I woke up early this morning with a sense of urgency after having some vivid dreams about my recently passed away father in law. We were accompanying him to some kind of concert, it was my husband, him and myself. He was still active into his mid 80’s before having to go into the home due to Parkinson’s, and up until that time was still pretty sharp. It was great that we were out because of him, and we were happy to be there, just needed a little inspiration apparently.

I woke with the words “rise” in my head. “Rise, Rise”. Also with the strange internal dialogue that I need to be bigger than I am right now, that I have been hiding, that the pain and trauma that I’ve gone through in the past few years is coming to an end, and it’s time for me to shine my light brightly again, it’s time for me to be back in the public, and back inspiring and making a difference. Rise, Rise.


I’ve let my job go. In part due to truly feeling like I need to have the flexibility to be available in case my family, including my in-laws who have experienced very ill health as of late, need me, and more specifically if they need my son, the golden sun, around to help brighten moods.

It was bittersweet. I know it’s been coming, and I truly do want flexibility, but I also liked that I did have a team of people I was working with and I enjoy the feeling of being productive. I learned a variety of different real estate based systems in a short amount of time and even wrote some Marketing AdCopy, which I definitely enjoyed doing.

My son has just gotten up from his nap and is standing next to me with his hand on my leg, asking for my attention, so I have to cut this short.

Now, comes the entrepreneurial phase and I’m totally open to this.

Finally I Saw Therapist

Finally I got some face to face help. Two sessions today after calling around yesterday to see if I could talk to someone. I felt the dark wave of grief and despair rolling over me yesterday. I know this feeling. I know it very well since having my child. It was a very traumatic experience for me and I haven’t felt confident to seek a qualified professional as I didn’t have Permanent Residency and didn’t want to jeopardise my chances of getting to stay with my family here in Australia. Now I do have PR and I am working through this now.

The first session was a woo woo style practitioner. She let me ramble and ramble, and that’s what I did. I cried a bit, told my story, described how I felt in creative ways, and at the end did some sand play where I just created what was circling in me and brought it to the surface. That was fun, I always enjoy these kinds of ways of bringing out creativity and to help gain insight. I described what I thought about each piece I chose to add from her shelves of figurines. I chose a mini pot of flowers to add beauty and symbolise the circular path that life seems to be. I chose a native woman carrying a child on her back and a golly wog doll which is an inherently racist black doll that is very kitsch Australian, and I chose these because I feel empathy for them, and in my own plight I understand theirs better. I chose Merlin with a unicorn to help represent how magic is all around, I just have to ask and see it. I chose a happy smiling buddha because I want more of that in my life, but am not sure how to fully detach to get to that stage these days. In the middle I drew out two big eyes, like that Grateful Dead song that goes “wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world” as it’s been running through my head for days now. All in all, it was a good session and I appreciated having that kind of very soft space to talk about things.

The second session was just a few doors down, also upstairs in this downtown charming historic town. When I walked into the stairwell it smelt like beauty parlour that specialises in waxing, and it took me by surprise. I guess that smell went with how I felt when I was in the session, very similar to when you are going in for a wax, you know you need to do it, you know you’ll love the results, but for christ sakes the process is painful, but some areas are strangely very satisfying and almost enjoyable in their pain. The psychologist was an older woman who I can only guess has hair that reaches all the way down her back, she had it piled up high on her head into a bun, she’s of retirement age, but so youthful and full of energy as soon as she opened her mouth with a bright sparkle in her eyes. She wore older woman nice clothes, you know the kind that were popular ages ago and they’re still in fine knick but not necessarily up to date. She also wore a beautiful broach that coordinated with her maroon pantsuit which gave me a sense of comfort thinking about how my grandmother used to wear broaches.

We got down to business after I sat in her narrow office. I had already filled out the paperwork, which thankfully my husband’s work pays for these sessions so we don’t have to pay out the $175 per visit as the contract had read. I get five sessions with her under his program and I will use them all. She asked me to give her a summary of why I am there and what I’ve been up to. So I backtracked to 2010 and mentioned that after a head on collision that happened just months after arriving in Australia, that I received counselling which was very helpful. I mentioned that due to a Medical Treatment visa I was able to stay here, and that’s in the timeframe that I met my husband. I mentioned about going back to University and finishing my bachelors. I mentioned that although my husband and I both had chosen in our earlier lives to not have children, that together we changed our direction and intentionally created our son who was conceived on our wedding day out of love, and that he is all love. I then talked about how that pregnancy went haywire, and I ended up in hospital for nearly three weeks until an emergency caesar where he was extracted from my body, and put into the NICU in a  plexiglass box and that a couple days later I was able to see him and all of it was very disorienting. I told her that before I was put under with the gas that I made peace with my life because I thought I was going to die, and how I had just left my husband’s hand in this stark white corridor on the way to the surgery area. I talked about how I had been so straight during my pregnancy with everything I was consuming and then all of a sudden I was taking major drugs to help me cope with the pain, and how that along with having to inject myself with a needle to help prevent dissolve the blood clot that had formed in my groin, was the worst kind of self harm I’ve ever known physically, and all of it took me so far from my natural clear headed state. I talked about the uncertainty when bringing home our child, and being all alone in Sydney with my husband working shifts of four days on and four days off, and not having any additional help and those first months were the darkest of my entire life. I shared how when I think of the newborn phase I think of the smell of Aquim hand sanitiser, chords, beeping, uncertainty, pain, hurt, and grief. I shared with her out loud things that I have never shared with anyone else that went on in my mind during that stage and I wept so loudly and it all came out. I completely lost it, and it may have only been in the first ten minutes of me walking in. Progress was being made.

She talked about the amygdala and how it stores all of our past experiences and how it’s like a volcano that has many layers and how when something gets triggered it then accesses every time I’ve ever had that feeling, and this made perfect sense to me. I had thought of it as wells of emotion within me, something I was holding, something I was internalising, something that was there always with me. She helped me to see that the release can happen by changing it to be a volcano versus a well, and to do whatever I need to in order to get the hell out of the fucking well. She didn’t say it quite like that but this was definitely how I heard it.

She talked about how this kind of trauma creates spikes in my cortisol levels and with that comes fight, flight or freeze. This was also an ah-ha moment to me. I know that my cortisol levels have been spiked from childhood due to having a very traumatic upbringing, and over the years it was clear to me what I was doing I was definitely fighting or fleeing the situation. This time around I have been full on in freeze mode. I hadn’t even considered that freeze was an option, and that’s exactly where I’ve been for the past three years. Adding on the waiting for Permanent Residency and that just created a stronger freeze feeling for me. So I’ve been on edge pretty much my whole life and in this last stretch, it has become freeze and now I get to fucking work it out so I can move forward. No more internalising. I see it, I understand, I have ways to move past this, and now that is what I am doing.

She talked about the importance of getting my levels checked to make sure all of my vitamins, thyroid and all other blood markers are normal in case that needed attention. Thankfully I’ve had those earlier this year due to the endometriosis. Oh speaking of endometriosis, she also said that by keeping all of this in my “well” rather that in a volcano, it would create disease in my body, and then I told her about the endometriosis, which completely makes sense. It came on strong and seemingly all of a sudden, and lasted about ten months. After using the Mirena IUD and getting PR, it’s amazing how it’s settled down, but not at all surprising as I’m not as on edge about everything.

She talked about the importance of deep breathing. 3 count in, hold for 3 and release for 5. She said that if I’m in freeze mode and I’m shallow breathing all of my cells think that they are also in survival mode. She gave an extra oomph to it by talking about Taming the Tiger, and with the breathing to clench my fists in the in breath, and release my hands completely in the out breath to signal to my body physically as well that it’s time for this to go. I loved this. I love that this is actionable and we did it in her office, and I could feel the difference. I will continue to do this.

Overall I feel completely drained from today. My eyes are so tired and dry from all of the crying I’ve done, by far more than I’ve cried anytime in the past couple years, probably not since my father died two years ago. Interesting that it’s also his birthday today, feels very auspicious. I don’t want to be that kind of parent and it almost feels like I’m honouring that by getting help now.

I see her next week and I really look forward to it. I am writing it out. I am moving past this. Thank fucking god. I’m so ready.

The Present Baby

Today I had the pleasure of holding a brand new baby. A new life that is not even a full week old, and I got to be there, holding her, supporting her, allowing her to rest and sleep in my arms. She was so peaceful and just emitted this feeling that everything was wonderful in the world. I haven’t held many babies prior to joining my Mother’s Group, and I am trying to recall if I’ve ever held a baby this young other than my own, and I don’t have any distinctly clear memories of it, and maybe that’s why today felt so big.

She was dressed in a pearly white knitted dress with a pearly white ribbon bow to tie it together, matching little knitted booties, and a matching knitted bonnet. The outfit had never been worn before and it was so fitting for such a brand new little being, this pearly divine white knitted outfit for this divinely serene baby, truly a perfect match.

She mostly slept while I was holding her. When it came time for her meal, she had to be undressed a bit to cool down and wake her up for her feed. So I had the pleasure of slowly taking off one tiny little bootie at a time, then her bonnet carefully from the top of her head, and then slowly I untied the little waistband pearly white ribbon and opened up her little dress jacket, and took her little delicate arms out of each sleeve. I was like opening the best present on your birthday, or the best present on Christmas when you’re a kid. I was completely filled with joy in this process, and that I was able to do it.

There are other ways of having newborns, and I experienced one first hand myself today, and it gives me hope that if we ever do it again, that it can be different, and I welcome that wholeheartedly.

Self Esteem

I’ve come to realise that over the past two or more years, almost three really, I have had a huge blow to my self-esteem. There have been highs of course and a lot of really incredibly rich experiences, none of which I would take back. However, the blows to my self-esteem have been a lot actually. Not being able to find a job, even a menial job after graduating was really challenging, and it seemed mostly to revolve around me not having Permanent Residency, but it was hard. There was a constant struggle with some renters at the farm which caused so much stress and a feeling of frustration and not being able to just get other people to do the right thing like take care of the animals. We had a lovely celebration for our wedding amidst it all, but were dealing with this other stuff before the wedding, during the honeymoon and afterwards. The there was the not-so-easy pregnancy. I shouldnt’ even sugar coat it, it was a very complicated pregnancy. It was like my body wasn’t cooperating with me. Then there was the crazy flatmates that totally lied to us and then left without ever paying the money they owed and finding out that they had betrayed us by speaking so poorly about us to our other flatmates who we are actually still friends with these years later. That was hard to deal with especially while pregnant. Then the craziness of being in the hospital for  the weeks leading up to my son’s birth, having to take pain killers, having to some how accept whatever outcomes because my body wasn’t coping and the baby was in jeopardy. Then the actual emergency delivery which was so very traumatic. Followed by the five weeks of hell in the NICU going back and forth not knowing what to do all the while having to leave my new son at the hospital. Not being able to take care of him, or myself at that stage. Then the constant looming feeling of death due to a dislodged blood clot and the twice daily self harm I had to do by way of injections of blood thinners. This was al wearing me down something fierce. Then having a baby, a new baby at home and not knowing what to do and having hardly any support with my husband working big 12 hour shifts, and having zero family support here in the city, and not knowing anyone. I felt so alone and helpless and incapable. Even now still not knowing about if I have permanent residency, waiting for over two years after being told that it would go right through in six months by the immigration department, and it clearly not happening that way. Every once in a while I still look through jobs and am always hung up on the lack of having PR. It sucks. Then all the time wasted with the banks and talking about buying the other part of the farm land for years now and still not being in a position to actually do it and feeling like I just can’t get it together to make it happen.  Also the huge amount of money wasted with the program that I signed up for to build my own business as a way to get around having PR, and feeling like they didn’t have the right support in place to help me and me not knowing how to help myself all amidst the craziness of everything going on at the farm and in my body and then as a new mum. And as of late some unknown illness that was pointing to a cyst on my ovary that may or may not have burst and who the hell knows why the ovarian tumour marker really is elevated, it’s all so unknown. and somehow I need to be okay with this. And all the while knowing that my own dad died last year within a month of being diagnosed with cancer, jesus, it’s been a rough last couple of years. It’s been so crazy. I need a win.

Sometimes, I feel like I can only express myself so much, like I’ve just been beaten down and I don’t like that feeling. I play nicely, I am in an area of Sydney where I feel like I need to and it’s in part for companionship but mostly because I need them or I have needed them to help me and support me through this phase of becoming a parent.

I need a win in a major way. I keep having this strong desire to have my own place, our own house that we own so that I can have a sense of permanency, a sense of ownership, and a sense of pride almost. It’s like I need to grab onto the part of making a home so that I can fulfil this sense of feeling incapable, or helpless, or just not able to do what I need to do.

I am not always so blue about this and about what I’ve struggled with, but I really have struggled in the past stretch of time, more than I readily like to admit. I also got a degree in a field that I am both fascinated and horrified by, and don’t want to actually work in it. I feel like my plans are always changing yet nothing really changes. That’s not actually true though, things have been changing, but not at a pace that I want, and I need to be okay with this.

Sometimes I feel like maybe I need to try some antidepressants, and I know that isn’t really the answer, the answer is adjusting my life so that I don’t feel like this. I am not sure exactly how to do that right now, as a mum, as a wife, where I am. I just know how to make the smaller changes, so I do. My biological clock is still ticking and I’m so overtly aware of it it makes me question like every choice right now as well. Do we make another baby, do I go back to school, what do I do? I feel like there are so many choices, so many options, and at the same time, I feel a bit stuck, a big weighted down, a big heavy in it all.

Overwhelming Sense of Love

It can be and usually is in the most mundane and ordinary of moments when I feel this overwhelming sense of love for my child. This feeling of love and warmth and sparkle just sweeps right over and through me in a big wave. It’s amazing when that feeling happens, and it happens regularly. It can happen when I’m giving him a hug, or picking him up out of his crib from his nap, or when he’s eating in his high chair, or as today, doing imaginary play. I never expect it and am always so happy when it comes. What a beautiful gift to experience.

It’s a different kind of love than I have for my husband, which is also a love I have never known before. It’s a special pure love that permeates my being. I love my child. I am very happy to have this role as his mum. Really what a gift he has been in my life.

A Pivotal Moment

The last time I had a scare in the feminine area, I had some precancerous cells taken off of my cervix. This was enough to scare the hell out of me and enough to light a major fire under my bum to change my life. I had been working for a corporation for about nine years at the time and at that stage I was the Accounting Manager for our operation at the Grand Canyon, and wasn’t really enjoying it all that much. I found that just because you are relatively good at something doesn’t mean that’s what you are meant to be doing. I had also recently left a long term relationship with a person who I should have stopped dating six months into it, but I was young, naive, and really he was emotionally abusive, specifically with mind games and I had a hard time navigating out of it, until right before I got the call about my very abnormal pap smear.

I was twenty six just made the cut-off age for the Gardasil vaccine to prevent anything else like that happening down there for me, I was living on my own, dating various guys one after another in a very short time frame, and was really lost. Eventually came this over the top very passionate Brazilian man into my life and I just needed everything about that at the time. I ended up resigning from my job and gave away everything I owned and moved to Brazil.

This crazy time prompted a total life change. A complete jumping of timelines into a complete different path and universe. I am so thankful that it happened and I did what I did because I am here now with this beautiful son and husband that I have.

So my mind goes into thoughts about what is going on in my life, and what needs to change because something major needs to shift externally as well. I am unwell in my body for some reason, yes it can just be a random event that is happening in my body, but I do strongly believe that my mind and personal well being really does have an impact on my health. It will be essential for me to create an environment that is more aligned with my values and life. I know this. I know this means not being in the suburbs even though I have a great group of friends from my mum and bub group.

I am open to change. I am specifically open to positive change that is beneficial for myself and my loved ones.

Thoughts on being unwell

Lately I’ve been having some issues that seem to be pointing to the large cyst that is on one of my ovaries. The combination of major bloating, loss of appetite, tiredness, abdominal pain, and general fear and stress about this has been a lot to handle. It’s been two and a half weeks straight of this and honestly it’s really wearing me down. I’m tired.

It’s so strange that my mind automatically goes to worst case scenario. In the Emergency Department they thought it was appendicitis at first, then another doctor on call there happened to be a gynaecologist and was tipped by the symptoms thinking it could be an ovarian cyst. It makes me cry thinking about it, but I’m lucky she was on duty that day and the week after when she called me to talk to me about the results of my ultrasound and what I needed to do next. I’m also lucky that I have a GP in our rural town who gives a damn and has helped me follow up with this. I have seen a GP here and they are so blase about everything and all the gynos here are booked out, with a possibility to be squeezed in a few months from now. Again that good rural GP has come through and secured me an appointment with the best gyno around in just a few days. I am so thankful and scared.

I am thankful because I can finally get some answers and not keep living with this pain and discomfort. It’s really challenging to be an energetic mum to a two year old when I feel like this. It’s really challenging emotionally as well, and I’ve been struggling with it. Sometimes I think I may need to get some antidepressants or something because my mind really does go to worst case scenario so quickly and I seem to get drowned in that feeling pretty easily. I’m not sure if it’s somehow still all triggered and tied in with my undiagnosed PTSD after having my son, or the fact that my father was diagnosed with cancer and died within one month, just last year, but it’s intense. So if physically I am having it hard, emotionally I am having it really hard.

I have such a fear of dying. I recently heard the thought that death gives life meaning, and although that can bring some comfort, overall, it still makes me question to myself “have I done enough” and this makes me sad. It makes me sad to think about all of the life I have not lived yet. It makes me sad to think about all of the experiences I have not shared with my husband and child yet. It makes me feel like I am going to miss out so much. This is a slippery slope to go on and seriously my mind just slides right in. I have to be careful.

So how do I overcome this? How do I overcome this feeling of helplessness while feeling so worn down? Usually I would say to a friend if they sought my help, I would tell them the following: Take time to feel your feelings. Then find every way possible to laugh. Find the positives that way. Eat really well. Groom really well. Wear nice clothes, wear makeup and perfume or whatever makes you feel good when you look at yourself in the mirror. Be good to yourself. Be easy on yourself, and trust that everything is happening as it ought to. Surround yourself with people you love and who love you. Do what makes you feel the best. Do what brings you joy. Create, create, create. Focus on the love, the joy, the goodness happening right now.

Navigating the Waters

In the last week, I have turned a corner, a major corner. I have started to allow someone else to look after my child in a maximum of 2 hour increments. This is a big deal. He’s now almost 22 months, and prior to now, I pretty much count on one hand the number of times someone else has looked after him besides my husband or myself.

I have so many feelings that are arising from this. Perhaps this is what primary carers of little people go through with this transition. Simultaneously wanting to have freedom and independence, but at the same time wanting to make sure that my little person is completely taken care of. The feeling of, YES FINALLY, I’m Doing Something For Myself, AND the feeling of guilt that someone else is looking after my most precious being, who is completely defenceless, completely incapable of articulating with words anything that goes on.

Exhale. I am doing that a lot, deep breathing. He is going to the day care option that is available at the gym I have joined. It’s all super new, totally customer oriented, and really top of the line. The classes are incredible, the machines are the newest available, the instructors are top notch, the child care is incredible. Even in the baby area, they have a huge play section that rivals the places you have to pay to go into for $12 for 2 hours where you have to buy an obligatory coffee as well. The carers are so lovely, so friendly, so very obviously kid people with big hearts and huge smiles.

All of this is good, I know it. I do. Me progressing forward by moving my body and getting back into shape, along with allowing the next stage of our lives to happen by me letting go and accepting help with my child. I know all of this, I know it’s truly all good. There is still a fountain of feelings coming up and I can’t ignore them. I even invited a fellow Mum from my mum and bub group to come over and watch a tear jerking movie that left us both sobbing, just so we could let the emotions out in a safe place.

The new chapter is beginning and I am grieving the last one. It’s normal, and it’s okay. I have loads of self compassion for myself and am being as gentle with me as I possibly can in this transition. I am also doing my best to be there for my son while he transitions, because it’s also a major shift for him as well. Such a big deal.

Emotional Hangover

My head hurts, my eyes hurt, I feel withdrawn, slightly manic almost going from a momentary high to back down into the wallowing blah that is. It’s hard having an emotional hangover. They can last for days, up to a week. For some people they get so used to being in that emotional hangover state that it consumes their life and months go by, even years before they really bounce back. I guess I’m lucky. I have a high tolerance because I’ve gone through a lot of unnecessary crap in my life. I guess that make me lucky in some regards, I know it passes, it always does.

The emotional hangover can be caused by a number of things. It doesn’t have to be solely around losing a loved one, or breaking up. It can be not getting the recognition for a job well done after you spent months working on it. It can be not getting thing you’ve been dedicating time and energy into only to be turned down, not given the chance, or just ignored all together. It can be trauma as well like after having a baby, or having a car accident, falling and breaking a bone, it can all cause this feeling. It’s almost like life gets put slightly on hold so that you can reconcile what has happened and then move forward.

Some positive points about an emotional hangover include learning how to look after and love yourself. This is only if you have worked on it. The easy way is to indulge in some escapism with drinking too much, getting high, binging on Netflix, overeating or fantasising about the old glory days. None of this really helps, but it seems to, at least momentarily, and when you are feeling low, anything that makes you feel even a little bit better seems like a great option, at the time.

As I’ve gotten older, and hopefully wiser, I’ve learned that I need to do the opposite of the negative indulgence. I really need to feel the feelings before I can let it pass, and then I focus on me. What really cures the emotional hangover is a whole lot of self love, self nurturing, and self compassion. This includes getting some body work done such as a massage, or acupuncture. There are many other options, but for me, this really helps get everything back in order. I know I need to eat well, as in healthy good foods that make me feel nourished. I normally don’t eat meat, but when I am feeling like I need something extra, I don’t even hesitate getting some salmon or some kind of beef, it just helps everything in that moment. Moving my body is a key upper as well. It can be as simple as taking a walk around the neighbourhood, or doing the stairs more. I also have a sauna at home, so letting my body sweat a bit definitely helps get it all moving which helps me move through the emotional hangover. I also find that if I groom myself, even if it’s a DIY mani/pedi, and a DIY facial and DIY hair mask, it all makes a world of difference. I also make a point of putting on makeup because when I look in the mirror I see a more perky version of myself and it holds space for me to move back into that, even if I don’t feel that way right then.

Sex can be a great aid for the emotional hangover. Orgasms and releasing in that way specifically helps to reduce stress in a major way. This can even be effective without a partner but oh boy it’s so much nicer when it’s with the one you love.

Expressing the feelings or the even what happened in a factual way can be helpful. Writing it out, painting it, speaking it all helps. It can be very harmful to keep it all in, just be sure not to hurt anyone’s feelings when you do share. Also taking responsibility for your own feelings is essential. Working out how to avoid another emotional hangover is also awesome if you can do that too.

Sometimes, in life, you just have to understand that things will go the way they do. Control is often out of your hands, and all you can really do is manage your own self, your own reactions, and seek help if you need it. Use every experience as an opportunity to grow more into who you really are, to learn what you can from it, and move on.