“I’m Not 100% Today”

Say these words out loud. “I’m not 100% today.” Say it out loud until you can hear it ring through your head. And when your husband, wife, friend or family member asks you if you’re ok, you’ll be able to say “I’m not 100% today.”

Sure, we must say positive affirmations over and over again. It’s so important we do that. “I’m beautiful!”, “I’m happy!”, “My life is GREAT!”, “I’m going to beat all my challenges today!”

But you know what? Some days are just SHIT. You’ve woken up with a heavy heart and you don’t know why. You can’t shake it off, you can’t look in the mirror and put a fake smile on to face the world. 

And that’s ok. 

But don’t hide your feelings because they’ll fester for days. Tell someone, as soon as you feel it. Don’t pretend and say “Yeah I’m ok.”, or “I’m fine.” There’s no need for that. Be honest. 

My husband was annoyed a few weeks ago. I kept asking him what was wrong and he kept saying “Everything’s fine.” But I knew he wasn’t. He was quiet and a little tense. A few days later, we had a long talk about how angry he was over a certain issue. “Why didn’t you tell me straight away? Why wait this long, until you’re so angry?”, was my response to him. We’ve talked about it and have decided that we are going to try and voice our unhappiness immediately (but gently of course).

The other day, I woke up feeling unhappy. No reason. I was just unhappy. I knew I was going to be snappy. I was quiet and prickly. 

But I did what I’ve never really done before. I spoke up about my true feelings straight away. We’d already had breakfast and I crawled back into bed. He came into our bedroom and I looked up at him and said, “I’m not 100% today. I don’t know why, but I just am.” 

And he heard me. 

All day, he came up and cuddled me. Kissed me. Hugged me. No words, no questions asked, no solutions offered. Just pure love and affection. And I could feel, within a couple of hours, I was back to my happy self again. 

Because I felt loved. 

Don’t be afraid to say how you feel, don’t try and be brave and say “It’s all ok”. You don’t have to yell it out or scream. You can just say these simple words “I’m not 100% today.” This could be something you could talk to your partner about now, to let them know that when you feel this way sometimes, is to just give much needed attention and affection, or whatever you think will help lift your spirits. 

Head over to my other blog titled #MyRescuePlan for more help with your bad days. 

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Is Happiness Really The Best Revenge?

They say “Happiness is the best revenge”. But after a certain point, I wonder, does the pursuit of revenge make one truly happy?

I’m writing from the point of being divorced about 7 years ago. Then I remarried and had another couple of kids. When I got divorced, my depression spiraled to the depths of hell. The property settlement and child custody battle with my ex husband took a bashing on my mental health. Then I read somewhere that the best revenge was to be happy. To appear happy was the best I could come up with at the start.

After years of working on my own mental health, I learnt that showing my ex husband that I was happy, wasn’t actually making me happy at all. It felt like a competition in my own head that I had to make sure he knew how great my life was. I had to make sure I did everything I could to outdo his own happiness. And the competition was draining.

Of course, I wasn’t exactly pretending. My life – since I left him, really is great. I’m married to a man that is amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better man, husband, father and step father to our children. But somehow, I still kinda wanted my ex husband to know that I was doing fantastic – without him.

When you see children playing at the park with their best friends, you see pure happiness in their faces. They don’t try and pretend to be happy in order for their other friends to think they’re happy. They’re just happy.

That’s when I realized how silly I was.

Did my ex husband care about my current happiness? Probably, most likely – No. So why was I trying to prove something that didn’t need proving?

So over the last 4-5 years, I decided to just be happy. For me. I worked on myself. I still continually find ways to make my life better, to learn to be comfortable with who I am. To concentrate on my own happiness, which led to everything else pretty much falling into place.

Revenge became irrelevant to me. Revenge put a negative slant to my own pursuit of happiness. The need for revenge made my ex still part of my life. And so I decided that revenge, isn’t for me.

And dare I say… I’m even happy for my ex. I’m happy he has a family and new additions as well. 

So “Is happiness really the best revenge”? It may work at the beginning, when you’re still angry… And being angry… is not being happy. You don’t see truly happy people going out seeking revenge. But you can fake it til you make it.

Don’t forget to actually work towards your own happiness and inner peace. Once that is achieved, revenge is no longer relevant, nor will it be in the forefront of your mind.

Pursue happiness for YOU. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I Was Blaming Myself Because I Was The One Carrying The Baby.”

Bec and her partner have been together for 18 years. They travelled to Europe together and had the most amazing time. When they got back home to Perth, her partner J, finally confessed to Bec that he really wanted to be a Dad. She was a little bit surprised at first, but she embraced the thought of having a child with the man she loved. She went off the Pill, and fell pregnant with their beautiful daughter Kayla. Bec was 32.

Since having Kayla, Bec suffered 3 miscarriages, all within 8 months between each other.

She was 11 weeks pregnant when she had her first miscarriage at home. It was on a Thursday, and because she doesn’t work on Thursdays, she was so thankful she was home at the time it actually happened. She felt awful; she felt it was an “absolute nightmare”. She sat at home and cried her eyes out.

Her daughter Kayla, who was about 2 at the time, tried to comfort Bec by wiping her tears off her face. “What’s wrong Mummy, what’s wrong?”

J’s sister babysat Kayla, while him and Bec went to the Emergency Department.

“Well, we got back late that night, so the first thing I did was have a beer!” she chuckled. “I haven’t had a drink for a while, and you know what, (I thought) bugger this, I’m having a drink. We were stuck in the emergency department for ages and all the nurses kept asking me if I was okay. But no one really pays attention to your partner.” And when they got home, Bec asked J, “How are YOU? How you going?” He had just lost a kid as well. They chatted for the rest of the night, then told the rest of the family about it the next day and they were all really supportive.

Bec didn’t handle the miscarriage all that well. She started drinking a lot and doing “stupid things”. She thought she was okay, but she knew deep down, she really wasn’t. It was only after a few months later that she realised she wasn’t dealing with life all too well and so she decided to get counselling. It helped her, though she didn’t think it would at first.

“I was always against that sort of thing. I always thought how can someone who doesn’t know you, would have any clue how to help you?”

But when she started speaking to someone about it, “She helped me realize it was basically a self-confidence thing. I felt it was my fault that it happened and without realizing it, I was blaming myself because I was the one carrying the baby. (She taught) self-love, and the ‘look in the mirror thing and tell yourself you love yourself thing’. I still find that difficult to do!” she laughs. She started keeping a diary to get all her feelings out, instead of bottling it all inside her.

Her next two miscarriages, were just as awful. Since then, she’d been to the gynecologist and did all the tests, but there was nothing physically wrong with her or J. “There’s no REAL reason why it’s happening.”

I asked Bec how J coped with all the miscarriages. “Pretty good, he probably went a bit into himself but he does that anyway. He’s quite the introvert. He tried to be as supportive as he can for us. But he never blamed me for it or anything like that, I was doing enough of that to myself!” And J would always say, “We’re in it together, it’s crap for the BOTH of us.”

“We put it down to nature. Obviously there was something wrong with them. For some reason, they weren’t quite right and nature was looking after all of us as a family. So we are kinda looking at it like that, maybe it’s for the best.”

“Did it bring you and J closer?” I asked.

“Yes, especially right after it’s happened. Because really, we both lost another chance of being a parent again. It makes us appreciate Kayla more too! She might be our only one… And she’s pretty perfect so we can’t complain!” she giggled.

What Do You Want The World To Know?

“When people say you’ll get used to it, you don’t. It’s a LIFE you’re never gonna meet. You do sort of start planning and how they’re gonna be different or the same to what Kayla was. Are they gonna play together?”

“And they’re not gonna be there anymore. But I’ll always remember them. I’m always gonna remember the days I lost those three. I’ve lost what ‘could’ve been’. In some ways, it gets harder because you really don’t think if it’s gonna keep happening. And then it does. And then I think how and why does it keep happening to me? If you DO fall pregnant again, you’re constantly paranoid for that first 3 months – that you’re going to lose it again. You’re supposed to have this glow and excitement that your child is going to have another sibling, and instead; every time you go to the toilet, you look straight at the toilet paper, you’re waiting to see if there’s any spots, or something that’s not supposed to be there. You’re constantly in fear that it’s going to happen again. It’s something you’re supposed to be quietly celebrating but instead, you’re just paranoid. You think it’s not gonna happen again, and then it does, and then you think it can’t possibly happen again. And it does.” She throws her hands up in the air, “And I think WHY is this happening to me?”

“I’m obviously not alone. I realized that after reading your blog. You do kinda feel sometimes that you’re the only person that this keeps happening to. You know people who have had one or two miscarriages but you don’t usually come across any more than that. So you kinda feel alone. And that’s just not the case. And since reading your blog, I’ve realized there are a lot of people who are going through it. Don’t give up. You’re not alone. We will have to give up eventually because we’re not getting any younger. We are going to keep trying until early next year, otherwise just one (child) it is!”

Bec has been given a prescription for progesterone for when she does fall pregnant again. And when she does, the first thing she has to do is to take them, then see a gynecologist straight away. They will start monitoring her “right from the get go”. She will have to get scans straightaway, and whatever else they deem necessary, in the hopes she doesn’t suffer yet another miscarriage again.

 

My Thoughts

I wish Bec, J and Kayla all the best in their journey to expanding their family. Whatever the outcome, they will always have each other’s support, including support from their family and their closest friends. I hope Bec’s story will help others who have suffered miscarriages and know that whatever emotional turmoil they are going through, that they are certainly not alone.


“Dad, Open Your Eyes, Why Aren’t You Opening Your Eyes?

3 years ago

It was about 7 am when Amy heard the kids wake up. Their normal routine was to come out of their bedroom, head to the lounge room to wake Joe up. He slept there most nights as he would have to get up early for work, and didn’t want to be woken up by Amy, who had to be up several times a night to breastfeed their 6 month old baby, Mia.

Amy heard the kids say, “Dad, wake up…” quite a few times. She continued to lay in bed with Mia, listening out for her two older kids, Henry (aged 5) and Ruby (aged 2.5).

She heard Ruby asking, “Dad, open your eyes, why aren’t you opening your eyes?” Henry and Ruby started coming down the hallway, yelling out to Amy, “Mum, Dad’s not waking up!”

Amy still didn’t think anything was wrong. Instead, she was thinking, “Why isn’t he getting the breakfast ready?” like he usually did. She got out of bed and saw Joe lying on his back, on the lounge room floor. She ran to him… and screamed.

“I was hitting his face to wake him up… but I could feel… that he was actually dead. He was cold and already going a bit stiff. I was screaming and yelling out his name the whole time. I was lost for a minute, and then I thought – oh my god I need to ring the ambulance.” She ran back to her room to grab her phone.

She sat on the floor with Joe, while stroking his face and rang 000. She screamed out to the operator, “My husband’s not breathing, he’s not breathing!” He asked her to check Joe’s airways but his teeth were together. She told him she couldn’t get her fingers in his mouth. She heard the operator go silent… That’s when Amy realized, “I think he knew… He said don’t worry, help is on the way.” She forced herself out of her hysterical mode and gave the operator her address. She tried to give him CPR. She panics again, “How many breaths? How many compressions? I can’t remember?!” The operator said, “Look, just keep doing what you’re doing.” Blood started coming out of Joe’s nose. That’s when Amy threw her phone to the floor and thought, “This is not gonna him help anymore.”

The kids were crying for their breakfast.

The next few hours were a blur. The police came, followed by the ambulance. Her neighbours rushed over. Her brother-in-law, who was driving past on his way to work, had seen the ambulance and police at their house. Little did he know then, that tragedy had struck the family.

The police advised Amy and the kids to go over to their neighbour’s house. She can remember saying, “He’s gone. He’s gone.” Over and over again. She was numb. She felt her body physically melting down. She threw up in the toilet several times. But she couldn’t really cry, she said. She was in utter shock. That was Day One.

Amy and Joe in Thailand, 2004

Joe died on a Tuesday and the funeral was about a week later. The celebrant for Joe’s funeral was the same celebrant that married Joe and Amy. “He married us, and he ended us.” Amy and Joe were both aged 36.

I asked Amy to describe the months after Joe was gone. “The hardest was not knowing what to do with myself. Anxiety was horrible. I didn’t know what to do, as in, do I speak to someone? Like a psychologist? People were saying I needed to speak to a counsellor or to a psychologist. But I felt sick talking about it. I almost didn’t want to talk about it but I felt like I HAD to. It’s the thing that you do… Someone’s died – Talk about it. And I found that really hard because it was hard to talk about. I got huge anxiety. I would leave the sessions and come home and take a Valium. I felt like everything lost its purpose.”

“I was at the shops and I’m like, what am I even doing here? What am I buying? Why am I buying clothes? My husband is dead, and I’m out buying clothes, this seems ridiculous. And I’d just go home. I’d be like, what’s the point in all this? And I did that for such a long time and I struggled with doing stuff. How can you function? How can you go on with your husband dead? It just seems wrong. So to me, that was a very hard thing to do.”

“I think what got me through, was having to get through with the kids. I HAD to get up. I HAD to feed them, I HAD to send them to school, I HAD to pack lunches, I HAD to feed Mia. I was still breastfeeding. I just had to do stuff. I just put up a wall and do what I needed to do. And not really think about what I had to do tomorrow, the next day or the next week. The best advice I got from a grief counsellor, was to just, at the very beginning, literally take everything hour by hour, then eventually day by day. As long as I get through today, that’s all I need to do. And that helped me because I didn’t have to think about tomorrow. That was too hard. And certainly not next week, that was too far away. So the advice of just getting through day by day was probably the only thing that got me through the first few months.”

Amy and Joe had been together since they were 16. She had never lived by herself, she had never been on her own. She always had Joe as her security. As tears streamed down her cheeks, she cried softly, “Losing him as my security, was the hardest thing for me. It still is. How was I ever gonna bring up 3 kids on my own without him? How could I live life without him? It was a really scary thought.” It was very raw, and she felt so lost. But she knew she HAD to keep moving. There was no escaping it, she had to deal with what she’d be given.

She described it as, “I was left out in the snow, completely naked, with no blanket, nothing to keep me warm and I had to find my way back to shelter.”

So she took things hour by hour, day by day, and then week by week. She took sleeping tablets to help her sleep. And after a few months, she was able to fall asleep without them.

There were adjustments Amy had to get used to since Joe’s passing. Putting the bins out, picking up the dead leaves, cleaning the pool, doing all the “man” stuff. The decision making. Not having him around to bounce ideas and concerns off. “It’s just me now. Where do I send them (the kids) to school?”

She talks about their son Henry, who is hearing impaired. “Joe and I used to talk about Henry all the time together, we were the only ones who understood Henry. He’s different… He’s just quite hard to get your head around. How to handle Henry, what set him off, why did it set him off, what do we do about it? So that was very difficult, I didn’t even want to talk to anyone about it because no one knew Henry like me and Joe did.”

Amy & Joe’s kids – Henry, Ruby & Mia

Amy still sees a holistic counsellor. She feels that it is much better for her than seeing a clinical psychologist. “I think I very quickly discovered myself. It probably took about a year that I started feeling ok about being by myself. And being able to make decisions and not be scared about it. Actually feeling empowered at the same time. I actually got through the first year of the worst entire time of my life. And I got through it. And I haven’t resorted to drugs or alcohol. I was happy that I was able to come through it in my own way, without people telling me how to do it.”

Just before Joe passed away, they had just finished renovating their home. Their house was a blank canvas. There were white walls everywhere. And so, Amy started painting. She let her imagination run wild with what she wanted to do with the house. It started off with the kids’ room, which was about a 2 week project, and she LOVED every minute of it.

“It took me to a place where my grief wasn’t there. And all that was there was… I was just IN THE MOMENT, enjoying doing what I was doing. I had to learn how to use a drill. I learnt by myself. When I finished that room, I cried. It was the biggest achievement I’ve ever done in my whole life.”

“I’ve never really felt like I had a passion for anything. And all of sudden I was doing something that I was totally in love with. It was therapy, I just let my mind go where it needed to go. I stopped thinking, which was for me – a huge relief. It was a confidence builder. And I finally said to Joe… ‘There you go, I just found my passion, Joe.’ He’s always wanted me to find my passion. His was surfing and he always encouraged me to find mine. We tried everything together but I never stuck at anything because I never liked it!” she laughed. “Nothing made me want to go back and do it even more. Except now… Interior design. It’s the path I’ve found myself heading. And I’ve never looked back!”

Amy was always under the umbrella of Joe’s big and strong personality. She said people would always see her, simply as – ‘Joe’s wife’. But she’s now a very different person to who she was 3 years ago. They would say to her, “Amy, I don’t know how you do it.” “Well, I actually don’t know any other way.” she said. “I don’t know if it’s come through Joe or whether I actually, deep down, AM this person. It’s just – I wasn’t able to BE this person with such a strong personality over me… I feel like I’ve really found myself. I’m now very perceptive of my feelings and my emotions and my thoughts.”

I asked Amy what it was that actually killed Joe. She explained that Joe had a blocked artery in his heart. There was some plaque in his artery, and a tiny piece of it broke off. It was just enough to stop the blood from coming through. She was told by the medical team that his death was near instant. Her spiritual counsellor had also told her that he passed over very, very quickly. But Amy adds, “He had no symptoms of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or was overweight. Very, very healthy. Very fit. He ran to work or rode his bike every day. Hardly drove to work, surfed all the time, ate normal food, probably ate too much salt and fat but his body could handle it. He was young and fit. However, anyone that knows Joe, knows that he was quite highly strung. On the edge a bit, and stressed. He always was quite stressed. He was worse at home, than what he showed anybody.”

What Do You Want The World To Know?

“I know I have friends there but what a lot of people who have gone through grief would say; that if you haven’t been through it, you JUST don’t know. And even if you can imagine it, it’s just not the same. So in the early days, I found myself only wanting to be around people that have lost a husband. I almost wanted to seek it because that was all I wanted to know about. That was a very strong emotion that I so desired to get. But I never got it.”

“What I need my friends for – is almost like an escape. I need them to make me laugh. I need them so I can let my hair down and have some fun, and escape the life of having three children. Escape a bit of motherhood. Not too crazy but I do love to have a laugh. I’ve got a new appreciation for girlfriends. Now I really appreciate the time I spend with them. I’ve had a few friends that have dropped in and talked to me, and I think I’ve helped them, through just talking about me and what I’ve been through, and also how I see life now in a very positive way.”

“And I was told this by a spiritual person and I truly believe it… Is that our whole lives together, Joe was up on the stage. When he died, he pushed me up there and said ‘It’s your turn now. It’s your turn to shine.’ So I feel like he’s given me a gift and it’s his gift to me to say, ‘You deserve happiness. You deserve life. You deserve the path that you’re meant to be on. Go find it.’ And I did. I thank him every day for giving me the life that he did with him. There’s no way anyone would’ve travelled the world like he did… And I got to go along that journey with him. And I consider myself so lucky. I’ve travelled the world, I have 3 children, I have a beautiful home, I’m looking at a new career which I love. I’m content, I’m happy. Life is good. So without Joe dying, I may not have had all this appreciation and love for life and myself.”

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Some of Amy’s creations!

My Thoughts

My husband Adam was best man at Joe and Amy’s wedding. Joe was one of our groomsmen at ours. I remember the day Joe died. I got home from work and Adam was home early. I asked why he was home early and I could see tears in his eyes. “Joe’s gone. Joe’s gone. He’s dead.” I was shocked, speechless and we both held each other in our arms and cried. All we could think of was, “How could this happen? He was so young… What’s going to happen to Amy and the kids?”

I recall having coffee with Amy a few months after Joe’s death. She saw a friend from Henry’s school at the same coffee shop and I remember her saying, “She doesn’t know about Joe. I don’t want to have to say anything. I just can’t.” I felt so much pain for her, but like she said in our interview “If you haven’t been through it, you JUST don’t know. And even if you can imagine it, it’s just not the same.” I understand that now.

While we all miss Joe dearly, I’m so proud of Amy. So proud that she has been able to blossom, with Joe’s death, she found herself. She found strength, passion, contentment and self-love. I wish Amy and her 3 beautiful children – Henry, Ruby and Mia, all the best in the world. And I love that she believes Joe will always be watching over them.

Let’s all appreciate the life we have now, the people we have around us and always, always be grateful. Find the positives in what we have now, and be thankful for it all.

 

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My Night Away On My Own

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All set for a relaxing evening!

In May this year, I was inspired to write my very first blog about Mothers Day, about how so many mothers wanted to spend that day relaxing on their own. No kids. I don’t understand it, your children are the reason why you’re a mother, why would you not want to be around them on such a special day?

I came across one of my old Facebook posts from a year ago. It was about my birthday and how my husband got me a hotel room for the night. He knew he wasn’t invited, this was gonna be a one-woman partaaay.

I had two babies who were 18 months apart. I was exhausted from them, I was exhausted from working at the nursing home and I needed to rest and most importantly, I needed some silence.

So, for my birthday, I asked… For me to be on my own. And I got it. Adam booked me a room at the Hyatt Regency. My mother in law asked, “Don’t you want Adam to join you? You’d enjoy it more if he was there, I can babysit the babies for you.” I answered, “How would this idea be relaxing for me? I want a room to myself so I don’t have to talk to anyone, touch anyone, be touched by anyone or to be woken up by snoring.”

We compromised a little on the day. Adam and the babies came to the room and hung out for a little while. We all had McDonalds for dinner and then they had a little bath. It was raining heavily and I could hear the raindrops hitting the window pane. How relaxing! Then the babies started crying. No, stop crying, this is meant to be relaxing for me. So I said to Adam, “Right, you three need to leave for me to really enjoy this birthday present of mine.” I walked them all back to the car, gave them kisses and sprinted back to the elevator.

First thing I did when I walked back into the room was fill the bath with very warm water and some bath bubbles. I took my clothes off and laid in there and listened to the running water from the tap. Aaaaah. Wait. I can hear the loud TV. That’s not relaxing. So I grabbed a towel, got out and turned the TV off. See, if Adam was here, he’d want to watch TV and he probably wouldn’t let me turn it off. Back in the hot bath. Aaaaaaaaah. Silence. I never realized silence could sound so beautiful. 

I then laid in bed with nothing but my bathrobe on. I was all set, I had a new book and a family size block of chocolate in bed with me. I found the room service menu, picked up the phone and ordered tomorrow’s breakfast for 7.30am.

I turned the TV back on and flicked through the channels. As I’m mindlessly watching TV with no interruptions, I sent a text to Adam to say goodnight and that I loved him. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even ask if the babies were alright! I started on my block of chocolate, with nobody asking me for a piece or more. This whole block of chocolate was MINE! All miiiiiiine!!

Wait, what? It’s 3am, and the TV is still on. Did I fall asleep? What time did I fall asleep?? I looked around me and I saw that I didn’t touch my new book and I had eaten 3/4 of the family size block of chocolate. Dare I do this? I broke off another piece of chocolate, ate it, and fell straight back to sleep again.

I woke up at 7am. I walked over to the window, pulled the curtains apart and looked out at the grey skies. So it didn’t turn out to be this “one-woman partaaaay” I had envisioned (I’m not even sure what I expected). Did I enjoy this hotel room? Was it worth the money? Did it live up to the expectations of having time on my own? Yes, yes and a resounding yes. I hopped back into bed to watch the morning news. Nobody’s asking me for a bottle of milk or breakfast. No one is crying or whining about something. Apart from Karl’s voice on The Today Show, the room was silent.

The door bell rings and the hotel waiter has my breakfast.

“Gooooooood morning! Where would you like your breakfast Ma’am?” 

I stood by the door and stared at him for a few seconds. I fantasized dancing around the room (like Sister Maria in the Sound of Music) and bursting into song, “Aaaaaaaanywhere! Surpriiiiise me!” 

And again the waiter asked, “Ma’am? Your breakfast? Where would you like it?” 

I quickly blinked my eyes back to reality, Oh sorry, um, on the bed please, thank you.”

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“Aaaaaaaanywhere! Surpriiiiiise me!”


A full cooked breakfast in bed. Sausages, mushrooms, eggs, grilled tomato, bacon and 3 thick cut slices of white bread with a slab of cold pure butter on a little dish. They even put an assortment of little jars of jams!! I didn’t have to cook it and yet it’s sitting on my bed. Just for me. I start digging in. It’s just me, Karl and Lisa from The Today Show.

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“I didn’t have to cook it and yet it’s sitting on my bed.”

That was the single most relaxing night/morning I’ve ever had. That was a year ago. Would I ask for the same experience again for my next birthday? Probably not. Not while this experience is still so fresh in my mind. Maybe again when I’ve forgotten what it’s like? Whenever I tell this story to my friends, I’d always say I’ll never forget how beautiful the sound of silence, sounded. 

I highly recommend this to all mums out there who feel burnt out, tired and exhausted from the demands of everyday life. Yeah yeah yeah, you still love your husband and your kids. But you just want some time on your own to recharge. And sleep on a King size bed, with clean and fresh, ironed sheets. That’s what I had and I’ll never forget it. Or when I do eventually forget, then maybe it’s time to do it again. (I might even allow Adam to join me this time, wink wink.)

 

 

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“The best people let me talk without judgement and without pity”

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Donna contacted me through my website www.120fingersandtoes.com and requested for me to interview her. She wanted me to help share her experience with postnatal depression and how she learnt to overcome it. Donna is a wife and a mother of two children. And before she had their first baby, she suffered 5 miscarriages.

Postnatal Depression

Donna discovered she suffered from postnatal depression roughly around 8 months after the birth of their first child. Her baby had to be breastfed every 2 hours, 24 hours a day. She said she felt angry all the time and was constantly tired and frustrated. Her baby would cry and wanted to get picked up but Donna would get angry at her. Her husband would say to her, “You can’t talk to her like that…” And that would make Donna even angrier.

She felt very isolated, and that no one understood what she was going through. She felt like everyone was seeing it very differently to how she saw things… “But I was the one seeing it differently, I guess.” Although she felt like she had a very good support network, she felt she had no one around to help her. But she knew it wasn’t how they were, she knew it was how she was feeling. There’s been times when she’s thought, “They’d all be better off without me, I’m ruining everything.”

Donna also experienced a lot of anxiety. “If I had to see anyone out of my normal routine, I’d get really stressed out about it, then I’d pick a fight with my husband, hoping he’d say ‘right, we’re not going.'”

Donna’s husband, mum and sister were very concerned. They all suggested for her to see a doctor. She laughed, as she recalled what she thought at the time, “Fine, I’ll go see somebody and prove them wrong!” So she went to the doctor…. and bawled her eyes out! After talking to Donna, her doctor spoke to her husband to make sure she would get home safely. She felt bad, that people thought she was suicidal and would hurt the baby. She said she can now understand how some women could be driven to do certain things, just out of sheer desperation and exhaustion. We both talked about how we heard that exhaustion is used in criminal warfare as one of their torture tactics!

She recalled a time when her first child was about 13 months old. Her baby would cry and Donna would scream and swear at her. She then thought to herself, “Oh my god, why am I talking like this? Then I would feel really guilty, sit there and bawl my eyes out for hours. This child is going to learn to be this way and I realized I was being a bully to her.” Donna recalled another time when, out of anger, she wanted to say something to hurt her husband. So she said, “You know, last night, I thought about leaving you.” Only to have her husband reply, “You know I thought about leaving you too.” She laughed, saying, “Are you serious? I thought… Shit, I’m that much of a bitch, he’s going to leave me! I was just being a bitch to get him upset! That really upset me.”

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Support

Donna says she now sees a very good psychiatrist, one who has shown her different ways to deal with her feelings, taught her how to cope and change her way of thinking. She’s taught her to see what’s really important in the grand scheme of things (does the house REALLY need to be super clean when someone comes over?). She felt that talking to her psychiatrist has been very liberating for her. She also meditates and when times are stressful, she’s found that reciting the Lord’s Prayer over and over again, has had a very calming effect on her.

Donna also takes medication to help with her PND. She takes 10mg of Escitalopram a day. She giggled and called them her “Non-psycho pills!” “So many people say you shouldn’t be on medication, ‘You don’t need it’. I’m like, well, clearly I do! I figure if I’ve got a headache, I’ll take an aspirin…. if you’re not feeling well, take something to make you feel better.”

“I couldn’t have asked for a better husband.” Donna’s husband is very patient. Having learnt from their first baby, when they had their second, he did a lot of the night time feeds, made sure Donna got enough sleep and was looked after (awwwwwww!! *applause*). She also has a very good group of friends that support her. She’ll never forget that one of her friends had said to her (after Donna started on her medication), “I didn’t realize how ‘NOT’ Donna you were until I’ve seen you on your tablets, and how ‘back to normal’ you are now. I didn’t realize how sad you really were.”

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What Do You Want The World To Know?

“It is OK to talk about how bad you feel. Nothing is ever too bad that it can’t be fixed or helped. Postnatal (depression) does not discriminate, it hits the strongest and the weakest, it hits the confident as much as those who have little confidence, hits first timers and those with one or more kids. You have no idea it’s coming and often no idea it’s there. But boy, does it play games with your mind and your life.”

“Women are strong, we can endure many things but the best way to heal is to talk and to have support. No matter what was said to me during my times of sadness after losing a baby, it was helpful. The best people let me talk without judgement and without pity. And remember your partner is going through it too.”

Thoughts

If you met Donna for the very first time like I did, you would not have thought she suffered from PND. She is funny, bubbly and so full of life. Every woman going through PND, while they experience similar feelings, are all in different situations and circumstances. And we all use different ways to cope with it.

Thanks Donna, for sharing with us your experience and I hope someone out there going through it may try one or all of your methods of coping. Donna, I wish you and your family all the best!! Oh, and thank you for taking the time out on your birthday to see me!!

You Can’t Tell A Mum Has Postpartum Depression By Looking

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In this article “You Can’t Tell A Mum Has Postpartum Depression By Looking”, you will find plenty of photos of happy mums but who were actually going through postnatal depression. Women find it so hard to show the world how they really feel inside, as the depression alone makes us feel like we have nobody to talk to, or if we did speak up, others might judge us.

Those who don’t understand might say things to us like, “But you should be happy, you’ve got a beautiful family.”, “You’re so lucky to have a beautiful child.”, “You should be grateful for what you have.”.

WE KNOW ALL THAT.

Do you think we CHOOSE to be depressed? Hell no! But that’s what we’ve got. We’ve got postnatal depression. It is A THING. It is REAL. We don’t ask for it to be part of some “club”.

After reading that article, it made me think of a photo shoot we did together as a family. My husband and I had our last child, I knew that we were now done having children. My husband and teenagers hated photo shoots but they did it because I wanted them done. And they knew, if they rejected the idea, they would have had to deal with me. I would’ve cried, I would’ve said nobody cared, and that none of them were proud to be a family unit. None of that was true, but that would’ve been something I would’ve thrown at them. They knew it, and I knew it.

It was set to be taken at Trigg Beach in Perth, Western Australia. Just before we left the house, my husband and I weren’t actually talking to each other. There was tension. I don’t remember why, but I remember our anxiety levels were pretty high. My husband wouldn’t dare say anything in case I’d lose the plot over something. Everyone was walking on egg shells around me.

We got to the beach and waited for the photographer to come. We sat by the rocks. Everyone was quiet… My teens were playing with the two little ones. My husband and I were on the edge the whole time. And then I burst into tears. Why? I can’t remember. I just cried. Then I cried some more.

I get a phone call from the photographer to say she’s arrived. I dry my tears, put on a smile and we all performed like show dogs and posed for her. So here are two photos from the photo shoot. I want everyone to know, that no matter how we look like on the outside, or on photographs, it doesn’t always mean it’s our true selves at the time.

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Thankfully, this is all behind us now. With the help of medication, I no longer suffer from postnatal depression. But please don’t judge those who choose to or choose not to take medication for their depression. We all have our battles inside our heads and all we need is your support, friendship and to not judge us mums. If you don’t know how we feel, just ask, but most importantly – be sincere.