Meet Sandy, a mum of 3 beautiful children who faced many challenges through a big move, newborns lack of support and well, you get the gist. Read the link in my bio
It began with an interstate promotion. My husband was offered a senior role in Brisbane to relocate from our home city of Melbourne. Our babies were 2 1/2 and 1 year of age and I was an older Mum, having had my first baby at 38.
Coming from a long career in corporate sales in FMCG and media organisations, I had struggled with some aspects of motherhood but overall relished nurturing my babies who were very much longed for. I was very grateful for the opportunity to raise them full time. I also adored having my loving Croatian parents within driving distance, as a form of emotional and physical support. They had both survived kidney and liver cancer respectively and I was very grateful to share my babies with them. These were easily the happiest days of my life.
The move to Brisbane came, along with some very sad goodbyes. I had departed my home city years earlier, very solo, with a broken heart and youth on my side to explore life in London. Working for News International, it proved to be an exhilarating time. Somehow, a move with two little ones in nappies didn’t hold quite the same allure.
Landing in the middle of Brisbane, I tried so hard to be optimistic and supportive of my husband. He was taking on a large role and I was determined to do my part. I spent my first day sobbing amongst unpacked boxes. On the second day and with great determination, I packed the kids into the double pram and headed to the nearest playgroup, joined mini music and Little Kickers. In the months ahead, my efforts quickly descended into sadness and anxiety. The anxiety seemed bigger than me and quickly became delibitating. I lost a lot of weight and there were days I couldn’t get out of the bathroom, children at my feet. I experienced full blown panic attacks regularly, often quite scary while I was driving with
children or in the supermarket. GP and specialist appointments became a regular part of my life as I tried to figure out what was wrong with me. I knew I didn’t have PND but couldn’t work out what was wrong with me. I dragged the children to countless doctors appointments all over Brisbane. I landed in emergency more than once believing I was having a heart attack due to chest pain. Invasive testing of all kinds and finally a thyroid diagnosis which didn’t help but essentially it seemed all my troubles were crippling anxiety. On top of this, during this time, I was told my son had a heart murmur and my daughter had eye issues which could be quite serious. Much more worry, loneliness and anxiety.
I had always been in control of my life but I had no control and was floundering, with no close friends or family, a husband who was regularly flying back to head office in Melbourne. I was completely overwhelmed, lonely and anxious. The days seemed to stretch on for years.
Eventually I found an incredible pyschologist who was my saviour. She helped me manage and normalise the anxiety and eventually got me through this period week by week. I will forever be grateful to her and still access her teachings to this day.
During our time in Brisbane, I made some lovely friends and neighbours. In hindsight I look back and am sad that it was not a happier experience for us. I ponder on the fact that it takes a village, that generations of women before us raised families amongst grandparents, aunts and uncles, who were often hands on and involved in the upbringing. Not always but often. My fear is that many new mothers these days don’t have anything that resembles a village and it’s far from healthy.
Nowadays, I drive by mothers strolling with newborn bassinet prams and I say a silent prayer for them. I pray they have support and a helping hand. Motherhood is the greatest journey we will ever embark on. It is truly a privilege to raise these little souls but it is a journey best taken with a few helping hands and big hearts.
Mumma and Co, I wish you were around a few years ago. I would have welcomed you with open arms in some dark days. If you manage to help just one Mumma like me, you have done a very important job. All my love xxx
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