There is something truly insta-captivating about ‘Chasing The Summer Fields’ where mama of three, Jas, documents snippets of her little ones’ happy and sleepy days. She has created a space that is focused on the positivity to be found in treasured moments. Maybe it’s the heart melting scenes of her babes sleeping soundly side by side, and the tender moments of sibling affection, but we are not alone in wanting to lap up the slow and simple ways of this beautiful family. We spoke to Jas about the empowering experience of birthing newborn Caris in the car, what advice she would give to mums preparing for labour, and the importance of having a village of support when tackling the no-so-easy side of motherhood.
Your Instagram shows some seriously beautiful photos of your little ones sleeping soundly side by side. Tell us, are they always ‘really’ sleeping and do you set up the perfect shot without them stirring?
I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to risk waking them. They can be quite light sleepers and I rely on their nap time either for a nap myself, some ‘me time,’ or one-on-one time with Caris if she isn’t ready for a nap. I have moved them before to try and recreate a photo from the year before, and a ‘perfect’ photo is definitely not worth an afternoon of overtired kids as a result of interrupted sleep. I’d prefer for them to have a reel full of photos that capture moments of their childhood, rather than poses.
Sharing photos of Quinn, Theo and Caris has resulted in you connecting with so many followers of @chasingthesummerfields, how important is it to ‘keep it real’ and balance reality with a beautiful feed.
I love to document our days, share snippets of what we love, and connect with other mums, especially during the more difficult seasons in my journey throughout motherhood. I’ve made genuine and lifelong friendships through Instagram, both local and long distance, and I’m better and happier for it. They have become an integral part of my support system alongside my friends and family.
I like to keep my space here positive and focus on the most treasured aspects of our days. In the last two years, since I’ve been using this space, I’ve posted to Instagram differently, depending on how I feel I’ve needed to at the time. That’s the beauty of it, there’s something here for everyone, whether it be for support, a creative outlet, finding inspiration, a form of documentation, connecting with those on the same wavelength as you, or a combination of these.
Your mum caught baby Caris in the car whilst you were on your way to the birthing centre. Tell us what that whole experience was like?
It definitely wasn’t as I had planned, or expected, but it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. There are so many facets to it, and so many emotions involved, that it’s almost impossible to describe in its entirety. One thing is certain though, my mum, hubby and I will always share such an amazing bond with each other, and especially with Caris. I have a newfound respect and trust in my body, and I thank it for carrying out a normal and an uncomplicated birth in a place that was very obviously unequipped for medical intervention. It was empowering, it was something I feel I needed to experience in my life, and it was simply meant to be.
As a midwife, what’s the best piece of advice you can offer mum’s as they prepare themselves for labour?
Be informed. Educate yourself and explore your options. Be supported. Align yourself with techniques you feel will help you such as hypnobirthing, having a doula, acupuncture etc. Feel comfortable with your midwife/OB and the model of care you choose. Know that you can switch this at any given time if something doesn’t ‘feel right’ for you. Ask all and any of the questions you have. Research the answers you are given. Know your rights, chose to explore evidence-based research and facts, and make informed decisions. Listen to other people’s experiences of labour and birth to know just how different it is for each individual.
Be in tune with your instincts and your body. Have a flexible birth plan that is supported and respected by your birthing team. Don’t let anticipation turn into anxiety, fear is your worst enemy. Try not to view contractions as something to fight, rather, relax and let your body ride the wave of them. But most of all, trust yourself in your mind, body and spirit, and know that no matter what, you can do no wrong. Your experience in birthing your baby is yours, and yours only. You can not compare that to anyone else’s.
Being a mum brings so much fulfilment but also brings challenges, how do you tackle the not-so-easy side of motherhood?
I have amazing support. My village may be small, but it is mighty. And I couldn’t do it without them. Sometimes I fall short, some days I don’t have it together, sometimes I get terribly overwhelmed by it all, and on those days I lean on my family and friends. There’s nothing a good cry, a long chat, a warm hug, and a block of chocolate can’t fix.
I’m still definitely working on a balance and rhythm being a mother of three. It takes all of the forgiveness. All of the grace. All of the love. All of the willingness and determination to get up again and try even harder when you stumble and fall.
It’s staying positive, having an unwavering faith that ‘this too shall pass,’ and knowing that when it does, we will crave to have it all back and relive it, both the good and the challenging parts. It’s a beautiful chaos that challenges you to your core and brings you unequivocal joy. And that is so worth all of the difficult times.
Your own mother was right about…
Absolutely everything, except Caris’ gender - we all guessed that one wrong, but that’s a first for her!
For more, visit Jas's instagram @chasingthesummerfields