Baby Bradshaw Teaching Mama & Daddy All About Parenting


Skylar Schultz , Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

On September 16, a new member of the Notre Dame family was brought into this world. 

After about six hours of labor, Isla (eye-la) June Bradshaw was born at 10:45 pm to her proud parents, Melanie and Matt. She weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces and measured 20 inches in length, and is currently “healthy and absolutely perfect.” 

Art teacher Melanie Bradshaw described her whole labor and delivery as “relatively quick.”

“I was hoping to have an unmedicated birth and was able to make that happen, thanks to my husband and close friend who was also in the delivery room with us,” said the new mom. 

“They were amazing coaches and helped keep me focused and in control.” 

The initial moments of the birth were a bit more interesting, as Mrs. Bradshaw’s water burst in the school parking lot

However, the Bradshaws have been settling into a much calmer parental life. 

“We learn something new every day about being parents,” she wrote. “Whether it is learning from Isla herself – what works for her and what doesn’t – or searching the internet in the wee hours of the night to find out how to properly wrap a swaddle, we are constantly growing in this role.”

“I think the biggest thing we have learned is just that you have to do what works in the moment,” reflected Bradshaw. “What works one day might not work the next. If it seems like she is settling into a routine, and we feel like we know what to expect, next thing you know she is doing something different, and the timeline doesn’t fit anymore.” 

Despite the never-ending roller coaster of raising a child, the couple seems to be ready for the ride. “She has definitely changed our daily habits and routines, but I think both of us are really enjoying the process of learning how to be her mom and dad.”

The baby’s name is certainly an interesting one. Currently the 68th most popular, according to, female baby name in the United States, Bradshaw described it as “an older name that seems to be coming back into style.” 

According to, a baby name forum and information site, “Isla originated in Scotland as a derivation of Islay, the name of one of the country’s islands.”

 While the name’s true origin story is a mystery, it is believed to have pre-Celtic origins, as well as roots in Spanish, since isla translates to island in Spanish.

Bradshaw herself discovered the name at an art museum in Minneapolis and liked “the feminine, melodic sound of it.”  

Her husband was not quite as convinced, but, according to Bradshaw, “He ended up warming up to it, and he actually made the ultimate decision in the hospital.”

As Bradshaw and her husband have been adapting and learning, a new face has joined our halls to continue teaching in her  stead. 

Bradshaw said that she and Mrs. Carlson “were able to meet a couple of times before I left to talk about the art curriculum.” 

After laying out a general map of the semester, Bradshaw left Carlson to use that as “an overarching guide and adapting the day to day to her own teaching style and strengths.” 

During her maternity leave absence, the teachers have been maintaining communication via email. “I plan to stop at school at some point to drop off some clay,” said the new mother. 

Bradshaw will be returning to Notre Dame a few weeks before the end of the semester and plans to “check  in with her as that time gets closer so we can make a smooth transition before finals.”

“I know they are in good hands and am excited to see what they create in my absence. I look forward to seeing everyone in December,” said the art teacher, a sentiment echoed by everyone here at Notre Dame Academy.