A helping hand for yourself and others


Having kids adds a different dimension to an already busy and active lifestyle. When Michelle Russell had her daughters, she found out exactly what that meant. Thankfully Bellyful were able to help her with dinner plans and give Michelle an opportunity to help out friends who were in the same situation.

Michelle Russell literally has her hands full with her two girls. Wednesday is an ‘at home’ day for everyone, and Jazz (3) and Kira (seven months) both want some morning snuggles with mum.

Whether she is having an at home day or a work day, Michelle’s week is generally quite full on. She is an ice-skating coach and personal trainer. This requires her to travel to different locations around Christchurch to meet and train clients.

When Jazz was born, a different type of full-on life was introduced to Michelle. “I used to wonder what people did all day after they had kids. I used to think people would have so much time to do things,” Michelle laughs.

Life with a new baby can be demanding, as Michelle and Buzz (her husband, who works as a firefighter) soon found out. For the first 6 months they didn’t know Jazz was having trouble digesting dairy. It meant an exhausting struggle with a newborn who wasn’t putting on weight, crying all the time and was generally a very unhappy baby. Not that any of that is visible today of course as Jazz bounces around the room showing of her sparkly nail polish.

At the time of Jazz’s birth, one of Michelle’s figure skating clients offered to refer her to Bellyful, but Michelle declined the offer. “I had prepared meals beforehand and even though Mum worked full-time she had stocked us up with meals as well. I felt that someone else probably needed the help more than I did.”

When Kira arrived, Michelle not only had a toddler, but her husband was recovering from an injury. She didn’t have the supply of meals prepared like last time so when the offer of a Bellyful referral was made again, she didn’t refuse.

Bellyful cooks and delivers meals to families with newborn babies or young children who are struggling with illness. A new baby can be a challenge in itself, and Bellyful aims to ease the transition by giving families one less thing to think or worry about – what’s for dinner?

“Knowing I had the meals meant that I could spend time with Jazz rather than making dinner while the baby slept. She really needed the one-on-one time in the first few months. It also reduced dishes!”

Michelle has found that referring other people to Bellyful has been a great way to help friends who are going through a similar phase of adjusting to life with a new baby. “You want to be able to help them, but your day can go pear-shaped real fast and so you might not get the chance. Referring someone to Bellyful is a great way to pay it forward to other busy mums”.

Words by Tamara Bisseker
Photos by Radhika Naidu

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