Motherhood in spotlight: An open conversation with Monique Finlay on her trials, triumphs & real words of motherly wisdom.
In celebration of Mothers Day, it seemed fitting to chat with one of the most inspirational mothers I know, mother of twin baby girls and a 6 year old boy, Monique Finlay. Her journey into motherhood has not been smooth sailing yet her trials & triumphs have created one truly incredible mother, one that has certainly been a guiding light on my own mothering journey. Monique was open to sharing her story of fertility, IVF and premature twin birth alongside some of her pearls of motherly wisdom. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and I hope you do too.
Question: Having three little ones, especially two twin babies must be a wild ride, even just in terms of day to day logistics, I'd love to know your 3 best tips on making the days run a little smoother for us mummas?
Monique: Haha! A wild ride for sure,
I try to be as organised as I can.. which a lot of the time, I’m absolutely not haha. BUT whatever you can do the night before that Is going to make your day ahead easier, do that! Clean the house, Pack lunches, iron school uniforms. Etc.
If you have babies, time those naps and feeds! I like to always top the girls up(with milk) just before leaving the house so I know I have a solid 3-4 hours before they’re ready to feed again this makes me feel at ease knowing I can go for a walk, do the groceries etc without them cracking it.
My other major tip is, if you don't have one already, invest in a baby carrier, I could not live without it!!
Honestly though, parenting can be so bloody hard, just do the best you can and don’t be so hard on yourself.
Question: You had quite the journey bringing your two little twins into this world, can you tell us the story? Also, any words of wisdom for other mums going through a similar journey?
Monique: Oh gosh where do I start! We longed for these girls for so long... After trying for baby number two for about 2.5 years we started our IVF journey. We were so lucky to of fallen first round but it still wasn’t your stereotypical pregnancy. I dealt with ALOT of bleeding throughout the first trimester. Back and forth to the clinic daily for tests etc.
We then had a semi normal pregnancy until I reached the 3rd trimester. It was a Sunday night and I was laying on the couch with my family getting ready to start my maternity leave. I was so excited to start nesting, start the nursery, wash all the baby clothes and I felt a trinkle… my waters had broken, I remember looking down and just instantly thinking, I’ve lost my babies. It looked like a murder scene (sorry for the visuals) there was blood everywhere. At this point I was just 30 weeks. Petrified is an understatement! we were rushed straight into hospital. From there I was told I wouldn’t be going home until these babies were born but it was okay for them to stay inside for as long as I could hold them in for.. (bazaar) I was then transferred from our home in the northern rivers to Brisbane Mater hospital by ambulance early hours on the Sunday morning. At that stage covid was in it's peak so my family were not aloud to come with me. I remember laying in the back of the ambulance watching the lights flashing as we travelled to Brisbane feeling SO scared and alone. I was put in an isolation room in Brisbane with no visitors aloud, simply because I came from NSW and had crossed the QLD / NSW border which was in full lockdown at the time.
The nurses would call me from outside my door to talk to me or if they had to come in they’d completely suit up. It was Extremely isolating.
I stayed in Brisbane hospital for about 2 weeks, with heavy bleeding. I just could not understand how this was okay to keep the babies in. But they kept reassuring me that they would be safer in then out at this point in time.
Every day that went by was a miracle. When I reached 32 weeks gestation I was then transferred back to my home under the care of Tweed Hospital. Little did I know, they were about to admit me to the ward in Tweed Hospital again!By this point I was just absolutely shattered. I was mentally and physically struggling. I new my mental health was shot but I also just didn’t want the help. I was aloud one support person which was obviously Jake, my husband. My son (Arkie) was not aloud to step foot inside the hospital nor any other friend or family member. I hadn't been away from Arkie much at all up until this point, we are super close so this was extremely hard. Arkie was finishing up his preschool years, he had big school orientations, football games and presentations and I simply couldn’t be there. I was missing out on these milestones but also, I felt like I was letting him down!
I was finding it so hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
But! as labour is, so unexpected. It all started.
On Wednesday 27th October - we were blessed with an extremely quick labour and our girls were born 5 minutes apart with Jake almost missing the birth. I new it was going to be a long road ahead as they were born so premature but it was as if this huge weight had lifted off our shoulders. Knowing they were earth side and okay!
From then, it was long days and nights in the special care nursery. Back and forth to the hospital. leaving them there at night.
Its the hardest thing to see your babies so vulnerable, living in these incubators with wires and tubes everywhere.
Watching those machines they were hooked up to just preying those lines would stay steady.
By 37 weeks gestation we got our babies home!!! Arkie was FINALLY able to meet his baby sisters and we could be a family again.
I look back now and what felt like an eternity of pure heart ache and struggle was only just shy of 2 months..
Always remember; the storm will pass!
Question: What do you do to keep your sense of self alive in a time of such devotion?
Monique: I’m yet to find out! Haha.. But seriously, it’s something I do struggle with and know I need to prioritise a bit more. Right now, give me a walk with a friend, sunshine and some salt water and I’m a happy Mama!
Question: Best thing about motherhood?
Monique: Just watching these tiny little humans that you’ve created grow and blossom into there beautiful little selves. Seeing their personality’s come to life and the pure love that comes with it, There really is nothing like it.
Question: Most challenging part of motherhood?
Monique: For me, at the moment. The juggle - the girls need so much of me at this point in time. Which leaves less time for Jake and Arkie. So just trying to find that happy median. Sometimes they could be right in front of me but I feel like I miss them so much!
Question: As a mumma what could you not live without?
Monique: My Mum! She is always there, trying to make my life easier in anyway she can.
She’s the strongest woman I know, I can only hope to be half the mum she is to my children!
But on a less serious note, coffee!! Haha
Question: Any plans travel plans for your family this year? & what are your 3 best mum hacks for travelling with small children?
Monique: We’ve just recently been to Hamilton Island for my 30th with our closest friends which was amazing, Sawtell visiting some family over Easter And I think we’ll just do a few more little trips down south this year. Planning to get overseas next year when the girls are a touch older and I cannot wait!
As for tips, I’m no superstar at this. I’ve had my share of being the mum walking the isles of the plane with a screaming baby but I think travelling with little ones you just need to be super organised! One tip which always worked well with Arkie was before a flight/holiday I would put together a surprise activity bag - few new little toys, games, colouring/activity book, stickers etc then I’d surprise him with it on the plane! That bag would end up coming wherever we went which would always make restaurants a lot easier if you have a wild child like us !
Apart from that. Snacks, snacks, snacks!
Question: What is the best thing your mother ever taught you?
Monique: My mum has always said to me, money will come and go, you could be dead tomorrow so just get out and chase your dreams! (mine are certainly travel)
Mum has always pushed us to see the world and to never let money get in the way of fulfilling our dreams because life is just too damn short! So ENJOY.