Remember Why You Started

Close your eyes and think about what you were doing 10 years ago. Can you remember—to the day? This year marks 10 years of publishing Lady Melbourne and because the Internet is the Internet, I can go back in time and see what I published, even down to the date and time of day.

When I think about what life was like then compared to now, I thought it was time to remember why I started the blog. Because lately, I feel like the true reason has been lost somewhat.

There’s a number of reasons why—the ever changing digital landscape, readers straying to platforms like Instagram, having a baby, moving house and everything in between.

Here’s some life events I’ve experienced since starting the blog:

Moving house three times, a bitter relationship breakdown and the consequent heartache, going back to study, travelling the world, meeting my husband, getting married and now having a baby. Bits and pieces have made it to these pages but a lot’s been kept private, because you’re not here to read about my emotional journey, you’re here to read about fashion. Or are you?

You see having a baby has changed my perspective on so many things, in the main part bringing a searing honesty to the forefront of my life. You simply can’t outrun the grounding reality that is childbirth—it anchors you to the precise moment in your life when you gave birth, physically and emotionally. It’s like having your eyes pinned open so you see the world in different colours and tones. You are physically different because of pregnancy and childbirth—an unremarkable, but at the same time unchangeable, fact. And what, I ask myself, does this have to do with fashion or blogging?

For me, it has everything to do with it because it’s been my career; a career in which I’ve spent 10 years photographing myself and publishing on the internet. Exposing my figure, my wardrobe, what I wear on a day-to-day basis, my makeup, and haircuts—basically my entire physical appearance. Until I had my baby, not too much changed year to year. And then all of a sudden, it did.

Very quickly, when I fell pregnant, my body started to change and my clothes didn’t fit. I felt sick and everything had to be stretch. Before I knew it, I was so big I was wearing mu-mus. “Fantastic!” you might be thinking, “what’s wrong with that?” Nothing at all, only it wasn’t how I liked to dress, and how I dress is intrinsically linked to my identity. No matter, the baby would be pushed out and everything would just go back to normal, right?

Wrong! In all honesty I had no idea what to expect would happen after she was born, but the feeling of my identity being shifted was really quite unexpected. The majority of my wardrobe became instantly redundant after childbirth because I didn’t lose all my baby weight in six weeks like the celebs you see on Instagram (funny that), and breastfeeding put paid to anything that didn’t button up. Literally. Easy access was needed at all times or I ended up topless or hiking a dress up from my knees to my neck every time the baby needed to feed.

So there I was all of a sudden with a limited wardrobe and a blog to keep up, where people came everyday to see what I was wearing. I didn’t feel like doing something that had been my life for nine years, for the first time in nine years. Some days it was a struggle to get out of my pyjamas, let alone style a shoot for the blog. When I look back at the content I created last year I’m amazed I got it done at all, and all I can see is a woman who was treading water. Throw in a baby that didn’t sleep, a bout of postnatal depression and it culminated in me just wanting to sit on the couch scrolling through instagram. Depressing right? But more so, I didn’t talk about it then, at a time when I probably needed to talk about it most.

Being a new mum is tough and postnatal depression can tip the whole axis of your world where even getting out of bed is a hurdle and you need help and support in a way that you might never have needed before.

I’ll talk more about this in future blog posts, but for now I thought it was time to stop trying to outrun my shadow and talk to you guys about it, because I get the feeling that sometimes you’re here for more than the clothes. For now I’m going back in time to remember why I started, and to take a look at possibly one of the first fashion bloggers on the internet and a woman who was one of the main inspirations for me starting this blog. Next time, on LM.

  • I love your blog forever 😊

  • Thanks Genevieve, in many ways it seems like just yesterday, it others a life time ago when I started! Who knew everything else would happen in between!

  • Thanks so much Linn, and I know how it feels when you visit a blog and they haven’t updated in a while, it’s so disappointing! But I want you to know that I appreciate you reading for as long as you have, and while life has gotten in the way lately it won’t always be like that x

  • Hi girl 😊As a girl who have read your amazing site since the start I can only say that I have always wanted more content from you then what you have managed to put out 😊Simply because I am a fan 🌺However I realize that life sometimes gets in the way,and you end up having to deal with other things! One of the reasons I love your page is that it is not strictly a fashion page but you also write about drawing, books, personal and fashion! I always search for your book posts! Specially the post “more books and more coffee” I just love it ! Thanks for being honest and writing your story…the truth is we are all just human, and that’s ok! I hope you find a solution and take charge again. Good luck!

  • Gorgeous post Phoebe. I’m sorry to hear about your struggle with postnatal depression and hope others can take inspiration from your candor and strength. Congratulations on 10 years of Lady Melbourne. A proud achievement for your pioneering endeavor. x

  • We all evolve, most certainly! There’s no escaping it. Seems foolish to deny. Perhaps it takes experience to learn? Thanks for the feedback Jodie. Much appreciated! xx

  • Thanks Lesley. You’re right, of course. Honesty is always best. Sometimes though it mystifyingly takes time to realise this simple truth! xx

  • Lesley

    Write from the heart and what makes you feel good and satisfies you. When you do that, it’s always worth reading

  • Jodie Elliott

    I love this. This parenting gig is hard. Physically and emotionally. We all evolve, and so too should your blog. Listen to your soul: it will tell you what you need to do. Much love xx