Sam, Sam + Ziggy

New mum Samantha shares some of the surprises, challenges and delights of motherhood

Sydneysiders Samantha De Kauwe and partner Sam Coombes are raising their gorgeous one-year-old son Ziggy in the city’s leafy east. First-time mum Samantha takes us into her busy life, sharing how motherhood has changed her world.

How has your health and wellbeing changed since having Ziggy?

As soon as I found out I was pregnant I became very conscious of my health. After Ziggy was born, I became even more conscious of myself in a more overall sense – mentally, physically and emotionally. You want to be the best possible role model for your child so you become really aware of everything you say, do and feel in front of them. It’s actually more about how guilty you feel if you don’t behave how you want to, as you worry you’re setting a terrible example!

What has surprised you about motherhood? 

How hard it is! I naively thought it would be easier, as I’ve always loved kids and have been around them for my whole life. But it’s pretty much the realest thing I’ve ever done and you just never shut off. Once you’ve given birth, it becomes the foremost thing in your life and I didn’t realise how all-encompassing it would be. But no matter how hard it is, you wouldn’t give them back for the world!

Were you one of the first of your friends to have a baby?

I didn’t have a lot of friends with kids, but then coincidentally around the time I fell pregnant, I had several girlfriends who were all pregnant too. It’s been a blessing to have friends in the same boat so we can be there for each other and just hang out when the rest of the world is working! I still have a lot of girlfriends who don’t have kids and they’ve been so supportive and are a great way to check out of the ‘mum world’ you can get sucked into.

As a young mum, what support networks have you found most helpful?

As I have a fair few girlfriends with babies, I didn’t do the mothers’ group thing – I was lucky to have my friends as my support system instead. I have met some lovely new girlfriends who are mums at Ziggy’s Montessori and Gymbaroo classes, which has been a nice surprise. Of course my mum has been invaluable to me, especially at the start when I had no idea what was going on and Sam’s mum has always been there for us too. Our extended families are really involved in our son’s life, which is great for Ziggy as well.

What’s changed now you have a family? 

I’m quite a structured person who likes to plan things out and while being organised really helps when you have kids, I’m learning that my son is going to throw me quite a few curveballs so I better get used to running with it instead of getting flustered! Our family is naturally our biggest priority now, so it’s good to get perspective on what’s important and try not to get too caught up in what really doesn’t matter in the end.

Describe a typical weekend for you guys now? 

We still do most of the things we would have done in the past, but obviously we have to factor a little human into the mix! So we love taking Ziggy to the beach in summer or a heated pool in winter; we stroll through the farmers’ markets for flowers and fresh brekkie. We’ll usually go for a picnic near a playground and have people over at our place after we put Ziggy to bed in the evenings.

What’s Ziggy’s favourite thing to do?

Ziggy is obsessed with animals so any kind of zoo is a hit and a petting zoo will literally blow his mind! He loves the water as well, so the beach or a pool is always a winner.

Three tips for new mums

1. Don’t be too hard on yourself – I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time so I figure all I can do is try my best.

2. Try to have some time out each week, just to get your nails or hair done, walk around the shops by yourself or read a book. It’s nice to feel like your normal self again and it’s good to recharge.

3. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be exactly like how you were before you had a baby. I really wanted to prove that I hadn’t changed and could just bounce back, but the reality is that I have changed and it’s not a bad thing.

Recommended reading - Issue One Spring 2012

Lifestyle

Heart the Kitchen Garden Foundation

How Stephanie Alexander is making our kids happy in the garden.

Read more
Community

The life of a pro triathlete with Brendan Sexton

Olympian triathlete Brendan Sexton on sport, injury and his favourite triathlon locations.

Read more
Lifestyle

Keep your dog’s tail wagging with Dr. Chris Brown

Dr Chris Brown's advice - Just like you, diet and exercise is key to your dog’s health and happiness

Read more
Experts

Hayfever treatment

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis afflicts up to 40% of Australians.

Read more
Experts

Tread carefully

As more and more people show interest in barefoot running, we discuss the safest way to get started.

Read more
Lifestyle

The history of the toothbrush

What gadget could you absolutely not do without?

Read more
Travel

Mind, body and soul in Tasmania

Regular mini breaks can be a refreshing, cost-effective way to recharge.

Read more
Travel

Seeking health and wellness in Thailand

 Thailand is an idyllic destination for energising travel steeped in health and wellness.

Read more
Community

How to be healthier at work

 We ask three experts for small steps to creating a healthier work environment.

Read more
Community

Working to achieve better health

People who undertake jobs that contribute to a healthier life find fulfilment in them.

Read more
Health Check

Taking your health into your own hands

It is important for us to manage our health in order to maximise our wellness and perform our best.

Read more
Experts

Busting popular food myths

Do ‘negative calorie’ foods exist? Can you blame a slow metabolism? Popular food myths busted.

Read more
Community

Heart Rate Monitor

Medibank Members Nathan and Marcele share how heart-rate monitors might be beneficial for you.

Read more
Community

Increasing activity in the workplace

Unique fitness initiatives are growing in response to our increasingly sedentary lifestyles.

Read more
Lifestyle

Becoming a pet owner

Making the decision to become a pet owner is an exciting one

Read more
Community

Body composition scales

Medibank Members Nathan and Marcele share how body composition scales can be beneficial to you.

Read more
Lifestyle

Visualising health with Sally Fitzgibbons

Professional surfer Sally Fitzgibbons tells us what she does to stay happy, healthy and inspired.

Read more
Recipes

Sticky date pancake recipe

Wind up your weekend workouts and treat yourself with these delicious sticky date pancakes.

Read more
Recipes

Ruby ginger blossom recipe

Sip on this spring inspired Ruby Ginger Blossom drink.

Read more
Recipes

Vietnamese pho soup recipe

Fresh, healthy Vietnamese Pho soup recipe you can make at home.

Read more
Experts

Does exercise make you gain weight?

Can exercise increase your appetite and lead to weight gain? We asked Associate Professor Tim Crowe.

Read more
Recipes

Asparagus, leek and pea tart recipe

Asparagus, Leek and Pea Tart is a delicious and easy dish for lunch or dinner.

Read more
Experts

Chinese medicine for the four seasons: Spring

How you can use Chinese Medicine to inspire new growth and regeneration in spring.

Read more
Experts

Celebrate health success

Food habits are tough to break but the rewards don’t go unnoticed.

Read more
Lifestyle

Farmers’ markets cultivate a changing foodscape

We’ve hand picked some of Australia’s best farmers’ markets for you to visit.

Read more
Community

Work, drive and train with Paul Dumbrell

CEO Paul Dumbrell reveals how he learnt to balance business, exercise and professional motor racing.

Read more
Community

Never lose sight of the health goal with Nicole Livingstone

Even after leaving the world of elite sport in 1996, Nicole Livingstone continues to lead by example.

Read more
Advice

A journey to better health with Anthony Field

Read about how Anthony Field (a.k.a. the Blue Wiggle) he got his Wiggle back.

Read more
Community

Hit the ground running

Learn about the benefits of minimalist running, from strengthening your feet to preventing injury.

Read more
In Brief

Jerry the Bear

Jerry the Bear is a robotic teddy bear that ‘has’ diabetes.

Read more
In Brief

Good news for rice fans

Reduce the likelihood of diabetes by incorporating rice into a low GI diet.

Read more
In Brief

Fluidity Dish Rack

The Fluidity Dish Rack is a household dish rack with a very simple but very ingenious design twist.

Read more
In Brief

Complete Food and Nutrition Companion

Catherine Saxelby’s latest book is your new nutrition bible.

Read more
In Brief

The Saltiest Chicken Nugget in the World

Alarming results from recent study on salt content in fast food.

Read more
Community

World Food Day

Get your school or workplace involved with World Food day to raise awareness for global hunger.

Read more
Health Check

Medibank Symptom Checker

A clear positive of the information age is our ability to access external knowledge and opinion.

Read more
In Brief

be. magazine spring 2012

Simple tips and advice to make a healthy transition from winter to spring.

Read more
Community

The muesli

Add The Muesli to your mornings for a healthy and delicious breakfast that will fill you up.

Read more
Lifestyle

The road to the finish line with Steve Moneghetti

Medibank Melbourne Marathon Festival: 39 years of healthy living and community participation

Read more
Health Check

Medibank Energy Balancer

There are many apps around to help us make more informed food decisions.

Read more
Community

R U OK? Day

Thursday 12 September is R U OK? Day, a reminder of the life-altering impact of a conversation.

Read more

Working to achieve better health

What is it like to work in a role that directly helps people achieve better health?

Read more

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.