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Beautiful Maternal Mental Health ❤️

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 All The Bits In Between, Attachment parenting, Babies, Baby's, Birth, Body image, Family, Friends, Fun, Happiness, Health, Mental Health, Mom life, Mum life, Nursing, Parenting, Parenting Styles, Peace, Pregnancy, Relationships, Sadness, schools, Self love, Society, Spiritual, Toddlers, Uncategorized

Beautiful Mild Mannered Middle Son, Marley Kai ❤️

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/





Posted in Babies, Baby's, Birth, Black lives matter, Death, Family, Friends, Health, Houses, Marriage, Parenting, Peace, Race, Racism, Relationships, Self love, Society, Spiritual, Uncategorized

Beautiful Black Lives ❤️

Hello Beautiful People,

I know it seems that I’m wading in on this important issue a bit late but there are several personal reasons for me not speaking up until this week. Reasons that I have worked through and that have enlightened me. So it seems now is the time that, sadly, I need to voice where I stand on a very difficult racial topic.

Yes I love my husband, his friends and colleagues and yes we are a part of the blue family. But we were white before we were blue and we loved blacks before we were blue and we still do. Some of those blacks still love us back too even though we are white and now we are also blue….

Because colour doesn’t and shouldn’t matter. But it does…. And we are part of  a blue family that can and does consist of beautiful people, men and women who are caring and have families. People who feel empathy and sadness towards others. People who feel sadness, anger, hurt and frustration at the current climate and unnecessary deaths…. A lot of these people are a part of this community, some of them, like us have grown up here. Some are, have family, friends or neighbours who are Aboriginal. Sadness is felt by all of the good  blue people, but today is not about them. 

Today is about some of the most heartbreaking and tragically unnecessary deaths of some beautiful black lives. Indigenous lives, here and all over the world……

This week marks the four year anniversary of the death of a family friends daughter. A childhood friend of my own daughter. A beautiful young Aboriginal girl still in her teens. One who never ever showed me her ‘bad’ side despite so called evidence and hearsay about her behaviour. I always only ever saw a sweet, shy, soft, vulnerable young girl. A teenage girl, who, like all teenagers, was going through a bit of a rough time and could easily be swayed by others behaviours. This time every year I grieve for her along side her devastatingly heartbroken family…..   And although it is alleged that she took her own life, most of us know the trauma she experienced leading up to that desperately sad decision……RIP Molly, no words will ever be able to describe how much you are loved and missed………

Sadly this week, we have also seen the death of another Aboriginal teenager. A young boy. Dead at the hands of an adult white male murderer. This barely made the news. When it was reported on the media focused on the boys alleged criminal behaviour and not the fact that he was murdered!!  My heart is breaking….. Literally breaking…… If I think about it too much I cry….. And yet I can’t stop thinking about it………

And I can’t stay quiet anymore…… Despite my fear of upsetting those I love and hold dear, I need to speak up! In fact I need to shout out!! I was confused about whether I should, could or had a right to take a stand. Until recently, when, of all places to have an epiphany. I felt my blood boil, my brain overload and my heart nearly explode……As I burst in to tears in the middle of the Macklemore concert whilst he was singing White Privilige II…. And right then I realised…

 ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

With all the reading and research I’ve done, history has not been kind to our beautiful black brothers and sisters. In fact, historically, us whites, have been down right evil to those of colour.  Attempted genocide, slavery, segregation, oppression, kidnapping, rape, murder and constant racial profiling. 

And I’m ashamed and heartbroken to be a part of this privileged white middle class…. Class… Farce…. A bunch of people that are the main perpetrators of this evil ugly behaviour….Hiding behind the guise of…. but I’m not racist, yet we turn a blind eye…. Too scared to speak out… Fearful of the controversy and repercussions…… Yet in our silence we continue to watch beautiful black lives die……

🎼 We take all we want from black culture but will we show up for black lives?🎼 (Macklemore, White Privilege II)

I used to think saying #alllivesmatter was valid until I starting doing my research…..  

Reviewing journal articles and assignments from an elective University subject on Indigenous Studies that my husband and I took years ago so we could be more informed (because to this day not enough information is accurately covered in any high school curriculum about our nations beautiful black history. Indigenous history is barely mentioned in our schools despite our nations very long and brilliantly beautiful black history). Reading various media reports shared by my more informed peers. And mostly talking to my beautiful friends…… 

And one or two comments throughout these conversations really drove the message home…… Or more so punched me in the guts and left me with a terrifying sick sense of fear for my friends, fellow humans……Fear for them that to this day I can’t shake….. Comments like “I moved here (to Oz) because it’s more accepting, but I still fear for my brother, and think things like, please don’t let him get shot”…….. And it’s words like these that make me realise why I’ve been wrong….. Because I know these people personally, not just through a  t.v screen and they are beautiful…… And it’s terrifying……..And it’s black people dying…… For what?!….. Trivial things…… For nothing…… Murder for power….. Maybe out of frustration or fear…… But it’s still murder……Are we any better than the U.S?! Maybe, not by much…..

And now I know I was wrong……

Because saying that #alllivesmatter undermines the desperately important message that needs to be shouted out, understood and heard, for there to be justice and peace for these people. And an end once and for all to these senseless deaths………….. 💔

#BlackLivesMatter

#BlackLivesMatter

#BlackLivesMatter

#BlackLivesMatter
🎼 Your silence is a luxury, hip-hop is not a luxury , Your silence is a luxury, hip-hop is not a luxury, What I got for me, it is for me, What we made, we made to set us free 🎼

 (Jamila Wood, ftd in White Privilige II) 

#BlackLivesMatter

#BlackLivesMatter

#BlackLivesMatter


#BlackLivesMatter

#Onelove

#Onerace

#Peace

#MacklemoreSydney2016

#MacklemorewhitepriviligeII