Growing A Family: MadeByLon

March 26, 2014

By Gabrielle.

If you’re an avid Instagrammer and lover of moms who mostly snap adorable glimpses of their babies, chances are good that you’re already following Madelon, known as MadeByLon. There’s just something about her that charms her nearly 18,000 friends. It might be her aesthetic, it might be her sweet humility, or it might be the way she strives to capture all those moments you think you’ll remember…but you don’t. We cheered her on while she was pregnant with her daughter, and waited anxiously alongside her when baby Reva took her sweet time getting here.

Here’s a little chat about it all, plus how she enjoyed having so many Instagrammers follow along her birth story. Oh, and the importance of good maternity jeans! Enjoy, Friends!

Q: Describe the moment you learned you were pregnant.

A: The second time around, it’s less romantic. You decide to try to have a second baby, while with your first it’s something you talk about all the time! It’s more carefree, you just see what happens. So, we decided to give it a go, and two months later I just knew. I was tired, I was nauseous, and I blew up like a balloon. I took a test and within a few seconds it said pregnant.

I was anxious. Two  babies! My life would be over for sure! But I was over the moon at the same time.

We told Sylvester a little later. So much can go wrong the first weeks. Also, he was only two, so to tell him he would have a brother or sister and then let him wait for almost nine months felt cruel. We told most people after the first ultrasound. I don’t know how others experienced it, but the second time you know what the end result is like, so you are more afraid and aware that something can go wrong.

Q: What were your favorite (and not so fave!) moments during pregnancy?

A: My first 16 weeks were awful. I was so tired, and so sick. They call it morning sickness, but that was the only time of day I felt okay! I couldn’t eat anything warm – only salads and fruit. After that? I felt so good! I was on top of the world, with so much energy! I kept eating a lot of fruit, though. I ate a complete melon every day of my pregnancy!

I loved that all the insecurities you have with your first pregnancy are gone, so I was just enjoying the ride.

I didn’t gain that much weight this time, so I wore my normal low rise skinny jeans during my pregnancy. Next to that a lot of extra long black t-shirts and cardigans. That was sort of my uniform. I bought some maternity clothes, but wore a lot of normal clothes, too.

My fashion advice is to invest in good maternity jeans or pants. When you put them on it feels like you’re in your pajama. So comfy!

Q: Were you sick or energetic? How did you react when strangers wanted to touch your belly?

A: I felt great! Us Dutch people bike everywhere. I did, too, up to 41 weeks of pregnancy. And somehow people didn’t touch my belly. I guess Don’t Touch Me was written all over my face…

Q: You shared it all on Instagram, which I love. How has that community changed your life?

A: Honestly, I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram. But most of the time I really, really love it. I’ve met so many wonderful people with great advice, encouraging words, and just genuine interest.

They helped me through maternity leave, especially when I was past my due date. And, after that, during sleepless nights. It was always daytime somewhere! It is an amazing community and it makes the world so much smaller. I’ve made real friends. Some I have met, some I hope to meet one day.

Q: Do you have unwritten rules about your babes’ privacy? Do you ever worry about over-sharing?

A: Yes. Never naked. And I don’t style or make them pose (well, sometimes a little bit!), but mostly I try to capture everyday life. Nothing embarrassing. Just the real deal. I really hope they will cherish it one day.

And I do over-share! I don’t want to, but I do. Even on slow, boring days I sometimes end up with four photos. Well, it’s my diary. If people don’t like it, they just have to unfollow. I understand.

Q: How did you prepare your son for his baby sister? And please talk about the awesome-ness of your husband!

A: We talked about it with Sylvester, but really started when I got a bump. We read books, he went to check ups with me, and it was all very relaxed with no pressure. We even got my boy a doll and he loved it. He played with it, took care of it ,and sometimes poked her eyes out with his toy drill. Boys will be boys!

Close to birth we let Sylvester pick out a present for his unborn sister. We bought a present for him and when they first met, they gave each other presents. He was really happy with what she picked out and told everybody about it.

We also planned a little bachelor weekend for him. I was 38 weeks pregnant and we celebrated that this was the last time he was our only child. We ate at MC Donald’s, stayed at a hotel – all three in one bed, and yes he was allowed to jump on it! – and went to an amusement park the day after. It was all about him and he loved it.

Q: Were you frightened of the process before delivery? Will you describe Reva’s birth?

A: Oh yes, I was frightened. Sylvester’s birth was…well…to put it nicely…not that pleasant. Almost all that can go wrong, did. Also, in the Netherlands an epidural is not that common. Most women do it without any sort of medication. Even if you want it, it often happens that it’s not possible. So. I really had my mind set on a epidural this time. I was nervous, but blocked the delivery part out of my mind so it wouldn’t take over my pregnancy.

But when I was overdue, the nerves came back. She got bigger and bigger and the time the birth could start was less and less. After 41 weeks, I went to hospital to check if she was okay and set a date for induction. Sylvester went to his grandparents the night before and we just had to show up the next day. I arrived, laid down on a bed, they gave me the medication to induce labor, and ten minutes later I wished for epidural.

The rest of the day was great! I read a magazine, talked to Bart, made fun with the fantastic nurse, and even ordered lunch because I was hungry. I felt no contraction what so ever! At one point my nurse told me to hurry up because she was scheduled to leave at 3:30 pm and she really wanted to deliver my baby.

Reva was born 3:28 pm. She did great and was huge and they laid her on my chest, put a blanket on us, and left. It was just me, Bart, and Reva for more than an hour. It was perfect. Three hours after birth we went home and Sylvester finally met his sister.

Q: Best piece of parenting advice you’ve ever received?

A: Trust your instincts.

Q: You’re gearing up for a major move! Tell us all about it!

A: If all goes according plan and we’re able to sell or rent out our home here, we are moving to LA! I’m nervous and excited. Bart has a new job and it’s an amazing opportunity. I love that we can do this as a family. But I was born here, and all I know is my life as it is. My friends and family are here. It will be hard.

But the weather! The new adventures, exploring the US, just getting out of my comfort zone, and simply being together. I can’t wait. And I still have all my IG friends with me!

Q: Please finish the sentence: To me, being a mother means…

A: It’s not about me anymore. It’s all about them. And that’s okay…most of the time.


Madelon, I love the idea of a bachelor weekend for Sylvester! Like a babymoon, but sweeter! And the gift exchange is another great idea. Thank you so much for sharing yourself with us today! See you on Instagram!

Friends, there’s a lot to discuss! Have you ever embarked on a one-last-hurrah trip like this? Tell us the creative ways you’ve prepared older siblings for the arrival of a new baby, will you please? I always love your ideas. And what about your own rules for posting your children online? Is there a certain age when you stop Instagramming their every magical move?

P.S. – Find all the stories in this series here. Do you have a story about birth, pregnancy, adoption or infertility? Send your story to me, will you please?

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 mau March 26, 2014 at 7:36 am

I’ve been following Madelon since I joined IG over a year ago and love her photos, but most of all her sense of humour. I can’t wait to see how they settle down in LA. Thanks for featuring her, Gaby!


2 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay March 26, 2014 at 10:24 am

Lovely story! :)

I had a girls’ day with my daughter before our son came too. She was almost 4- I was planning to leave town the next day for a long spa weekend. So, we got our nails done and went out to lunch. It was sweet. Little did I know we would get the call that a birth mom would choose us to adopt her baby boy less than 36 hours later. I was out of town when I got the call that he was already born and we got picked for a last minute placement. I arrived back home to meet our little guy. So- I didn’t know it at the time but it was our last mother/daughter date before she became a big sister. I still think back to how special that day was for us.


3 Regina March 26, 2014 at 11:51 pm

My jaw dropped when she said they went home three hours after the birth! I can’t imagine doing that. After I gave birth, all I wanted to do was sleep and stay in the relative comfort of the hospital. The idea of going home and having to make my own meals was not appealing. :) Maybe it will be different the next time around as I have grand plans of being more prepared.

I love the idea of the bachelor’s weekend too.

Congratulations, Madelon, and good luck with your move to the US!


4 Madelon March 28, 2014 at 2:18 am

Hi Regina! It is rather fast, but in the Netherlands you get help at home, the first 5 days (5 hours a day). Every woman who just gave birth gets a maternity nurse at home to help you start up. They help you with the baby, your own healing, they make you breakfast and lunch, they clean and they just are the best. They also make sure you get some sleep. It’s such a luxury!


5 EmilyMarie March 27, 2014 at 12:28 pm

I love that you got to go home so quickly, and that they just let you be alone with your baby. I’m not such a fan of the US hospitals’ policy of monitoring the baby’s every breath for the first few hours. Snuggling afterwards uninterrupted and then going home sounds wonderful!


6 Shannon March 27, 2014 at 6:43 pm

I had the same reaction to reading that Madelon went home after three hours–wow! I was always eager to get home, too, but they never let me go quite that soon!

The bachelor weekend is a very sweet idea. We had special books that we read just about every night during the last month or so before younger siblings arrived. But my favorite thing was when we were preparing for our youngest, who was adopted. We asked our family and friends for fabric squares to represent them in a special (and very colorful!) quilt that we made for her. Collecting the squares kept the older kids busy during the long wait, and Lily loves her blanket and sleeps with it every night. :)


7 Madelon March 28, 2014 at 2:21 am

What a sweet idea! And about leaving the hospital so soon. Us Dutch woman are spoiled with a maternity nurse at home. For 5 days! So I did get help….!


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