March 14, 2014

heart to heart with amy storey

Every week we'll bring you a conversation with a Mum; a conversation that took place in real time via Facebook messenger. We haven't edited it or made it pretty. It's just what it is - a heart to heart conversation between mothers. Next up in our series is Amy Storey; mother to two beautiful boys and incredibly talented photographer living in a quiet coastal town. Amy opens up regarding mastisis, the perfect childbearing age, PND and more.

Amy Storey
mother, photographer  |  the adored journal

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Amy : Hey Jodi, I may be 5 mins late by the time I jump onto the computer. Saxon is trying his hardest to stay awake tonight... Chat soon x

Jodi: don't stress, whenever you're ready x

A : He just will not sleep. He must know mummy has something going on tonight lol. It's ok now though, daddy has stepped in, so i'm all yours!

J : They always know. Are you still breastfeeding him?

A : Yes we are still going. I can't believe it but we are!

J : It's a beautiful experience, isn't it? But then, so physically and emotionally demanding and challenging. How old is Saxon?

A : Saxon is almost 11 months old now, and we have fed through 2 lots of full blown mastitis, 2 weddings were i was the photographer, and 1 birth where Saxon attended & watched, just so that i could breastfeed him. It has been challenging and there have been times when i have had the thought of switching him to the artificial stuff in the hopes of having at least one night of uninterrupted sleep, but i can't bring myself to do it. We love our breastfeeding relationship! I can't see us stopping anytime soon.

J : Oh poor thing! Did you have to go on antibiotics?

A : Yes, both times. It was so horrible, i could barely move from the lounge!

J : Do you live near your family? Do you have much support?

A : Well actually, my in-laws live over the fence! Literally…there is a gate dividing our properties. Crazy, but we love it. I would say yes, i do have a lot of support. I am very lucky to have my own loving family as well as my husbands family who would do anything for us. It's nice to have that support.

J : I know it means the world to me - it makes such a difference to my parenting experience and I really value the relationship the kids have with their grandparents. That said, I'm not sure I could live on the other side of the fence!
Tell me what it was like when you first had Caelan...

A : It was such a new experience to me… I remember feeling overwhelmed and sometimes helpless. During my pregnancy with Caelan i was used to sleeping in til 11am most mornings, so it was a big shock adjusting to his sleeping patterns.
We lived with Matthew's parents at the time as we were only 18, so finding our own home to rent was a challenge... no one would take us in. In a way that was good for us.
We eventually moved into a home of our own and everything was great! From 6 months of age, Caelan slept right through the night.. He was such a calm and easy going baby.

J : A mum at 18 - did you feel young or did you feel ready? or both?

A : I felt very young… I was one of the first of my school friends to have a baby. But i also felt i was ready for it. I had always dreamed of being a mother.

I had copped criticism about my age, that i wasn't ready… i even had abortion suggested to me by strangers.. But at that time, there was nothing more i wanted then my own family.

J : I always knew I would have babies at a young age. I was 22 when I fell pregnant with Che and so comforted by the fact that every health professional I spoke to told me I was having a baby at a great age! I was the first out of all of my friends to have a baby, too. How did the reality of motherhood compare to your expectations?
Abortion suggested by strangers?!

A : I think our early 20's are the perfect time for babies. We have more energy to keep up with them 
Yes, absurd isn't it! I think i culled a few Facebook friends after that topic was brought up.
I don't think i am alone when i say that my expectations were nothing like the reality! When i thought of being a mother i thought of home cooked meals every night, baking a cake once a week, clean house, fun family outings every weekend - but the reality? Left overs, frozen meals, or sandwiches for dinner and the occasional home cooked meal. Sleep deprivation, the constant fighting for attention from the eldest child, and locking yourself in the bathroom to get some time to yourself..

They drive me crazy, but i love them.

J : For you, personally, what's been the biggest challenge since you became a mum?

A : The biggest challenge… being diagnosed with PND (post natal depression) 10 months after having Saxon. That has been the hardest thing i have had to overcome. Ever..

J : That was only a month ago?

A : The symptoms have been there for many months. It was my sister in-law who insisted i see a doctor and seek help.

J : Aren't you blessed to have someone who's both supportive of you and honest with you. Do you mind telling me a bit more about your symptoms? It's ok if not...

A : I have always been a calm, shy person with a lot of patience. Even through Caelans toddler tantrum stage i handle it with grace. When i started screaming at Caelan for the smallest things, sometimes accidents, i knew i wasn't myself... but still, i pushed those thoughts aside and vowed never to scream again. I went to bed feeling guilty, completely miserable with the way i had started to behave. I wasn't proud of myself as a mother.
Other symptoms aside from anger were irritability, extreme weight loss, and i just didn't want to leave the house or be around people. Not much of that has changed, but we're working on it.

J : One day at a time. As I say, baby steps. You can feel so fragile as a mother, can't you? It's so demanding...

A : Demanding is the perfect word for it. Being a mother to one child was a breeze compared to the responsibilities of caring for two children. I had heard from other mums that the leap from one child to two children is the hardest. I hadn’t expected it to be so hard second time around. I beamed with confidence from the day that Saxon was born.
But demanding children aside, they make my life so pleasurable.

J : Have you heard the saying that it takes a year to find your mother groove?

A : No i haven't heard that one before. A year after each child?

J : Well, most people think the saying goes for the first child....but I think it goes for every child. That's my experience anyway. That first year with all its trials is tough. Not to mention the fact that you're still very much connected to your baby - that breastfeeding journey requires a lot from you - you need to be there all the time! Tell me, what practical steps are you taking to heal your PND?

A : I think i found my 'mother groove' right away with Caelan. In saying that, he was such an easy baby.
Yoga - i have been going to classes each week. This is such a special time for me as i don't get much time alone to myself anymore! Practising yoga at hem with Caelan is fun as well, it always makes me laugh.
I have been reading a book that you suggested actually - Buddhism for Mothers. I am only a few chapters in and it is already changing my perspective on the way i parent.
Just getting out of the house has been beneficial! Leaving the mess and taking a walk to the park, or browsing clothing stores where i don't get to splurge my money anymore.

J : It sounds like you're doing good things. Things any mother should do for her own wellbeing. Are you being gentle on yourself?

A : I am starting to do more things for myself. I wouldn't say i have been gentle as such, i am always questioning if i am doing a good enough job at raising my kids, or if there is something i could be doing better, but don't we all go through that stage? We all want our children to have the best childhood and up-bringing.

J : Yes, we really do question ourselves - so much. I wonder if it's a generational thing....we're so caught up in giving our kids the best and doing right by them and I think we're losing sight of our own wellbeing along the way. If your photos are anything to go by, your boys love you endlessly and wholeheartedly. They've been blessed with the most beautiful eyes!

A : I completely agree with you, Jodi. Yes, aren't they just lovely!! They get that from their father.

J : What do they get from you?

A : My chubby cheeks! My blonde hair.. And i would like to say my calm nature..

J : haha - cute. You know what, it's getting late. You and I both need some sleep. Thanks so much for this, Amy. I appreciate your honesty.

A : Thank you for the chat, Jodi. It's nice to open up to another mother.

J : Feel free to message me again if you want to chat. Take care, won't you x

A : And i hope my responses are ok! I was juggling the baby who insisted on biting me until he finally gave in and fell asleep.

J : haha, no conversation goes uninterrupted when you're a mum. Much love x

A : That's sweet of you. I will keep that in mind. Good night x

all images courtesy of: ali lamond


  1. this touched my heart, firstly what a superwoman amy is to have managed to work and breastfeed with mastitis, my goodness! I can relate to so much of what amy has said here, with my third baby I had mastitis for the first time and it was so shocking, to have come through the other side and still continue to feed my baby has been one of my greatest challenges and accomplishments. I was also diagnosed with pnd with him, which rocked my world, I never thought it could happen to me and was so difficult to come to terms with, its still something I am very aware of even now, I can still see tiny tell tale signs of it lingering and re-appearing randomly, the hardest thing is recognising it for what it is. What a beautiful mother amy is, her children are blessed x

  2. this is going to sound like hyperbole, but i say this with absolute sincerity- this is quite possibly the most beautiful thing I've read in a very long time. it felt like an honor to peek into an unedited conversation between two mothers about some of the trials and triumphs of motherhood and left me realizing how mothering, the good and "bad", is a shared experience between women the world over. thank you so much for creating this space and curating such wonderful, real posts.

  3. I love this. It's such an intimate peek into someones experience of motherhood. Kellie xx

  4. Motherhood is certainly a journey of the unexpected. How many mothers have even heard of mastitis before they've actually got it? I know I hadn't. I was diagnosed with it for the first time when you son was 10 days old. It was such a blow, energy wise. I went on to have mastitis 3 times in total and each time it nearly ended our breastfeeding journey but I'm proud to say we made it through to 12 months.

    I'd love to know more about the book recommendation, I've had a look for a book by the title that Amy mentioned and a couple of different books of similar titles pop up over here in the UK. I wondered of you could let me know the full title and author please. I'm always interested in reading about how I can be more present in my son's life.

  5. This is such a beautiful insight into another mother's life and those photos are just stunning xx

  6. This was a really great talk. Being a new mother is VERY difficult and I think breastfeeding is a whole other challenge, but totally the right thing to do. My daughter is 17 months and still very much attached to her "booby milk". However, I find it to be a lifestyle - I quit work so that I could be a stay-at-home mom. I also just went through a horrible case of mastitis - it just knocked me off my feet for a couple days! I think that all moms struggle, some just do it looking better than others! :) But seriously, every child is different, every mother is different, every situation is different. But the children grow, very quickly, and what seems to be such a challenge one week, is replaced by something different the next, so at least it doesn't get boring! Though I was thrilled when I made it past the first 6 months - that was my goal when things got bad.

  7. I'm enjoying going back to re-read these heart to heart. Wonderful piece :)

  8. "It has been challenging and there have been times when i have had the thought of switching him to the artificial stuff in the hopes of having at least one night of uninterrupted sleep, but i can't bring myself to do it. We love our breastfeeding relationship! I can't see us stopping anytime soon." I found myself the same! Such a relief that I'm not alone in those thoughts. I also experienced horrible PND with my eldest son & hanging just ok at the moment with my 6 month old daughter. Thanks for sharing

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