Over the last ten days, the votes have poured in via our online voting poll for the North Shore Mums ‘Images of Motherhood’ photo competition. There were beautiful photos, heartwarming photos & candid photos… but the image that resonated most with the voters was the ‘real’ photo from Tam Wallin from Wahroonga, who shared a photo from a recent trip to the hospital with her son.
Congratulations Tam! You’ve won a VVIP Experience at Featherdale Wildlife Park, which will take you and your family on an intimate and exclusive tour of the park including access to behind-the-scenes areas away from the public. You’ll be greeted and accompanied by an experienced zoo keeper and get up close to touch, feed and photograph the amazing animals in Featherdale’s care.
Featherdale is home to over 1,700 animals from over 250 different species, including kangaroos, koalas, Tasmanian devils, dingoes, scaly reptiles and Australia’s largest collection of native birds. The major prize is worth $650!
To find out a little bit more about the North Shore Mum behind the vote-winning photo, we got Tam to answer a few questions ahead of Mother’s Day…
First up, the essential details. Tell us a little about yourself…
Tam Wallin from Wahroonga. Oscar is 4 and Izzy turns 3 next month.
What made you choose the image you did?
All we see on Facebook and Instagram are beautiful photos of everyone’s family, on holidays or enjoying the outdoors, beautiful homes, amazing meals etc. But that isn’t the reality of motherhood for most people. Although we all have beautiful moments, sometimes things are really tough and we should acknowledge those times too instead of only showing the world our perfect moments otherwise every mother will spend her own tough times feeling isolated, thinking that everyone else’s lives are perfect except for hers.
What are we seeing in the picture? What were your emotions on the day?
The Thursday before Easter Oscar and Izzy both had their tonsils and adenoids out. Then, almost 2 weeks after the surgery Oscar had a post operative haemorrhage which resulted in him vomiting huge amounts of blood, having an ambulance ride and emergency surgery. This photo of Oscar and I was a selfie I took in the Children’s Ward at Hornsby Hospital. I am normally not a selfie person and we both look terrible but I was just so grateful he was still there for this photo to be taken. Instead of worrying about not sharing the photo because my hair looks horrible and I still have my makeup on from the day prior, I look at it and think about how I am so much stronger than I thought I was and how I managed to hold it all together in an emergency and get what needed to be done, done for my family.
How would you describe the experience of being a mum? What are the best parts and most challenging parts?
We had to have fertility treatment to get pregnant and we lost twins prior to getting pregnant with Oscar. I also had hyperemesis gravidarum (excessive morning sickness) with both of them so vomited all day, every day for the entire pregnancies then ended up with an emergency cesarean with Oscar. I felt that surely that was the hard stuff done for us and that there on out would be smooth sailing but no matter how many books you read and how prepared you think you are you just cannot be prepared for how hard those first 12 weeks are with a new baby. You somehow get through it though and they quickly turn into little people with their own awesome personalities and you realise how worth it it really is and how blessed you are. I think the hardest part of all though is when they get sick and they are looking to you for comfort and reassurance and you have to somehow hold it together for them while feeling helpless and being terrified yourself.
How do you think your kids would describe their mum?
They would probably say Mummy is the boss but she gives us lots of kisses and cuddles.
How are you celebrating Mother’s Day this year? Have you got any secret presents you’re wishing for?
My husband has booked a lovely lunch by the water for us and his parents and I have already received lots of cute hand made presents from Mother’s Day at Kindergarten last Monday.
What advice was most useful to you when you became a mum?
Baby wipes can clean anything and Bepanthen Nappy cream is the wonder cream for grazes, eczema, dry lips etc
What else have you learned that would you pass on to new or expectant parents?
The Finalists: Images of Motherhood
Thank you to everyone who submitted a photo for this competition, we enjoyed every one of them. Congratulations also to the other Finalists who have all won a Family Pass to Featherdale Wildlife Park too. Enjoy their photos below…
Abigail Cowled, St Leonards
‘This photo was taken only a few nights ago, and while it’s certainly not a flattering photo of me, I love it because it simply brims with the perfect innocence and unconditional love of family. My daughter is 2.5 years old and we’re expecting no.2 to enter our lives any day now. My daughter’s excitement at the thought of soon having a baby brother (we don’t know the sex, but she’s adamant it’s a boy) is palpable and perfectly infectious! Never has my heart sung with such joy and complete and utter contentment than when Audrey climbs into my lap and tells her baby brother she loves him.’
Why we love it: What a gorgeous, natural photo of Abigail and her daughter! They both look blissfully happy, and Miss 2.5 just looks so comfortable hugging her baby brother or sister. Do let us know your baby news when he or she arrives!
Corinne Dosoruth, Marsfield
‘This is my favourite photo of me and my son. He was 2 years and it was his first attendance to a wedding. For me this photo shows the close bond I share with my little man. He is my miracle baby. I defy all odds and got pregnant at 42. He is my one and only. This photo reminds me of the battle to fall pregnant, the 24 hours of labour I had at home cause the midwife refuse to let me come to the hospital and didn’t believe I was in labour and I nearly gave birth on the freeway. His name means ‘spirit of the battle’. This photo shows my love for him, my fight, my multiple IVF cycles, my painful labour with just me and my husband at home. This photo is my light and remind me motherhood is precious and to never take it for granted. I was one of the lucky ones.’
Why we love it: This photo has such a beautiful energy to it, and it’s captured such a happy, joyous moment of true love. Corinne you are right you are one of the lucky ones. Having a child is such a gift.
Cyndie Bowen, Roseville
‘This photo captures a very intimate moment in my motherhood journey. I got my son to dip his feet into the sea for the very first time, and he loved it! After struggling with PND, I now make the most of even the simplest things, trying to get back the time that I lost with my son while I was unwell.’
Why we love it: Just look at the way Cyndie’s son is gazing at his mum so adoringly! It’s such a beautiful, happy moment. Wishing you many more sunny days ahead!
Danielle Fischer, Normanhurst
‘My little girl, Zoe, and I just love playing with SnapChat filters when we’re bored! It’s fun to be silly with my precious girl and it’s something special between her and I (funnily enough her Dad and big brother have no interest!).’
Why we love it: Because we love playing around with Snapchat filters with our kids too! What modern mum doesn’t? The stars and joy seem to radiate from this mother and daughter pair. Keep them coming!
Karyn Campbell, Cremorne
‘Baby Flynn’s first photo shoot at 10 days young. My husband snapped this unexpectedly. Though Flynn is dressed up with props, I love that the rest of the photo is natural & I’m not posing, just smiling with happiness.’
Why we love it: Beautiful photos can sometimes come at the most unexpected times. We love this ‘behind the scenes’ look at such a cute photoshoot. Karyn you look radiant for just having had a baby 10 days earlier!
Kate Giles, Warrawee
‘This is my eldest son and I being silly. I chose it as our lives have been really rather serious lately with his daddy quite ill and having surgery and then my mother also very ill in hospital. He is so young (3) but so smart and perceptive and through all this has been a little trooper. His brother doesn’t know what is going on really but he has made me need to be strong, and not fall apart. I am a mum now and need to make him feel safe and secure despite all that is going on and that is the most important job in the world!’
Why we love it: We all need a bit more silliness in our lives, and children can help bring out that crazy, childish side! Laughter is a great therapy, and we hope these moment with your kids help you get through the hard times with all the illness in your family.
Kayla Rich, Asquith
‘The love my big boy had for my little boy before he even arrived was beautiful. I felt absolutely gorgeous when I had this photo taken, I always wanted something a bit different and the bright colours and vintage styling was a perfect match and a moment in time I will treasure forever.’
Why we love it: This photo belongs on the cover of a pregnancy magazine! It’s styled in a super cool way, yet you can really see that connection between Kayla and her son. Just gorgeous!
Rebecca Pezzutti, Ryde
‘In a busy day, it’s sometimes hard to just hang out with my kids, particularly my son. This photo was taken while we were simply practicing tummy time, while his older sister slept. I love the look on both our faces – just thrilled to be spending time together!’
Why we love it: Just look at the way Rebecca’s baby boy is staring so adoringly at his mummy! Nothing beats some precious one-on-one time with your children, and in the fast-paced world, it can be so hard to find the time to forget the chores and just spend time with our children.
Tess Docherty, Lane Cove North
‘Being able to sleep anywhere anytime becomes a valuable skill when you’re a breastfeeding mother of a newborn. Here I am passed out on the couch with my five week old son Connor. The unglamorous reality of motherhood and breastfeeding. Totally worth it.’
Why we love it: This is just awesome! Tess you are a brave lady for sharing something so real, which is why we just love it. We’ve all experienced those moments (or months!) of utter exhaustion and sleep deprivation. Keeping it real!