A long-time friend of Saben, Carolyn is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. Her effervescent nature and sparkling optimism radiates from the inside out. Carolyn candidly opens up about her fertility journey from blissfully 'just married' to 'perimenopause' as quick as you can say ‘your time’s up’. Not being one to admit defeat, her positivity and resolve resulted in the best 40th birthday present she could have hoped for. Her story will encourage those on a similar journey.
Tell us about your journey to motherhood?
How Jasper came to be with us, from our personal point of view was so unexpected, a real miracle for us (as all babies are) that I share my journey to remind others in the same boat.
That boat of struggling with fertility, or giving up on the dream of motherhood because you’ve been told you can’t have kids, or whatever the ‘hard’ is that may be blocking someone on their journey to being a parent, that any day, at any moment, things can change.
I was told at the age of 36, freshly married and full of all sorts of romantic notions about what was to come next, that I was in the thick of perimenopause and quite simply there was ‘less than 1 per cent chance I’d ever be able to get pregnant naturally’. You want to feel unsexy and like a female ‘waste of space’ 3 months into a new marriage? Get your fertility checked…then be told you’re basically 50 on the inside already! Honestly, it’s a blow…to spirit, to ego, to self, and for me personally, it caused a bit of an emotional fall out that I would now in hindsight call ‘recklessness because of hopelessness’.
Anyway, all that aside (that could be a book in itself haha)…My darling angel sister donated her eggs for us back then as that was the only way we thought we could have a baby. Turns out, after a few years of those wee embryos sitting on ice, it happened naturally!? I found out I was pregnant the day I turned 40. Let me tell you, no birthday will ever top that! Whhhaaaattt?! We couldn’t believe it…I still marvel every day about how life can surprise you in good ways.
I guess I’m a positive and upbeat person generally and the glass is always ‘half full’ and so I feel like if sharing my story (which isn’t unique), and the more we talk about fertility, the more we realise it’s so common and it’s just a bit ‘hush hush’ which saddens me. I want it to be a normal conversation, not one that’s got some ‘negative’, ‘embarrassed’ stigma attached to it…
I hope sharing helps even just one ‘mum-to-be’ have hope, or another mum struggling or feeling the same as me at certain times to feel less alone, if that occurs, then it’s an incredibly valuable thing to be sharing.
Honestly, I’ve never felt more enveloped in kindness, cared for or ‘seen’ than I have in the past year by fellow mums. Some are my soul sisters, those I love and know well, others I’ve never met. The journey of motherhood is a great ‘connector’ and I feel beyond lucky to be able to even HAVE the ‘motherhood’ conversation considering I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be that lucky. It brings me great joy to be able to even have this experience.
Looking back on that journey, have you got any words of wisdom or words of comfort for other women hoping to become mothers?
Look, I’m no expert at anything around this but I’m pretty sure that if you have hope, there is a way. In cases where there’s not a way, because sometimes there won’t be – I say that because I’m hopeful but I’m also a realist - know that you CAN fill your life with love in so many other ways.
You are absolutely enough whether you have the label of ‘Mother’ or not.
Some friends have struggled for years with fertility and trying to have a family and had no success. Their lives, after the heartbreak and work-through of a dream ending, are full and happy. I have other friends who have chosen not to have children…life works the way it works for sure, but if you are on a journey of hope when it comes to motherhood, don’t give up but also, don’t make it your whole life…
Life is what is happening to each and every one of us RIGHT NOW…not in a year from now, not when we have this, or get that…so, keep hope, have faith, do what you need to do, but enjoy the moments that ARE right now too!!
What are you most looking forward to with wee man Jasper? Hopes, aspirations, dreams.
I hope only that he is healthy and happy and the rest, come what may. Without those two things, nothing else really matters. I’m sure each age and stage will bring with it different things to both enjoy and figure out!?
I hope he has some dreams that are possible to make reality, I hope he feels safe in the world, I hope he can stand in his own truth and not be knocked about by outside influences, that he is solid in himself. I hope he has healthy fun, I hope his aspirations are true to him. I hope is able to go through life and feel ‘light’ and keep a healthy perspective even in the moments that are horrid, as we all have those. I hope he has his own kind of wisdom and discernment so he can choose what is right for himself. I hope he has millions of both simple and amazing moments that bring him true joy. My whole heart is full of hope for the boy and I can’t wait to see how he grows and develops, and also, I hope he takes his time and that he doesn’t want to rush through his life…I hope he savours every minute, day, year, phase…
Tell us about Jasper; What is he like, the things you cherish about him, the things that test you, and what he’s taught you…
He’s’ delicious. He’s a little dude. I cherish his thoughtfulness and his curiosity. I cherish his wicked cheekiness.
I adore the pace at which he comes at things. I love his pure excitement and enjoyment in the most simple of experiences.
His lack of enjoyment for solid and deep sleep tests me.
He’s taught me that it is impossible to control, and in letting go you find real joy and a childlike innocence way of living again.
It takes a village to raise a baby, who have you got in your corner?
Never in my life did I really know the depth of, and number of, incredible women around me until I became a mother. Those who are best friends, those who have been friends for a season and then returned to be such amazing support when they found out I was going to be a Mum.
Friends I’ve worked with in the past who pop by and share amazing bits and pieces to help out…honestly the tribe of women in my life, both close and distant have surprised me and awed me and I am forever grateful. I guess having never been a mum, and coming to the experience later than most, these women, a few years down the track of it all, came to me and helped me and readied me and guided me and supported me and it’s been quite honestly (outside of being JJ’s Mum) my favourite part of motherhood.
Seeing how lucky I am to have these women in my life and how truly incredible and selfless and thoughtful they are. Giving time, love, advice, second hand baby things…I could never repay these friends. I’m so grateful!
What does being a mother mean to you?
Quite simply, my heart is no longer my own. It’s out in the world now and called Jasper James! Every breath I breathe is filled with hope and love for my son.
Being a mother has expanded my universe and made my world intimately smaller at the same time. My world is my little family and that world for us, revolves around our son.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Don’t listen to advice unless you’ve asked for it!
Great advice! Ok so you've been wearing Saben for years. What new Saben piece is on your wish list and what drew you to it?
The Beatrice handbag in Black because if it’s size, style and simplicity. No small handbags for me these days!! But I do love the fact it’s still ‘streamline’ and timeless. An absolute classic that can take me from Mum-to-Carolyn, Day-to-Night, Nappies-to-purse all while being super sexy haha!
Spoil them with Saben this Mother's Day - Shop the Mother's Day edit