Life After Loss
Kristen is the owner and creator of BasiK Organics, a Melbourne-based organic skin care company. She has two energetic and cheeky boys, aged four and seven, and is also a mum to a baby boy who was stillborn last year. Kristen is now eagerly awaiting the arrival of her rainbow baby, due in June.
UPDATE: Kristen gave birth to a little girl, Olivia Hope, in June.
You lost your little boy, Nicholas, after he was stillborn at 22 weeks gestation in March 2018. What do you remember from that day?
The day I delivered Nicholas was such a blur of emotions. I knew that I was not going to have a live baby to hold and take home with me, and to have to go through the emotional and physical pain of labour was extremely overwhelming. I had previously had two full-term c-sections with my living boys so, to now get the natural delivery I had always longed for, was extremely confronting for me. I laboured for nine hours and the moment he came into the world I remember feeling so scared of what he would look like and how I would handle the hours, days and weeks ahead. But all I felt was so much love for him. And, of course, the utter devastation of losing him.
How did you find the strength to go on following such a tragic loss?
I am so very thankful for my two living boys. They are absolutely what has kept me going over the past year. I had many days where I just wanted to fall apart and not get out of bed, but I had to. They made me smile, even in the darkest of times. I don't think I've ever been more grateful for my boys than I have been since losing their baby brother.
You are 30 weeks pregnant. What does this pregnancy mean to you and what has it been like emotionally to carry another baby?
This pregnancy has been such an emotionally challenging one for me. I felt a sense of relief once I hit the point where I lost Nicholas and I was told by my doctors that this baby was perfectly healthy, but the worry is still here. I think it will be until I hold this little one in my arms and feel their little body wriggle around. It feels very surreal to be carrying another baby as Nicholas was meant to be the one who was going to complete our family. While I am certainly feeling the emotional and physical toll of what is my third pregnancy in just over a year (I also suffered an early miscarriage before falling pregnant with this baby) I feel very thankful that I have been blessed with another chance to grow and bring into the world another little person. I know many women suffer with infertility and the fact I haven't had to face this extra challenge makes me feel very lucky.
Do you think motherhood will be easier or harder the third time around?
My oldest son has just turned seven and my youngest is going to be almost five by the time this little one arrives so, in a way, having such a big gap makes me feel as though I'm a beginner all over again! Being third time around I would like to think my experience will make me more relaxed and trust in my gut more. I am hoping I will have two little helpers who will be doting big brothers. Both boys are so excited for their little brother or sister to arrive and I can't wait to see them all together in a couple of months time!
What is your advice to first-time mums?
Accept well-meaning advice from others graciously but ultimately trust in your own gut. People mean well but know that every baby is different and you are the only one who knows your baby best. You may not think you will know what to do but trust in yourself and you will learn along the way. As mothers, we are constantly learning, no matter what age our children are. Each stage of babyhood and childhood has it challenges and I find I am still constantly learning.
What has been your best baby-gadget discovery that you can share with other mums-to-be?
This is a tricky one as I feel like a first-time mum all over again, so I am finding so many fabulous new products that have come onto the market since I had my last baby. One that I think is brilliant, and one I wish I had with my first two boys is the Mumasil Silicone Breast Milk Saver. I used to lose so much milk when I was feeding on one side and my milk started to let down on the other, and this handy little pump simply gets suctioned onto the side you're not feeding on so that all the milk that is normally lost during the let down process is captured in the pump and can be stored for use later!
What is your favourite piece from the Bloomberri maternity activewear range?