for a while and got pregnant straight away! We got scared into trying the second one, after hearing how long it can take the second time around, and once again, first go we had the cross on the tester.
I had my son in Canada, which has a very holistic approach to the NHS. This meant I had a midwife led pregnancy and labour and knew my midwife like a sister by the time it came to the big day. I spent most of the labour at home with the midwife, my husband and doula. I regret chickening out and going to the hospital, as despite being in active labour (8 cm) when I arrived I became overwhelmed by my environment and the labour stalled for almost a day. My midwife got me going by making me play pumping music, out went the soppy labour playlist and in came the playlist from 30th birthday party, which meant I gave birth to James Brown, 90s Garage and Missy Elliot.
My second baby was induced in our local hospital. Compared to the first, which was natural, it was a painful and mightily clinical experience. I’d been advised to go for the epidural if I was given the IV drip because of the extreme pain. I’m glad I did, because the pain with induction at the beginning of labour was the same as the pain at the end of my natural labour. I watched Sweet Charity instead and the anaesthetist timed it to wear off so I could feel to push. That was an amazing experience and I was delirious with the rush of oxytocin I felt when Lolo was born.
Motherhood is: love in the beginning and to the end
The midwife clinic was a little bit crunchy. There was a library of books, like Ina May Gaskin, Spiritual Childbirth and The Business of being Born. So, I think I was well informed about childbirth but I also knew to expect the unexpected. I think there could be more spoken about the early days. The hobbling, the pain of breastfeeding, the exhaustion… the first poo!
In the early days with my son, I just couldn’t believe I had created this ball of love and puppy fat. It was this overwhelming sense of legacy and future, like I had stuck my flag in the sands of time by giving the world MG.
I also remember being delirious with exhaustion; I had hallucinations of him crying when he was fast asleep. We also struggled to establish breastfeeding but after some time with a lactation consultant, we got there in the end.
I remember feeling so down about breastfeeding. It was still so toe-curlingly painful after five weeks, but then one day in the sixth week we got there. I do wish people would be more honest about breastfeeding. Everyone says it shouldn’t hurt, but it does to begin with and that’s ok once you know it. The second time around, it still hurt like a mother, but was less distressing as I knew to expect it and was less anxious.
My struggles with my daughter Lolo centred around the logistics of juggling the both of them. Suddenly having the one child seemed so easy. I felt pulled in both directions, and yet decided to just go with it and survive the first few months until it all levelled out and we had some routine in our lives again.
I went back to freelancing in PR and journalism, doing stints at the Daily Mirror, a luxury start up, Arcadia and lastly Selfridges. I had 10 months off and while I enjoyed being back in the glitzy fashion world, gossiping with work mates and Itsu for lunch, I hated the commute and missed my son. I also knew I wasn’t utilising my talent as a stylist, which is what I had been doing in Canada, and as motherhood gives you a real sense of mortality, knew there was no time to waste being unfulfilled.
With regards to my relationship, becoming parents was a challenge to begin with; we were living abroad with no support and were exhausted. So small things became big things. BUT it’s also united us, we’ve realised how similar we are and have exactly the same opinions on how to raise our children, which makes things so much easier.
Motherhood has been the catalyst for realising how badass I am, allowing me to celebrate and feel comfortable in my uniqueness. Once you give birth in a room full of strangers, it’s kinda hard to feel inhibited.
But I wish I’d been told to make the most of the freedom you have before kids to do the small things. Like chill on the beach with a book and a beer for hours, read a Sunday paper leisurely cover to cover, having woken up when you want and make last minute plans with your friends or husband.
If you could go back in time, I wouldn’t change a thing, forwards always
My advice to expectant parents is to be present in the now and don’t wish it all away, pregnancy is a blessing – enjoy that season. Enjoy each stage in your baby’s life even the tough ones, because the cliché is true, blink and they’re heading off to school.
Childcare is the greatest challenge I face as a mother. The two days when Lolo is at her childminders are amazing for me to speed through my work. When she’s not, I have start my working day when the kids go to bed, which means I’m pretty tired most of the time and don’t get any down time to work out or do hobbies. It’s something we’re looking at addressing with an au pair or nanny share.
But seeing the children happy and thriving, relishing in our strong bond and the joy they bring to our extended family and their friends makes it all worthwhile. I want them to be the light, as well as bask in it and so far they are.”