“I have a very complicated birth story. I had a brain haemorrhage at 30 weeks so I had to have an elective caesarean at 35 weeks. I feel no shame in having had a caesarean… I don’t feel any less like a women.” Kelly Ekardt, founder of girlstalktoboys, shares her motherhood truths…
Kelly Ekardt, 35, lives with her partner and their four-year-old daughter Edith in London. She’s the founder of kids’ fashion label girlstalktoboys.
“I didn’t want kids at first but my then fiancé convinced me otherwise. When we finally decided to start trying we agreed it would be on our own terms and no one else’s. Meaning we didn’t worry or stress out about it. I stopped using birth control and then we stopped thinking about it. It took us about nine months, which we were totally fine with.
I have a very complicated birth story. I had a brain haemorrhage at 30 weeks so I had to have an elective caesarean at 35 weeks. I feel no shame in having had a caesarean, granted I had no choice but I don’t feel any less like a women for not having a so-called proper birth.
I felt well informed. I have a different way of thinking when it comes to childbirth; I think you just have to let it happen. You can have the most detailed birth plan but it’s probably not going to go to plan. I find that there is way too much pressure on women to have the baby a particular way – just have the baby the way you want to!
My memories of the early days with Edith are really lovely, because Edith and I were so lucky to be alive. I truly treasured those first moments. We were both fighters. Because of my wonky head I had to have a lot of help, so I enjoyed having my sister and family around to help me out.
When Edith was four weeks old I had to go back in to the hospital to have a brain procedure. This is when it got complicated. I had to be away from Edith for a few weeks and she wasn’t allowed to come into the hospital so I would have to meet up with my husband at the park across from the hospital to see Edith and to feed her. (Luckily the weather was nice).
I had to pump a lot before I went back into hospital. But once I had my procedure I couldn’t breastfeed anymore because of the drugs I was on and this was difficult. It was difficult because I had to get over the whole “you have to breastfeed your child” blah. I felt guilty. But then I decided: who cares! Once I started thinking that way, it was great.
I never really had a maternity leave. Before I had Edith I co-owned an online children’s boutique called I Dream Elephants. There was always something to do, so I worked while Edith was sleeping or at night… I didn’t even give myself much of a break during my brain procedures.
Motherhood is a journey. An unpredictable one, but an exciting one.
At first, having a baby really brought my partner and I together because of our tricky situation but as time went on, having a child wore on our relationship. It’s been challenging but then again it’s made us work harder to keep our relationship fun. And now that Edith is old enough to stay at friends we can go out again. Yay!
There has been nothing super surprising about parenthood. Tiredness (says my husband) but for me, I’m just surprised with how natural parenting becomes. Yes it can be super annoying and hard at times but it does come naturally. I’ve learned to trust myself and by trusting myself the journey has become a bit easier. Also, learning to laugh about things… that’s helped.
Before embarking on parenthood, I wish I’d been told not to listen to anyone else. It’s good to ask advice and get their story but only take the bits you think will work for yourself and your child. You just have to do what’s best for you. I think we have done a really good job with Edith; we are learning right along with her.
The greatest challenge you face, as a mother, is balance. I think most mothers say this. I’m still learning how to shut off and just enjoy the moments I have with Edith without looking at my phone or thinking about work. It’ good to shut down and just enjoy playing with a four-year-old.
Watching this amazing little person come into their own, watching them develop their own personality and become their own person is truly fascinating. Sometimes I think to myself: ‘Wow, we made this phenomenal little person. I’m so proud!’.”