In our #BraveMamainmyfamily interview series, we speak with Amy from My Tiny Wardrobe. Although I've not met her personally, my first impression of her when I first met her on IG was that she is such an authentic mum. One that if I met at the playground, I would have been able to chat with, and have coffee together, and more play dates afterwards. Amy has a heart to support mums, whether in business or in their motherhood journey. And this shines through so brightly when she's interacting with people on IG and on her blog. So I'm really excited to have her join us in our Brave Mama in My Family community.
In this interview, Amy shares with us her brave moments, and her story. She is a very strong woman and her story deeply inspired me. I hope you will be encouraged and uplifted through her very real, and tough but inspiring moments in her journey.
1. Tell us about yourself, where you are based and a little about your little one(s).
Hi, I'm Amy, ‘A’ to my friends, Mummy to my two year old, my 7 month old just screams and I jump and my husband calls me ‘Smallie' as Im only 5’5. Nothing a pair of stilettos can’t fix (Not that I have worn a pair in the last two years #mumlife, I now live in flats and converse). I have lived in the eastern suburbs of Sydney for the majority of my life but have also lived in FNQ and Perth for extended periods. I have two gorgeous girls, Olivia and Chloe, both under the age of two and I am truly blessed to have had them.
My husband and I, like many couples tried unsuccessfully to have children for 4 years. We did everything. Visited a plethora of doctors, specialists, had invasive tests, tried numerous IVF clinics, attended acupuncture sessions religiously, changed diets, constantly googled and ramped up our exercise regime. After 3 years, we were told we had “unexplained infertility” and that continuing IVF was our best hope. So that is what we did. We kept trying, but told no one apart from our family. As a women I was naive and believed that you fell in love, got married, went on your honeymoon and had babies. I think I had watched too many movies. Although in hindsight, at the same time I was going through IVF, 40 % of my friends were too, yet we never told each other. I feel sad looking back, but that is why I am very open now about raising awareness of issues I think mothers and fathers, women and men would want to know about, but it may not be talked about openly. I do this through my fortnightly blogs @mytinywardrobesydney. It's my passion to try and make a difference.
I always knew I wanted to be a mother. So I was desperate to have children. My husband also wanted children, but as a man I don't think he felt the same anxiety as I did. After all it was my body that was to be the vessel for a little bub. The IVF process was hard. Physically. Emotionally. And it was hard for our relationship too, but at the end of the day, after what seemed like a million embryo transfers, we had our daughter Chloe. The day the Clinic called me with my blood test results, I cried of happiness in the fire escape at work and I tricked my hubbie. Cheeky I know. I had told him it had failed again, but when he came home I handed him a bottle of wine with a sticker I had written on it saying “Lets Celebrate…You are going to be a dad”! He still has that bottle of Wine. Empty, but he has the memory.
Soon after that, 11 months to the day, we fell pregnant NATURALLY with twins! Naturally?! Twins?! Oh my! We were over the moon; in disbelief; excited; scared but mostly, felt so blessed. Sadly one of the twins didn't survive. We believed it was meant to be and less than 8 months later Olivia was born. Our little premie. She was born at 32+ weeks and spent the first 5 weeks of her life in the NICU at the Royal Women's Hospital at Randwick.
Chloe and Olivia. They are my little ankle biters who I am constantly wrangling with in between work and play. Somedays they drive me crazy, but they also melt my heart. Some days I think of how badly I wanted to be a mum, and how desperately some days I also want a break from the routine of having #2under2. Somedays are hard, some are delightful. One thing I have learned is every day is different, and you need to choose to be positive and calm, even when you feel like you are being pulled in every direction. I love being a mum, but there are days when I envy my husband. He gets to leave the house before they wake up, take a nice bus ride (in silence) to his work and if he wanted could go for a stroll and grab a coffee. He doesn't need to think about strapping on the ergo, getting the pram out for the other, gathering the nappy bag, walking to a cafe, just to get a coffee. Meanwhile, while trying to grab a coffee, Olivia may be screaming and need milk (even though I just fed her), Chloe is talking to her Marshmallow dealer, and I am in the way of a busy cafe trying to remain calm. Motherhood. It ain't easy. I fail somedays and triumph others. But it is BEAUTIFUL.
"Motherhood. It ain't easy. I fail somedays and triumph others. But it is BEAUTIFUL."
- Amy Iles Goller
2. What is the most difficult/challenging thing you had to deal with in your mama-hood journey?
I would have to say the most challenging aspect of my life as a mum is managing my Fibromyalgia. I chose this photo for my feature, as I look like a normal, healthy, possibly fit mum. But on the inside my central nervous system malfunctions and it is one of those “invisible diseases”, that is known of by specialists but to many unheard of. I live in chronic pain, but I do have relief from medication and lifestyle. But on the days where the pain is so bad, you can barely move, those are the days that I find hard. I cry for myself. I cry for my girls as I want to be more playful but on those days I cant. Finding the balance to manage my pain, be the best mum and wife I can, try to find 'balance' and being a small business owner is the most difficult and challenging aspect of my life.
I have had Fibromyalgia for 13 years now, and while it is the most difficult thing I have ever had to go through, I realise what true happiness is. It took sadness, pain, loss for me to know happiness. Happiness for me is just being pain free. I need nothing else apart from my family. And I realise everything is relative too, some people have greater struggles than me and some none at all, but it is all relative. I am thankful for my struggle because without it, I wouldn't have stumbled across my strength.
"I am thankful for my struggle because without it, I wouldn't have stumbled across my strength"
- Amy IIes Goller
That to compete is a waste of time and all that truly matters in life is being kind and appreciating those that love you and loving them back. I've learnt that you should never judge someone until you have walked in their shoes. I realised I may not have been able to continue a high powered job, I may have spent more days in bed than out of it, in the early years when my disease was undiagnosed, but people supported me. People were there to uplift me. Neurologists didn't give up helping me. My husband met me with my condition and wanted to get to know me. He stood by me, even though it was hard. I realised I am in competition with no one. And that LOVE is all you need. And with love comes laughter in our home.
3. What is the bravest thing you had to do as a mama?
I think the most brave thing I have done so far as a mum is start up a business. It's brave, not because I did it. But because I do it with intent. A deep desire to make a small difference in those that follow and love my concept of building an online store that isn't just about selling gorgeous clothes to precious little ones. It's about meeting and working with mums and trying to raise awareness for myself and others of issues I thought mums and dads would engage in. In the last 20 weeks I have worked with the Stillbirth Foundation of Australia, PANDA, One Girl and met women on Instagram who have bravely shared their story of domestic violence and abuse with me. Strangers wanting to help me raise awareness. These are the stories I want to tell. Simple stories to. Helping mums with fussy eaters and anything I can think of that might make the smallest difference in their day.
This is brave for me, as I'm not an expert in starting a start-up, I'm not an expert in blogging or social media and everything is new. But I want to show my girls that you have to try. Try and if you fail, that is more than OK, jump back up and try again. As one day you will realise the sky is the limit.
"Try and if you fail, that is more than OK, jump back up and try again. As one day you will realise the sky is the limit."
- Amy Iles Goller
4. Is there another brave mama who inspires you? How has she inspired you?
Many mothers inspire me:
Mums in general inspire me. Sacrificing your wholeself for another little being is huge and is to be respected and admired, like many things mums do.
Mothers I haven't even met yet I'm sure will inspire me.
Single mums inspire me.
Single dads inspire me.
Mums who have loved and lost inspire me.
Mums who have lost and keep going and push for change inspire me.
Mums who raise beautiful children inspire me.
My mum: She sacrificed and still would sacrifice everything for my sister and I.
It really is so hard to think of JUST ONE MUM who inspires me, but the parents Denise and Bruce Morcombe have been in my heart from the day I read their story about the disappearance of their son Daniel in 2003. Since then, I have watched them religiously, as they fought for justice. Not only to keep their son's innocence alive but also to save the lives of other young children through their foundation and their everyday work out and about at hundreds of schools across Australia:
The Daniel Morcombe Foundation keeps an ongoing awareness program alive to help protect children, teaching them about personal safety, while keeping the community vigilant on crimes against our children.
These two parents are testimony that LOVE, HEART, PASSION and DETERMINATION can TRIUMPH OVER EVIL. And I admire Denise as a brave mother and equally her husband/Daniel's Father Bruce. I recently watched them interviewed on 60 minutes and I remember Denise saying how hard it is somedays to go to another school and see Daniels young face on a sign, but she does it. SHE DOES IT. She does it as she is brave and she is teaching our children to be brave and know personal safety and boundaries so this hopefully never happens to another child. They are warriors. And they would say they are normal people. Maybe they think that. I think they are extraordinary people. And this mother inspires me to try and make/create/be involved in positive change.
5. What would you say to another mama who may be going through similar circumstances?
I would say: you are not alone. All mothers are facing challenges, some greater than others. But everything is relative. So follow your own journey. If you need help, ASK. So many people offered me help when I first had Chloe, as I was in pain a lot and trying to get my fibromyalgia back in a 'comfortable' state, but I thought it was brave to reject the help and handle everything on my own. I've since realised people genuinely want to help and it was more brave to let my family know I was struggling and I'm not wonder woman. I can't manage it all.
No one mother has all her S#@T together. Don't think you are the only one that forgot the washing you put on yesterday or that mums that look good on the outside feel great on the inside. Smoke and Mirrors?
Just know you are not alone. We are mums. We have to support each other. #mumssupportingmums has always been my hashtag since day dot. Because sometimes being a mum, a good mum, can be the bravest thing you do.
"sometimes being a mum, a good mum, can be the bravest thing you do"
-Amy Iles Goller
Being a mum is truly one of the bravest thing you can do. I think motherhood comes with the gift of courage. Press on mamas! Even when some days you feel like everything around you is chaotic. You are doing a beautiful thing.
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