Matrescence and Bipolar – one mother’s experience. By Katie Rickson

Matrescence and Bipolar – one mother’s experience. By Katie Rickson

Bipolar and Matrescence - one mother's experience. By Katie Rickson

MY BIPOLAR, WHICH FOR THE MOST PART HAD LAID DORMANT FOR THE SIX YEARS PRIOR, ERUPTED AFTER THE BIRTH OF MY DAUGHTER.

Before I go on, I wasn’t officially diagnosed with bipolar before my daughter arrived. We thought it was major depression and I had no words to describe my mania (…a frigging relief from depression? Me being a party animal?). One psychiatrist brought it up, but I didn’t have any understanding of bipolar, so I shut him down with, “No, it’s not that.”

Within weeks of my daughter’s arrival, I had horrible waking dreams, night terrors that I had left her in my bed and fallen asleep, and she got suffocated or forever lost in the duvet. They were so vivid and one of the most distressing things I’ve experienced.

Then I sensed, not quite heard, but sensed, this violent masculine voice almost without fail, at her 3am feed: “Why don’t you bang her head against the wall?” I would never bang her head against the wall. Or do anything this voice told me to do. If it popped up during the day and I was with someone else, I would tell them I’m sorry, but I can’t be with my baby right now, please can you help while I calm myself.

Then panic attacks. Then the thought that I had psychic powers.

I WAS SLEEP-DEPRIVED. DESPERATE FOR SLEEP. THEN WITH THE NIGHT OF TERRORS I WAS SCARED TO FALL ASLEEP. NEXT I DIDN’T NEED MUCH SLEEP AT ALL.

I was awake, cleaning the kitchen, catching up on laundry at 3am. Sending emails to my boss about amazing fundraising opportunities and long rambling messages to my family and friends. Trying to do some copywriting work in the dead of night. In short, everything but what I should be doing – sleeping.

WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE THE LANGUAGE FOR AN EXPERIENCE, YOU CAN EITHER SHRUG IT OFF AND THINK THAT IT IS NORMAL, OR YOU CAN AMPLIFY IT UNTIL IT BECOMES ISOLATING AND SCARY.

My brain and body were experiencing two seismic shifts: psychosis and matrescence. Each on their own are massive. Going through both at the same time threatened to destroy me.

WHAT IS PSYCHOSIS?

From: mothersmatter.nz: “The most severe form of postpartum depression (PPD) is known as postpartum psychosis. This occurs in one to two out of every 1,000 pregnancies. Postpartum psychosis is commonly seen in women with bipolar disorder; however, research has shown that many women are misdiagnosed with postpartum major depressive disorder due to the absence of a manic or hypomanic episode at the time of diagnosis. Some affected women may experience a break in reality that causes them to have delusions or unusual thoughts that they believe to be accurate. Additionally, they may report hallucinations, irritability, hyperactivity, decreased need for or inability to sleep, paranoia, rapid mood swings, or difficulty with communication.”

WHAT IS MATRESCENCE?

Matrescence is the “physical, emotional, hormonal and social transition to becoming a mother.” It’s not something that’s talked about much in general discourse.
Dr Jen from Tough Mothers
is doing all she can to change that.

PART OF WHAT MADE ME SICK WAS THE EXPECTATIONS I PLACED ON MYSELF, AND HOW HEAVY THEY WERE.

I “should” exclusively breastfeed my baby until six months; I “should” be able to have lots of visitors and get the rest I need. I “should” return to my pre-baby weight, my pre-baby lifestyle, my pre-baby work as soon as possible. I “should” know how to keep a tidy home and not argue with my husband. I “should” know the difference between what’s normal for me and what’s a symptom of something.

We give adolescents a fair amount of grace when they go through the transition from young person to adult. Why aren’t we the same with ourselves when we become a new mum or with other new mums?

“ADOLESCENCE IS A GRADUAL PROCESS –

it isn’t instant in the way motherhood can be divided into pre-baby and post-baby life. But we need to be forgiving of ourselves, and to acknowledge that it might take time to adjust to all the shifts and challenges happening at once. Your body, your brain chemistry and your identity are all changing.”

“IF YOU CUT OUT THE MAJORITY OF ACTIVITIES THAT WERE ESSENTIAL

to your routine before having a baby, you may feel disconnected from your identity.”

Both quotes are from: Can weaning your baby cause maternal depression? by Alexandra Frost published by todaysparent.com

UNDERSTANDING MATRESCENCE WOULD BE HELPFUL WHEN YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT STARTING A FAMILY AND AGAIN WHEN YOU FALL PREGNANT.

At the time, I thought antenatal classes were helpful, even inspiring at times, but as I reflect on them now, it was just surface-level stuff. The focus was on the baby and the external or physical things. The birth – which is a big deal, but one moment in time. Like before you get married you might focus all your energy on the wedding day and not what it’s like to actually be married. What that does to your identity.

The external, physical things – how to put on a nappy, how to read baby’s cues, how to drink cold coffee – can all be picked up. What’s much harder is the identity shift, the loss, the grief of the life you once had. You’re grateful, of course you’re grateful if it’s planned, you have the privilege of being a mum, but you’re going to compare your new life to the life you once lived, the freedom and impulsivity you once enjoyed.

NOBODY CAN GO THROUGH MATRESCENCE FOR YOU.

It’s a journey you have to go on. It’s like the story We’re going on a bear hunt. Only the bear is a cooing, crying, cluster feeding, glorious smelling human. You can’t go over it, you can’t go under it. You have to go through it.

My introduction to matrescence was muddied when I experienced postpartum bipolar and a full-blown psychotic episode.

WHERE DID THE MANIA END AND MATRESCENCE BEGIN?

I remember fantasising about going for long car rides by myself or checking into a hotel for a couple of nights. I wanted the impulsivity back. I wanted my freedom back. This made me feel yuck about myself and ashamed – further adding to my postnatal distress.

The thing about matrescence – and any experience with mental distress – is it’s so important to have a label, a framework, a context to hang your experiences onto. I wish I was introduced to matrescence during antenatal classes, or during my interactions with psychiatrists and the maternal mental health team. I wish we discussed it at coffee groups instead of who needed the least amount of pain relief during birth (not me, by the way).

But we hardly have the language for it. How can we talk about a thing when we don’t realise it’s even a thing?

How can you practice mindfulness or meditation or cognitive behavioural therapy when you don’t have a reference for these changes?

I THINK BIPOLAR ONLY GOES SO FAR IN EXPLAINING MY CHANGED THOUGHTS AND BEHAVIOUR. MATRESCENCE WAS STILL HAPPENING WHETHER I HAD A WORD FOR IT OR NOT.

A few months later, after being hospitalised and diagnosed, I slowly began to feel more myself. Whatever that is after matrescence. I started reading Dear Mummy, you’re important too by Tui Fleming. The exercises on self-awareness and self-care and finding your identity – during the sleepless nights, disturbing thoughts, and unending nappy changes – were so nourishing to me at that time.

Once you’re in the mental health system, you get access to new support around motherhood and planning your family. When we were ready to think about trying for another baby, we got to have pre-conception counselling.

During pre-conception counselling, we talked about medication, the risk factors and the concern that bipolar is genetic, so there is a chance of it being knitted into your child’s genes. My deepest concerns were the impact of the medication on a foetus and then the breastfed baby. It’s not without its risks. But it’s also dangerous for your growing baby if you stop taking medication and become unwell again. It’s a delicate balance.

Also, pregnancy and the postpartum period are some of the biggest risk factors for setting off a bipolar episode – either a deep depression or an uncontrollable high. Or both. We wanted to grow our family, but the idea came with its anxieties.

MATRESCENCE NEEDS TO BECOME A COMMON WORD, A GO-TO WORD IN OUR VOCABULARY.

I hope that when I write matrescence on my updated version of Word that it’s recognised and not underlined by a red squiggle.

Whatever the make-up of families, I hope that fathers and other caregivers understand matrescence too, so that they know how to best support mothers. I hope that matrescence is talked about in antenatal classes, maternal mental health support groups and coffee groups.

Just as we give grace to adolescents as they go through their seismic shifts, so should we extend grace and understanding to ourselves and other mothers as we transform – emotionally, psychologically, physically, and spiritually.

And when I’m being kind to the mum I was, I remind myself that I just wanted to be mothered. I wanted to be held and listen to lullabies and live in a safe, gentle cocoon. I did listen to a lot of lullabies with my daughter in the first three years of her life – as much for my benefit as for hers. Lullabies are a gentle antidote to the mean voice in your head telling you you’re a piece of crap and you don’t deserve to be here.

I found myself turning to lullabies in languages I don’t understand. Most had a kind of melancholy sewn through the melody which I appreciated. For me, matrescence and melancholy are first cousins.

Matrescence is a nod to the past and a mirror, forcing you to reflect on how you were mothered and how you want to mother. It forces you to stop neglecting your inner child and think about how you speak to yourself. How you self-soothe. Or self-harm. How you sit with your emotions and your fears and your darkest thoughts.

SOME PEOPLE LOOK LIKE THEY GLIDE THROUGH MATRESCENCE. YOU KNOW THE ONES. THEY LOOK NATURAL AND INSTINCTIVE AND RESPONSIVE. THEY LOOK SERENE AND BEAUTIFUL AND UNSCATHED.

I thought I was doing well. I thought my mania was sheer, unadulterated happiness. It was a relief as I expected to be depressed.

I thought I was a natural. Maybe it was adrenalin. We were experiencing a lot of stress.

Writing this is painful. That’s another reason why I want to have another baby. I want to try and have a more serene start to motherhood.

Although matrescence is not a common word, it’s still loaded.

I surrounded myself with so many ideologies and so much pressure at a time when I was feeling rubbed raw and vulnerable. Thinking about it now, I do that a lot. It’s a form of self-sabotage – stockpiling on different people’s opinions, drowning my own intuition out with the voice and advice from experts.

Everything becomes polarising and stripped of nuance.

Cloth nappies or destroy the environment.

Breastfeed or open your baby to infection.

Take your medication or drink green smoothies and eat activated almonds.

I DON’T THINK MATRESCENCE CONVENIENTLY STOPS AFTER THE FOURTH TRIMESTER (THE THREE MONTHS AFTER BUBS IS BORN).

We become new versions of mums when our child first goes to kindy, and then school, college and leaving home. Each milestone demands a new way of being. New decisions to make. New identities to try on.

When my daughter went to school, I felt quite overwhelmed by the invitations we received to participate. The events and the paper slips. The fundraisers and the parent’s mornings. I talked to my counsellor about this. With each experience, she said, you navigate the new choices you face.

Participating at school as a parent, like most things, exists on a spectrum. At one end there’s little to no engagement – and I mean no judgment here, some parents can’t afford to participate, especially during school hours. To the other extreme, there’s the parent who’s on every board, attends every PTA meeting, sets up and runs fundraisers, you name it.

I need to ask myself where do I fit? Somewhere in the middle, I think.

So matrescence isn’t a one-time experience. A set and forget. I’m going to keep going through it. I’m grateful that I now know that there is a word for it. Like my bipolar diagnosis five years ago, I can now reframe what I went through (and what I’ll probably go through again at some stage) and how I behaved and forgive myself for where I fell short. I did my best. I continue to do my best

I WONDER WHAT IT’S GOING TO BE LIKE WHEN WE FIRST TELL OUR DAUGHTER ABOUT MY BIPOLAR CONDITION.

For now, I’m parking it and doing my best to focus on the mother I was made to be – imperfect but whole, trusting my intuition but letting some expert voices in, leaning on other people’s support while being myself.

And trying my darndest to forgive myself when I screw up. Because I will, and that’s okay.

 
Written by Katie Rickson from Compassion Poetry and reproduced with permission
Katie Rickson is a mother, writer and creator of Compassion Poetry. Compassion Poetry is Katie’s way of exploring the pain, hope and healing of life’s challenges on the page. Through her poetry and essays, she shares her insights on mental unwellness, motherhood, miscarriage and marriage, and any other topics that capture her pen.

You can find Katie and more of her amazing work at www.CompassionPoetry.co.nz and https://www.instagram.com/compassion.poetry/

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Mental Health Support

If the topics in this episode are triggering for you, or if you need support, please contact your doctor or local mental health service. Simply Google “mental health help”.

Episode #23: Motherhood fears and how to overcome them – with Belinda Hughes

Episode #23: Motherhood fears and how to overcome them – with Belinda Hughes

Motherhood fears and how to overcome them – with Belinda Hughes

For information, tips and support on your journey into and through motherhood follow Tough Mothers on Facebook and Instagram  or join our FREE Tough Mothers Village

“Acknowledging our fears around mothering and motherhood is empowering and courageous.”

This episode of The Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV is deep!
I speak with mum of two, Belinda Hughes, about the fears we feel around our children and parenting, and how we deal with these. And you can too.
Motherhood is an opportunity to really get to know ourselves, and our children are our greatest teachers. Belinda shares how she transitioned from a fear-based space to a loving ground, and how mothers can manage their own fears, and not project them onto their children.

Key takeaways from this episode of the Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV:
♥    Many of the fears mothers face come from our wounded inner child.

♥    Fear is a natural part of mothering and motherhood.

♥    It is important to feel the fear, but we should not attach ourselves to it.

♥    Learning to surrender to your fears and feelings is an important part of motherhood.
      P.S. Surrender does not mean give in, surrender means let go.

Hear the full episode. Simply click on your favourite podcast app below.
Or hit the play button below and watch the full episode on YouTube
Motherhood fears and how to overcome them – with Belinda Hughes
In this episode you will learn [Podcast, TV timestamps]:

[6.54, 5.24] How not to let fear hold you and your child back.

“Trust [your] child, trust his capabilities and his awareness… I can’t put my fears onto my child.”

[8.20, 7.50] The importance of taking a step back from the fear.

“Every part of you as a mother wants to hang on, look after them and make sure they’re okay, but that is one of the worst things you can do for their development.”

[9.43, 9.13] Become aware of your fears, and learn how to manage them.

“Managing fear within ourselves is hard and very important.”

[12.08, 11.38] Dealing with your fears helps to heal your inner child.

“Is that my fear to own or is that being projected onto me?”

[13.02, 12.32] How to overpower your fears by recognising the source.

“Become conscious of the unconscious.”

[15.00, 14.30] How to make decisions from a place of love rather than fear.

“I ask myself: what would love do in this situation?”

MENTIONS, MORE INFO and SUPPORT
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR MIND Claim your FREE MORNING MAMA MEDITATION A simple 5-minute guided meditation I created to help you will set your day up for calm, joy and fulfilment.

YOU CAN THRIVE IN MOTHERHOOD TOUGH MOTHERS COURSES can help. We implement a three-step framework to:
1) Help you understand how matrescence and motherhood change you, your brain and your mind
2) Explain the importance of mental space in motherhood
3) Teach simple, specific exercises you can easily modify to your unique self, and fit into your busy day, to create more mental space to permanently thrive, feel more fulfilled and be a truly happy mother.

WHO IS ONE PERSON THAT NEEDS TO HEAR THIS EPISODE?

Forward it to them! There are icons at the top of this page to make that really easy.

Check out the Tough Mothers Library for more episodes
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Be sure to follow/subscribe to The Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV . Leave a review for the podcast or on my YouTube channel, and you can WIN an amazing Tough Mothers gift.

Mental Health Support

If the topics in this episode are triggering for you, or if you need support, please contact your doctor or local mental health service. Simply Google “mental health help”.

Episode #22: Sleep deprivation and your mind in motherhood – with Jacqui Joe

Episode #22: Sleep deprivation and your mind in motherhood – with Jacqui Joe

Sleep deprivation and your mind in motherhood - with Jacqui Joe

For information, tips and support in your journey into and through motherhood follow Tough Mothers on Facebook and Instagram  or join our FREE Tough Mothers Village

“When a mother starts a conversation, that opens up the floodgate for other mothers to speak.”

How do you deal with sleep deprivation as a mother?
Are you open to having a conversation about the hardships of motherhood and sleep?

In this episode of The Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV, I speak with my friend Jacqui Joe, who had two non-sleeping boys, and knows all too well the effects of severe sleep deprivation. Jacqui very openly discusses her internal thoughts and mental health during this time, how she felt she should be doing better as a mother and why it is so important to have a conversation and ask for help, even if that seems hard.

Key takeaways from this episode of the Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV:
♥    Take care of yourself FIRST so you can take care of others.

♥    Having the perfect motherhood journey is a MYTH. It is not your job to fulfill society’s standards of you.

♥    Becoming a mother can shake you to your core and may not be what you expected nor planned. Learning to accept that you are having a difficult time and that your struggles are valid are the first steps to recovery.

Hear the full episode.
Simply click on your favourite podcast app below.
Or hit the play button below and watch the full episode on YouTube
Sleep deprivation and your mind in motherhood - with Jacqui Joe
In this episode you will learn [Timepoints for Podcast, TV]:
[5.15, 5.45] When your baby is born, you are born as a mother.

“Motherhood can rock you to your core and you end up being a different person.”

[9.54, 9.24] Don’t take every single piece of advice you are given. Put yourself first, Mama!

“Our kids are the most important thing but after us.”

[16.23, 15.53] The importance of being authentic despite fear of failure, or worrying you’re a bad mum. No mother has it all together!

“Saying ‘I don’t have this sorted’ or ‘I’m not doing so good’ is a really hard thing to say.”

[20.27, 19.57] Sometimes asking for help as a mum is knowing what you’re asking for.

“As a mum, you often don’t sleep because you worry for your child. You need to ask for help and take the help.”

[23.39, 23.09] There’s so much expectation to being a mum. But the truth is all mums are struggling.

“Most of the time, the negative voices inside your head lie to you. Ignore them. Be discerning.”

MENTIONS, MORE INFO and SUPPORT
YOU DON’T HAVE TO STRUGGLE, MAMA!
Learn how you can thrive in motherhood and be a happy mother.
TOUGH MOTHERS COURSES can help.

We implement a three-step framework to:

1) Help you understand how matrescence and motherhood change you
2) Explain the importance of mental space in motherhood
3) Teach simple, specific exercises you can easily modify to your unique self, and fit into your busy day, to create more mental space to permanently thrive, feel more fulfilled and be a truly happy mother.

LEARN TO CALM YOUR MIND – FREE
Claim your FREE MORNING MAMA MEDITATION
A simple 5-minute guided meditation I created to help you will set your day up for calm, joy and fulfilment.

 

WANT TO FEEL HAPPIER IN MOTHERHOOD?
Download your FREE HOW TO BE A HAPPY MOTHER – STARTER GUIDE and receive 3 simple exercises you can do TODAY to train your brain to start feeling permanently happier.

WHO IS ONE PERSON THAT NEEDS TO HEAR THIS EPISODE?

Forward it to them! There are icons at the top of this page to make that really easy.

Check out the Tough Mothers Library for more episodes
You are not alone!

Get amazing motherhood support, friendship and information in our FREE private Tough Mothers Village.

We would love to have you there.

SUBSCRIBE, REVIEW and WIN!

Be sure to follow/subscribe to The Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV .

Leave a review for the podcast or on my YouTube channel, and you can WIN an amazing Tough Mothers gift.

Mental Health Support

If the topics in this episode are triggering for you, or if you need support, please contact your doctor or local mental health service. Simply Google “mental health help”.

Episode #21: How meditation helps you thrive in motherhood – with Tom Cronin

Episode #21: How meditation helps you thrive in motherhood – with Tom Cronin

How meditation helps you thrive in motherhood - with Tom Cronin

For information, tips and support in your journey into and through motherhood follow Tough Mothers on Facebook and Instagram  or join our FREE Tough Mothers Village

“As soon as you start meditating your cortisol (stress hormone) pump gets turned off”

I know what you are thinking: “meditation is not for me!”

I used to think that too. But when I was in the grips of my postpartum breakdown I tried it because I was desperate; I had nothing to lose. Very quickly meditation played a huge part in my recovery from postpartum anxiety, and my thriving in motherhood. Over 7 years later, I still meditate every day.

Meditation makes motherhood easier!

I want you to reap the benefits of meditation too. So, in this episode of The Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV I have a deep conversation with my meditation teacher, Tom Cronin, to explain how meditation works, the scientific benefits of meditation, the importance of meditation in everyday life, and how meditation can improve your experience of motherhood and help you thrive.

Meditating is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your kids. Because when mothers thrive, their children thrive, the world thrives.

START TODAY
Listen to the episode and GET MY MORNING MAMA MEDITATION FREE TODAY
A simple 5-minute guided meditation I created to help you will set your day up for calm, joy and fulfilment.
No prior meditation experience is required, but you will get a lot out of it even if you are already meditating.

Key takeaways from this episode of the Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV:
♥    Want to be a happy, fulfilled, calm mother? Meditate!

♥    Mothers are overstimulated. Focusing inwards is the key to peace and calm, in ourselves and our families.

♥    Becoming a mother is a life-changing event. It presents us with the invitation to evolve, move forward and create a beautiful life for ourselves and our children.

Hear the full episode. Simply click on your favourite podcast app below.

Or hit the play button below and watch the full episode on YouTube

In this episode you will learn [Podcast, TV  time points]:
[1.50, 3.50]

If you are feeling stressed, you must remember that a stress response is a symptom. It indicates something isn’t right in the way you are living your life.

“Our natural response is to medicate or self-medicate stress”

[4.25, 7.20]

Learn the stages of how meditation makes us feel better – many are immediate.

“Instead of swimming upstream you are able to let yourself go and swim downstream”

[8.10, 10.30]

Why creating mental space and gaps in motherhood is so important.

“There is a big difference between the thinking mind and the conscious mind, the awareness of presence.”

[10.55, 14.30]

Becoming a mother is a rashi for many women – a powerful defining moment where you only have two options: either move forward or be overcome with turmoil.

“Meditation helps us to step out of the situation and observe the situation… and move forward”

[15.50, 37.05]

Please, Mama, learn to meditate, even before you become a mother. When we’re in meditation it is like a deep rest and it affects our biochemical makeup.

“There is such little emphasis on the emotional wellbeing of the parents.”

[19.57, 47.40]

Tom shares with us inside information about his book and movie The Portal – which shows how meditation can take us out of crisis and back into harmony.

“If we want to make a change in our family, in our kids, in our world, we need to start with ourselves”

Mentions in this episode:

Click here to learn more about The Portal book and movie

Claim your FREE MORNING MAMA MEDITATION at toughmothers.com/meditations

It’s only 5 minutes and will set you up for a beautiful day.

WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO THRIVE IN MOTHERHOOD?
Tough Mothers courses can help.

We implement a three-step framework to:

1) Help you understand how matrescence and motherhood change you
2) Explain the importance of mental space in motherhood
3) Teach simple, specific exercises you can easily modify to your unique self, and fit into your busy day, to create more mental space to permanently thrive, feel more fulfilled and be a truly happy mother.

A little about my guest Tom Cronin
Tom spent 26 years in finance markets as one of Sydney’s leading bond and swap brokers. He discovered meditation in the early stages of his career, when the anxiety and chaos he was experiencing had hit a crisis point, and it completely transformed his world, both personally and professionally.

Founder of The Stillness Project, a global movement to inspire one billion people to sit in stillness daily, Tom is passionate about reducing stress and chaos in people’s lives.
His ongoing work in transformational leadership and cultivating inner peace through meditation takes him around the world hosting retreats, mentoring, presenting keynote talks, teaching and creating The Portal film-book experience, all part of his commitment to the current planetary shift.

Tom is the author of six previous books for adults:, Insights, The Path To Peace: A Guide To Living With Ease In a Rapidly Changing World, Spirit & Soul: Exploring The Seven States Of Consciousness, Faster Deeper Sleep: The Ultimate Guide To A Daily Recharge, Faster Deeper Calm: How To Live Without Anxiety and Panic. He is also the author of the children’s book Missy Moo Meditates.

You can find Tom on Instagram @tomcronin or at TomCronin.com
Who is one person that would benefit from the information in this episode?

Forward it to them! There are icons at the top of this page to make that really easy.

Check out the Tough Mothers Library for more episodes

SUBSCRIBE, REVIEW and WIN!

Be sure to follow/subscribe to The Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV .

Leave a review for the podcast or on my YouTube channel, and you can WIN an amazing Tough Mothers gift.

You are not alone!

Get amazing motherhood support, friendship and information in our FREE private Tough Mothers Village. We would love to have you there.

Want every episode of The Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV straight to your inbox as soon they are released?
Mental Health Support Services

If the topics in this episode are triggering for you, or if you feel you need support, please contact you doctor or local mental health line.

In Australia: www.healthdirect.gov.au
In New Zealand: www.mentalhealth.org.nz
In the USA: www.mhnational.org
In the UK : www.mind.org.uk
In Ireland: www2.hse.ie
In South Africa: www.safmh.org.za

If your country is not listed please search “Mental Health Line” in google in your country.

Episode #20: When becoming a mother doesn’t go to plan with Amelia Davatzis

Episode #20: When becoming a mother doesn’t go to plan with Amelia Davatzis

For information, tips and support in your journey into and through motherhood follow Tough Mothers on Facebook and Instagram

“Alexander lived for 39 days… to make a choice between life and death is something no mother should ever have to make.”

 

Trigger warning: This episode talks about miscarriage and infant death.

 

Imagine the feeling of giving birth to your baby after several miscarriages. The joy, the elation. The anxiety of ‘will everything be ok’ finally slipping away.
Only for your baby to become critically ill in the hours and days following his birth, and eventually dying in your arms.

This was Amelia Davatzis’ experience. Her son Alexander was born with duodenal atresia – a condition where the first part of the bowel does not develop properly. It is usually repaired quickly and easily, but for Alexander this was not the case.

In this episode of the Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV Amelia bravely shares her story of conception, miscarriages and her first-born’s very short life and tragic death.

I am so grateful Amelia has shared her experience, even though it is very sad for her, and hard for us to hear. But we need to talk about everything in motherhood. Even the tough stuff. ESPECIALLY the tough stuff. We cannot sweep devastation in motherhood under the rug.

As you will hear, infant death is something people don’t know how to deal with, which is exactly why we need to talk about it.

Key takeaways from this episode of the Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV:

♥    Infant death and miscarriage are real, and we need to talk about them openly.

♥    The more we talk about baby death and miscarriage, the more normalized the conversations will become and the better we can support the mother.

♥    There is no right way to grieve. Do what works for you, and take your time.

Hear the full episode. Simply click on your favourite podcast app below.

Or hit the play button below and watch the full episode on YouTube

In this episode you will learn [Podcast, TV  time points]:

[4.20, 3.50]

The signs and symptoms of ectopic pregnancy you must know, and how it can affect you.

[7.50, 7.20]

It is common to experiencing challenges when trying to conceive. Amelia shares her story.

“That was a blow. Your hopes and everything [are shattered].”

[11.00, 10.30]

Falling pregnant after miscarriage. Learn the common, and very normal, fears a mother has.

“Will there be a heartbeat, or won’t there? I wouldn’t let myself get too excited.”

[15.00, 14.30]

Amelia’s first birth experience: from induction to childbirth and what happened next to Baby Alexander.

“He said: this baby is so sick. He needs to be transferred to the Children’s Hospital right now”

[37.35, 37.05]

The Davatzis’ had to make the devastating decision to choose Alexander’s quality of life over having him in their lives.
Amelia shares the beautiful, yet heart-breaking final days she had with Alexander.

“I would always choose for him not to suffer.”

 

 

[48.10, 47.40]

Alexander’s death left Amelia numb. Losing a child can make you feel like you are not a mother.

“I felt I had no purpose. I only ever wanted to be a mother. It’s something I dreamed of my entire life”

[56.08, 55.38]

You have permission to grieve in your own way. Grief is different for everyone. Amelia shares how she dealt with her grief and what might help you.

“Just do whatever it is you need to do to get through [your grief].”

[60.00, 59.30]

After losing a child it might feel like you will never be able to be happy again. You will be happy again. You will experience joy again.

Amelia will be on the podcast again in 2022 to speak about motherhood after Alexander’s death, and how she found joy again.

“Motherhood is magical.
It grants you the power to fall in love with someone before ever meeting them”

Mentions in this episode:

♥ A bit about Amelia’s very successful blog and Instagram page A Glimpse of Amelia.
I started this page to share a glimpse into my life, sharing what I love. 2012 is where it all began, as when I fell pregnant, I seriously started questioning what I was using on my skin. I thought I was making good decisions by choosing organic products from the supermarket, but it wasn’t until I started turning products over and trying to decipher labels that a whole new world opened up to me. They were so hard to decipher, and I had to keep researching what each ingredient meant. It was so time consuming! This is when I started to discover marketing and labelling was so greenwashed. Reading labels was the only way to truly know what was in a product. What really bothers me the most, are products marketed for our babies and children containing harmful ingredients and also everyday cleaning products we use around our home that are incredibly toxic. I want to empower people to start reading labels, start asking questions, don’t take anything for face value and don’t believe everything you see on the front of a product.

I didn’t feel my page would fully represent me without the ability to share my journey of losing Alexander. I share snippets, quotes, poems, and his story in an effort to help anyone not feel so alone in their grief journey.

Amelia’s page encompasses all of this. “Along with my desire to leave the planet in a better way than when I found it. Buying organic, supporting biodynamic practices, Australian owned and made, composting, reducing plastic, buying bulk, making my own products, keeping a healthy low tox home and passing this information onto my children so one day they can feel empowered to make healthier choices in their lifetime.

To further empower people and support them in their choices, Amelia is working on her new website:
A Glimpse of Amelia www.agoa.com.au
Bookmark it now!

If you need support in your motherhood journey, please check out our Tough Mothers courses which implement a three-step framework to:

1) Help mothers understand how matrescence and motherhood changes them and their brain.
2) Explain to women that they can train their brain to thrive in motherhood.
3) Teach simple, specific, individualised exercises mothers can fit into their busy day to train their brain to be a happy mother.

Who is one person that would benefit from the information in this episode?

Forward it to them! There are icons at the top of this page to make that really easy.

Check out the Tough Mothers Library for more episodes

SUBSCRIBE, REVIEW and WIN!

Be sure to follow/subscribe to The Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV .

Leave a review for the podcast or on my YouTube channel, and you can WIN an amazing Tough Mothers gift.

You are not alone!

Get amazing motherhood support, friendship and information in our FREE private Tough Mothers Village. We would love to have you there.

Want every episode of The Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV straight to your inbox as soon they are released?
Mental Health Support Services

If the topics in this episode are triggering for you, or if you feel you need support, please contact you doctor or local mental health line.

In Australia: www.healthdirect.gov.au
In New Zealand: www.mentalhealth.org.nz
In the USA: www.mhnational.org
In the UK : www.mind.org.uk
In Ireland: www2.hse.ie
In South Africa: www.safmh.org.za

If your country is not listed please search “Mental Health Line” in google in your country.

Episode #18: A mother’s guide to decluttering your mind and your home with Clutter Mentalist Collette Barker

Episode #18: A mother’s guide to decluttering your mind and your home with Clutter Mentalist Collette Barker

For information, tips and support in your journey into and through motherhood follow Tough Mothers on Facebook and Instagram

“People before things. Always”

Collette Barker is the Clutter Mentalist! Isn’t that a great title?

Well, Collette is a great human! Not only does she have a unique gift to declutter your home and your mind, she also has four gorgeous girls, was a Plunket nurse (New Zealand’s early childhood health centre), and is ridiculously funny. I mean laugh-out-loud funny.

Having grown up in a cluttered home Collette embarked on a mission to help herself and other mothers overcome home clutter, one useful and easy step at a time. Resulting in not just a decluttered home but also a decluttered mind.

In this episode of the Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV Collette shares with us hilarious stories from her motherhood life, and how her home changed from having no babies through to her fourth baby. She generously walks us through her amazing, useful and simple decluttering tips, which we can all implement today to declutter our home and our mind.

Key takeaways from this episode of the Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV:

♥    Don’t ever compare your home or your mothering to anybody else

♥    Don’t undervalue motherhood as a job

♥    Clutter in the home need not be clutter in the mind

Hear the full episode. Simply click on your favourite podcast app below.

Or hit the play button below and watch the full episode on YouTube

In this episode you will learn [Podcast, TV  time points]:

[5.35 5.15]

Don’t ever compare your house to others! This goes for your parenting and your home. If your amount of clutter works for you, fabulous. It doesn’t matter what people think. However, if your clutter doesn’t work for you, you absolutely can change it. Collette gives us some great tips how to get rid of clutter.

“One person’s clutter is another person’s tidy”

[8.00, 7.30]

With each baby your mothering will change. Collette shares with us her hilarious confessions of how she mothered baby number 1 versus number 4, and how her home changed with each child #DomesticGoddess

“The next baby taught me that everything I knew was in fact wrong”.

[14.15, 13.45]

Let’s chat co-sleeping! Many mothers dream that they are rolling onto or smothering their baby. We talk through these and the many safety things you need to consider when sleeping with your baby, in your bed.

“I was certain that as soon as I fell asleep next to my babies they would die”

[19.55, 19.25]

It’s important to remember that looking after children is just as much a job as any other job.
(How cute is this photo pf Collette’s girls?)

“If you can walk out of the house with it being a mess but are looking after your child’s needs, you have aced your job.”

 

[22.30, 22.00]

If mess in your house is driving you crazy Collette has these tips to support your mental health. Collette’s strategy focuses on psychology and what works for each individual home.

[26.58, 26.28]

When it comes to managing your home, your children and your clutter, it is important to work with your weaknesses. Do what works for you. Don’t make it difficult. Motherhood is hard enough. Collette has some great examples of how to do this.

“You have to work with your habits, not create whole new ones.”

Mentions in this episode:

♥    Because Mum Life gets busy and many noteworthy things happen, Collette has created an amazing little book that you can add all your experiences, incidences and funny things your kids say and do to. Just so you don’t forget them 😊 Contact Collette HERE if you would like to know more.

♥   I Wish Someone Had Told Me… – unspoken truths about what really happens to women during labour childbirth and the first few weeks of motherhood.
Get your FREE E-book with the top 7 truths from the book HERE

♥   Tough Mothers courses implement a three-step framework to:

1) help mothers understand how motherhood changes their brain
2) how to strengthen their brain by training it to thrive in motherhood.
3) Teach simple, specific exercises mothers can fit into their busy day to train their brain to thrive in motherhood

 

A little more about my guest Collette Barker:

Youngest of 7 and mother of 4, Collette is a clutter mentalist and productivity freak. She grew up in a home FILLED with loads of stuff, and she’s no minimalist herself. A busy mum juggling family, community, work and all the normal things (and occasionally nailing it). She figures out the underlying determinants unique to each family’s cluttered home. Then together they rearrange the spaces to make the right habits easy to keep. Removing the power from ‘the stuff’ and giving it back to the people, so they never again have a moment’s [completely unfounded and totally ridiculous] guilt about what they own and how they keep it. 

Who is one person that would benefit from the information in this episode?

Forward it to them! There are icons at the top of this page to make that really easy.

Check out the Tough Mothers Library for more episodes

SUBSCRIBE, REVIEW and WIN!

Be sure to subscribe to The Tough Mothers Podcast or Tough Mothers TV .

Leave a review for the podcast or on my YouTube channel, and you can win an amazing Tough Mothers gift.

You are not alone!

Get amazing motherhood support in our private Facebook village. We would love to have you there.

Want every episode of The Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV straight to your inbox as soon they are released?
Mental Health Support Services

If the topics in this episode are triggering for you, or if you feel you need support, please contact you doctor or local mental health line.

In Australia: www.healthdirect.gov.au
In New Zealand: www.mentalhealth.org.nz
In the USA: www.mhnational.org
In the UK : www.mind.org.uk
In Ireland: www2.hse.ie
In South Africa: www.safmh.org.za

If your country is not listed please search “Mental Health Line” in google in your country.