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Beautiful Maternal Mental Health â¤ï¸

Hello Beautiful People,

This week on May the 3rd it was International Maternal Mental Health Day. Also around the globe May 1st-7th is recognised as Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. This is a fairly new awareness program set up in the last few years to recognise and put in place much needed supports for women and their families.
Maternal Mental Health is a topic very close to my heart, for several reasons. So I value this week and the awareness and support it’s raising very much.
Maternal Mental Health (MMH) addresses women and their mental health throughout the perinatal period. That is the time from which they get pregnant, give birth and up until the baby is a year or so old. 

The reasons I feel so strongly about raising awareness and promoting support around perinatal mental health are motivated by personal experiences. 

I have been through the perinatal period quite a few times in my life and sometimes it’s not been smooth sailing.

I’ve witnessed close family members struggle alone and suffer tremendously throughout the perinatal period.

I’ve supported friends who’ve felt like they were drowning throughout their perinatal  period……

I’m currently still just in the perinatal period….

Am I ok? Maybe……

The few heartbreaking things that myself, my family member and my friends all said we experienced throughout our perinatal period that we didn’t expect were:

• feelings of being overwhelmed with pregnancy; body changes; fear of baby not growing healthily; fear of no longer being attractive to partner; fear of birth; fear of birth complications; fear of not being heard by care providers; fear of not being able to breastfeed; fear of not bonding with baby; fear of not waking to baby; fear of not feeding baby enough; fear of not being able to settle baby; fear of not knowing why baby is crying; fear of baby crying because something serious is wrong; fear of something bad happening to baby; fear of body not going back to pre-baby state; fear of no time for partner; fear of no time for other children; fear of no time for self; feeling isolated; feeling overwhelmed; feeling exhausted; feeling unsupported; feeling unprepared; feeling pressure to be the perfect mum; feeling unhappy with self; feeling like a failure….. and sadly the list goes on…… All these fears experienced and shared by a group of wonderful, intelligent otherwise incredibly healthy women throughout their perinatal period… And all of them treated in completely different ways by their care providers.

Yes we all got asked the routine antenatal questions and only two out of five of us got flagged and followed up…. There are so many potential triggers for perinatal depression and anxiety coupled with massive hormone changes, it’s so hard to know who will be ok and who won’t. I was not one of the ones to be followed up despite knowing I met a lot of the criteria for high risk post natal depression….. I did however seek support on my own from my GP and Karitane a good six months after my last baby was born because after the adrenaline of running on no sleep at all for the first six months of my baby’s life wore off I realised how anxious I was and that I needed support. One friend was immediately commenced on antidepressants by her doctor because her anxiety was all time consuming and she was already exhibiting signs of depression. She said she felt like a new woman and immediately bonded with her baby and could finally function without her fears controlling her. I didn’t feel I needed medication and utilised other methods to help with my anxiety. My family member who also met the criteria for high risk for post natal depression due to a previous mental health history, history of domestic violence and being a single mother was not so lucky with her support network. She fell through the cracks so to speak and although she was already on low dose antidepressants she was alone, exhausted, completely drowning in her fears and level of responsibility as a new and single mother. She suffered from a severe postpartum psychosis and her baby was removed from her care, permanently…… But that is her story to tell completely…. All I can say to that is that as a witness to her experience and whilst going through the perinatal period myself at the same time as her, my heart completely and utterly broke for her….. And I questioned why her and not me and years and pregnancies later I still remain hyper vigilant around my mental health throughout the perinatal period.

And it’s because of all these beautiful women with all their varied experiences and yet similar feelings and thoughts around the time of their pregnancies, births and new babies, that I think this week, Maternal Mental Health Week is so important! It needs to be recognised as a topic that needs to be discussed openly so that assessments are done routinely and universally. So that support networks and programs are implemented properly and in a timely manner. So that women can avoid getting acutely unwell. So that families can feel supported and stay together! 

As for me…. despite writing a post over six months ago around R U OK day and saying I was not ok, I think it’s time to say…. I’m doing ok…. Slowly….

I’m still mildly suffering from anxiety and severe fatigue but I’m happy. 

I have a great support network and I know that’s what gets me through. Also my baby is one now and although I’ve only ever felt this anxious once before with all my perinatal periods I’m glad that I know it won’t last, like it didn’t before. I don’t let the small stuff consume me. The house can stay messy (despite my cleaning OCD). We can have take away a few times a week if Hubby and I are too exhausted to cook. All my children are healthy and loved. I practice mindfulness. I have a psychologist. I vent to my hubby and eldest daughter/bestie. I walk. I write. I read. I sing. All things I do for me to ensure relaxation and peace. And slowly but surely everyday gets the teeny tiniest bit easier…… 😌❤️ 

To all those beautiful women out there struggling alone in silence with your overwhelming thoughts, whether you’re a first time mum or a millionth time mummy like me, please, speak up, speak out, talk to absolutely anybody you feel comfortable talking to! Sometimes getting those thoughts out of your head is the first steps to feeling better! 

And know this! 

You are not alone!

I am right here with you!

You are a wonderful mummy!

You are amazing!

You’re doing great!

You’re a beautiful human!

And your baby loves and needs you ❤️
(If you need to talk to someone or are concerned about someone please contact one of the links below)

http://www.panda.org.au/practical-information/382-signs-and-symptoms-of-postnatal-depression
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/what-is-mental-health?&gclid=COqamZXo1dMCFcYsvQodHL0GBQ

http://www.beatbabyblues.com.au/What_is_perinatal_mental_health.aspx



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Beautiful Mild Mannered Middle Son, Marley Kai â¤ï¸

Hello beautiful people,

Well it was bound to happen this week…. The eyes leaked a little 😌 Valid reason of course! This day 13 Years ago I gave birth to my third child, my second son, my biggest baby, my second easiest birth resulting in my calmest, most relaxed easy going, always happy baby boy!
And yes our, now teenager and our littlest warrior princess’s birthday’s are only one day apart. Things like this happen in large families like ours. The beautiful part is I remember a year ago Marley saying to me “mum can’t you keep the baby in your stomach one more day because I’d love to share a birthday with my little sibling” He makes me laugh because he is such a kind hearted, gentle soul and yet really cheeky funny too. And he genuinely would have loved for his little sister to be born on his birthday! He would have thought it was the coolest gift ever! 

You see what people don’t realise about our Marley Kai is that for ten years he was our baby. He was always happy as a baby but as he got older he showed signs of being an empath early. He was always sensitive to the emotions of others around him, he seemed gentle, soft and vulnerable. And so as a family, and him being the baby, we all tended to do most things for him. And despite my best efforts for over ten years to get him some support, I was continually told there was nothing wrong with him and I should stop feeling concerned and comparing him to my older kids……. So thanks to all those specialists who told me to ignore my mothers instincts, I did stop pursuing assessments and support for my son. Satisfied that any ‘quirks’ I had concerns about were nothing to worry about. And besides, I knew nothing was ‘wrong’ with my son I just wanted to make sure he was getting the right support he needed to navigate his way through life and learning,  safely, comfortably and to the best of his ability. 

My concerns alleviated when he was ten were like a weight of my shoulders and so we decided we would continue to grow our family. Marley was overjoyed when he found out he was finally going to be a big brother and no longer be the baby. Having William was one of the best decisions we ever made!! From the day he was born despite the ten year age difference the obvious bond between Marley and William has been so heartwarming to watch. William is so highly energetic and quite clever and Marley is so very kind, loving and patient with him, even when he’s being incredibly annoying. Marley is also studious and bright and has taught his little brother so much. 

My baby boy has grown so much through the responsibilities of being a big brother and it’s been beautiful to watch!

The hard times came when he encountered some nasty comments from his peers in high school, such as taunts about being ‘weird’….. I guess I thought it was because he has a love of reading and online games and I was going to think nothing of it until we had to revisit the old chest nut that was the problem of his attention span…..

So exactly one month after his little sister Florence was born he had an assessment again at age 12 that confirmed ADD and High Functioning Autism (which back in the day when there was no Autism Spectrum, the diagnosis would have been Aspergers). 

I was shocked because I’d been told so many times before that I was looking for something that wasn’t there…. But none of this makes a difference to us, we still do what we’ve always done. No medication, regular OT, address sensory issues, extra time for tasks, appropriate use of technology, eye contact with good clear communication and of course my favourite lots and lots of love and hugs!!

Tonight I got teary because we were hesitant to have more babies despite wanting them. I worried about money, time and responsibilities towards Marley being my baby and needing me. Tonight I suddenly realised how absolutely perfect it has been for him to have his little brother and sister. Tonight I clearly saw the lovely brilliant minded, cheeky funny, quirky young man my beautiful son Marley Kai has grown into!

A kind, caring, intelligent soul, who is an amazing big brother, a cheeky little brother, a wonderfully loving son and a very much loved grandson! And if he’s seen as weird then that’s ok because in this family being weird means you’re cool 😎 Because who wants to be the boring same as everyone else anyway! I bet you people called Bill Gates weird or different back in the day 😜

So here’s to you my sweet mild mannered  brilliant beautiful minded son Marley Kai! You my son, you melt my heart, don’t overthink that or take it too literally, I mean you reduce my heart to tears of joy because I’m so blessed to have you in my life! Happy 13th Birthday my love! Me, dad and your brothers and sisters will always love you more than you ever say you love us and I know you know what I mean! Show the world how amazingly awesome we know you are! We love you more than all the universe and more than all the stars ❤️

https://www.autismspectrum.org.au/

http://www.autismawareness.com.au/





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Beautiful Last Baby’s 1st Birthday ðŸ’–

Hello beautiful people,

Once again it’s been a little while (too long perhaps) between posts. There are a few reasons behind this. I was very busy over the holiday season with my family, I was busy with school going back for my older children, that, came with some challenges, I was busy turning forty but mostly I was busy living each day in the moment! 
I had made a conscious decision that if I was going to get control over my sadness and anxiety that had snuck in and was holding on tightly to me from the moment I brought my beautiful last baby home from the hospital that I needed to focus on the present only. To live in each day and experience only that day for what it truly was instead of dwelling on the past and causing more depression or worrying about the future therefore increasing my anxiety.

I’m happy to report that this way of living has worked really well for me and in turn my family. I’ve felt so much more positive and in control of my thoughts, actions and life in general these last couple of months. In fact I’ve returned to the old me that completely and utterly loved the beautiful chaos that my life becomes when I’m a stay at home mum on maternity leave! I love how lucky and blessed I am and have been, to be able to have a whole year off work to stay at home and spend all my time nurturing, bonding, loving and mothering my last little miracle baby 💖 And even better still is that I’ve been able to keep my toddler who is now two and a half years old at home with us too. 

Sure at times it’s been really challenging, exhausting, overwhelming and isolating. However most of the time it’s been wonderful, full of many firsts and many lasts. First words, first giggles, first kisses, first steps but all these firsts will also be our last firsts because our little princess warrior turns one today! 

This is our last baby so it’s bitter sweet, I’ve reminded myself through all the tough times, the sleepless nights, the sleep deprivation, the anxiety, the marathon feeding sessions, the teething, fevers, separation anxiety that I will never be this needed again….. It’s so exciting and heartwarming that our baby girl is one but at the same time it’s the first time in a while that I’ve felt close to tears and thought slow down years I need more time. I need to hold my last baby a little longer. I’ll pick her up whenever she cries, feed her whenever she wants, co-sleep as long as she wants, give her all of my attention and unconditional love as often as I can and as long as she needs me to… And this I have offered to her older siblings too because time goes so fast and I chose to have all these beautiful little humans so I will love protect and guide them with all my heart for as long as they need me to. 

I am fortunate enough that I can stay at home and care for my children as much as I want for as long as I want, however I will return to work on reduced hours soon.

But for now to stay in my happy place that I’ve built for myself,  out of the ashes of the ocean that I was drowning in late last year, I will live right now in this moment of my beautiful last baby’s first birthday! I will rejoice in her existence, revel in her love and bask in her light filled company. I will forever feel grateful and blessed that this day last year I gave birth to my last beautiful baby, a girl, a little sister to her big sister and four older brothers!

Happy 1st Birthday to our little warrior princess Florence Rey 💖 You are loved more than words ever could convey ❤️

Posted in Babies, Birth, Body image, Family, Friends, Happiness, Health, Hospitals, Marriage, Mental Health, Mom life, Mum life, Parenting, Relationships, Sadness, Self love, Society, Spiritual, Uncategorized

Beautiful Sadness

Hello Beautiful People,

Today is R U OK day…..

I know I’ve written before about being a beautiful faker at life but I thought I’d bring it up again in light of it being R U OK day.

See the fact is, I’m actually not ok……

It seems it’s really really hard for people to understand that, because (apparently) I’m the strong one.

The one that can handle anything.

The one that’s always, laughing, smiling, loving and helping others.
Those that know the full dynamics of my family and history know how strong I can and have needed to be. 

Unfortunately, even the strong ones can come undone. Especially when life is being exceedingly stressful, so I’ve discovered recently.

In the last two years I’ve had a very traumatic emergency c-Section. Which took nearly six months to recover from physically. And I’m still trying to recover from it emotionally. The result of which is a beautiful yet highly rambunctious, energetic little being.

A very quick subsequent difficult pregnancy. The result of which is a beautiful baby girl with severe reflux and colic that never ever sleeps. 

At the end of my last pregnancy my eldest son was hospitalised and very sick for a couple of months. 

Then the next boy down required emergency surgery the following month.

And then the following month the next boy down got a late diagnosis of ASD, after years of me asking for an assessment for him.

And history repeatedly haunts me at stressful times…….

I’m exhausted, depleted, drowning, burnt out……Burning…….

I’ve doubled my weight…..

Doubled my wrinkles……

I don’t even recognise me when I look in the mirror…… 

It’s actually really depressing……..

And I’ve lost nearly all my friends…..

I’m not sure why this last one has happened but I’m assuming that it’s because I’m no longer fun to be around….

I’m still surrounded by people though (all my kids of course) and yet most of the time I feel a slight lingering sense of loneliness….

When anyone asks me if I’m ok I actually say “no, I’m drowning”…..

People then look at me confused, surprised even……

Most people reply with “oh you poor thing that’s what happens when you have so many kids”, “you’ll be ok when you get more sleep”, “what you need is….Childcare….. a night out….. a cleaner…. a good nights sleep…..” 

And the ‘helpful’ advice goes on and on…

I told my GP I was feeling overwhelmed and sad, so she gave me a script for antidepressants…….. I don’t take paracetamol at the best of times……

She told me “there’s no point in referring you to a councillor, I know you’re too time poor to go”…..

I’ve told my nearest and dearest family and friends and they say the same ‘helpful’ statements as above…….

So asking someone if they are okay, seems very multilayered to me. You need to really mean it. Actively listen to the persons answer. And then respond carefully, thoughtfully and appropriately.

I know I will be okay because I AM ‘the strong one’, infact I am one of the strongest people I know……

And I’ve been here before……. 

And right now I’m still in the midst of the fire……Burning a little more before the Phoenix is born…….

I cry at ads, movies, pretty much anything. I yell at nothing….. My hubby and eldest are concerned (but somewhat annoyed too, inconvenienced I guess by my lack of happiness). My younger ones are somewhat hyper vigilant but still mostly (age appropriately) self obsessed…….

So if I seem distant, disinterested, different…… Just be kind, please…..I don’t do sarcasm, criticism or ‘useful’ words well these days……

And yes I have guilt about feeling overwhelmed and sad…….

I know there are so so many people out there worse off than me………

And I’m still so grateful for this beautiful life….. And my beautiful babies…… But I’m still allowed to feel……….

And besides, any emotion I’m experiencing reminds me I’m alive…….

So I’ll sit here for a while longer in the warm heat of this beautiful sadness…..

So I’ll just continue to breath…..

So I’ll just continue to try to eat healthy…

So I’ll just continue to try to get fit……

So I’ll just continue to try to get more sleep…

So I’ll just continue to pretend to be happy …….

Because I believe if you fake it you make it…..

And if that’s all it takes to be me…….

I’ll just continue to keep doing what it takes just to be…….

Until I’m ready for the Phoenix to arise out of the sadness through to the other side 💜💛

https://www.ruokday.com/how-to-ask

https://m.lifeline.org.au/