** Formatting will not cooperate, apologies. xo
I took this photo whilst at my most heartbroken.
When Eva was born she cluster fed, micro slept and never left my side. She was scared of traffic, the dryer, men of all descriptions and thunderstorms.
When she was one, she developed chronic stress induced constipation and would projectile vomit numerous times a day trying to avoid her bowel movements.
She also developed horrific night terrors that kept us up hourly for almost four years. Four years of no sleep. Four years of not taking a shower after she went to bed incase the sound of the tap turning on in the wall set her off.
When she was three, she was diagnosed with Early Childhood Trauma Syndrome resulting from severe domestic violence.
For years I could not make a move or decision without feeling the need to consult her doctor or child psychologist just in case I made a wrong decision and messed her up even more than my marriage had already.
I didn’t trust my gut, my parenting instinct. I was scared of doing anything and everything wrong. I was tired, stressed, anxious and sad. I had two jobs, law school, a horrifically expensive court case underway and my loyal friends were dropping like flies.
I took this picture at 4am in the middle of winter 2014. I’d just arrived home from my second shift and not 30 minutes after jumping into bed with a sick kid, make up still on and due to be up again at 7am, one of Eva’s night terrors started.
I remember thinking ‘God, come on! This has got to get easier..’ Just give me a break, just 3 whole hours sleep….. please. That break I begged for didn’t come until mid last year and it came in the form of the night terrors finally ceasing. What changed? I made the decision to trust myself. To refuse to seek approval anymore on the decisions I felt best for my child. I talked my self down each time the urge to call the psychologist arose. I made and then cancelled appointments after proving that I could figure it all out on my own.
I reminded myself that I packed her lunches, washed her clothes, paid her bills, took her temps, bought her meds, sat up all night, worked all day and then most days all night.
I reminded myself that I got distinctions at university amongst all of this and that when the night terrors weren’t there, she was a completely happy kid.I did all of that, not the psychologist and not her doctor.
As I said, the break I begged for earlier took three years to come. But the point is, the break comes. Even when the whole world is on your back, the break is coming. You just have to stick it out. We all struggle & we all struggle differently, I still do.
Some days I feel like saying ‘hey, I’m just over here minding my own business, trying be a good person so shut your mouth’. I’m still crawling into bed after finishing work at 3.30am, but it’s no longer just me and my girl against the world. We overcame everything.
When you feel like your break isn’t coming, take a photo. Because a little while down the track when you look back at something like this, it is the most satisfying feeling to know you didn’t give up.
I wish I could go back and tell this girl to just relax, keep sleeping on the couch with Dora the explorer, give yourself some credit, eat those weetbix at 4 am, it’s all going to be fine.
I wish I could tell her it’s ok, breathe, that in a few years time it will all pay off and your work ethic is gonna kill it…. You’ll build multiple businesses and you’ll be published across Australia by publications that ASK YOU to write for them.
You’ll do great things for community causes and inspire other entrepreneurs to take a chance. Your kid will get multiple stickers day, everyday at school for her excellent behaviour and work ethic. She will be credited for her good manners and kindness and she won’t be hardened by experience because YOU did that.
I can’t go back to myself, but I can tell you to chill, whatever is going on will come to an end and in just a little while you’re going to be okay!
Stress is lame, people talk rubbish, there will always be someone’s nose in your business and your name in someone’s busy mouth.
Just relax. Your break is coming. Trust me XO