An Anxious Mind

I am quite an open book in real life. I’ve spoken to lots of friends and women I’ve met over the years about my struggles with motherhood, but one thing I’ve not really touched on publicly until now, was my intense periods of heightened anxiety following my eldest daughter Sailor’s birth.

And it’s not because I’ve got anything to hide or that I feel ashamed at all. Quite the contrary. I’ve spent a great amount of time and energy over the years dealing with my own inadequacies and challenges to get me to this confident and calmer point. But have I forgotten just how difficult and tough some of those times were for me, for my baby and I? No, not for one second.

I have just created a range of t-shirts and bumper stickers with my Baby Brain logo on it. It wasn’t a cheap exercise and my husband and I are fully funding it from our own money. But, we’re giving 100% of the proceeds from every sale straight to PANDA – Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia, a non- profit organisation that helps with support and counselling for mums, dads and their families affected by anxiety and depression while pregnant and or after their babies have been born. This was a no brainer for me (excuse the pun hahaha) as I’ve wanted desperately to do something like this for the past few years because of my own personal story, plus the story of so many women I know who’ve had similar experiences. And finally, that little dream has turned into a reality!

No, not everyone is as happy as I am about this collaboration. Just the other day, I was stopped by a lovely elderly (very well-dressed) woman at my local Woolworths and was taken back when she asked me why “on Earth” I would want to be associated with such a charity. Her point was that many people would draw the conclusion that I had been affected by depression in those early months with a newborn. She went on to say that “every new mum finds it tough, but you just battle on” and then continued to rant about how “this generation whinges about everything and that doesn’t do anything to help anyone”. It was at this point I felt a real anger inside me start to bubble up and anyone who knows me well would attest this is very far from my bubbly personality. I felt really incensed. Really hurt by her words, even though I realised she didn’t think she was pointing them at me. The truth is, she WAS!

I am not your textbook case of Postnatal Depression, well not the stereotypical one that uneducated people picture with that title I guess. I saw plenty of Doctors and Professionals during my struggle. Not one of them could really “diagnose” me or put me into a pigeonhole. I think I completed about fifty of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale quizzes. But nothing was really “stand out” to them. I was often asked if I was being “totally honest” while filling the out. I believed I was. I wanted answers too, however I just didn’t feel the test results really represented what I was experiencing.. But, then again what would I know? I was a brand new mum with next to no experience. I was putting all my faith in the system. Surely that was the right decision? Surely, they could tell if something wasn’t right? If I wasn’t normal?

As mentioned above, I completed several low-score Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale quizzes. Each time I answered as honestly as I could, but I always got a score of 4 or less. And when your EPDS score is above 10 they classify you as having possible depression and above 13 is likely depression. But my results always put me as having low risk postpartum depression. But looking back now, I believe this may have been wrong.

For example, here’s the list of questions and my answers and my score.

Q: I’ve been able to laugh and see the funny side of things.
A: As much as I always could.

Even when my anxiety turned to near panic attack level, I could still be snapped out of it, or calmed down using humour. In fact, I found humour and comedy and laughing to be the best remedy for me. I’m sure it doesn’t work for everyone and to some it may even feel condescending, but for me this revelation was incredibly powerful.

Q: I have looked forward with enjoyment to things.
A: As much as I always have.

I still had as much excitement and eagerness for fun things that I had always had. In fact, I craved more things I enjoyed like hanging out with friends and family. I recognised that I felt really isolated and alone at times and that didn’t help my anxiety. When I pictured doing fun things, I didn’t picture running late or things not working in my favour. With a newborn, things often go wrong and that’s ok. I realise now that my expectations were out of step with reality and that left me prone to bouts of anxiety when things didn’t work out the way they would before I had my baby.

Q: I have blamed myself unnecessarily for things that have gone wrong.
A: Not very often.

I don’t ever remember blaming myself when things went wrong. But, I’m a little ashamed to admit I often would blame my baby. Sometimes when things were quite bad, I would think to myself, “Why would she do this to me? Why would she decide to do a number 3 right at this point?” I look back at this now and it makes me so sad. I never had thoughts of harming my baby but I would become angry and raise my voice from time to time. That really hurt our bonding at that time, although now you would never know it. But I can admit that I recognise a difference in bonding in those early months with each of my children because of my untreated anxiety.

Q: I have been anxious or worried for no good reason.
A: Sometimes

This was such an important question, and yet the wording always seemed to get me. I DID acknowledge that I was suffering from some level of anxiety at times, but it was always for a good reason I felt. At the time, when answering these questions I believed the worry was justified. What I failed to recognise was the extent of the anxiety and worry at those peak periods. Also what was confusing to me was that my anxious attacks wouldn’t last long but they would make me behave very out of character apparently. In my effort to conceal them, I would often become very angry and aggressive at anyone who tried to quiz me on the changes. I’m not sure if that was because I was scared of being discovered as a “failure” or if my mind was just so hectic with self talk during those moments that I found it incredibly insulting if anyone questioned my ability to cope.

Q: I have felt scared or panicky for no good reason.
A: No, not at all.

Again, I answered this honestly. I never felt scared or panicky for no good reason. If my baby coughed or made gurgling noises in the night and I felt sick to the stomach with fear that she may die that was a “good” reason. Surely all new mums were worried about that. If my baby vomited after I breastfed her because I had my periods (every 3 weeks from 4 weeks of birth) or mastitis (I had it 12 times) and my milk was curdled, surely that was a good enough reason. Another time my anxiety nearly caused me to have a panic attack and hyperventilate, was when my baby was a week old, just home from the hospital and I had visitors arrive and both their children had Hand, Foot and Mouth and only told me after they had used my brand new change table for one of the children. I remember crying and uncontrollably sobbing for hours when they left. So scared that my newborn baby would die… But again, I felt that a “good enough” reason? Surely!

Q: Things have been getting on top of me.
A: No, most of the time I have coped quite well.

I was coping. I was managing. I was enjoying most of my time as a new mum. I didn’t worry about cleaning the house or buying groceries. I wasn’t worried about all the washing. I was relatively gentle on myself with the usual chores. I felt I was adaptable. If the baby and I needed to sleep most of the day and just breastfeed, we would do that. I had nothing really to get on top of. I felt I was coping really well. Sometimes things were hard. And that’s exactly how I viewed it. I recall having to go and get my husband from the airport each Friday afternoon was stressful as we would always seem to run late. Even though the baby and I would start to get ready from first thing in the morning, something would always happen right before we were leaving. A massive poo. An unplanned feed. A traffic jam. A major car accident in the tunnel. A broken elevator. It was these things that sent me crazy. Unpredictably anxious. From zero to one hundred in ten-seconds. I would break out in a sweat. Sweaty hands, sweaty feet. Dry mouth. Feelings like I couldn’t cope. Pounding pressure in my temples. Fast breathing.

Q: I have been so unhappy that I have had difficulty sleeping.
A: No, not at all.

I think I was often so tired from long night feeds that as soon as my head hit the pillow I would most often fall deep, deep asleep, so this didn’t apply.

Q: I have felt sad or miserable.
A: No, not at all.

Despite my bouts of anxiousness, I was happy. I’m quite optimistic. I’m naturally quite positive. Very rarely did I ever feel sad and I wouldn’t class myself as ever feeling miserable. The only times I really felt a tinge of sadness would be after getting angry at my poor husband. He was so confused by my hiding of my postnatal anxiety that sometimes he would question if I was “ok” to which I would fly off the handle. “HOW DARE YOU?” I would yell. I would feel so enraged that he would even need to ask such a question! Surely he would know what it feels to have the stress of a brand new baby. Surely he could see how much I was trying to do. I look back now and realise how irrational I was at times and yet I would never class myself as sad or “miserable”. That didn’t apply to me.

Q: I have been so unhappy that I have been crying.
A: Only occasionally.

This question literally stumped me. Not one to usually cry, I found myself crying a lot. I cried if I saw someone begging on the street. I cried if I saw a dead bird. I unusually cried for hours if I read about a baby dying of SIDS. I cried when I spent quality time with my baby and she looked at me and smiled. I cried to myself some mornings when I woke up. I cried when I went to sleep some nights.. Never really because I felt “sad”. I really had no idea what was making me cry. I just felt overly emotional but I couldn’t put it down to feeling sad. I didn’t feel sad. I felt a variety of emotions but not unhappy. I felt happy. I had a beautiful and healthy baby. I had a gorgeous and loving husband. I had a wonderful family. I was very happy.

Q: The thought of harming myself has occurred to me.
A: No, never.

Never. Ever. Ever. Did I ever contemplate hurting myself? Sometimes I would think and be a little fearful that my car may veer off the road in wet weather but that was it. Hence why I was so confused about postnatal depression or the “baby blues” because I never had feelings of hurting my baby or hurting myself therefore I didn’t believe I had anything to be treated for.. Looking back now, I realise I was wrong.

I was NOT OK. I was telling myself that I WAS OK. Everyone I was talking to was encouraging me, and telling me that what I was experiencing was NORMAL. But nothing felt “normal”. Nothing felt “right” now that I look back on that period. I was struggling to keep my head above water in a world I didn’t know. I was alone and scared for a good part of those first few months, and the only thing that saved me, saved my sanity was my unwavering positive and upbeat attitude.

Looking back now, I realise I was dealing with a lot. The usual brand-new mum hormones, and the fear and unknown of a brand new baby, PLUS after years of professional help I realise and can admit I had undiagnosed/untreated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at the time of my daughter’s birth that I knew nothing about, I also suffered from disassociation after my daughter’s traumatic birth, plus I was trying to manage a co-dependence with my husband that developed after I nursed him back to health after his broken back. While those words may not mean a lot to you, in knowing what I know now, just writing this paragraph has made me so sad for myself. In realising the struggles faced by people suffering from PTSD and disassociation, my heart absolutely breaks for myself back at that point. I had no idea, nor could I articulate anything about what I was going though. At times I was fine, but at other times I was not. In trying to manage all those emotions and stages, my bond with my daughter suffered and that is the hardest thing I’ve got to digest out of all of this. Those first few months when everything is supposed to be rosy and delightful and loving were hard work, lonely, scary at times and full of anxiety. And that, to this day, breaks my heart.

I think it all started with my fascination to create a magnificent birth plan. My plan became my expectation looking back though, so I guess I was setting myself up for disappointment. I had been warned by friends and midwives about being induced. Most of them had told me induction more often results in intervention, i.e. a caesarean. I had read numerous books with fabulous arguments for going over time and having your baby when your body and your baby were ready. However, my last ultrasound showed my baby at 37 weeks to have grown significantly big since the previous scan and her head was exceptionally sized. My mother and my sister had both had difficult births (my sister nearly died from blood loss) due to shoulder dystocia and my Obstetrician, and my Husband and I were concerned about this. I was against a planned caesarean. I didn’t want a caesarean at any cost. My mother and sister had had natural births. I had friends who had had both and had told me they much preferred natural.

So after considering carefully all the advice, and weighing up the possibilities of a traumatic birth, I decided to go ahead with my Obstetrician’s advice and commence induction before my baby’s head became ridiculously large. The induction was just the first step that mismatched my meticulous birth plan, and things only got worse from there. My baby turned and was Frank Breech and didn’t seem to want to take her feet out of her mouth (turns out she had hyper mobile hips when born so her favourite resting place for her feet was in her mouth). My beautiful Obstetrician followed my orders not to have a caesarean until the vet last moment. My baby’s heart rate had dropped. I was in a great deal of distress too at this point. I was exhausted. I wasn’t dilating properly. I had been in so much pain due to my baby turning the wrong way round and with her feet in her mouth, that with every contraction I would become hysterical. I had been in pain for so long, trying my hardest to do it all on my own that I had begun hallucinating. I was telling my very concern husband that I heard a Doctor say I’d never walk again. Not true. I believed I’d heard some medical staff say my baby might die. Also not true. There was no one in the room with us at these points. My husband called the Doctor and they agreed I was in too much pain, so I conceded to having a partial epidural. Another few hours passed, I was having regular contractions because of the oxytocin drip. It had been nearly 24 hours since my waters were burst and things began to turn dire. My check up showed meconium — meaning my baby had released faecal content due to distress. Again, my ever patient and caring Obstetrician visited me and we spoke. It was 2am in the morning and after a few days of giving it my very, very effort, I was beyond exhausted. I agreed to the caesarean. They wheeled me into theatre. I was shaking uncontrollably and sobbing. I couldn’t believe this had happened to me. I felt like a part of me had died. I was so scared, so scared and traumatised. I couldn’t stop crying. I have such a huge fear of needles, and the thought of being operated on while awake, with all those needles was sending me into a panic attack. So I was given some Valium.

When they held my baby up to me, I didn’t recognise her. I remember something really strange happening around this point. It was like I had an out of body experience. I was looking down at myself on the theatre table, with my Obstetrician holding my baby up to what looked like me and my husband. He was crying. I wasn’t. I was just staring blankly. I was completely numb. I didn’t speak. The nurses and doctors all walked up to me to congratulate me. I didn’t speak. My blood pressure had dropped very low. I could tell they were a bit worried at the time. My baby was fine and she was wheeled somewhere with Grant in tow while I lay on the table feeling every tug and pull on my stomach. It wasn’t painful but it broke my heart. How could something so beautiful turn out to be so traumatic? They couldn’t let me hold my baby because I was so out of it and I was ok with that. I didn’t know even if I wanted to hold her at this point. I felt broken.

Whilst being wheeled out of recovery and back to my room, my bed hit something and my catheter bag fell off the bed. I remember thinking ouch that hurt, even though I couldn’t feel my legs. I was so exhausted and nervous to be reunited with my baby that I didn’t really care at his point. However, tomorrow this would become incredibly painful and cause me an enormous amount of grief.

I spent the next few hours just staring at my baby and holding her. I loved her so much but it didn’t feel like I had imagined. I asked the nurse to hold her for me and to look after her a few times. I just didn’t trust myself for some reason I didn’t feel that I, me, her Mother, was the best person to look after her right now. I mean how could I know what I was doing when nothing I had planned, nothing I had visualised up until this moment had actually occurred? This constant self commentary only helped to reiterate that I really knew nothing. Immense fear set in. I was petrified to think that I was to be able to look after this little baby soon.

Feeding was a complete struggle. An unenjoyable, scary rollercoaster of emotion kind of struggle. We couldn’t get a rhythm at all. I had huge milk flow and she wouldn’t latch on. I’ve written about my personal breastfeeding journey on The Chezzi Diaries, so won’t go into too much detail here. Except to say, this all helped me build a case in my head against myself being a “good mum”. The day after my baby was born, I had my first lot of visitors coming and my nurse tried to remove the catheter. The accident the day previous had left a tear in my urethra and I screamed and screamed and writhed with pain. I needed desperately to urinate but it felt like the worse urinary tract infection I’d ever experienced had set in. I was shaking the pain was so bad. So my visitors are standing at the door hearing my screams in pain. I knew this and would never want to scare them but the pain was incredible. The nurse gave me pethidine and a I/V of antibiotics and I saw my visitors.

Heading home I seemed to regain some control. My best girlfriend came to stay the night with me when we first got home from hospital. She commented how at ease I felt. I tried to tell myself that I was doing this well, but deep down something felt like it was missing. I didn’t recall my daughter’s birth with any warmth. In fact, I told the story like it had happened to someone else because that’s exactly how it felt. All the details seemed foggy. Distant. None of the memories seemed like mine. My beautiful Husband, clearly aware subconsciously that something wasn’t right, spend days making a video of my daughter’s birth. It was an emotional piece that he created. It was filled with love and drama like her birth. Watching it for the first time, I broke down and cried for hours, just staring at the screen. It felt like I was watching something so beautiful that had happened to someone else. It never felt like my story. I felt detached. I later learnt through extensive counselling that was part of the “disassociation” I had experienced. It was my mind’s way of coping with the intense stress that was placed upon my body and my mind during my daughter’s birth. I guess I was already programmed to operate that way, as I had begun to suffer from PTSD which “disassociation” is a symptom of, from a jet engine explosion where I nearly died, and subsequently from a bad monster truck accident that left my husband in the hospital. Not to mention, the regular sight of deceased bodies during my time as a journalist. I was not equipped to mentally or emotionally handle all this stress. But because I was trying to be strong. For my job. My husband. A coping mechanism set in. And here enters my life featuring PTSD and Postnatal Anxiety.

The day my best friend left my house, the second day home from hospital with my new baby, I received a phone call that she had been in a bad car accident and it was uncertain if she would make it. I recall I was trying to feed my baby at the time, and I was screaming at my husband who gave me the news. Within an hour we had packed up the car, and I had taken some medication to relieve the pain felt by my extensive emergency caesarean stitches, and off we drove for three hours to get to Bathurst to sit by my best friends bed in recovery. Again, being too strong-willed for my own good, I ignored all the pleas to take it easy. I knew I needed to be with my girlfriend. She needed me. There was just no question. I was very good at hiding the emotional toll most of the time, and this was a prime example.

When I was certain my girlfriend would be ok, we headed back to Sydney as we had a Magazine photo shoot the next day, and in a few days time we also had to appear on Sunrise. The photo shoot felt very unnatural. I was puffy. I felt terribly bloated. I tried on several outfits but the stylist didn’t like them. Finally Sailor started to cry and they encouraged me to feed her. I felt overwhelmed and headed for a room to try to attempt to feed her in private, while my anxiety was building because I felt I was running late. When I was back having photos taken I was sitting in very uncomfortable poses trying to look natural, but there was nothing natural about how I looked. I looked like a supermodel. My hair. My make-up. The clothes! Honestly, the pictures were stunning, but not one of them reflected how I felt that day. How scared, weak and inadequate I felt inside. I felt like a fraud when I saw the magazine spread. I had a moment where I felt sorry for other mums trying to compare to this unreality. But I also secretly was glad that I could hide beside that perfection because it felt like I wasn’t a failure, for just a moment.

A few days later and we were on Sunrise. I looked and felt an absolute wreck, and remember reading the Sunrise Soapbox and some emails from (mostly women) saying how “fat” I looked on TV with Mel and Kochie, while introducing my brand new baby girl. To say I was heartbroken would be an understatement. I felt so uncomfortable with my baby outside of our home, and had to take her on national TV and actually talk when I couldn’t string a sentence together in real life… Even though TV had been my life, I was petrified to be in front of the camera. Given everything that had happened in the past week, I had no confidence in my ability to do anything well let alone talk comfortably to Mel and Kochie about how great my life was at that point. I was shaking I was so scared. The emails (which I never should have read) also said other nasty things like I was a “bad mum” because I dressed my daughter in a headband that could have cut her circulation off. Upon reading that, I cried and cried for hours.

Over the next few months, my anxiety would increase until I would literally explode and yell at my husband mostly. Sometimes I would be so tired or so full of emotion I would yell at my daughter. Sometimes I would shout things in my mind. I would be so quick to anger. It was so unlike me. I felt out of control sometimes and then totally in control and enjoying life at other moments. It was a see-saw of emotion, and I knew it couldn’t last like that. I was doing stupid things constantly. My first experience of “baby brain” and I was petrified. I didn’t feel like I could trust myself. I was scared that I would forget the baby one day… Or forget to feed her… I had locked us out of our 34th level apartment more than a handful of times, and I almost had the locksmith on speed dial. It was embarrassing, and with every additional “stupid” thing I did, my anxiety just grew and grew..

One day I was so rushed to go to the doctor that I left the car door and boot open. Not just unlocked, actually wide open. On a busy Sydney street. I was mortified when I returned to the car. At first I thought I’d been robbed. Then I realised in my haste, I had left everything open… An internal panic attack began. Again, the strongest feelings of anger towards myself, my stupidity started to grow.

With my inability to trust myself constantly growing, I threw myself back into work. I began travelling back on the road, with my husband and baby, just to try feel some level of normality. I became irrational at times checking, double and triple checking what I had packed for fear I would forget something crucial. It was inevitable with all the travel I was doing that I would be caught out. I realise now I was like a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode. It was too much. Travelling is hard work, let alone with a newish baby. Some of the locations we travelled to were remote. There were long drives, numerous plane rides, and boat trips. But I persevered. I recall forgetting to pack nappies or a change of clothes for the baby in my carry on for a work trip to Canada. Ten minutes in the air, and Sailor did such a big exploding poo that it leaked out her suit and all over Grant’s jeans. I was so embarrassed and humiliated that I had forgotten to pack such a crucial item like bloody nappies. Luckily the wonderful Qantas hostess could tell how upset I was, and taught me how to wrap the baby in a business class napkin until another hostess found some spare nappies. I remember softly sobbing for hours that flight when the lights were down and everyone was asleep. I felt so ridiculous. I kept asking myself why I was being so stupid. I was so angry at myself.

It was November 2011, and my daughter was 8 months old and I think I had a mini break-down. My husband had been away for the past few weeks. I had stopped travelling because I was trying to plan my daughter’s christening. He came home one night; I had been trying to wean her and had two massively hard rocks for boobs. I had a high temperature, I had been giving her bottles for a few weeks but had been suffering from bouts of Mastitis and just honestly felt hot and shit. I can’t recall what he said to me that evening. I can’t remember what set me off. But I just recall handing him the baby, when he arrived home… all red-faced and just letting off pent up steam for about an hour before he said anything. I was SO BEYOND angry. I had had enough of the anxiety. Of my self talk. Of the dramas. I wanted nothing to do with it. I was tired. I was emotional. I felt unwell. My back was out from stress. I’d been trying to do my best and I never felt it was enough. I told him after an hour of yelling that I needed professional help. I told him that I felt I couldn’t keep holding everything together. I cried and cried as I told him how devastated I was that I couldn’t feed my baby myself anymore. That my doctor had encouraged me to give up considering I was experiencing my twelfth bout of Mastitis. Nothing seemed right in my life at that point. I loved my baby but she “wouldn’t help me feed properly” I kept saying to my husband.

The next day, I saw a counsellor and began to discuss all these things that I had been dealing with. Immediately I began to feel some relief, although it was a decent journey to feel normal again. My counsellor recognised in my first session that I was suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and recommended I see another Professional who specialised in PTSD. I felt so vulnerable. I felt like I was on show. Like every new person I had to explain my story to was looking at me and thinking. “She had so much potential but now she’s useless. What a waste!” I felt a great amount of shame too at this point because my Counsellor had only scratched the surface with me and a myriad of emotions poured out. There were so many things I had been dealing with at the same time. I felt so scared to open up on one hand, and yet I felt compelled to just keep talking on the other. It was such a strange feeling. I was clammy. Tense. My heart was beating hard in my ears. I had total brain fog and couldn’t stop crying. My explanation of things was like a five-year-old’s — all over the place and not in any kind of order. But for all the fear and shame, I wish I had sought professional help earlier. The help and support I received at what was a critical time for me, has been without a doubt, paramount in me regaining control and confidence in my life, and especially in my ability to mother my children.

I could write or speak about this very topic forever. Even looking back at how much I’ve banged out in this post, I realise how important this topic, this issue is to me. Everyone has their own story. Their own demons. Their own struggles. Since my experience with terrible and gripping anxiety following my daughter’s birth, I’ve never EVER judged another mum for how they cope because I’ve had some really hard times that you wouldn’t ever see or read about in a glossy magazine… Because, unfortunately it’s not sexy. Unfortunately, our society likes people in the public eye to seemingly have it all together. To have their outfits all colour co-ordinated with their hair! To have their shoes match their designer prams. This is not reality though, it’s far from it. I am such an advocate for “keeping it real” because I was once someone who compared myself to try gauge how “I was measuring up” as a mum. I suffered with irrational anxiety when I felt I fell short. That just makes me so sad now because I realise I’m not the only one who does this. And it’s only getting worse with social media portraying such perfect images, what hope do our children have of recognising the varying levels of normal?

So, to the lady who I spoke with in Woolworths, and anyone else who wants to pass judgement on my passionate call to help support the work that Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia does, know this:

I very well may not be have been here had I not received help with my anxiety when I did. I feel totally indebted to the support from my loving husband and family and professional counsellors and doctors. I knew about Postnatal Depression, but had no idea that there was such a thing as Post baby anxiety. I didn’t even recognise that I was suffering from anxiety. And one of the best remedies for me has been laughter. Real laugh out loud, snort kind of giggling. I’m such a strong believer in the healing power of laughter, which I try really hard to inject this into everything I do nowadays. In all of Mummy Time TV you’ll see I try to take the lighter view of some fairly crappy situations. Not because I don’t take anything seriously, quite the opposite – because I used to take everything TOO seriously. While I’m not perfect, I try to remember this and always try to see the funny side of things… And that’s why I created the Baby Brain Merchandise range. To take the lighter side of what caused me so much grief. To help unite mums in the craziness of being a mum, while giving back to a charity that I have so much personal respect for.



Scared and exhausted. I’d just made the decision here to go into theatre for an Emergency Caesarean.

The pain from my catheter accident, and my caesarian operation made feeding my baby incredibly awkward and painful. From very early on I found the entire experience scary and overwhelming and far from enjoyable or bonding.

Grant was so overwhelmed with joy when Sailor was born. I remember feeling reassured that he was following our baby while I laid on the operating table feeling numb inside.

I went back on the road travelling with Sunrise Weather because I felt it was less isolated and because it was the only life I’d known for the past four years. Grant is pictured here with Sailor’s first appearance on Sunrise Weather.

I loved Sailor to pieces but I couldn’t describe the same feelings as my friends with babies had. I would often feel inadequate when talking about the love for our babies with friends.

Sailor was such a perfect baby. She was peaceful and easy and I spent ages just watching her in the hospital, petrified I couldn’t be the mother she deserved.

I’d just been to the Doctor in this photo and had been diagnosed with Mastitis again. I was miserable, exhausted and anxious.

All in all, I did my absolute best to raise a beautiful happy and healthy little girl. While I look back on her first year with great sadness sometimes, it wasn’t all bad and I wasn’t anxious every day. I know I did a good job because Sailor is the most loving, caring and beautiful child today and we share an incredible bond.

I loved you before I had even met you. That love was always undeniably true, but it evolved and changed unique to our beautiful relationship. My darling daughter, my life is better because I had you.

I can see tension on my face in this photo. Sailor’s Christening was incredibly anxiety building for me. At the end of this month my anxiety would reach an all-time high and I would seek Professional help.

Sailor was a little ray of bright sunshine from the very start. She adapted so well to travelling and had clocked up nearly 100 flights by the time she turned 1! I look back and often wonder how the hell I travelled so much with a new little bub..

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