My husband and I have been together for 12 years. We got married in Ibiza in 2015 and have three daughters – Mila is four, Anoushka is three and Luna is almost two. I’m also due to give birth to my fourth baby at the beginning of March, which will give us four under five – it’s chaotic but we love it.
I’ve always dreamed of having a big family. When I met my husband, he wasn’t sure he wanted to get married or have children at all, but something changed and in fact it was actually him who wanted to start trying for a baby the minute we got married. Now, we both love having such a big family.
My pregnancies have all been really close together. I didn’t feel all that maternal until I had my first baby, but I’ve been broody ever since! The first two girls are 17 months apart, then there’s 16 months between the second and third. I love how close their bond is. It will be so interesting to see what the dynamic will be like with four – especially if it’s a boy.
My first pregnancy was the dream. Other than a bit of nausea up until week 12, it was very straightforward. In general, they have all been uncomplicated, but I have had nausea for the entirety of the second, third and fourth! Even so, I know how lucky I am to have had such an easy journey when it comes to getting pregnant – several of my friends have struggled to conceive, so that’s given me a healthy perspective.
With each pregnancy, I’ve felt more confident. Actually, I’ve felt the most confident I ever have as a woman, and in my own body, when I’m expecting. Growing a new life is such a magical experience, and I’m constantly in awe of what my body is capable of. Feeling those first kicks is just magical. And seeing how your body adapts week by week is pretty incredible, too.
I’m also lucky all my deliveries have been quite straightforward. I've never had a birth plan, because I know most don’t exactly go the way you expect. First time around, I had an epidural, and as great as it is in terms of taking the pain away, I had a really strong desire second time around to feel everything. In preparation, I did a hypnobirthing course, and ended up having a four-hour, very calm labour. My third labour threw me a bit, because I expected it to be similar to my second, but she ended up being ten days overdue, and it was a very long labour. She was also born with her hand on her head, which was quite painful!
I wish I’d known more about hypnobirthing the first time around. Two unmedicated births (following my first), were definitely down to the hypnobirthing. It’s all about learning to look at birth in a positive way. It’s more talked about now, but four or five years ago when I was pregnant with Mila, it just wasn’t a topic of conversation. In my view, however it goes on the day, I do believe hypnobirthing can help keep you calm throughout.
As for this fourth baby, I don’t have a specific plan – after my third labour, I’m going in with an open mind and zero expectations. Will it be my last? Never say never, but I think I need a break. I’ve been pregnant for pretty much five years straight.
Those first few days with a newborn are so precious. You’re in this little love bubble where time seems to slow down. In retrospect, those days are actually far easier than when they start crawling and walking.
There’s never a ‘right time’ to have a baby. We knew we wanted a fourth baby and didn’t know how long the pandemic would last, so we just decided to go for it. I always try to look at the positives in any situation, and I’m grateful to have had the chance to take life a bit easier in these last few weeks. Generally speaking, I’m always on the go, so I’m really enjoying being at home cherishing my last weeks of pregnancy. That said, it must be different if it’s your first baby – not being able to have support from family, see your friends, go to baby classes… it all makes it a very different experience, so I feel for first-time mothers.
I feel fortunate to be able to work flexibly around my girls. I never really switch off, but I love what I do and thrive on being busy – I don’t know how to work any other way. It requires plenty of organisation and planning, but seeing my blog grow into a business has been such an achievement. I’m lucky that, if I need to, I can take a bit of time off – last summer during my first trimester I was so unwell I went offline for about six weeks. You wouldn’t be able to do that in many other careers.
‘Having it all’ is a term that puts so much pressure on mothers. At certain points, it is possible, but definitely not all the time. It’s a real juggle, and life goes in waves – there are moments where you’ll feel like everything is going well, then there are moments where it’s more of a struggle. As women, we try to do so much and it’s just not sustainable all the time. Having three under three was a great lesson for me: I’m such a perfectionist and it forced me to lower my expectations!
In terms of a parenting style, I’m definitely the strict one – mainly when it comes to things like good manners. My husband is the fun one. But we agree on most things, and I’m lucky to have such a hands-on partner. More than ever, these successive lockdowns have taught us how important teamwork is.
Our girls are all so different. The eldest is not into clothes at all, but my middle daughter is obsessed with everything girly (especially hair accessories). As for the third, we’re not sure yet! Regardless, I wouldn’t wish any specific future or career path on them – I want them to pursue their passions, whatever they may be.
My own childhood was a very happy one. My parents, who are so loving, have such great values – the kind I hope to pass on to my children. I have the best memories of holidays when I was a child and the small things we did as a family. We’re still so close – in fact, my FaceTime calls with my parents during lockdown are still the best part of my day.
Having children brought me closer to my own mother. I appreciate her more than ever – plus, she’s the most incredible grandmother.
The advice I’d give new mothers is that every stage passes. Try not to sweat the small things – embrace everything instead. Looking back, some of the toughest moments are now the most memorable, and my husband and I look back on them fondly. Also, no one knows what they’re doing the first time around – I’m still learning and I’m about to have my fourth.
The biggest thing motherhood has taught me is patience. And the true meaning of unconditional love.
Ultimately, I want my children to be happy and to live their lives to the fullest. Seeing how happy they are right now, as children, it sort of breaks my heart thinking they might not always feel this way. I hope for the majority of their lives they will.
Follow Laura on Instagram at @TheFashionBugBlog.