Ummm where has my baby gone? Has anyone else felt like this...? I don't know whether to be happy or to cry, it's a surreal yet bitter-sweet feeling. Willow Kamila, the light in our lives turned 1 last month. If you've followed me since my pregnancy journey, I know what you're thinking, "where the heck has that time gone?". Of course I am compelled to write about it, but first of all, I am going to give myself a big slap on the backside for not only surviving but thriving (as all us mamas do) in my first year of being a new mum (slaps self on backside).

NEW MUM? Am I still even classified as a new mum? Or am I now old news and a has-been? Either way, it all still feels very new to me, I still don't know what the hell I'm doing. I'll probably have an 18 year old and continue to not know what I'm blimmen doing haha. It only seems like yesterday, the hubby and I were walking (I was waddling) into North West Private, to have my elected c-section (due to being so unwell with Hyperemesis). I'm still kicking myself that I am a mother to a one year old!

This past year has taught me so much, more about myself more than anything. Upon reflection, it's given me a new strength. To trust my inner-self, to follow my own journey and to be confident with it and to simply own it. It's about being true to the motherhood and parenting choices that resonates within. I have mastered the importance of patience (I think I have anyway) and now exude the essence of being more connected, present and in the moment with everything in my life. It has allowed me to slow down and to be content with being still, this is something I still find challenging every single day (possibly might have worms).

I have a new found strength yet I have transformed into a sensitive, emotional soul and in turn, I'm even more driven and more determined than ever. Most of all Willow has given my life purpose, meaning and direction. I have always been driven, and I have always worked very hard to achieve my goals. I have achieved a hell of a lot in my 29 years of life thus far. In hindsight, it was all for little ol' me, whereas everything I do now, is for her and contributes towards her future. I hope to instill a strong work ethic and I trust that she'll embody the drive and courage to follow her own dreams.

It's 100% true when people say, having a baby is the most hardest but most rewarding thing you will ever do in life. I never understood this till I had a child of my own. It's not supposed to be easy, and anyone that tells you it's a walk in the park... oh they're absolutely fibbing. On the flip-side there were people who also made it out to be life-changing in the most negative way possible.

Darius asked me the other day, if I thought having a baby was hard as people made it out to be? I didn't think it was as hard as what I thought it was going to be... but it's a different kind of hard. I think I prepared myself for one little devil child and lucky for us she wasn't, she sure is making up for it now I tell ya. Darius and I support each other 100% in what we both want to pursue career-wise which makes a great balance for us, we spend quality time as a family of three and then we both spend some serious one on one time with her too, it's important for her to connect with us both individually as well. But having our own passions and career goals outside of being parents allows us to both be the best versions of ourselves and be the best parents to Willow.

Before she came into the world, I had every intention of knowing what kind of parent I wanted to be, but it all goes out the window once they're in your arms. There are times that you'll feel a bit lost and it's normal to feel alone, oh and yes the novelty of having a new bubba rubs off and people don't seem to be calling in or checking in like they used to. I found myself at times, shutting off from everyone and before I knew it, I was days deep of not leaving the house and not seeing or talking to anyone. But you know what, it's normal and you're not the only one. We all get stuck into our own little bubble at times, from my experience it was never good for me to stay stuck in it for too long though.

I started to implement daily practices that created positivity and made me feel good vibes all round. Moving the body was a huge part of that, so at 7 weeks post partum I started to incorporate some light exercise. There is so much pressure to bounce back from having a baby, I envy those Victoria Secret models but let's be real here, that ain't going to happen. At times it was a bit of a roller-coaster to keep motivated, especially during Willow's growth phases. Sometimes you feel on top of the world thinking you can finally throw out those gold collagen eye patches and other times, running off the last legs of adrenaline does sweet f$#* all.

Surround yourself with like-minded people that only make you feel good. It's so important to connect with people and other mothers that embrace and uplift you, not deflate you. This has been another challenge for me during my first year of motherhood, obviously there was that trolling situation when Willow was only 12 days old when I went to the grand final for a day and left her with my mum. It still fathoms me that people feel the need to comment on situations that have no direct impact on them whatsoever. Invest in people that invest in you, if you notice people having an attitude change towards you, or if they start avoiding any form of a catch-up don't let it question your character, especially when you've done absolutely nothing wrong. If they're avoiding you, remind yourself it's their issue not yours. Don't be disheartened when people exclude you - you only need the people in your life that need you in theirs.

The main thing I found hard was having to adjust and adapt to each growth stage. As soon as you think it's easy then it starts to get hard, and then it gets easier and then harder again, the challenge is real but somehow you just conquer on. Becoming a parent, I didn't want my life to stop or to change too much, so I literally take Willow everywhere I possibly can with me. In her 1 year of life she's already travelled to New Zealand, Samoa, Port Douglas, Perth and Sydney. Was I scared to travel with her, shit yes I was but again you just need to have confidence and roll with it, I am not looking forward to the long-haul flight to the UK that's for sure - any tips let me know!

Looking back would there be anything that I would do differently? In short... no! We have the smiliest, happiest little girl, who is extremely social, she loves people, outdoor adventures, travel and animals. She's not scared of anything apart from a hair-dryer and she dislikes driving through tunnels haha.

Well yep we made it, that's my little reflection on the past year. It's been an insane year for our wee family of 3, I couldn't be more proud of Darius for the year he has had on the field and off field he's absolutely killed his first year of daddyhood. He's really loving the age Willow is at the moment, watching the way they adore one another really does melt my heart.

So whether you...

Breast fed, bottle fed or mixed fed, I applaud you.

Crib-slept or co-slept, I applaud you.

Dummy settled or self-settled, I applaud you.

Routine-baby or non-routine baby, I applaud you.

Embrace, embrace, embrace!

If you've also recently celebrated your little ones first birthday or about to, you should be super proud of yourself and I applaud you - happy mamaversary mamas! 🙌

Take home note - Never second guess yourself or allow others to make you feel less of a person, the choices you make are right ones for you and your family. Always believe in yourself and know that you are doing the best you can.