About

Before we dive in. I’d love to set a few things straight. I’m not here to sell you a quick fix.  I wish I was. I would love nothing more than to be able to offer you a simple, one step solution to what ails you. 

Whether that be for your aching heart for the babies you seek, a pill to remove your fears around pregnancy and birth. Or some magic dust to get back to feeling like you in your body (and soul) after having a baby. 

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet discovered those magic pills or fairy dust.  But I can share with you the practices that have helped me over the last seven years throughout my struggles with infertility, miscarriages, pregnancies and birth, and feeling lost as a new Mum. 

If you’re looking for real world, soul-centred practices to help you move past stress and overwhelm, and into a place where you can embrace the highs and the lows of all stages of Motherhood – then you’re in the right place. 

Welcome

Before we get into my story, which is mostly a story about motherhood. I’d like to meet you first as woman. 

So hello there.  I’m Bettina.   From as early as I can remember I’ve loved writing and making things. I’m a recovering people-pleaser and I can confidently say that here in my thirties – I’m the kindest to myself that I’ve ever been.  

I’m also a woman who moved to the country to teach and ended up marrying her housemate (which is a fun story for another day).

We’ve since (not in this order) travelled overseas, renovated two houses, moved to the Sunshine Coast (Queensland, Australia), temporarily separated, had six babies (three, who live on in our hearts), opened a yoga studio under our house and done our very best to stay sane along the way.

Throughout all of it, yoga has been my touchstone. It’s the thing that keeps me connected to myself when life gets hectic. And it’s also what I find myself turning to when life gets hard. And can I tell you, there have been some moments in the last ten years that have been really fucking hard.

So now that you know a little more about me, perhaps I can share my story of motherhood you with, and maybe, when you’re ready – you can share yours with me?

Motherhood and Yoga

It took us over a year to conceive our first baby.  At the time I was 25 (and oh so naive). I knew it could take a year or so, but I also thought that it would probably happen faster for us. Because you know, everyone else seemed to fall pregnant so easily.

As the months passed I became highly anxious (though I wouldn’t recognise this as anxiety until years later). I really started questioning whether I would ever be able to have a baby.  My anxiety affected our relationship and in all honesty ‘trying to conceive’ stopped being fun.  

Looking back our issue was probably a combo of hormones (I had been on the pill for 10 years prior) and stress.  Eventually I realised the stress and pressure was not helping at all. I got back into my yoga practice and shortly after fell pregnant with our first boy.

My first pregnancy went fairly smoothly.  I prepared in all the usual ways. I spent hours looking at all of the adorably tiny baby clothes and buying all of the things I thought we needed. 

I also firmly buried my head in the sand about how said-baby was going to come out. I really don’t know what I was thinking. I think I mostly just assumed that because we were birthing in a hospital, they would know what to do – so I would be fine. 

I also stopped practicing yoga at about 20 weeks. I was starting to feel uncomfortable in body and I wasn’t really sure how to modify my practice for pregnancy, so I just stopped. (Spoiler alert – this was a mistake). 

I can only describe my first birth experience as traumatic. It has taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that this is how it was. And to be able to share this without feeling like I failed in some way. 

Of course, with the benefit of hindsight I now realise it didn’t need to be this way. If I could go back and tell my pre-baby self anything, it would be educate yourself on how your body works during birth and use your yoga tools  – it will get you through all of it!

I’d love to tell you that I took to #mumlife like I was born to do it. But that would be a flat out lie. If I had to sum up that first year of motherhood for me, it would be with the word ‘battle’. 

I fought allll the changes that first year. The shock of the first round of sleep-deprivation turned me into a googling zombie – I was convinced there was an answer out there for getting my baby to sleep – I just had to find it! I battled the changes a baby brought to our marriage. I struggled (mostly internally) with the changes having a baby brought to my career and my social life and pretty much every other aspect of my life. 

When Eamon was 15 months old Andrew and I separated. Things had been bad for a while. The short story of it is, we had forgotten (or perhaps hadn’t yet realised) how much more effort we needed to put into our relationship now that we had a baby.

We’d lost the spark. It had literally burnt out under a pile of sleep deprivation, lack of communication and love we felt but weren’t doing anything to show. 

I moved out and lived in a tiny one bedroom apartment with our toddler. This was not how I had imagined my life would play out. I had one distinct mantra that played over and over in my head at the time ‘I have to hold it together for Eamon. I have to hold it together for Eamon. I have to hold it together for Eamon.’

Somehow this got me through. At first I remember feeling really broken. But eventually I must’ve picked up the pieces because I remember giving myself a pep-talk one night ‘Right Bettina, this is not what you wanted, but it is what it is. Time to pull yourself together and do stuff to make yourself happy.’ 

I started getting back into my yoga practice. I bought my post-baby body some clothes I actually felt good in. I spent time doing things for myself, rather than just for us. Little by little it started to help. I had more perspective on the situation. I could see where my faults in us falling apart were (and wasn’t just focused solely on his). I could talk to Andrew again without feeling so much fiery anger at him. I went back to work.

Eventually Andrew and I agreed that we needed to move past the hurt we’d felt at each other over the past year and start again. 

So we did. We started dating. (Which felt as awkward at first as it sounds.) It was a struggle to not bring up old hurts but we knew we couldn’t if we wanted to go forward.

So we kept it light. And what do you know. That spark was still simmering away, we just needed to lift off all the baggage we’d been suffocating it with. Obviously there are quite a few more steps and deep conversations had in-between but a few months later I moved back in and vowed to not forget the lessons I’d learned about looking after myself first while I’d been away. (Can report I frequently forget and have to relearn. Marriage is the best and the hardest thing, right?)

We had our second baby when Eamon was about three. This time, we conceived easily, pregnancy was uneventful (other than some SI / pelvic pain) and birth was ten thousand times different to my first.

This time, I spent zero time preparing things and all my time preparing me. I did a hypnobirthing course. I practiced yoga right up to the day I gave birth. I watched birth videos. I practiced my meditations. I learnt everything I could about what could happen and I learnt about where I had choices.

This time I came out of birth feeling empowered and so proud of myself. Which is not to say that it went perfectly, as birth rarely does. I still ended up with birth injuries, but by comparison the way I felt about the experience was worlds apart. It made such a difference. 

When Rory was 15 months I fell pregnant again. Right from the start I knew something was off. I didn’t feel pregnant. My belly barely grew. I often found myself re-checking with a pregnancy test because I didn’t believe it. 

I gave birth to Orion at 16 weeks. It was one of the single most painful experiences of my life. Emotionally, not physically. I would take the physical pain of a normal birth any day, over the pain I felt holding this tiny babe in the palm of my hands. 

The 12 months that followed were a bit of a mess. We were grieving, a little bit shell-shocked and just muddling our way through with our boys and each other. We tried again straight away (in the mistaken belief that this felt better than to not). 5 months later I fell pregnant again. I was an anxious mess. 

At our 10 week ultrasound there was no heartbeat. I  remember looking at Andrew, seeing his face falling and saying ‘How is this happening to us again?!’ I was shocked by our own terrible ‘luck’. 

After my birth experience with Orion where I had to go to theatre to remove the placenta anyway, I chose to have a D&C to end this pregnancy. It happened the next day. We didn’t have to wait around at the hospital. I was grateful to be home fairly quickly with my boys. 

I think I was numb at this point. We no longer discussed ‘trying for a baby’, but we also did nothing to prevent it happening either. I conceived again on the very next cycle. 

I put on a brave ‘I can do this’ face, but inside I was even more anxious than last time. Right from the start of this pregnancy I was looking out for signs that our worst fears were happening and we were losing this baby too. 

At around 6 weeks I experienced some spotting, a healthy ultrasound, followed by heavy bleeding, followed by another healthy ultrasound. 

Each time I walked in to that ultrasound room for another check up I felt sick in my bones. I was sure that this time they would tell us the bad news. 

I spent my days mostly horizontal. I was so afraid of doing anything that would make the bleeding worse. The stress and anxiety was debilitating.

I tried to stay hopeful. I read countless stories from other women who had experienced bleeding throughout their entire pregnancies and their babies were born healthy. 

At our ten week ultrasound history repeated. “I’m sorry, there is no heartbeat.”

Why was this happening to us again!?

I chose to have another D&C, as last time it was the smoothest, least drawn-out choice. This time though, I sat in a small room right outside the maternity suite for an entire day waiting for my turn in theatre. I heard newborn babies crying on and off for hours. It was the most painful form of torture. 

Eventually it was my turn and a few hours later we got to go home.

This time was different. I had lost all hope. I no longer wanted to ever think about being pregnant again. Focusing on the positive of trying again wasn’t an option anymore. 

We decided it was time for an official break. Maybe even an indefinite one. 

The thought of never having another baby broke my heart. But it was also a reality I needed to get my head around. It forced me to take the time to grieve our babies properly, without distracting myself with looking forward to having another. It also meant I had to be really intentional about my life and finding a way to be happy without another baby.

I started looking after myself  for the sake of me, not for a baby, or for a future pregnancy. I worked my way though my own personal happy list. I practiced lots of yoga and meditation. I wrote three pages in my journal every morning. I saw my counsellor. I did breath work. I learnt so much about myself during this time.

About 7 or 8 months later I started to feel ready to try again. I had come to a place where I felt like the risk of being hurt again was worth the great love that having a baby brings. I went in knowing that I could lose another baby but that I was going to be all in anyway. I wasn’t going to steal any of the enjoyment of pregnancy by living in hesittant expectation of the worst.

This time, I knew how to stay on top of my anxiety and how to look after all parts of me throughout the process; physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. 

We conceived again quickly. I kept the news to myself. I knew I wanted to be really careful about who and what I gave my energy to.

On June 29th 2018, I gave birth to our perfectly healthy baby Luca.

Of course, this isn’t the end of my story and in many ways is only just the beginning.

Each week I get emails from women around the world about the practices, the videos and the words I share online about fertility, miscarriage, anxiety, pregnancy and early motherhood. 

I’m so bloody grateful that I get to share my story while sitting at home in my pjs with sticky happy baby in my lap, and my two crazy boys running circles around me. 

If you’ve read this far, thank you for being here. I hope you find what it is you’re looking for.  

And now tell me. What’s your story? I’ve got a cuppa in hand, ready ears and an open heart. 

Get to know me a little better...

20 Responses to “About

  • Hi Bettina, I follow you on IG and I would LOVE to interview you for my YogaMama series of talks with mamas who are applying their yoga to the role of motherhood. Hit me up via email and we can arrange a time to skype, if you are keen 🙂
    Best,
    Kate

  • Hi Bettina I am so sorry to hear about your loss. You are very wise and have good insight. It does take time to navigate through all of these feelings and I think a lot of us women can relate to feeling guilt around our feelings…I also sometimes get stuck in feeling sorry for myself and really don’t like that place…yes be patient and kind to yourself…I keep shifting my focus back to the things and people I have got in my life and focusing energy on that, when I need gain a different perspective…..TOTALLY understandable for you to feel all of these things and for it to perhaps take lots of time…self compassion all the way, our biggest lesson in life I have found…Thank you for being authentic and raw and open..warmest wishes Suzie xxx

    • Bettina Rae
      5 years ago

      Thank you Suzie. Guilt is such a hard one to navigate. But the common message seems to be to give myself time. I’m doing my best to listen. xxx

  • Elizabeth A Hurlbutt
    4 years ago

    Are you the same Bettina Rae who was on the Witching of Ben Wagner?

    • Bettina Rae
      3 years ago

      Nope wrong girl. Though you wouldn’t believe how many people ask me this!

  • Filipa Moraes
    3 years ago

    I just joined the yoga online circle in some videos you talked about the “birthing course”, where can i find this content?

    • Bettina Rae
      3 years ago

      In the Online Yoga Circle, click through to the pregnancy page and it’s down the bottom “Yoga Wisdom for Birth”. x

  • Susanne
    2 years ago

    Hi Bettina, in your sping video u talk about womb massage, where can I find the video/content? Thanks for everything

    • Bettina Rae
      2 years ago

      Hi Susanne, I ended up creating a PDF instead of a video. You can find it on the main page with all the other resources. Let me know if you have any issues.

  • dorothy7186
    1 year ago

    Just wanted to say thank you for sharing your wonderful practice with us. I have been a yogi for years, but did not enjoy the blessing of finding you until now… with my third pregnancy. It’s all been a gift!

    • Bettina Rae
      1 year ago

      Oh this makes me very happy to hear! Sending you love and strength for birth round 3. x

    • Sinead
      1 year ago

      Hi Bettina, Im a mum to a 3 year old girl and have been trying to get pregnant for 2 years. I should say also that I’m a late mother. My husband and I were together for 7 years before conceiving. I started practising yoga and got pregnant a short time after. I don’t want to be fooled and think yoga is the magic answer but after a tricky marriage since the birth of my daughter it couldn’t hurt right?? Ps I just found you admist this lock down and I’m so grateful that I have!

      • Bettina Rae
        1 year ago

        Hi Sinead, I’m so glad that you’ve found me too. It’s not the magic answer to solve all of your problems but it definitely helps you get through the hard stuff. What struck me about your comment is that you mention your marriage has been tricky after your daughter. I only bring this up as we went through a real rough patch after we had our first boy too. (We actually separated for a while). Are you worried that another child may affect your marriage further? Feel free to email me if you’d like to talk about this further. x

  • hi Bettina,
    Im new to your website and enjoying pregnancy yoga videos every single day as Im in my first trimester. I was wondering if you have any suggestion brands for Yoga Bolster. I have bought 2 of them so far but they are too firm and hurting my back so I had to return them. Thank you so much for your knowledge and insight and god bless you

    • Bettina Rae
      10 months ago

      Hi Aida, I got mine from Iyogaprops.com.au but I’m not sure what shipping is like to where you are in the world.

  • Hi Bettina,
    I wanted to order the ‘yoga for anxiety during pregnancy course’ but was unable to proceed the payments because I could not find the cart anywhere? Could you help me out? 🙂
    Warm greetings from the Netherlands

    • Bettina Rae
      9 months ago

      I’ve just sent you an email with instructions to help do this. Let me know if you can’t.

  • Hi Bettina,
    Thank you so much for your inspiring story. I will check out your yoga courses for sure!
    I was just wondering: do you have a post / video somewhere about any investigations you ordered after your third miscarriage? Or did you not go into that, and just had faith that it would be OK next time? 🙂 Kind of going through the same situation, so that’s why I’m asking it.
    Thank you for your answer and enjoy your weekend.
    Eloj

    • Bettina Rae
      9 months ago

      I don’t actually but I should! I started working with a naturopath who looked into all the usual nutritional levels (iron, etc). But then also checked my hormones around different parts of my cycle. (A GP could also do this but their considered ‘normal’ levels are not always optimal just be aware). They also looked in MTHFR gene mutation. That’s all I can remember at the moment but I will definitely write a post on this. Good luck. x

  • Sophie v jessup
    2 months ago

    I loved this, so beautiful and very calming to watch. My rainbow baby is due in December. Thank you for your videos I’m finding them very uplifting and inspiring at this time. Blessings to you and your family 💖

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