My Postpartum Depression Story – Miserable mum to parenting ‘expert’

As I reflect back on my life just three and a half years ago, I see a very different person to the one who is writing this post.

I am saddened as I recall 'that day' when I got so angry I slammed a knife on the bench so hard, it bounced off and narrowly missed my son's head. Overcome with guilt and self-disgust, I ran to my bedroom screaming how much I HATED my life...all with my (then) six month old sitting on my hip.

It was not one of my proudest moments and it has not been easy to bring that story out in public, but little did I know of the value it would have for many, many mums out there feeling the same way.

What happened that day though, marked a dramatic shift in my life that completely changed the very core of who I was (thank goodness).

In the midst of that tantrum (as I call it), some very distinct words entered my mind. It said:

"No one else can change this for you. No one else can change the way you feel about your life. Only you can."

As logical as these words were, suddenly they rang loud and clear in my mind and struck a very deep cord within me. In that small, painful, destructive moment, my whole world change I began to search for how to change the emotional turmoil I repetitively found myself in.

I realised that no fairy godmother was going to wave her magic wand and make me enjoy my life. It wasn't going to change by itself. I was the ONLY one who could do anything about it, and I had decided right in that moment, that this was EXACTLY what I was going to do.

Suddenly a new lease on life had ignited within me and I began to devour whatever self-help information I could get my hands on. I began to search for self-help information specifically for mums and came up with nothing.

I thought, "I know I can't be the only mum to feel like this". So I began to write about what worked and what didn't work as I applied it to my own life with a six month old and a 22month old, and the challenges that came with it.

I observed my own anger, guilt, self-criticism and reactions to the things that went 'wrong' in my life and started learning how to STOP the THINKING behind this behaviour and my emotions.

As I began to do this, I noticed that there were specific steps that I was taking each time I was stopping these emotions and negative thinking, and I formed them into my now well-known five-step "Mind TRACK to Happiness Process".

This five step process was something that I could apply to ANY area of my life to change the way I felt about it.

After twelve months of learning, applying and writing, my family and I decided to sell up and travel around Australia for a year, and we ended up on a remote cattle station in the Kimberley's Australia. (You know the Australia movie? Well the backdrop mountains, the Coburn Ranges was our back yard for six months).

When we finally moved on from there, we moved back to the Sunshine coast in Queensland and that is where I found and trained with The Anti-Depression Association of Australia as one of their REAL life coaches and course facilitators, helping people to understand and overcome their stress, depression and anxiety.

With their method that was clearly shifting people's stress in an extremely profound way, had summed up everything that I had ever learned about self-help into a tight, easy to remember format that worked. It worked because people were able to help themselves. It completely aligned with what I wanted for mums: Self Help information for mums that helped them to help themselves.

Knowing there was no other information like this out there (that I had heard of anyway) and definitely nothing like this in the context of motherhood, I wrote The Happy Mum Handbook. It quickly became an international seller.

I realised that mums really needed this information and they liked that they could personally relate to the journey that I had taken with my own postnatal depression and how I had moved myself out of it too.

I felt so passionate and determined to teach mums what I had learned and participate in the end of motherhood stress and postnatal depression/anxiety.

Because many mums struggled to find time to read the book, or were so bleary eyed and tired at the end of the day to comprehend what they had read, I decided that I would write The Postpartum Depression Recovery Program (now Find My Calm within the Chaos) to take this information one step further.

Because I had read so many books on self-help, felt inspired and then at the end of a book was left wondering what I had to do next, I decided that I wanted to offer support to mums so that they could specifically ask questions about how the information taught applied to their own lives.

I also wanted to make this information more user friendly. Most mums are time-poor, so breaking each lesson up into 15-20 minute (maximum) lessons helped mums to remember and gradually apply this life-changing information into their lives.

Also, allowing mums to listen to the lessons, via audio and adding in a few videos to explain key points, meant that it also catered for different learning styles too.

Now there was absolutely no need for any mum to go through the pain and misery of postnatal stress, depression or anxiety, as I had.

So fast forward to today and it continues to be my mission to let as many mums as possible know about this resources that is changing lives.

You see what started as the most emotional, heartbreaking, painful time in my life, actually turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me, so let that be a lesson to you.

Not everything 'bad' actually ends up bad. Life can turn around in the blink of an eye, or in my case, the bouncing of a knife.

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