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THE countdown is ON! . I’m SUPER excited here at Life After Birth to share with you my third baby! . My husband says I need to win the lotto before we have another Bub, so I’m treating this gorgeous new business, with so much passion and soul behind it to help, support and empower woman to transition in to Motherhood calmly and confidently as my third! (Just in case I don’t win lotto😉) . In a bit over a week, our website will be LIVE. Packages supporting you in the fourth trimester will be available, Sleep Support available, $$ donated to @pandanational will commence with the first postnatal package purchased and maternal wellbeing, self care and mental health a primary focus. . Please follow along here and on Facebook and if you could, share with your family and friends... we’ll be one step closer to assisting the maternal mental health statistics decrease. . ♥️

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It feels SO vulnerable to share these moments of my life on here. Yet, it’s cathartic. And it’s necessary. ——— It was the latter half of the second full week in March. 2018. I had just passed the 23 week mark in my third pregnancy. I had spent every night awake. I was exhausted. Everyday in bed. Because the depression was so heavy I couldn’t lift myself. The few days I was up and around were a STRUGGLE. I spent several times per day and night, crying. It was the most draining time period of my entire life. I wasn’t bonding with the baby who was growing inside of me. I purposely wasn’t taking prenatal vitamins because I didn’t care about myself & I loathed the idea of me having to take care of an additional child. Many days, I wasn’t eating anything at all. In the end of the pregnancy, I was overeating to stuff my face full of comfort, which was out of the norm for me. I am a restrictor by nature when the going gets tough. My eating disorder was rampant throughout the duration of the pregnancy. Suicide was on my mind 24/7 - most all days - & there were very few things keeping me tethered to reality & existence. I called the clinic & set up an appointment. They squeezed me in for an appointment which would have literally been the latest I could have possibly had an abortion procedure performed. Nick was angry with me. We weren’t really speaking. I was going to drive into the city alone & stay because I knew he wouldn’t want to come with me. I don’t remember the series of events which led to my cancelation of the appointment but I remember feeling that I didn’t want to show up for it & that’s when the mama bear protective instinct kicked in & I didn’t want anything to happen to my baby, let alone I be the one to cause something to happen. Those were the darkest days. The subsequent, long months drug out & were full of excessive exhaustion, animosity, fear, the deepest depression I’d ever experienced & tears beyond belief right up until the very end, the night before induction, when I found myself in our bathroom, sobbing to my mother (who had flew in to help with all of this and support me during labor & delivery) because I quite simply didn’t want to live anymore.

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Something I struggle with in a very massive way is feeling the heavy weight of everyone and everything upon my shoulders, collapsing in and enveloping me like some sort of black hole I am unable to escape. —— We have a seventeen-year-old son who is often on the outs with us because, well, when you’re seventeen I suppose your parents suck? He’s a whole separate basket of emotions for me that I’ll need to unload later. . .& I LOVE HIM. We have a ten-year-old daughter who *never stops talking,* has more sass than the seventeen-year-old, is in the beginning stages of puberty. . .& I LOVE HER. We have a 16.5-month-old daughter who is a complete (adorable) TERROR. She *still* refuses to sleep through the night, cries most of the day, never leaves my hips or my husband’s chest, is driving us both completely 🍌🍌🍌. . .& I LOVE HER. Our 140 LB Saint Bernard who closely resembles the beloved 90’s Beethoven is our second St. in four years, is an utter handful, too much for us right now. . .& I LOVE HIM. My husband, who wants to never stop touching me for hugs & affection even though I am the grouchiest woman alive right now, is tired, exhausted beyond belief, out of shape because he has put his family, child-rearing, his work, etc. all above his self-care. His mental, physical & emotional wellbeing (as with mine, too) have all been put on the back burner because of adult priorities. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m saying it’s LIFE and we’re working hard to prioritize better. I’m very angry with him (again, a basket for another day) & resentful (things I am trying so hard to figure out how to work through but I just don’t currently know where to place those emotions or how to deal with them properly) & life has been SO, SO difficult for us for two years. . .& I LOVE HIM! It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, mama. You’re doing the best you can!! Fuck the house mess (if need be) for a little while. Fuck the people who don’t understand why you’ve canceled for the umteenth time because...KIDS. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Life WON’T ALWAYS BE THIS WAY. When you feel the weight of it all sitting atop your shoulders, BREATHE. Then, pat yourself on the back for even *trying* to carry such a haul. xx ❤️✨

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To all the other Mums out there feelin’ the way I’m feeling right now, I am with you - you are not alone & neither am I. PND is a bitch, and I’m determined not to let it define me - this too shall pass & I can’t wait to feel confident in myself again. Mummas, I know you’re tired, I know you’re drained, I know you just want to poop on your own, and drink one hot coffee but we have to keep reminding ourselves that this will all pass & one day, we’ll look back and long for the days of chatting with our toddlers in the bathroom and snuggling with newborns... this is what PND looks like to me & the best thing that could have happened was to make the appointment with my GP & get onto it early- I will get ‘there’ and so will you. #realtalk #pandanational #pnd #mumlife

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We thought we would take this opportunity on @pandanational week to not only raise awareness but to also give you a little insight into how and why we started our business Distinctive Bronze. To some people our business may look and seem like every other spray tanning business out there, but to us it’s much more than that and has such a significant meaning to us both. Em and I have known each other since we were little, our parents were and still are the best of friends and so we spent a lot of our growing up years together. We also bonded through our love of dance and spent many years dancing at the same dance school. We then bonded through a new chapter in our lives - “Motherhood” having two beautiful daughters Kendall and Brooklyn who are the same age. Then along came Em’s little boy River and a few years later my little boy Pearce. Over the last two years we have both had our struggles with Motherhood and our next unfortunate bond was with Post Natal Depression. We both struggled in silence and both in a bit of denial of what we were going through until we both hit rock bottom and turned to each other for support. We shared many nights/weeks/months talking, crying, laughing and supporting each other through until one day we decided to talk about our goals and what we wanted to do for ourselves outside of being Mums. Don’t get us wrong we absolutely love Motherhood and wouldn’t change a thing but we just needed to do something for ourselves. To our surprise we both had on our to do list “do a spray tan course” so that night without a second thought we booked it in with @sprayaus. We completed our course with the lovely Elle and off we went full steam ahead ready and inspired to start our business. It took us a little while to get up and running while we got ourselves in a happy and healthy place again, but this business makes us so happy, it gives us a purpose and gives us an outlet away from being Mums to our beautiful children. We both wished that we knew about @pandanational back when we were going through our hard times, we wished that someone had given us the number or put it out there for us to read about. *continued into comments*

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Repost from @pandanational⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ A beautiful letter by @spiritysol to new mums. “Dearest new mama- You are sore and leaky and more tired than you could have ever imagined. Everything is soaked in breast milk and tears.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Everything hurts. Your body has literally stretched to its breaking point, or perhaps was cut open to make space for the miracle of life. Your heart aches with a love so huge it feels as though going to break you in half and sometimes you can’t breathe because it all feels too big.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ They told you about the waves of birth but no one told you about the intense waves of postpartum- the euphoria and joy that lifts you up, and the heavy weight that drops you suddenly and leaves you sobbing into receiving blankets.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ You look back across the sea and the journey you’ve made- and in the distance you see the maiden you once were. So much has changed in so little time and you wonder if you’ll ever find your way back to that self. You wouldn’t change this love for the world, but something inside you aches for familiar ground and the woman you once were.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This is all so new and raw. But you will find your way, sweet mama. You have not left yourself behind, you’ve simply grown new wings. The maiden you with her carefree ways and wild spirit is still inside you, and always will be. Follow the compass of your heart.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Allow the tears to fall. You will find your way, and your self will be waiting for you with open arms when you do.”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #pandaweek #pandanational #parenting #itsokaytonotbeokay #beingamumishard

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PANDA week Call the national helpline. Monday - Friday 9am - 7:30pm 1300 726 306. - - - #encouragingmumswithhope #encouragingmums #pandaweek #pandanational #maternalmentalhealth #postnataldepression

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PANDA week Call the national helpline. Monday - Friday 9am - 7:30pm 1300 726 306. - - - #encouragingmumswithhope #encouragingmums #pandaweek #pandanational #maternalmentalhealth #postnataldepression

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PANDA week Let's get real. We don't know how someone else feels. We know how we felt. Come alongside others with compassion and care. - - - #encouragingmumswithhope #encouragingmums #pandaweek #pandanational #maternalmentalhealth #postnataldepressionawareness

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PANDA week Let's get real. We don't know how someone else feels. We know how we felt. Come alongside others with compassion and care. - - - #encouragingmumswithhope #encouragingmums #pandaweek #pandanational #maternalmentalhealth #postnataldepression

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PANDA week. PANDA can help. Check out their website. - - - #encouragingmumswithhope #encouragingmums #pandaweek #pandanational #maternalmentalhealth #postnataldepression

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PANDA week. PANDA can help. Check out their website. - - - #encouragingmumswithhope #encouragingmums #pandaweek #pandanational #maternalmentalhealth #postnataldepression

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PANDA week Let's get real. I'm much more real nowadays, not trying to be perfect and wearing a mask. How about you? - - - #encouragingmumswithhope #encouragingmums #pandaweek #pandanational #maternalmentalhealth #postnataldepression

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PANDA week Let's get real. I'm much more real nowadays, not trying to be perfect and wearing a mask. How about you? - - - #encouragingmumswithhope #encouragingmums #pandaweek #pandanational #maternalmentalhealth #postnataldepression

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#flashbackfriday to 11th November 2018...(I had way too much time on my hands 😅) PANDA week finishes tomorrow! Have you run your 7km yet for @diamondrunlove ?....anyone want to virtually run a 7km with me around 530am tomorrow morning? ... Anyone? 💎💎💎💎💎💎💎 . . . #diamondrunlove #diamondsquad #pandanational #officialDiamondRunambassador #garminau #beatyesterday #garminforerunner235 #runner #melbourneinstarunners #runningcommunity #runnersofinstagram #mizuno #mizunoaustralia #mizunowaveinspire14 #runningmum #australianinstarunners #runyourworld #therunningcompany #womensrunningcompany #solemotive #runningmumsaustralia #australianrunners

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Let's get real, it's okay to miss your life before you became a parent. What do you miss most? - - - #encouragingmumswithhope #encouragingmums #pandaweek #pandanational #maternalmentalhealth #postnataldepressionawareness

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Let's get real, it's okay to miss your life before you became a parent. What do you miss most? - - - #encouragingmumswithhope #encouragingmums #pandaweek #pandanational #maternalmentalhealth #postnataldepression

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PANDA week Do you keep a gratitude journal? - - - #encouragingmumswithhope #encouragingmums #pandaweek #pandanational #maternalmentalhealth #postnataldepression

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PANDA week Do you keep a gratitude journal? - - - #encouragingmumswithhope #encouragingmums #pandaweek #pandanational #maternalmentalhealth #postnataldepression

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#Realtalk Becoming a mum is a complete renovation of the soul, it can certainly foster amazing moments and life transforming love, but it can also degrade you to the point that you don’t know who you are anymore. This week is PANDA (perinatal anxiety and depression) awareness week. Nothing can prepare you for the change of having a bub... suddenly you become a sleep deprived zombie who’s likely to express more tears than milk, who has traded a life of freedom for a screaming blob in a nappy, and a maternity pad in granny undies. The guilt, anxiety and depression that new Mamas often cope with when adjusting to parenthood can be severe and dangerous if adequate support is not received. One in 5 women will experience perinatal depression or anxiety, and 1 in 10 men do as well - it’s common, it’s real, and it does not discriminate. I’m sure I lied through my teeth when people asked how I was going in the early days, ‘Pffft pretty tired, but we’re getting there!’. If I was being honest I would have said something like, ‘this is some of the hardest shit I’ve gone through, I’m barely coping- please take my baby while I weep for a decade in a cave’. For a long time I struggled to manage my new baby, and the trauma of being close to losing both bub and myself to birth complications- not to mention juggling my relationship, health and going back to work. Because I saught help quickly I’m sure I was spared the depths of where I could have gone. If you see a mum or dad with a small barnacle hanging from them, please ask them how they are. New parenting can be isolating and overwhelming and a friendly arm, a knowing smile or an offer to take baby for an hour or clean the kitchen can make all the difference. With a little support, those quiet moments of being able to smile back at your baby and feel the warmth that is showing a beautiful little soul through the world can be protected and cherished. Every parent deserves this, every baby deserves a parent who can be present. 37 week old Murray captured by 📸 @cassiesullivan_._ #PANDA #perinatalmentalhealth #pandaaustralia #mentalhealthawareness #newmama #bossmama #newparent #maternity #pandanational #mothermuse

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