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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



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/


Posted in Attachment parenting, Babies, Baby's, Birth, Careers, Family, Fun, Health, Hospitals, Nursing, Parenting, Parenting Styles, Pregnancy, Relationships, Self love, Society, Spiritual, Uncategorized

Beautiful Parenting ❤️

Hello Beautiful People,
I’ve noticed over the last few years of parenting that it seems important for parents, mums in particular to identify or subscribe to a certain parenting style.
Examples: the helicopter parent, the fit parent, the free range parent, the attachment parent…..the I’m barely f$&@ing surviving parent….. And so on…….
There are that many books, blogs, vlogs and movies on how to raise kids, it’s no wonder parents get overwhelmed and confused about which is the right way…….. 
I know you’re all thinking this b$&@ here is going to tell us there is no right way, there is only your way and whatever you’re doing is ok if it works for you and you’re babies…….
Well you’re wrong…… I’ll tell you why because as a nurse, a Mumma bear, a kinship carer, an active community member with a husband who’s an emergency service worker, I’m going to tell you there is definitely a wrong way to raising children…… You know how I know because in all my roles throughout life, I’ve seen it! 
It’s actually incredibly sad and incredibly simple….. 
The most obvious wrong way to parent children is to blatantly ignore their needs…..
Babies are born completely dependent on you. They cry as their first and only form of communication. If you choose to actively ignore their crying you are essentially telling them that you are not interested in meeting their needs. Studies have shown that babies who are left to cry repeatedly have higher stress levels and can end up with trust and attachment issues…..
I’m not saying I never let my babies cry, obviously if I’m going to the toilet and they’re crying they’ll have to wait a minute or if it’s a tired grizzle that’s fine. 
I mean, say I’m sitting at the dinner table, dishevelled and the house is a pig sty and two of the babies are sitting at the table crying at me, I’m not going to behave like an asshat and continue feeding my fat face whilst ignoring them and worse yet let another family member film this behaviour because they think it’s funny…….
There is nothing funny at all about ignoring your babies cries whilst they try and get your attention….. It’s actually heartbreaking…..
Children from birth, to probably I dare say forever, NEED consistent unconditional love coupled with clear set boundaries and guidelines…. Sensible safe boundaries and guidelines, ones in which they can grow and explore yet know they are safe and have a solid foundation to fall back on when they are unsure.
I’ve been told I’m overprotective of my children or that I wrap them in cotton wool….
Ask our local children’s hospital, I’m pretty sure they’d tell you that statement isn’t true 😁
I’ve also been praised a lot about how kind, polite, lovely and patient they are……😊
What I know is that the children we’ve encountered through our careers and lives that display ‘undesirable’ behaviour are the saddest children. The ones who haven’t been given unconditional love, who haven’t been given safe boundaries….. The ones whose needs haven’t been met….. 
I said it before, I’ll say it again, it’s heartbreaking when adults who choose to have children then go and choose not to meet that child’s needs…… It’s a need….Not a want.. 
An overtired ‘unruly’ bubba needs your patience, needs your calm adult abilities to nurture and soothe the whirlwind of emotions that they are feeling, that they do not understand yet! And this goes for EVERY age, even (especially) teenagers need you as the adult to be calm, in control and nurturing as you guide them through a very challenging time in their lives……
I swear…. a lot…. I let my kids eat junk food (probably more than they should 😏), I’m not pushy about success in sports or academia, I let them stay up late and have random days of school (teachers hate me, sorry! I’d probably homeschool if I had more patience ☺️) 
However, I’m consistent with LOVE ❤️ 
I have always hugged them, told them I love them, told them I’m always here for them no matter what! I’ve always listened and tried to meet all their needs. I’ve always stuck to what I thought was age appropriate developmental care.
I believe in doing this, these beautiful humans have felt safe, secure, guided and loved enough to grow in to these awesome human beings 😊
I’ve never subscribed to one particular parenting type but my deep motherly instincts have shown me that consistency, patience, availability and unconditional love are the keys to raising lovely mini humans ❤️
If you didn’t want to commit to loving them unconditionally, through the good and the really tough times (yes I’ve been through them, often) then you probably shouldn’t have had them. 😕
Oh shock horror someone telling others how to raise their kids…..!!
Well I do it in the hope that maybe one person will read this and think “hey yeah maybe I should chill a bit of make more of an effort to help my bubba feel loved and supported”……
It’s amazing how much easier life is with kiddies when they feel loved, respected, nurtured and understood……
Believe me…. I’m raising six kiddies in this organised chaos and the only real challenge is the newborn sleep deprivation….. The rest is a bit of a breeze if the foundation of your parenting is unconditional love 😊❤️
And that is my two cents on how to raise the next few generations of beautiful people 😊
You can never love a child too much 💗
Peace 💖

New Study: Extravagant Affection in Infancy Leads to Healthier, Happier, More Relational & Moral Adults

Posted in Babies, Baby's, Birth, Body image, Family, Fun, Health, Hospitals, Nursing, Parenting, Pregnancy, Relationships, Self love, Spiritual, Uncategorized

Beautiful Faker 💗

Hello Beautiful People, 
Ok what I wanted to say today has been plaguing me for a while…… I’m always getting compliments about how well behaved my kids are how cool calm and collected a mother I am….. It’s always nice to hear but………
I’d like to shout this out!!!! I’m a complete 

f$&@ing fraud!! I’m not calm!! I’m faking that shit!! Inside I’m a wound up bundle of nerves as much as the next Mumma bear!! I’m one more god damn sleepless night away from complete and utter PND….. I’m one more shitty nappy….. No return text or call for several hours from young adult or teen away from a complete breakdown!! 
I want to take a f$&@ing shit or shower in peace!! I want people to actually recognise that I might be struggling, feeling isolated or lonely!! I want to be invited to the god damn wedding, birthday party, brunch or coffee even if you know as much as I do I probably won’t make it because of babies….. It just feels nice to know that I’ve been thought about by other adult humans…………😌
I want to apologise profusely to all the Mumma bears out there who I’ve ever offended with my higher than though opinions on parenting!! I know I have a Nursing Degree and I’ve got a lot of kids so you’d think I’d be all over this shit!! And all the lecturing and advice I’ve given so many parents on parenting should really mean something and be useful somehow….. Right?! At least that’s what you’d think?! 
But let me tell you this!! There is no one style, one method, one technique to parenting that fits every parent and every baby!! Every single time I get preggers I think, “yep I’m all over this shit!” Then out pops this tiny beautiful mini being who it seems, sole purpose in life is to ruin me and at the same time make me helplessly completely and utterly in love 😳
I was wrong for ever thinking my way was better than yours!! I was wrong for not recognising or understanding your anxiety!! 
This whole parenting thing can be terrifying, each and every time!! Every baby is different and therefore every parenting experience can bring with it new challenges……. I’m sorry I was such a judgey bitch…… 

We are all struggling in some way…………😞
So today I’m openly admitting that this Mumma bear definitely doesn’t know everything! And despite giving loads of other women breastfeeding advice, sleep and settling advice, developmental age appropriate care advice and acting like it’s all so easy it’s actually really really really not!!
This is baby no.6 in my house and in her short three months on this planet I’m here to admit that she’s played me good! I’m exhausted, I’m admitting defeat! In the last three and a half months I’ve taken her to ED once, seen the GP at least three times, phoned Karitane twice, Tresillian twice, The ABA once and texted and called several (nurse/doctor) friends for sleeping/settling, feeding, behaviour and ailments advice………… 
Hhhhmmmm does that sound like a cool calm collected mummy to you?! And I’ll have you know I’ve probably behaved like this with at least three out of the six kiddies!
The post natal period and beyond in to baby’s first year of life coupled with sleep deprivation can be a real bitch! Some days not only do I feel like I’ve lost my entire identity but that moment after I’ve just stuck my hand in to a toilet that still has a poo in it to grab out a toy car that my two year old is screaming his head off for, I suddenly remember that I am still human and probably should think a little more before I act. So I put screaming baby down in cot, flush toilet, thoroughly wash my hands and toy car then placate two year old. Remember to put my breast away post breastfeeding this time before calling teenagers out of their rooms to ask them what they want for dinner, saves us all the embarrassment of me standing there tit hanging out…. All the while thinking “stay calm, you’ve got this, the tough times won’t last……. long”…….
So again I say, I’m sorry if I ever looked down on you! I’m sorry if my way of coping is to fake it till I make it and it makes everyone think I’ve really got my shit together better than they have! I’m straight up on mother f$&@ing struggle street right there with you!!
But you know what I do know that always keeps me going…… How freaking blessed I truly am…… Because I’ve been on the other side too…… The side that doesn’t give sleep and settling advice, the side that holds hands of those with broken hearts…… The side that gives silent reassuring glances whilst holding back tears of empathy, advice on second chances, pamphlets on counselling and support networks….. Watching broken hearted parents walking out the hospital doors…..Knowing they may consider themselves parents no more….. Due to the loss of a baby they’ll never meet or the baby they got to hold for only a short while……💔
I’m know I’m a fraud…. But if that’s what I need to be to get by then so be it…… It doesn’t mean I love my life or my mini beautiful people any less…….. 
Shout out to all the beautiful parents struggling right there along with me……..😏👊🏼
Today I chose to continue to fake it, to ignore the mess, the misery, the chaos and relax in the breezy sunny afternoon with my beautiful babes, focusing on the positives and feeling blessed and you know what? It actually worked….. I got this! You got this! We got this ☺️💗
https://www.tresillian.org.au/
http://www.karitane.com.au/