Early in 2012, I met a man. A 29-year-old Aussie. Just like me. We randomly met at the top of a snowy mountain in Canada, whist I was holidaying with friends. We bonded over 19 chicken nuggets. McDonalds advertised it as 20 chicken nuggets, but I only counted 19.
We fell crazy in love, we knew it was it!
I had spent my entire life in Brisbane, so 1 year later I was up for change. I left my friends, my family, and decided to move to the Sunshine Coast - which is where his family resided. It was only an hour or so away from 'home', but I had lived in the UK before, so I was like 'yeh no big deal, let’s do this'.
Time went on and 10 months after living on the Sunshine Coast, I was pregnant (unplanned) with our first bubba. My pregnancy was... interesting to say the least. Anxiety, depression and a roller coaster of emotions unexpectedly hit me. All of which put our relationship under stress. All of which, I couldn’t see or name at the time. I knew I was not feeling 'right', but I told myself it was just a whole lot of change, thoughts, hormones and everything else going on.
9 months later... she was here. Our little bubba was here!
My whole world changed. I remember driving her home from hospital, and I burst out in tears in the car. He said to me "awwww babe whats wrong?". My reply, "I just don't want anyone to break her heart".
I remember the feeling so clearly.... I loved her more than anything in this whole wide world. She was so perfect, so innocent, so pure. At the time, I had this vision of her being older, and her heart shattering into pieces. Those pieces we've all experienced in our lives, as we grow, and how our hearts get broken by a man.
I don't think I got the 'baby blues' that I've heard about, but I do remember crying and feeling so sad on this drive home, when she was 3 days old. What that was? I don’t know. But I will never forget the way I felt this day. This feeling I was dreading... if only I had known I was about to endure that heart shattering pain… in ways I could never have imagined. Perhaps it was all premonition of what was to come.
We got home. We were now three. As motherhood eventuated with the mundane daily doings of everyday life, I slowly became lonely and ‘bored’. I lived at the beach, I had a man who worked so hard to financially provide for his family, he cooked dinner every night, I had a new baby, I was on maternity leave. What the heck was there to be sad about???
With no close friends or family around... I struggled. I didn’t realise at the time just how much I was struggling. It’s only looking back on it now.... I was.... depressed.
However, I pushed on. We pushed on.
19 months later, we found out I was pregnant with our second daughter. Another little surprise.
This time... the morning sickness was horrible. Horrible, horrible, HORRIBLE! Morning sickness + me = not good. I felt helpless… useless. I could not do what I felt like I 'should' have been doing.
My depression got worse. I pushed myself out of bed every morning. I got myself dressed, I got my daughter dressed, I got her to daycare, I got myself to work. I pushed on through. Again, looking back... I should have hospitalised myself.
I was not coping.
Just when I thought things could not get worse.... he left.
My children’s father chose to leave us. 15 weeks after finding out we were pregnant again. He chose to leave me at my lowest point. He chose to leave our family.
Our relationship had died. He told me I should be able to handle all of this.
My world absolutely crumbled. It absolutely shattered. A few days later when reality had set in with all this, I phoned my Mum. She came to stay with me. And my sister immediately flew down from Rockhampton to be with me and my daughter. They were there for me in every way possible.
I had no choice but to keep on going. I had a nearly two-year-old, and another human growing inside me. What was I to do? What the heck was I to do?!?
I continued to work, I continued to be a mother and I continued to process what was going on. I remember so clearly sitting in my car in the garage one night while my Mum and Sister were inside with my daughter, and I screamed. I have never screamed so loud in my life. The pain was so intense. It was something I have NEVER felt before. I remember feeling "my family has just fallen apart, this cannot be happening". Not to mention, the morning sickness I was still suffering from. It all took its toll.
As the months passed by, my two-year-old would wipe the tears from my eyes, whilst my darling daughter inside me could hear and feel everything I was going through. I honestly do not know how my belly baby survived the stress and the anxiety I was suffering.
6 weeks before my second baby was born, I made the stressful and tough decision to move back to Brisbane, to be with my family and friends. I knew I could not do it alone on the Sunshine Coast, raising both my babies whilst going through the emotional headf**k I was going through… all whilst trying to survive. My mother and her partner wholeheartedly made a decision to end their lease and share a house with myself and my girls, where we still live to this day. I will forever be grateful for what they have done for us.
Late in September 2016, my second darling girl was born. I went into labour at 3.30am. 8 hours later there she was in all her perfectness, and I lay on the birth suite shower floor, finally holding her in my arms.
I had (unintentionally) had an epidural with my first baby, and all I ever wanted was to feel what it feels like to give birth vaginally with no pain relief, and let my body do what it was made to do. I was on a mission. I trusted my body and I let it do its thing. I birthed her alone.
Well.... myself, my baby, one midwife and one student doctor. But on my own.
I have NEVER EVER in my life felt so empowered and strong, given the emotional state I was still in due to the separation. I always had this vision of pushing my baby out, and having an incredible bond with her due to the pain and birthing actions, but instead, she came out, I grabbed her on my chest, I looked at my midwife and as tears rolled from my eyes, I cried "I DID IT... I DID IT!!"
One of my longest of time friends, walked in and cut our umbilical cord. From here, I felt like I could do anything.
Because.... I could. I proved it to myself. I felt if I could push a kid out of my vagina whilst going through the worst anxiety and depression and emotional turmoil, I can do ANYTHING!
It was at the 6-month mark after my daughter was born, I knew I reached a point where I needed a bigger help than I could give myself. I was still deeply struggling with the separation between the girls father and I. I was still an emotional mess. I was not present. I was not presently ‘there’ with myself or my girls. I was still trying to understand and come to terms with everything. Wishing he was there with us, each and every day, for every moment as a ‘family’. All I've ever wanted, I felt was 'ripped away from me'.
I was on the floor, curled up in a ball crying, with my mother looking over me, crying herself, due to the pain, hurt, stress, anxiety and depression she could see I was suffering. I told her I could not do this anymore. I got to my feet, picked up my phone, and phoned Belmont Private Mental Health Hospital. I admitted myself there that afternoon, with my 6-month-old in tow.
My 6mth old and I stayed in the mums and bubs ward, where I felt safe with my emotions. I saw and spoke with the most incredible Psychiatric Doctor, who diagnosed me with severe anxiety and depression, due to a number of things including the emotional abuse caused by my children’s father. She hit the nail on the head, without me having to tell her my whole story.
I was placed on medication to help with the anxiety and depression I was suffering, and had been suffering with for far too long, and we stayed at Belmont for the following seven nights. I undertook a 6-week CBT course, where I learnt about myself, my situation, and ways to help overcome the struggle. I had found the help and support that I needed.
Now, 3 years later after the separation, I look back. I can see the blame I put on myself for the separation (which he put in my head). But most importantly I look back at how far I have come. Holy Moly. I have grown and overcome so much.
I look at what I have done for myself, the strength I have gained, and the positivity I have found. The life I have created for my beautiful girls. I am so proud of all that I have done for my little family.