Zoe Marshall is a mother, a wife, a TV, radio and podcast host, creator of The Deep, and a self-confessed ‘over-sharer’. (Her candid-ness is exactly why we adore her. She’s not afraid to put the big questions to Instagram: Like, is it possible to really feel comfortable in your pregnant body? And, parenting. How do you know if you’re doing it right?)
So, as Zoe preps to welcome her second baby (a sister for three-year-old Fox), we asked her to chat with us about growing her family, as well as her hopes (and nerves) for the future. She did! Of course, in her delightfully candid style...
Have you always had big plans for a family? One! Two! A whole soccer team?
The weirdest thing is, I actually never thought I wanted children. I went through my life thinking I was going to be childless and very happy with that. I thought and played with the idea of maybe having one child; especially when I met my husband Benj, it became more of a reality for me. But never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have two children! Our choice to have a second baby had a lot to do with my husband and his want for a big family. But I’ve also started to yearn for moments passed with Fox and I couldn’t imagine not having those moments with a baby again.
How did your own experience growing up affect that decision?
I was an only child and absolutely loved it! I thrived. I thought it was the best thing in the world. I had lots of cousins that I could hang out with all day, then I could retreat home and be in the quiet and peace by myself. I’ve never really had or understood the sibling bond so I don’t know what I’m missing. To be really honest my identity has been challenged with having two children. I’m confused at how to manage, what it looks like, and how it’s all going to be.
Now you’re expecting a little girl. Cute! When did you know the right time was right to go again?
I think it was that moment when I was really yearning for a bit of newborn bliss. I’m also 36 and I knew that with endometriosis in my history, it might be hard to fall pregnant! I just had a longing that I knew I couldn’t deny.
Let’s talk about pregnancy. How has it been the second time around?
It is astronomically different. This pregnancy has been challenging from the start. I was having morning sickness from week four to week 20. I had to cancel all of my work for three months and couldn’t get off the couch. I was incredibly miserable and just surviving that first trimester. I did have that with my son but I never felt it was so debilitating.
But, I also feel so much juicier and womanly than I did with my son. Really juicy boobies and bum and arms and legs and face – everything is round and voluptuous and that might have something to do with carrying a girl or maybe just being a second pregnancy.
I’ve also been diagnosed with gestational diabetes which was a huge shock. It really rattled me because food is my passion and one of my driving forces in life! For it to be restricted and controlled was a challenge. I’ve also had to start taking insulin at night to manage my fasting levels. I fought initially to not go down that road but I’ve made peace with that now, and it’s really helping me.
Fox is all kinds of adorable! Is he pumped to become a big brother?
I think preparing him for a sibling is such a crucial part of this next stage. He’s understood from the beginning that there’s a baby in my tummy. He talks to her, and makes plans with her. And he has big ideas about what life will be like with her. But I had an idea that I wanted to initiate him into brotherhood. So we’ll have a small party at home, just the three of us, with a cake and a crown and a big brother superhero cape. And he’ll be anointed with the responsibility and the joy of being a big brother.
How have you been preparing?
I’ve been trying to, but I’m not sure how? I worked a bit with my therapist trying to prepare for the inevitable overwhelm, but I just don’t think you can do that in this situation. It’s one of those things that you need to learn as you go. A lot of surrender. I have dedicated an incredible amount of support for my postpartum healing. And I hope that will mean a gentle start to being a mother of two.
Anything about life with two rascals that makes you nervous?
Everything! Absolutely everything.
What does give you confidence?
I feel confident in the way I’m raising Fox, and I think that will naturally spill over to raising our daughter. I’m also comfortable in who I am as a woman and feel like that will hopefully be helpful when raising her.
What are you most proud of in your mothering journey so far?
The dedication I have to my son, and the consciousness and awareness I want him to have in the world. It’s really important to me to raise Fox with diversity and difference – understanding his privilege and the way the world is for a cis-gendered, white-presenting male and what responsibility that holds for him – and in relation to others that may not be like him. We have a focus on community and how he will be able to give back one day.