Sons of Eccentricity



How did you spend your last six weeks? It’s been a bit of an extended absence from the Daughters because, well, we added a couple of Sons to the mix. You heard me. Sons. And nobody was more shocked about it than we were.

Not totally shocked. I mean, we both knew we were having babies. But boys? Really? TWO of them? Neither Caroline nor I knew what we were having, but already having one daughter (and Hazel totally owns her ‘eccentric’ genes) I just kinda expected to have another. And I just kinda expected Caroline to have one, too. And everyone just kinda expected it. In fact, when I worked out the baby odds in my head, it went like this:

Most Likely: A redhead girl
Moderately Likely: A girl with hair that isn’t red
Less Likely: A redhead boy
Practically Impossible: A boy with hair that isn’t red

But then on the morning of the nineteenth of March I got a text from Caroline’s husband that stopped me in my tracks and brought a sentimental tear to my eye: I am holding our son. And so Augie the boy baby was the first surprise.

And then almost four weeks later on the fifteenth of April, along came the second: Freddie the boy baby. I knew something was up when the doctor exclaimed during delivery “Ooh, you’re a lot bigger than your sister was.” (She wasn’t joking – 55cm and 3.97kg). I never specified largeness in my baby odds, but as a particularly small human myself I didn’t feel I needed to. He is a big boy and I am a small girl – the concept floored me, and floors me still. In all fairness, his hair is auburn so he falls somewhere in between Less Likely and Practically Impossible on the likelihood scale and combining that with his unmistakably pointy chin and bowed lips, I can be assured that Frederick Francis Constable is indeed flesh of my flesh. And I adore him.


So the adventures of Augie and Freddie begin. Won’t you follow along with us? We promise not to keep you waiting so long again.

Birth Plans vs Birth Ideals: Knowing What You Want, With The Knowledge That Your Captain is a Newborn


I love to learn new things. Anything really. Ranging from the completely superfluous skill (writing backwards and mirrored, faux tap) to something that I can utilise every day (tech stuff, mediation, faux tap). So naturally, when presented with the completely new world of pregnancy and an impending labour, I did my research. To me, knowledge is comforting, it makes me feel in control and worded up in an often unknown landscape.

Look, I didn’t overdo things (no magazines, a few great books and I may have stalked a bogan baby online forum), but I asked a lot of questions and read-up on what spoke to us heading into this new adventure. My husband Adam and I had strong ideas about giving the natural labour sans pain relief a go, and as our hospital offered a water-birth and I am a lover of all bodies of water – that had me at hello.

A Birth Plan was talked about from the very beginning, and it was around the time we were writing it up that I realised that a plan was all what it was. And we know what happens to the best laid plans. What I’d be taking into that birthing suite was a plan of attack, and during my pregnancy I’d read about and met people who were taking in Birth Ideals. This is about as pointless as writing a business plan and incorporating daily flowers in the foyer as part of your indicators of success.

One of our main points in the Birth Plan was (in addition to a water birth, as little intervention as possible and a big bouncy ball) was “get baby out safely”.  I know enough women who have given birth to understand the absolute luck of the draw when it comes to following a Birth Plan. This is where knowledge comes into play for me. I knew exactly what I wanted to when it came to a birth ideal, but when it came to the plan, I also found out what my options were should the baby take the decisions out of my hands and throw some us some curve balls. What would happen “if”? And knowing all of this didn’t scare me; if anything I felt it further equipped me to approach the labour with confidence and positivity.

In one of our birthing and labour classes the hospital provided, the midwife went around the room of first-time parents-to-be and asked three questions: What were their names? What week were they in? What reference materials had they accessed?

I would say that about 80% of a rather large group said they’d avoided reading too much so they didn’t scare themselves. Holy crap – THAT is my version of a nightmare. I can understand that to some people ignorance in this arena may appear to be bliss, but let me tell you, after going through labour myself I could not imagine entering that situation knowing the bare minimum. The biggest challenge you will face in labour is fear, and although this may not ring true for everyone – when you don’t know what’s happening and why and you’re experiencing pain like you’ve never experienced – fear will increase this tenfold.

A great resource for me was a book called “Birth Journeys: Positive Birth Stories to Encourage and Inspire”, compiled and edited by Leonie MacDonald. It may look a little hippie-esque from the front (nude pregnant women in a lovely strategically-draped scarf). It is full of positive birthing stories from Australian women, ranging from full natural home-births to high-risk caesarian sections. It reinforced that whatever way your labour goes, regardless of your Birth Plan, it can be a positive experience and not one to be judged by – either by others or yourself.

This meant that when my Birth Plan was quickly thrown out the window thanks to a combination of body, environment and baby – I knew what the options were, why they were there and when they would kick in. This meant that although I was disappointed I didn’t get my intervention-free waterbirth, I had such a positive birthing experience that it didn’t matter. It felt like the ultimate outcome was just a part of the journey to meet August. Whether he arrived via the official exit or the stage door – my experience was not lessened by its diversion from the planned path.

An Ode and a Farewell To This Baby Body

bumpcollageIs that a lot of polka dot, or is it just me…?

Although it may, at times, feel like I’ve been pregnant forever, with a gestational period that could rival an elephant (22-24 MONTHS!!!?!??!), I really have loved *almost every minute of it. I was determined to approach the constantly changing body of mine with a positivity that can only come with a complete surrender to what you’re about to go through. Yes, your stomach is going to get real big. Yes, things will stretch and bloat and swell and no longer resemble their original namesake (I’m looking at you ankles). And yes, nothing will fit.

But the human body is this truly beautiful thing and until you see it changing and perhaps take a second each month to capture this change, I don’t know if you are really aren’t able to enjoy the full experience of pregnancy. Now, I’m not suggesting for a moment that every woman will have a fabulous 9 months, particularly with the random influx of symptoms that invariably accompanies “being with child”. You can pretty much type any symptom into Google and it will auto-fill the rest of your query with “…during pregnancy.”

  • “Sore calf muscle… during pregnancy”
  • “Twitching eye…during pregnancy”
  • “Carpel Tunnel… during pregnancy”
  • “A random ache in the left-hand lower part of your back, that only appears after eating fruit… during pregnancy”

What I am suggesting however, is that pregnant women are pretty darn amazing, and I have loved watching friends of mine grow and bloom alongside me (even if they have popped before me…not bitter at all), and seeing their partners find wonder and joy in their new and really, quite fleeting, rounder bodies.

I’ve never felt quite as beautiful as when I was able to crack out a bikini and display a really, truly pregnant belly at the beach. I felt proud of this body and what it was carrying, and gosh darn it, it should be out for all to see. I don’t care about the waddle or the general swollen nature of of my limbs now that I’ve hit the over-ripe stage. I’m quite busy creating and maintaining a life in this belly, and that’s no mean feat. So let’s all have a good look at it.

I’m also so thankful for the opportunity to objectively reflect on my previous body image, and the serious body dysmorphia that I was dealing with for years. Until you have lost all semblance of a waist and have increased your breast size at least a couple of sizes, you can’t appreciate the shock with which you look at relatively recent pictures and think “Holy crap, I looked pretty alright.” It’s helped me see clearly how differently and negatively I viewed my shape, and really, what a waste of time that is.

I know that after this baby has finally made its grand entrance, my body wont simply snap back to its former glory (this is made easier by it never having been particularly snappy in the past). I will probably have days where I look at it and don’t recognise or appreciate the new flabby parts, or the parts that show the war scars of having fought the good fight against the spread and lost. But I know that this body gave life, adapted amazingly well to what was going on inside and out, and produced a new human being. And that means I can only love it more.

So here’s to you body. You did a bit of alright.

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*Except those two times that I was in a church for more than 2 hours in over 40 degree heat without air-conditioning. Pregnant Caroline + church + heat = all kinds of sin that result in feet the size of shoe boxes. I was suitably smote.

Love Is All You Need


This is an excerpt from Amy’s written musings on the first year of parenthood. Hazel Louise is now 3 years old and will very soon be joined by a brother or sister.

Exactly one year ago, I took this photo.* I was huge. And I’m not kidding, I was H-U-G-E. Plus, I don’t know if you remember what Melbourne was like this time last year, but I do; it was freakin’ hot. Huge and hot are two things I never want to be simultaneously ever again.

I was almost a week overdue so John and I set out that afternoon and drove around the bumpy back streets of Fitzroy in the hope that our little unborn bub, running ever-so-fashionably late, would wake up and get a wriggle on. This piece of graffiti near the corner of Gertrude and George Streets has since become a bit of a local icon but I noticed it that day for the first time. I told John to stop the car and feeling like a fat dork in front of a crowd of coffee-swilling, beard-sporting Northside hipsters, I waddled out, took this photo and got right back into the car.

Hours later, at the dinner table, my waters broke.

Looking back through your iPhone photos is like watching a retrospective of your life. This photo marks, for me, the end of one life and the start of another. The photos before this one are varied anecdotal snapshots of daily life – work, play, friends, family, travel, pets, hats, shoes… The photo that follows it is this:


You hear many things about childbirth, new motherhood and parenting. You are told, ad nauseum, all the things you need. You need an SUV-sized pram that looks as though it’s capable of space travel. You need to eat a diet of unpalatable organic muck while breastfeeding. You need to worry about {insert a scaremongering topic here} but somehow, simultaneously, you need to stop worrying about everything. Becoming a parent sometimes feels like the collective population of planet earth is telling you what you need to do and how you need to feel. But it’s these immortal words of John Lennon that bring it all back home for me:

All you need is love. Love is all you need.

Happy first birthday, Hazel Louise.

* Editors note: to say I took this photo exactly one year ago is actually untrue. I took it one year ago on Tuesday. And let me say that after almost two days in labour, John and the entire maternity ward of the Royal Women’s Hospital were pretty bloody sick of the Beatles.