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As a mum of six, Jana Pittman knows there’s not a lot of down time in a busy family, especially when baby twins are in the mix. But you only have to look at her successes – including SAS Australia, Olympic sports and her reinvention as a medical doctor – to understand that she seems to have energy and determination to burn!
Jana might make it look easy – her Easter holiday hike to the summt of Mount Kosciusko is a prime example – but she acknowledges that “It has been the hardest and best time of my life.”
The doctor regularly posts about her family, sharing photos of her kids – Cornelis (15), Emily (6), Jemina (5), Charlie (18 months) and babies Willow and Quinlan – as well as her pregnancy, labour and birth stories.
However, it’s rare to see a shot of the whole “crew”, including her husband Paul Gatward – Charlie and the twins’ father.
On May 5, 2022, her followers were treated to a gorgeous family portrait that she captioned “A rare photo of the whole crew…”
Jana Pittman’s family grew by two when Quinlan and Willow were born in March 2022.
After the twins were born earlier than expected – at 35 weeks – they spent some in special care, which was heart-wrenching for Jana and Paul, and no doubt the twins’ siblings.
“I hated not holding them as they needed blue lights for their jaundice, their feet constantly pricked for blood tests,” she said after their births.
“Most of all I hated that they were separated in different cribs covered in monitoring leads despite being womb buddies for eight months.”
Since then the family has gone from strength to strength with both babies growing well and their older siblings stepping into their new roles beautifully.
“Corr is amazing,” Jana told New Idea when talking about how he helped feed the babies when she was exhausted. She also shared a cute video of Jemima settling Quinlan while Mum was busy with Willow.
Even while juggling a large family, Jana is clear that her priorities are to all her children, not just the twins. Pictures of Anzac Day traditions and a hike up Mount Kosciusko show that it’s business as usual for her tribe.
Anzac Day 2022 started with driveway candles – which has become a bit tradition since COVID – “then national dawn service on TV, we then headed to Sydney city for the ANZAC parade and then over to garden island to look at the navy ships..” she posted.
Jana continues to maintain important family traditions as she doesn’t want the twins’ arrival to
Photos of her snuggling her two babies inside her coat make parenting look a breeze, and after four kids she’s had a bit of practice and is keen to remind people of that, as she copped some backlash for making other parents feel inferior.
“Yes you may call me crazy hiking #mountkosciuszko with newborn twins but having a big family of 6 means I want the other kids to feel they aren’t too displaced by the new additions!! Furthermore for me fresh air prevents postpartum depression.. and I was really feeling the weight of my bedroom! So we went to #thredbo for 4 days 🤪😜
“We made it to the top! Such a stunning walk! A must if you haven’t done it in summer 🌺 🌸”
“For me, fresh air prevents postpartum depression.. and I was really feeling the weight of my bedroom.”
Her hike post received thousands of comments, and not all of them positive, with many suggesting it wasn’t the best way to treat a five-week postpartum body. In typical style, Jana didn’t avoid responding to her audience in a lengthy and honest reply in the comments.
“Firstly everyone is different and my body felt ready but I also truly believe in the old endorphins being good for the soul. I have had 6 kids, I have too done the lock down and do very minimal for 2 mths, in a baby bubble and ladies it was hard! Much harder than this recovery. The postnatal depression was real and I felt sour and deflated. The last 2 births I changed that and tried getting out and doing long walks and felt amazing. We walked slowly and took lots of breaks as appropriate.
“I am also a baby wearer so they slept beautifully against my skin for bonding..” she continued, adding that she posts honestly – one of the reasons she’s so popular – and that she’s working with a physio to help guide and strengthen her postnatal body.
She concluded by saying her post was intended to inspire, not to make others feel bad, and that we should lift each other up rather than comparing ourselves to others.
You can watch her video reaction here…
“What’s right for each of us is very different but I truly believe that even when you can barely think due to fatigue.. the endorphins from a walk and getting out and about can make a huge difference in your recovery,” she wrote in a post following the Mount Kosciuszko trek.