LAUNCH! My first book in 5 years!!!!!

Hola my darling hearts,

It’s launched!

My first book in a gazillion years…

73 Lessons Every Goddess Must Know.

I wanted to create a sacred sanctuary in a book.

My favourite books are those I return to again and again

whenever I need reminding:

of my light, of the love that’s all around me, how possible everything is.

And this book is like a turquoise prayer,

a goddess guidebook for every woman,

for creativity and mamahood and peace and joy and radiance…

All the big lessons, you know?

It’s a culmination of all my favourite things I’ve written here & in my journals

over the last three years.

It’s a love song, a gift, a sacred playbook for the soul.

All the most powerful things I teach for women.

And I am SO honoured & touched by the feedback that’s been flowing in…

What goddesses have already said about the first few copies!!!!

“Am spending some time today to launch myself into your wonderful book. It was supposed to only be for a half hour or so…. but I haven’t put it down except to come and say thank you and tell you how wonderful you are ♥ ♥

(three hours later…)

ok…so I’ve read the whole book now… laughed, cried, felt elated, uplifted, free, sad, happy, joyful, thought of a billion other people who would benefit from reading your book and had a glorious day!!!!!!

Thank you SO much!!!!”

Roxanne Roberts, author & artist of Angel Wings, Faery Dust & Other Magical Things

 

“73 Lessons Every Goddess Must Know is a book that brings you back to your soul! I do believe it is the first book I have ever read that actually left me with a feeling of love! The words so gently remind you to take care of yourself, to give yourself time, permission, space, and most of all allow yourself to be the Goddess that you are. It brings out latent creativity and I do love a book that I can draw in, colour in and write in. It is indeed a reminder of the things we have forgotten to nurture within ourselves and each other, what a gorgeous gift to the World!”

Trish McNeill, photographer

Where to get it!!

Two choices!

You can grab the book from Amazon or CreateSpace for super cheap for the next two weeks (I wanted to put the lowest price on it I could because I want it to go into as many hands as possible!!!)

You might like to grab a few extra copies to give as Christmas gifts as well if you’re called!

And I’m releasing a limited edition signed-copy gift pack too:

It’s a kit of love from here in Proserpine.

There are so many miracles happening here from Goddess town Proserpine, and I wanted to send you a healing package from here.

And I wanted to do it in co-creation, and support some of my creative Goddess Circle sisters who are here.

So in the limited edition Proserpine Goddess Gift Pack you’ll get

  • a personalised, signed copy of 73 Lessons Every Goddess Must Know from me to you
  • a Goddess Town bumper sticker (designed by Goddess Circle sister Julie Turner)
  • a 10 pack of Goddess Town Proserpine postcards (2 designs – photographed by Goddess Circle sister Trish McNeill – includes photo of me & Ostara!)
  • a 6×8 inch “Keep Calm & Carry on Cowgirl” art print canvas (designed by Goddess Circle sister Julie Turner)
I’m only accepting orders for the Limited Edition pack until 30 October. After that, I’ll close orders. All orders will be delivered by Christmas. I envisioned it as a beautiful present you could give yourself from Proserpine.
Price is $75 and includes FREE international postage.

SOLD OUT

It’s all ding dang beautiful. I’m overjoyed to offer this to you. May it fill up your heart, your cup, your soul, and remind you just what a Goddess you are, and how good life can be.

Order a copy for yourself or Christmas presents from Amazon or Createspace.

Or you’d like a Limited Edition Signed Copy Goddess Gift Pack click the Buy Now button above.

And most of all!!!

WEEEE!!!

Let’s celebrate!!!!!

DREAMS COME TRUE!!!!!!!!!

looooooooooove!!!! WILD LOVEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!

Never doubt that we can change the world.

 

My loves,

This is the quote that’s been ruminating around in my heart lately.

It’s what I’m living out.

Three months ago, I still hadn’t found my tribe here in Proserpine. We’d moved back to my small country hometown here in tropical paradise, and though I knew some peoples, I still hadn’t found them yet, you know? My tribe. My woman posse.

My love and I say it always takes about a year when you move to somewhere new to settle in & start finding friends.

And it was pretty much right on the money for me – right around the one year anniversary of our move, I got a Facebook email. And the funny thing is – I don’t usually get to reading my Facebook messages. I try my dingdanglydarndest, but in a very full, beautiful life of baby, love and business, it doesn’t always happen.

But I had this funny intuition:

go read your inbox now!

And a message had just landed.

It read:

Heyoooo! I’m one of your Goddess Circle sisters! And I actually just live down the road. Did you want to ever go get some caramel slice?

And I was all

OMG YES YES YES!

So two days later, we did. At our favourite Cafe.

And we ate caramel slice for breakfast, and became instabosombuddies.

And then I kept dreaming about the Cafe owner, and then I started talking to her, and we just kept being called back to each other.

And then we had this wild idea to invite all the beautiful soulful business women we knew together and see what happened.

And it was a total miracle experience, a spontaneous sacred circle.

And just like that, my woman posse was found. My tribe.

And we decided to change the world.

And we did.

Two months later, photoshoots were done, postcards were printed, bumper car stickers were created and printed, and we hit the front page of the local paper:

All changing our dear little town Proserpine into a Goddess town.

Proserpine is the only town in the world named after Goddess Persephone.

We have big dreams in place:

a Goddess trail of statues in all the beautiful places. a waterpark. the world’s biggest goddess statue.

to make our little town even more a divine, gorgeous, creative, sacred, healing place to live and work and visit.

And we absolutely believe we can do it.

*

Oh, and did I mention we are starting a Steiner-ish/alternative/earth school here?

Next YEAR?

Coz we totally are.

*

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

– Margaret Mead.

There’s no point in doubting, no point in complaining.

There’s a total joy and miracle in actually just changing life

to be our dream come true.

*

AND! Tomorrow I’m launching le bookywooky.

In all my spare time (eh heh heh ho whaaaaaaaat) I thought it would be fun to write a book.

And so that’s what I did.

Tomorrow I’m launching, as well as an extra limited edition Proserpine Goddess gift pack (with signed books & mermaid art). WOO!

There’ll be copies available on Amazon, and you can also pre-order a signed copy gift pack version. I really wanted to include some of the miracles and healing from here in Proserpine… a love beam straight into your heart.

It’s all happening my love.

We are changing the world.

We are making it even better, more divine and whole.

Ginormous, wild, happy, glorious miracles,

P.S.

Have I mentioned lately how happy I am?

I feel like I’ve stopped running and rushing for the first time in a long long time – since I became a mum.

I’m walking slower and talking slower and breathing slower.

I’m going to sleep earlier and listening to the “soft animal of my body” (as Mary Oliver so perfectly puts it).

And I look at my love, and I see how much he loves me, and I look at my daughter, and I am dazzled by her light.

And all is well in the world.

P.P.S.

Tonight, if it’s not raining,

I’m taking Starry moon bathing in the backyard.
WOOOOO!

Post Natal Depression: Questions, Answers & Deleted Scenes

Hola my darling hearts,

Since the publish of my Post Natal Depression story, it’s been shared more times than nearly any other article I’ve ever written. I’ve been so touched by all the emails I’ve received, by the stories shared in the Comments Circle, by the outpouring of blog posts of women raising their own voices and saying “Me too. Yes. This happened to me.”

When we share our deep truths, it’s no longer that big scary thing you know? It’s just what happened. Our story. Our medicine and our lessons.

And we get stronger and braver, clearer and dearer.

Our hearts get bolstered and bigger when we are able to hear another woman’s truth.

This is the magic of women circling, of turning up to be goddesses – entirely human and absolutely divine.

Me too.

Yes.

It happened to me.

*

I’ve had a lot of questions about Pee Enn Dee, and about my story.

And moments of el crappolo! I forgot to include.

So this is Pee Enn Dee II: The Extra Bits.

The last post was over 8000 words long.

This one, while supposed to be just a short one, is 3000 words.

I guess I have a lot to say.

Over 11000 words worth.

*

I’m not quite sure if I quite adequately described everything that happened, or just how awful it felt.

I do remember feeling like I was traumatised from 2010 and everything that had happened – it had just cut the quick of my soul far too close, and I felt like I was constantly shell shocked: at the shittiness of it all, at just how many things went wrong, and just how many things I was facing all at once: mama hood, moving, grief, relationship stuff, family shit – it really did feel like EVERYTHING was breaking apart at the seams. (Apart from my business & creativity – which I am forever grateful for. It was a rainbow bright spot for me.)

I do remember I kept thinking how things couldn’t get worse.

And I also believed that it would never get better.

I had no idea how parenting life could ever, ever feel easy or good.

I loved my daughter with my whole heart – and we had SO much joy together.

But there in the back of my head, the feeling of doom.

*

I don’t know if I shared the timeline of how long I was depressed or how long it took before I felt better.

I really don’t know.

I do know that it was around month seven that I knew things needed fixing.

Month nine when I really felt burnt out.

And I know she was about a year old when I began feeling a lot more like normal – not perfecto like I am now, but SO much better.

I think it took about six months all up.

*

I am still taking anti-depressants.

I do get that background feeling of consistent, low level of anxiety when I stop taking them.

I know my adrenals are still totally taxed and worn down and in need of rebalancing. And seeing as they are the ones in charge of secreting adrenaline (which causes the anxiety), it makes sense that I’d still be getting anxiety without medication when they are still out of whack.

So I’ve been getting Scenar therapy to try and rebalance my adrenals, and a herbal medication called Adenatone.
And I’ve been eating a lot cleaner, noticing that sugar tends to exacerbate anxiety while cheeses and protein tends to calm it.
And I’ve been changing my workaholic ways – going to bed earlier, actually having down time that’s not me working on my business, and finding some goddess friends here to do circle work with. And I’ve been practising reiki with them after not using it for years, and am LOVING it.
I don’t think I’ve felt this relaxed in a long long time.

*

A goddess asked:

What if you don’t have the money or time to go on an epic healing quest through eastern and western medicine?

I’m going to be super blunt here.

At some point, your happiness and wellbeing becomes the pivotal point of your family. As the saying goes, “Happy mama, happy family”.

If I didn’t have the option to do alternative therapies first, I would absolutely go with an understanding doctor & anti depressants. And a counsellor wherever possible. I have no idea about other countries, but in Australia you can be referred to a psychologist for free visits under a Mental Health Plan.

I absolutely have a great respect and love for anti depressants for the amount of stability they have brought me and my sweet family. And if I did it all over again? I probably would have chosen them quicker for instant relief, and then set about healing whatever needed healing support when I was able to.

You just do what you can, and make the best of it.

*

Some random moments I remembered:

Sitting on the toilet, totally freaking out as I attempted to take a crap, and Ostara cried for me upstairs in Chris’ arms.

And I kept thinking:

Just run out the back door. Runnnnnnnnnnnn. Don’t come back.

And I’d totally fantasise about running.

But then in the fantasy, I’d start thinking:

Well I’ll have to take Starry with me. I can’t bear to be without her. Oh, and Chris. And the dogs. And I like our house.

So I’d become this fantasy snail with a house on her back.

Which begged the question:

What are you running from then, if you’re not running from Starry or Chris?

And the answer was simple.

It was:

This.

The awfulness of a crying baby, of desperately trying to get your basic needs met of taking a crap, of just how relentless the whole thing felt.

*

Another random moment:

Ostara wasn’t a massive cryer.

As long as my arms and my boobs were close by, she was super settled.

And I know not all babies are like that, and if you didn’t have a settled baby, I hereby want to place you on a gold-gilded pedestal and send you off el pronto to a week’s spa retreat. Because you are a legend and a superhero and a champion. True story.

Anyway, one night when she was seven months old, she was NOT super settled.

I tried boob feeding her. I tried laying down with her in bed.

Nothing.

Still a crying baby – one who is a tension increaser – aka when she starts crying, it just gets bigger and louder the longer it goes, and even more unsettled.
And I lost my shit. Gave her to Chris, and ran outside. I remember staring at the stars, tears streaming down my face, thinking:
OMG! I AM HAVING A STEREOTYPICAL MOTHER MOMENT! THE BABY WON’T STOP CRYING! IT IS THE WORST SOUND IN THE WORLD! IT MAKES ME FEEL CRAZY!
And then I stood outside crying for a while.
When I’d got back inside, Chris had managed to perfect a new technique of settling her – swinging and swaying with her in front of the bookcase. She’d get hypnotised by all the swaying bands of book colours, and fall asleep.

It’s moments like that you feel like a legend.
Or, at least, not as crazy.

 

*

A goddess asked:

What if my husband doesn’t understand?

Now let me say that my love did not understand a lot of what I went through. And that’s okay.

It was my journey to walk.

My love and I read somewhere that the first two years of a child’s life is the greatest possibility parents will separate. (Heyo! Looking after a newborn/toddler takes SO much outta ya. It’s no wonder!)

And we kind of made this pact or agreement of sorts that the first two years were going to be ridiculously shitty, and were NOT the best evidence of how our relationship truly was. So I’d try and look back to before we had a baby, before we turned our lives upside down, before the year of 2010 That Sucked Giant Panda Balls. And I’d remember how good things were, how in sync we were together, how our lives had worked, how hot I thought he was. I thought about when I first met him and how I just saw him as he was, I saw the highest light in him, how I believed in him, and how much I wanted to know more about him, and hear what he had to say. I wanted to know his spirit, you know?

And yet here we were wading chest high through murky, murky waters, both of us freaking out and tired and grieving our old lives and dealing with giant waves of Life Shit.

So I tried to remember that we could get good again. That these first two years of being new parents were NOT the epic culmination of our success as a couple. We just had to wait it out for the shit waves to subside.

My advice?

Don’t worry too much about perfection.

Don’t worry that your lives are over when you snap at each other.

Sometimes you will say really shitty things to each other.

We might all be gods and goddesses, but we’re still all totally human, you know?

And when you are parents, you happen to be very tired humans that aren’t getting your needs met that much. Much less being able to meet your partner’s needs.

Me and the hot Scorpio man want to grow old together. We figured it would be much shittier if we separated.

So we did whatever we could to keep from imploding. Relationship counselling and support from doctors and metric shit-tonnes of forgiveness and about a thousand tongue-bitings.

We still argued shiploads though. Hey, our lives had been turned upside down ya know?

Of course we were goddamn stressed and tired and our nervous systems were beyond frayed! It totally made sense for that to be the case!

So it was work, and more work, and more work. Coupled with good professional support, medicinal support, bumloads of tenacity and a helping hand of lady luck.

Just keeping it real peeps.

(And I don’t think we’re the only ones.)

*

I just started reading “If the Buddha Married.”

And I’m going to be honest – I was expecting to roll my eyes at the totally unattainable (for me right now) spiritual ecstasy of two souls communing and meditating and karmic sutra-ing together.

(Ha! I love my preconceptions of things.)

ANYWAYS.

So I read the first chapter, and you know what made me SO happy.

In all the research she did of lasting, enduring, loving relationships?

In interviewing all these couples that had been married for 30 and 50 years?

Want to know the single most significant factor in them staying together?

Them being bloody stubborn about staying together forever.

That made me crack up.

That’s totally attainable for us.

And while karma sutra has its benefits I’m sure, I like the idea that stubbornness can have just a magical affect on an enduring loving relationship.

WOO!

So, in summing up: IT WAS NOT EASY. HE DID NOT ALWAYS UNDERSTAND.

P.S. My hunk is a qualified counsellor, studying psychology, well versed in all things mental health. And he’s wiser than any man I’ve met. AND STILL WE FOUGHT.

We’re human, peeps. It happens. It’s okay. It’s not the culmination of your worth, or evidence of how your relationship truly is.

*

Jealousy.

I haven’t read this anywhere before, so I’m going to say it. I think it needs to be said:

I was so fucking pissed off for the first few months of motherhood (and longer) about what being a female meant.

I’d grown up thinking that any relationship I would have would be an exquisite equality.

I was NOT going to be a man’s caretaker, I was NOT going to be looked at as a wife who served her husband.

And for the eight preceding years of our relationship, Chris & me had a pretty equal relationship.

We had one bank account. We consulted each other about big purchases. We did equal shares in house work.

I can count on my hands how many times I’ve washed dishes in the last decade. I’ve forgotten that toilets actually need cleaning – because as far as I’m concerned, they clean themselves. (Which they do. Just with Chris’ help.)

Those were his things, ya know?

I did other stuff. Like putting stuff away. He usually did his own washing. Umm, what else did I do?

We always do grocery shopping together.

Seriously, I know I did housework! What on earth did I do?

Oh yes, I picked up socks. Not mine. His. That was probably our big contentious household squabble: SOCKS! EVERYWHERE! LIKE A SOCK TSUNAMI!

ANYWAYS.

What I was really saying is that me & Chris had a gender-role-less relationship.

I didn’t feel like I had to put more effort in than him. We were 50/50.

We just did everything together.

And you dream of having kids, and you think:

OMG he is going to be the best father, we are going to have this totally amazing co-parenting gig going on, and it will totally be 50/50

And then you get pregnant, and all of a sudden you realise:

OWTF. HANG ON HERE.

He can only watch when you throw your guts up.

He can only watch when you start to freak out about birth.

He can only sleep when your back begins to ache and you can’t sleep except on all fours.

He can’t do the pregnancy for you.

Nor can he do the birth.

He can only do the watching. And he can do a damn good job about supporting, but that’s all he can do.

It’s really your journey. Your initiation. Your body.

And then the baby is here.

And for mamas, and breastfeeding mamas, it becomes the lion’s share of our work.

Because the child is needing mama energy.

It doesn’t get that heyoooo we are all evolved now! Men and women have equal rights!

For the most part, it really, really needs it’s mama’s energy.

Don’t ask me why or how. It’s just how it is.

And I was very pissed off about that fact once I realised it.

I love that Carrie Contey PhD talks about this. She says:

Yes women, it’s okay for you to really feel pissed about this, and grieve your old life.

Feel it! Know it! And then when you’re ready, you’ll be okay about it.

That was definitely the case for me and for us.

It’s getting easier and easier as time goes along.

But yup, I’m putting my hand up here as being someone who has said to their husband more than 15 times:

NEXT TIME WE COME BACK, YOU ARE GOING TO BE THE WOMAN! I’LL BE HAPPY TO BE THE FATHER!

Oh ho ho ho.

I had to stop saying it at some point, but that’s definitely how I felt.

And when I’m not getting my needs met sometimes, I’ll feel the same.

*

On Becoming A Gentle Mum & Taking The Easy Way

My love’s cousin is my own superhero.

She’s the one who scooped me up in a big hug

and said:

Just be easy on you.

But these are the words most of all that changed it:

We rocked up at her house one morning.

And her boys will still rocking out in the pyjamas, and the kitchen table was covered in washing to be folded up, and the boy’s toys were weaving their intricate way around the house.

And she said:

Welcome to a normal house. I tell all my friends: You are most welcome to come around anytime! But do it knowing you’re going to step foot in a normal house with washing on the table.

And it was just revolutionary to me.

Consequently, I really, really love going to her house.

Aaaaaaaaaaahhhh… a normal house. It feels like home.

(Screw perfection. Let’s embrace what is.)

*

Someone asked me why I think PND is so prevalent today.

Here’s my thoughts:

We used to live within tribal communities.

At the very least, we used to live in multi-generational households.

And it’s really only been since the industrial revolution that men left the house for the whole day (or longer) to work.

So it’s only been in the last few hundred years that it’s become the case that one adult becomes solely responsible for the care and tending of one or more kids.

As Christiane Northrup said in one of her books:

I really think that there should be two humans to care for one child all the time.

And her doctor told her:

You’re a workaholic. Make that three.

Children become infinitely easier when they can move with the care of a group of adults whom they all feel safe with, leaving time for mothers, fathers and everyone involved to get the space and check-out time they require.

Not only that, but in most (if not all) communities, it was absolutely a-ok to be boobfeeding each other’s kids. Wet nurses & women with oversupply of milk issues would also assist women with undersupply of milk issues. And it would all even out.

Especially when you are boobfeeding, you can feel totally tethered to the one spot – you are the child’s sole source of nourishment for the first six months. It’s a full on responsibility to take on, and it’s not a responsibility that usually happened throughout the lifespan of humanity.

I remember thinking:

If I was Aboriginal, I would have given the baby to one of its aunties and gone walkabout for a day.

*

It does get easier.

That’s the big thing I want to tell you, out of all this truth telling.

That everything WILL be okay.

That they do get SO MUCH easier.

It’s AWESOME when they start crawling. And walking. And working stuff out for themselves. And deepening their relationship with their daddies. And not being as separation-anxiety-ish.

It really does get more and more rad.

No one really told me that it would get easier.

But it does.

And way more fun. And scrumptious.

*

What else can I say?

Just like the last time,

I just want you to know

that it doesn’t have to suck.

That Pee Enn Dee can be fixed.

That it doesn’t have to hurt anymore.

And even if you don’t feel like you’ve got Pee Enn Dee,

I just want to say:

I know.

I hear you.

I understand.

We women, we are incredible souls, doing incredible work.

I love you, and believe in you, and am sending thousands of angels your way.

*

Want to read more?

I’ve been writing about my journey with healing and mama hood during it.

If you’d like to read more, here’s some of those posts:

The Mother I Am

This Changing Woman Goddess

Advice to my New Mama Self

Letter to my New Mama Self

Mama Thoughts 

Dearest Daughter

Letting go of a world

How Art Healed My Mama Soul

Mama Goddess interview with my favourite mama author, Karen Maezen Miller.

Words That Changed Me: Creative Rainbow Mother

Spilling It

Things You Should Know About Pregnancy

The Best Friend’s Guide to Newborns

And my birth story:

Ostara’s Birth Story

The moment that changed me

 

*

You are not alone.

love more than I can ever say,

Vlog: Miracles coming true!

Hola my darling hearts!

A long (20 min-ish) vlog today.

About all the miracles that are happening in my life.

I’m bursting with energy about them,

and I thought the only way I could properly share them

was to glisten on-screen.

So watch it if you want to dive deep for a heart-to-heart and have the sweet time.

Otherwise… HIGH FIVE!!! WAKAAAAA!!!!!!

sacred sanctity & glistening glowbeams,

The Goddess with Post Natal Depression.

________________

My loves,

this is the longest post I’ve ever written – it’s now over 8000 words.

It’s taken me many months to write,

and two years to live.

I wanted to tell my story so it may help other souls who’ve gone through a dark night of the soul.

Most of all, I want to say:

I love you. I understand. I know. I hear you.

I’ve also opened the Comments Circle for this post. I’ve been so touched by the incredible, brave sharings of the souls who have experienced the same thing.

Our stories can change the world.

This is mine.

love,
Goddess Leonie

________________

 

I remember the exact moment I knew.

 

I was sitting on the verandah with my love, my seven month old daughter in my arms.

 

Tears were streaming down my face, my breath was gasping & rasping as my lungs pushed against a panic attack.

 

Just the usual morning breakfast.

 

And then:

 

a moment of space. A moment of clarity.

 

Honey,

 

I said.

 

I don’t feel right.

 

_____

 

 

It had been a hell of a year. And even longer than that, if I pushed my memory back to where the first tendrils began.

 

The week after I found out I was pregnant when my body began vomiting and didn’t stop for the next five weeks.

 

The kilograms of weight that rapidly shed from my body, convulsed out onto the garden.

 

The daily struggles to keep down pregnancy multivitamins – or anything for that matter.

 

The days spent in foetal position on the couch in the sun, staring at my hands. Any other motion – even reading – would render me motionsick enough to run to my special place on the verandah where I projectile fertilised the garden with my mouth.

 

The sudden dullness that ebbed at the edges of my mind saying:

 

I’m on a train that I can not get off. No one can even be on this train with me. I am stuck, I am lost. This is too hard.

 

At some point during those purging, hurling weeks, I called my mum and said:

 

I’ve had enough. I can’t do it anymore. I am never EVER going to get pregnant again.

 

I subsisted by on hope that it would end.

 

___

 

At the same time:

 

I was happy.

 

I know. How can one have Ante Natal Depression and Anxiety AND be happy at the same time?

 

I have no idea. I know it’s a great paradox.

 

And yet it happened to me.

 

___

 

I was anxious as my belly bloomed into full moon,

 

and yet I was delighted.

 

Ecstatic.

 

I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

 

I glowed.

 

My hands traced circles over the curve of my belly.

 

In response, she would patter her own hands against mine.

 

Worlds meeting worlds.

 

____

 

I was the woman

 

who was dancing

 

and also had a weight on her shoulders.

 

____

 

I worried about birth.

 

I worried about not getting it right.

 

I worried about being made to conform.

 

I worried about having unsupportive midwives.

 

I worried I wouldn’t have read all the books before hand.

 

____

 

There were some moments that stuck out in my mind:

 

At 34 weeks pregnant, dissolving into tears at our appointment with our midwives.

 

At 36 weeks pregnant, Little Mermaid turning breech for the second time. Spending hours laying upside down in an effort to help her turn. Calling Chris frantic from a bus, in tears and panicking as I decided I needed to get acupuncture that.very.moment. to help her turn.

 

I have no idea how much of this is “normal” for pregnancy.

 

But however “normal” it was for pregnancy, it wasn’t “normal” for me.

 

It wasn’t normal to be feeling like this.

 

I felt like I was bracing for a great attack.

 

___

 

I did what I could to heal “it” before she was born.

 

My love took me to see a kind eyed Jungian psychotherapist with large cauldrons of rose quartz crystals beside the lounge.

 

We went to two CalmBirth weekends together. We meditated together and talked out our feelings and our fears.

 

I was so afraid of being forced to have a birth that was not my own that we interviewed home birth midwives just a few weeks before Ostara was born.

 

The day after, we drove across the country to my love’s grandmother’s funeral.

 

I sat in lotus position in the backseat, still encouraging our mermaid to turn.

 

I knew there must be an answer inside me.

 

As we drove back home, and red flecked scrub and sage tinted leaves fled past our window,

 

I knew the answer.

 

I knew that we wouldn’t have a home birth.

I knew that my daughter would need special assistance in order to come into the world.

And I knew that in order to feel at peace with going wherever we needed to go for her to be born, I needed extra support.

 

I already had my love as birth support, and our precious doula as birth coach.

 

But I wanted my birth to be sacred. I wanted to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we would be surrounded by angels.

 

And I wanted to be reminded that I was a Goddess.

 

Wherever we went. No matter what happened.

 

___

 

When we returned home, synchronicity happened.

 

My spiritual mentor Ellanita was arriving back in our town, just in time for Ostara’s birth.

 

I asked her if she could be present for the birth.

 

She said yes.

 

I felt at peace.

 

____

 

A week before Ostara was due, we took photos with our doula at our favourite sacred place in Canberra:

 

Hanging Rock.

 

I stretched back against a rock, leaning into a crescent moon.

 

I wonder if that’s what began the birth.

 

An hour later, after we’d dropped our doula at home, we ate fish & chips.

 

I cleared my plate of the last bit of coleslaw,

 

and with a rush, my waters broke.

 

____

 

Then nothing happened.

 

We slept. We woke up.

 

We made a large vegetarian lasagne, imagining we would eat it after birth.

 

Instead my uterus was quiet.

 

I’d done my research: I knew that there was little chance of infection until after 72 hours.

 

I knew 95% of women commenced labour naturally before 72 hours.

 

I also knew that once I’d been admitted into hospital, they commenced with interventions after 24 hours.

 

And I dearly, dearly wanted to give my body the time to see what happened. To give into my body, and then give into my body.

 

That night, the softest of soft contractions. I fell asleep, and woke up at 3am.

 

There were no more contractions.

 

It had been about 30 hours since my waters had broken.

 

And I was no longer absolutely able to tell what were Little Mermaid’s movements, and what were the soft quakes of my belly.

 

So we made a night time trip to the hospital.

 

Our midwife was pissed that we’d waited so long to tell her.

 

I was pissed that her birth beliefs weren’t the same as mine.

 

But we crowded into that hospital room anyway: me, Chris, our doula & Ellanita. I’d called Ellanita to let her know what might be happening. She hadn’t been able to sleep, so she’d come to find us anyway.

 

So at 4am in that white hospital room, we talked through our options. We knew that we would likely be induced when the sun began to rise. And we just prayed that all would be well. I just wanted my baby to be okay.

 

And then we had an angel in the form of a doctor. He had soft eyes and lovely hands. And he gave us an ultrasound.

 

With a sigh of relief, I saw our little mermaid’s heart appear on the screen, pulsing strongly, her heart beat as comforting and close to me as any sound can be.

 

And this angel doctor of ours – he said so kindly:

 

You are well. Your baby is well. I want to give you another day. If nothing has happened by 7am tomorrow morning, come back in and we’ll induce you. But I trust you. Your body is healthy, and so is your baby.

 

(I want to cry just thinking of him now.)

 

So the angel doctor gave us the gift of time.

 

Just what I had been wanting.

 

So we spent another quiet, still day at home together.

 

That afternoon, I had more acupuncture to encourage baby girl along.

 

The Chinese girl said to me softly

 

“I can’t make her come all the way down. But I will make it easier for you for tomorrow.”

 

That night, we slept soundly again.

 

And then that morning, we rose,

went to the hospital right on time,

got hooked up to a drip.

 

That day was the biggest initiation I have ever experienced.

 

Immediately, the contractions were strong & difficult to breath through.

 

I remember the first one sweeping me off the feet, onto the ground, moaning & trying to push my hips into a comfortable position.

 

My trio of angels (Chris, our doula & Ellanita) were gathered around me, massaging limbs, attempting to offer comfort.

 

I figured I would try & Active Birth my way through the first part of labour – moving around, getting massaged, moaning, changing positions.

 

Two contractions later, I thought:

 

“Fuck that. This is NOT helping. I am going to get very tired very soon. I am not managing the pain like this. I’m going to have to CalmBirth the whole way.”

 

So I lay on my side on the bed for a while, willing my body’s muscles to soften and relax into opening, breathing deeply, saying over and over again:

 

“Relaxxxxxx…”

 

It helped somewhat.

 

After a half hour (maybe longer – who knows? I WAS IN LABOUR, PEOPLE) our midwife decided I needed to be moving around so I didn’t slow down labour.

 

Her energy felt a bit intrusive, and I mostly spent the rest of labour trying to stay away from her and unhooking myself from the beeping heart rate machine.

 

I spent the rest of the eight hours of labour either on the yoga ball or hiding in the loo, trying to take a ginormous shit.

 

I didn’t speak. I didn’t open my eyes. I had one finger which communicated with my support angels to tell them to place a straw in my mouth so I could drink water.

 

I was busy. It took my whole being – my whole courage and strength and willpower and inner resources to breathe through the contractions.

 

I breathed in for four… 1… 2… 3…. 4….

I exhaled out for eight… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4…. 3… 2… 1…

 

It took three breaths in for each contraction, and I knew the contraction would begin to subside around number 4 on the third exhale.

 

(So I believe contractions would last about 45 seconds.)

 

I had to keep breathing through the non-contractions, keeping my body as relaxed as possible, the meditation as deep as possible, in order to tolerate the next rush.

 

And I would only get about two or three breaths in before the next ones began, I believe.

 

If my concentration wavered, if I tried to come out of the meditation, the next round of contractions would be unbearably painful –

so I quickly learned that to cope, I needed to keep meditating.

 

The difference between the pain of contractions when meditating and not meditating was vast.

From tolerable to unbearable.

And sweetheart – as any birthing woman (or anyone who has suffered chronic pain) can tell you – there is a world between tolerable and unbearable.

Tolerable is being able to sit with it – even if it is taking all your inner resources & strength to do so.

Unbearable is wanting to crawl the walls and freak the fuck out because you just don’t know what else to do.

 

So I meditated.

And it was incredibly helpful, and I am very grateful that I was able to.

But still – it was not blissful meditation.

It was still childbirth.

 

Had I not meditated?

I absolutely believe I would have needed to choose pain relief of some kind – any kind.

Heck knows there were many moments during labour that I hid in the bathroom,

staring in the mirror thinking:

Fuck, let’s go have a Caesarean. I really, really need this to be over RIGHT NOW.

I just never told anyone.

Because I chose to go through the Birth Centre (even though I was induced at the hospital – I had a Birth Centre midwife), I was in a natural birthing system. So at no point was I offered any kind of pain medication. It would have been there had I asked – but they never said “Do you need any pain relief?”

Thank fuck. Because if they’d asked?

OH YES I WOULD HAVE TAKEN IT.

Even though my intention was to have a medication free birth.

I remember thinking during that labour:

No wonder people choose pain relief. No wonder people choose Caesareans.

Holy shit this is the hardest thing EVER!

 

Let me say this:

I absolutely believe in positive birth experiences.

I have friends who have had pain free births.

I know that ecstatic birth is possible.

 

And I absolutely hoped and cultivated the ground for that to be the case with my own birth.

And the truth and experience of my birth was that it was incredibly painful.

That is my human truth.

 

I have written quite a lot before about the birth as well,

especially from a spiritual perspective.

I absolutely feel and believe all these things,

at the same time it resides side-by-side with my very human experience of it being deeply painful.

 

So yes:

 

Birth hey?

Holy guacamole.

 

(My grandmother said to me a couple of weeks ago:

So my love was it an easy and good birth with Ostara?

And I laughed and said:

Well, I tried to meditate through it. But an easy and good birth? HAHAHA. What’s that?

And she laughed too and said:

Oh, I know. I still remember my births. They were bloody painful.

FYI: My Grandmother is 93. She gave birth 70 years ago.)

 

At some point in the afternoon,

I decided I’d had enough.

I sidled my way up to Rachel (our doula)

swayed in her arms and whispered to her my secret:

“I can’t do this anymore.”

She looked at me and said

“You are doing it.”

 

At some point as the afternoon shadows fell into evening, I began to feel really different.

The contractions didn’t hurt anymore –

I just wanted to push. I was grunting and propelling all this force down into my centre.

During the space between contractions, I could look around, and talk.

I looked at Ellanita and Rachel.

(My love was out of the room taking a breather.)

 

“This feels different”, I said.

They were exchanging looks.

“Sounds like baby is coming, Leonie.”

“Well can you tell me when? I need a time!”

And Rachel said in that very relaxed way of hers

“I can’t tell you how far along you are unless you want an internal examination. But it sounds like things are turning for you, Leonie.”

And they were.

Chris came back into the room, and I moved onto all fours:

Chris beside my head, breathing next to my ear,

Rachel by my side,

Ellanita massaging my hips and back.

I lost a big blood clot and said to Rachel

“Ummm was that SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN?”

“Yes – it means baby is coming Leonie. Did you want to see if you could feel her head?”

I checked, but couldn’t feel anything.

And the words kind of spun me out:

A BABY? A BABY WAS COMING? SO THAT’S WHAT ALL THIS PREGNANCY AND BIRTH WAS FOR? WHAT IS A BABY? A REAL LIFE PERSON IS COMING? WHATTTTTTTTTT?

And I proceeded grunting and pushing and losing blood clots and successfully managing to take that ginormous shit I had been longing for.

It felt like nine months of pregnancy constipation was alllll blocked up inside me and was finally making its run for freedom.

And you know how some people get all freaked out about crapping in labour?

OH NOT ME. I was like THANK GAWD. This ginormous shit has been annoying me for months now!

And so what if it is in front of other people?

That’s NOTHING compared to what I’ve just been through people? Man up!

 

Our midwife walked into the room to check the beeping machine and ask questions, as she was want to do.

But she stopped when she got in the door at the sight of us on the floor, me grunting away.

“What’s happening?” she asked.

“Looks like we’re having a baby!” Rachel said cheerfully!

And we proceeded to ignore her as she flittered about, getting out her instruments and blah blah.

She decided she wanted us on the bed.

I rolled my eyes – wanting to stay on the floor – but the joy of an induction and hospital birth meant more monitoring than usual Birth Centre methods.

So I got on the bed and kept doing my thing.

 

Ostara was born at 6:14pm that evening after 21 minutes of pushing.

That part was dang EASY by the way.

It wasn’t at all painful. I loved every minute of it. I felt powerful and RAWR!

It felt like a peace of cake compared to the shithouse eight hours of contractions that preceded it.

I was on all fours on the hospital bed.

 

Right at the end as she crowned, Ostara’s heart beat began to drop rapidly (as they often do thanks to induction births).

The midwife decided she needed Ostara out immediately, and asked to give me an episiotomy.

I said No.

She let me know Ostara needed to be out as soon as possible, and told me I had one more round of contractions and pushing to get her out, or she needed to give the episiotomy.

The next round of contractions came and I pushed my heart out – pushing long after the contractions finished (pretty sure this was what gave me some pretty nasty haemorrhoids).

She still wasn’t out, so I conceded for an episitomy.

I flipped to my side, Chris held my leg up, a quick snip, and in the next wave of contractions she came out with one big beautiful ocean gush of water.

Our midwife caught her, handed her to Chris and he passed her into my arms.

 

I will always remember that moment.

I felt totally lucid.

Totally there.

Ostara gave one cry as she arrived, and then was quiet,

looking around the room with those beautiful big blue eyes.

And her presence was SO strong. SO big.

And I thought:

Wow, you are here. Look at you! You are so strong!

I am trying to find the words to say what it felt like –

but it was just this presence. This new soul entering the world.

 

The womb feels like this incubation place,

this time for the body to form and the soul to come into this plane

it’s an in-between land,

and then the birth is the emergence

fully into this plane.

 

I heard the word Avalon as I saw her (thus why it is one of her middle names).

SO strong. SO incredible.

 

She didn’t cry. She just nestled in my arms.

I was bloody and we were both covered in shit and blood and meconium (she must have needed a massive dump like me – she crapped all over me when Chris passed her to me).

 

I was absolutely elated.

In love.

I felt no pain at all.

 

Ostara was very healthy – despite the low heart rate that the beeping machine said she had.

She got an immediate 9 out of 10 on the APGAR and five minutes later had a 10 out of 10.

 

I got a needle in the leg to speed contractions for the placenta to be delivered quickly (another thing I wasn’t super keen on happening in my birth plan – but was required with an induction birth).

The placenta came, and the midwife made some comment about the umbilical cord being delicate and the placenta having some kind of fatty residue on it (I can’t remember quite what she said – but I do remember that I tormented myself over it for quite a few months that eating hot chips while I was pregnant had caused it. And then I got over myself.)

 

Because the hospital was packed that night, all doctors were unavailable.

So I ended up getting the head doctor of the hospital in to stitch up my episiotomy.

He was old and kind. The nurses whispered to me “It’s your lucky day! How did you get so lucky? The Professor is the best you can get!”

I joked with him that it was fun to receive vagina embroidery from him, and that we should do it again tomorrow just for fun.

(He said he hadn’t heard that before. That’s nice. It’s nice to be memorable. Ha!)

 

In the meantime, we were attempting to get Ostara on the boob. We placed her on my belly first to see if she wanted to nose her way up with her rooting instinct. She made some great efforts, but didn’t quite get there. So we kept playing around with different positions, different levels of help. Finally after about an hour or so, we managed to get her to latch and suckle as we lay on our sides.

 

I’ll always remember her tiny wide open eyes looking around the room as she fed.

Just like she does now.

That same gaze as she looks at me.

 

(I remember my mum saying when she was a month old: I’ve never seen a baby look at its mum with so much love before.”

 

 

____

 

 

And then the newborn period.

 

That aching, aching time.

 

In the moment your child is born, a great owl swoops in and takes away your life.

 

The one that you knew.

 

How it was when you thought only of your own self and your own needs.

 

There is just a momentous task ahead of you, and right in front of you.

 

_____

 

And of course,

 

it is time that is filled with rapturous blessings too.

 

Time when you are so in love.

 

When you are amazed at the miracle of light and life that is before you.

 

Where you know absolutely that the daughter you have is absolutely the daughter you were born to be.

 

_____

 

I remember

 

one sleepless night

 

running to the toilet

 

as baby cried and Chris held her

 

and just sobbing

 

over and over

 

and coming back into the room

 

taking her in my arms and

 

smiling at her.

 

He said

 

“It amazes me

 

how you can be so sad

 

and yet when you look at her

 

you are always smiling.”

 

____

 

It was never about her,

 

you know?

 

From the first moment

 

I knew I would have her

 

I knew it was my destiny.

 

She was my daughter,

 

the one I had dreamed about for as long as I could remember.

 

I have always wanted to be a mother.

 

The one I would do it all again for –

 

to go into the land of birth, of initiation, of post natal depression and anxiety

 

to find her

 

bring her back

 

and mother her the very best I could.

 

____

 

Shortly after she was born,

 

we decided that we would move home.

 

We put the house on the market.

 

We threw away half our belongings.

 

We put our resignations into our work.

 

It was a wild act of bravery and daring and courage and faith,

 

and still it is hard on the body, the soul, the peace, the nervous system.

 

_____

 

While we waited to move,

 

I was solo parent while Chris was away 11 hours a day

 

in a city with no family,

 

and no car.

 

It was hard.

 

I was beyond exhausted.

 

I just kept plodding on,

 

gaze firmly planted on the horizon

 

knowing we had to get there.

 

_____

 

You know, on and on

 

And I could number again and again

 

over and over

 

all the things that went wrong

 

before, during, and after

 

Ostara was born.

 

I can tell you exactly why I got Post Natal Depression and Anxiety.

 

I was the poster child of it.

 

When I looked at a list

 

of all the Major Life Stressors, we ticked off almost all of them.

 

_____

 

Before she was born:

Death of a family member.

Evicting tenants.

Burnout & anxiety.

Family issues.

 

After she was born:

Town with no family.

Recovering from a birth that felt traumatic (I have no idea how many first time mamas don’t feel traumatised by birth. It is a huge initiation.)

Oversupply of milk and the subsequent eight rounds of mastitis over the next year, three of which required late night emergency trips to the hospital.

Selling a house.

House sales falling through.

Spending hours in the car with baby, hunky love & two dogs in the freezing cold as the house was exhibited again and again.

Family issues.

Problems with our neighbours.

Explosions outside our house.

My love ended up in Emergency on an ECG monitor on heart attack watch (he was fine. Just stressed – who would have thought?)

More tenant issues.

The week we moved, Chris’ best friend died in his sleep on his birthday.

Moving.

Being away from my love for a week (we flew up ahead).

More mastitis and ending up in emergency again at night with a little baby.

Our furniture being lost for a week during the move.

Making the transition from two jobs and a business to just having my business.

Huge family issues.

Having a very hard re-entry into small town country life after being away from family for so long.

Trying to be super mum and hold it all together.

My parents separating.

My brother & his wife separating.

(The same week. Christmas!)

My love & I doing deep work & counselling together & individually to keep from imploding.

And I’m sure there are things now that I have so happily forgotten.

 

But less me assure you:

 

It felt like my whole life, my whole world

was imploding.

 

And again:

 

The exhaustion.

The sheer, insurmountable task of tending to a baby.

Of grieving so deeply the life you once had where you thought only of yourself.

All that time you had to read, rest, eat, paint, surf the internet, make creative miracles?

Gone.

Utterly gone.

A baby that did not sleep on her own.

A baby that does not sleep through the night. Or for any great swathes of it.

Of beating myself up on my Perfect Mom expectations

 

Of everything.

Just EVERYTHING.

 

It was my Saturn Return, my 27th year,

the year that everything broke apart.

 

___

 

And so it was that I found myself,

 

My nightly ritual of

 

cooking dinner

 

while Chris held Ostara in the lounge room

 

and laying on the kitchen floor

 

willing myself to breathe,

 

willing away the anxiety attacks.

 

They became ever-present.

 

It wasn’t just feeling anxiety – it was wading through it, chest-high, every single day.

 

At night,

 

I’d lay in bed

 

and my body would be rigid, straight, as stiff as a board,

 

my fingers clenched,

 

my jaws clenched.

 

____

 

I cried a lot.

 

I was angry a lot.

 

I was angry with Chris a lot.

 

____

 

Everything hurt.

 

I grieved and was sad and anxious and in pain.

 

I remember thinking over and over:

 

“Please make this stop. Please make all of it end. I just want to be happy again. I want my good life again. I just want myself again. Please just make it stop.”

 

I wanted

 

the baby to stop crying

 

the craziness to stop

 

the everything to stop.

 

I wanted my old life back.

 

I wanted to be me again.

 

And I felt a million miles away from that.

 

I had no idea where I had gone.

 

_____

 

And so it was.

 

The moment I knew

 

that what I was feeling

 

was more than just normal.

 

That moment on the verandah,

 

tears streaming down my face,

 

fighting against an anxiety attack.

 

I stammered out the words:

 

Honey,

 

I don’t feel right.

 

I think there’s something wrong with me.

 

I remember how I used to feel.

 

I used to be happy, a lot.

 

I used to think life was good.

 

I don’t feel that way anymore.

 

I think there’s something wrong in my body.

 

____

 

It was a turning point.

 

____

 

O.K. 

 

he said.

 

What do you want to do?

 

Do we go to the doctor?

 

___

 

I decided that I did not want to go on anti depressants.

 

I was still breastfeeding, and I am a big believer in using both east & west medicine.

 

I wanted to undergo every single other healing avenue first.

 

I booked in to see the Doctor. I wanted a blood test to find out if there were any deficiencies in my blood (like iron) that I could work on with alternative health practioners.

 

I told him what I wanted it done for.

 

He said

 

“Well the first thing I’d recommend is giving up breastfeeding. She’s over six months old now, so there’s no real point.”

 

I fixed a gaze on him and laughed

 

“Buddy, that’s not happening anytime soon. I plan on following the World Health Organisation’s standards of 2 years or further as much as possible.”

 

He laughed.

 

“That’s just really for kids in Rwanda, you know.”

 

I blinked. And blinked. And blinked.

 

Then I said “Write me the script for the blood tests, and let’s agree to disagree.”

 

Chris looked at me with a knowing look.

 

He said later:

 

“As soon as the doctor said that I thought “ohhhhh nooooo buddy… Wrong answer!!! you’ve done it now! She’s never coming back to you again!”

 

He was right.

 

I found a new doctor after that. (Who just happened to think the first doctor’s suggestion for a woman suffering PND to give up breastfeeding was a very, very incorrect prescription.)

 

(FYI a note on the side: Breastfeeding is great if it works for you! If it doesn’t, bottle is great! Neither route is the easy one. You do what you can, what works best for you, babe and your family. I feel like any kind of strongly held “this way or the highway” belief can be harmful when it doesn’t make you and your family sing.)

 

____

 

SO.

 

I researched the internet to find what therapy would help the best with anxiety.

 

And I trusted my gut.

 

I remembered how my Canberra acupuncturist during pregnancy was so helpful with anxiety.

 

So I found a new one here in Proserpine, and got recommendations.

 

They turned out to be right, of course.

 

She was an angel, a healer,

 

who poured reiki over me

 

as the needles were in.

 

Just thirty minutes at a time.

 

The anxiety started to improve. Inch by inch.

 

Less constant freak-out.

 

More background buzz.

 

 

____

 

On top of all the Pile of Awful Life Stuff,

 

I had huge expectations I had on myself.

 

And as much as anyone would tell me I needed to do it differently,

to be more gentle on myself,

I would feel judged.

 

It was only me

that could finally find the path that felt good and light to my self.

 

I thought

 

that when I became a mum

 

in the space of a moment

 

the split second she was born

 

I would be a Perfect Mother.

 

I had all these ideas

 

of who I should be

 

instead of who I was.

 

I wound myself up in knots

 

running to try and be perfect

 

and beating myself up in all the places I was not.

 

___

 

My love, the Simple Sage,

 

took me to the cafe

 

to stage a Perfect Mother intervention.

 

He took out a notebook

 

and a pen.

 

“Write down for me what you need to do everyday. What you want to do everyday.”

 

And so I began.

 

“Meditate.

Take care of Starry.

Write three pages.

Cook three wholesome meals a day.

Made out of organic food that I gardened.

Do gardening. Have a very large organic vege patch and fruit tree patch.

Read to Starry. Give her as much eye contact as possible.

Do 30 minutes of yoga.

Spend time with the dogs.

Watch no TV.

Make art.

Spend time talking to Chris.

Work and reply to emails and do my business.

Go to sleep early.”

 

We exchanged lists.

 

His read:

 

“Be a good dad and partner.

Be happy.”

 

“Wow,”

 

he said to me.

 

“No wonder you feel so overwhelmed. It’s too much Leonie. Just go easy on yourself.”

 

“How is that even possible?”

 

I asked.

 

“Leonie, I’ve loved you for ten years. And what I know about you? All you really need to do is love me, love your daughter and make art.”

 

That’s what makes you happy.

 

In all the time I’ve known you,

 

you haven’t gardened everyday, you haven’t meditated,

 

you haven’t done all that stuff everyday.

 

And you like watching TV, for pete’s sake!

 

You’re so hard on yourself.

 

You feel so guilty.

 

What would life look like if you were easy on yourself?”

 

___

 

I was speechless.

 

What, indeed, would my life look like

 

if I gave up the guilt

 

and just gave myself

 

the easy way?

 

It became my mantra

 

“What would the easy way be?”

 

I’d walk down the supermarket halls

 

and I would say to Chris:

 

“Did you know that I felt guilty the whole way through the supermarket? That at every turn, I was making the wrong decision – or at least the one that was not the very best one? That I felt guilty when I bought non-organic food. And even when I bought organic, I still beat myself up because I hadn’t grown it myself?”

 

And he looked at me with these eyes

 

and he’d say:

 

“You can’t live like that, Leonie. Just be easy.”

 

So I gave up

 

my grand schemes of

 

growing everything myself

 

and making everything myself

 

and becoming some kind of hippy Betty Croker who’d had a threeway with Martha Stewart and Jackie French.

 

And instead,

 

I became the

 

Mother I am.

 

I gave up my grand idea of juicing

 

I bought small bottles of juice

 

because that’s the only way I drank juice.

 

I gave up my schemes of only homemade meals

 

and started buying ready made meals instead –

 

risottos and salads and meals I could make in 5 minutes

 

food that was close enough, and good enough.

 

I kept asking:

 

how can I be easy on myself?

 

And instead of jumping out of bed into Full On Action Mum Mode at the crack of dawn when Ostara woke, I implemented Gentle Mornings.

 

Now, I don’t get out of bed until 8am. Ostara wakes much earlier of course. But she sleeps in bed between us. And we spend the early hours of the day playing in bed and reading. She toddles off around the house, doing endless boomerangs. And we get our much required gentle time. It’s pretty much the most revolutionary thing ever.

 

Sometimes, easy is the best. And the loveliest.

I gave up being the Perfect Mother.

And embraced instead

the Magnificent Mother

that I already am –

funny, creative, a non-elaborate cook, balanced, sleeping in, tv-watching.

I didn’t have to change, really,

to be who I was.

 

____

 

I started taking an hour each week to go for a massage or healing with Akiah Elan, a friend from high school who owns the spiritual store in town.

 

Taking an hour was momentous.

 

A whole hour away from baby.

 

Slowly, slowly,

 

sending love and energy and nourishment back into my soul.

 

____

 

 

I started rebuilding my body that felt so depleted after birth, lack of sleep, breastfeeding & tending to a baby.

 

I consulted a naturopath.

 

I started taking Fish Oil & Vitamin B12 & some tonics from the naturopath.

 

I remember talking to her over the phone.

 

She had the softest English accent. And she’d been a midwife.

 

She understood.

 

She asked me how I was

 

and I cried

 

and said “My baby is nine months old… does everyone feel like this at nine months?”

 

“Oh yes,” she said. “That’s when the depletion kicks in.”

 

___

 

It was Project: Body Rebuild.

 

I started eating meat again.

 

I used Bushflower Essences.

 

I got intuitive healing sessions.

 

I did a rebirth session to revisualise Ostara’s birth.

 

I had a dream that Pleidean alien angels came down and asked me if I wanted a total cellular replacement. And I said yes. And they stripped away all my old cells and gave me new ones. And it was the most incredible healing ever.

 

I read all the archives from Ask Moxie’s post partum depression file.

 

We got relationship counselling.

 

(I remember reading once that having a baby is like throwing a grenade into a marriage. And I thought: hahahaha not me! That’s other people! But guess what? It happened. And guess what? It can be helped. Counselling is an incredible thing.)

 

I got personal counselling just to talk through everything that had happened. To say what was sitting so heavily on my chest.

 

I had told no one of what had happened in the year of the Shit Storm.

 

And then I reached out. I told two friends.

 

I felt like I’d been carrying around a great secret of the Shit Storm. And then I let my story float into the breeze.

 

____

 

I couldn’t even say the words to my friends.

 

I just wrote:

 

I think I have Pee Enn Dee.

 

It was scary to write.

 

But I was listened to.

 

And they said:

 

“Oh baby. That sounds like the hardest year ever. I understand. Things will get better. I love you. I’m here. I’m listening.”

 

It was the best thing they could have said.

 

They just listened.

 

And loved me.

 

____

 

At one point, I remember a dear mama friend writing

 

“Leonie, this is going to really piss you off. But give Ostara to Chris for a few hours. Go lock yourself away and make art. She can survive. Even if it means giving her boobs every hour or so. Then back to your art.”

 

And I remember reading her words thinking

 

“ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? WHAT???? THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE.”

 

But then…

 

It happened.

 

Not easily.

 

Not flowingly.

 

But it happened.

 

I made it happen.

 

I started taking regular, daily time to myself.

 

All this time, I’d been running my beautiful business

 

from my iPod, or in the 20 minute naps Ostara had.

 

It was crazy-making and exhausting.

 

So I negotiated with my love.

 

And when we both felt able,

 

I began to go to a cafe to work for an hour or two a day.

 

For the first few months, we really only managed to do that two or three times a week.

 

But it was the very best thing:

 

for me. To rebuild my chakras. To find my inner voice and intuition again. To create and write and start smiling at the world again.

And for my love and my daughter to work out their own dance together.

To get comfortable with each other. To find their own blend of what worked for them.

 

(And guess what?

 

The world didn’t fall down.)

 

___

 

I remember sitting in the cafe.

 

Laptop open,

 

doodling in my notebook,

 

creating a Folder of Leonie.

 

A blissful grin on my face.

 

An artist’s date.

 

Art was a key to healing this mama’s soul.

 

I drew and illustrated the Sacred Space Clearing Kit.

 

I filled out my own 2011 Creating your Goddess Year workbook.

 

It was good.

 

___

 

What else helped me heal?

 

Time.

 

It just takes time.

It takes time for your body, womb, vagina, heart and mind to heal after birth.

It takes time to adjust.

And all you can do in the meantime is clutch to the edge of your boat, hoping for the waves to subside.

They eventually do, of course.

It’s just holding onto hope and peace and breathing in the meantime.

 

___

 

There was one night in the shower

that a great healing occurred.

I was anxious as always.

I’d given Ostara a bath,

Chris had collected her,

and she began crying as she always did

the moment she was out of my arms.

And I stood in the bath,

trying to squeeze in the very basics

of self care –

of having a twenty second shower.

And a voice said:

“You need this time.”

And I decided that instead of

running out to Ostara,

I would give her into the soul care of

her father.

“Let them work it out together”

the voice said.

“Their energies need to come together

and work out their own dance.”

So I stood in the shower.

And cried.

And inside me I felt there was something

deeper stirring

something that wanted to come out.

Okay

I said.

And I stepped into the feeling.

And there it was

like a great wash of deep sadness and pain.

Every cell in my body

hurting and in pain

holding onto the memory of

what it felt like during labour.

I heard it. I felt it. I knew it.

And I leaned into it.

I hear you.

I curled up on the floor

and said to my body

I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry you went through that. I’m so sorry.

And the sobs came,

deep, intense,  cathartic

rising up and healing

my poor, sweet body

that had experienced so much pain.

I held myself,

until the tears left

and the sadness of that pain

lifted off me like a flock of crimson birds.

It lasted about 30 minutes.

And when the tears left,

I felt elated.

Cleansed.

Whole.

I climbed the stairs up into our cottage,

and Ostara was asleep in my love’s arms

and he had the sweetest look on his face.

_____

And I kept on healing.

Kept listening to my intuition.

Kept trying to give myself what I was needing.

Kept giving myself the support I needed.

All the alternative therapies I used helped

in so many ways –

in rebuilding my body,

in helping my anxiety,

in improving my life in so many ways.

And after three months of working with alternative therapies,

I decided I needed to give myself additional support:

of also using anti-depressants.

I felt like I’d gotten my well

filled up a few inches below the bottom,

and I wasn’t bottoming out

but I had this endless feeling that it was only a week away

or another Shitty Thing Happening

to get there again.

So I found a really kind doctor.

And told him the journey I’d been on

and he got it all.

And we chose an anti-depressant that was safe for breastfeeding.

So that’s what I did:

used a balance of both eastern and western medicine.

___

 

Healing is just like Shrek, you know.

It’s not linear.

It goes through layers.

 

All these things may sound like a lot.

 

It might seem like an impossible list for someone who is deep within it and wants to start feeling better NOW.

 

What I can say is this:

 

Every single one of these things helped.

 

I didn’t do them all at once.

 

I did them as my intuition, my gut, my heart told me.

 

____

Each step of the way, life got easier.

Anxiety got easier.

The huge waves of my life subsided.

I learned and healed.

I learned how to be gentle with myself.

I found what kind of mama I was, and I accepted her with my whole heart.

I chose the path of easy.

I learned about healthy boundaries for myself and my family.

I found deep, huge and abiding compassion for every mother who had been through this, and for every soul who had been through their own dark night.

____

This story has been ruminating in me for some time.

How on earth could I tell it?

I had to wait until I was beyond it before I could write it.

And when I did write it,

it took three months and 7000 words

to tell the story of my post natal depression.

Even now, I don’t quite know

if I’ve said enough, described enough, shared enough.

But here it is.

Turning up.

I know I need to share this story.

I know some women need to hear it.

I know it needs to be told.

____

 

Nine months ago,

 

I admitted it for the first time

 

to people outside of Chris & our doctors.

 

But I couldn’t write it as

 

“Post Natal Depression.”

 

I remember the exact words I used.

 

“Pee. Enn. Dee.

I think I might have it.”

 

____

 

I was terrified of what that might mean

 

for other people to know that.

 

____

 

Five months ago,

 

I was crouched on the floor of my childhood home

 

with my sister

 

and a dear friend.

 

And we talked about mama hood and post natal depression

 

and my sister said:

 

“Do you think you’ll ever tell everyone you had it? Like write about it?”

 

I shook my head furiously.

 

“No. No way. I can’t let everyone know.”

 

“One day,”

 

she said.

 

“One day you will know it’s just part of your story. And you’ll feel brave enough to tell the world.”

 

___

 

And today’s the day.

Once upon a time,

a goddess became a mama

and she lost everything she knew

in order to become

who she was.

 

____

 

I wanted to share something.

 

Something in my spirit.

 

A friend said to me recently:

 

I have no idea how you managed to keep working, keep writing, keep doing what you do,

when you were suffering Post Natal Depression.

 

And here’s the thing:

my job – this funny, beautiful thing of writing and taking messages from spirit and helping other women –

it’s been one of the joys

when my world turned upside down.

With steadfast faith,

I knew I was exactly where I needed to be

doing what I needed to be doing.

I can’t help but be who I am

and I love doing this goddess work

with all my heart.

 

So I said:

 

It was exactly what I needed. It was the thing I was born to do.

 

___

 

Even when I was in the throes of Pee Enn Dee,

I still loved my life. I still loved my daughter and myself and my love.

I still found so many things to be grateful for and excited by.

It just wasn’t as good as it could have been, ya know?

It wasn’t the same.

I lost me.

And then I journeyed

and I found her again.

And it was good.

I was wiser and stronger than ever.

 

___

I’m beyond Post Natal Depression now.

I’m healed,

and my life is good in so very many ways.

I’d always known that in my 27th year,

I would face every single one of my shadows

and it would also be the year I became a mother.

And that’s what happened.

And I’m standing before you,

with the song of my soul

tattooed all over me.

I have foraged in the wilderness.

I have learned what I needed to know.

And I am so goddamn grateful for all of it:

for the depression, and for the healing of it.

I am exactly who I needed to be because of it.

____

I’m a real woman.

A wise woman.

A mother.

A lover.

One who has seen into the depths of a lion’s mouth.

And she’s returned.

Staff aglow.

Saying:

Yes, it happened.

And still, there is so much beauty.

still here, still loving and living and laughing with every cell in me,
healing and growing and glowing and blooming and becoming,
happy and freeeeeeeeeeeeee!
all my love,

____

 

P.S.

I wrote this because it was the story I needed to tell. And I knew goddesses would need to hear it.

It was an immense initiation of my life, one that I feel well past now (very happily).

It’s been huge to write this. Truly.

I needed to set these words free, out into the world, to do what they needed to do.

And my arms are open wide

to receive all the goodness that is soaring back to me, into my life.

And life is good.

Anxiety attack free. Argument free. Anger free.

Filled instead with my love, and my daughter, and our gentle, easy way of living life together.

And a dear circle of friends here in Proserpine who have lit up my days and inspired me so wildly.

I’m so damn happy now.

In a way I had thought was gone.

But there it was.

Hiding all along.

Exquisite joy.

 

P.P.S.

If you think you may be experiencing Post Natal Depression,

I just want you to know:

I love you.

I understand.

I’m sorry.

And

things will get better.

They can get better.

It takes time. It takes healing.

Give yourself the support you need.

Everything will be okay.

Trust me.

It’s going to be fucking glorious.