Chapter 3 - Celebrating 20 years of Sharing my Love of Yoga with You Chapter 3
THE NEXT FIVE YEAR PLAN BEGINS
The 6 months after leaving Walgett were filled with uncertainty. We had packed up our belongings and they were put back into storage in Wauchope while we moved into my parents home in Newcastle (they were away) while we took some time to formulate our next plan. Over the previous years JB had developed a great skill in rebuilding and establishing new businesses. This had been sparked years before when he was busy purchasing and renovating supermarkets amongst other businesses. So it really shouldn't have surprised me when he started looking at prospective opportunities for us. He diligently developed our business plan, secured the partners and finance and while there were plenty of sleepless nights a plan was evolving in front of us.
From Newcastle we moved back to Wauchope where we owned a rental property, moved in and started to renovate. I still remember mattresses on the floor, living out of a picnic basket and having very limited items around us. We really didn't know where we were going to end up so had left most things in storage and just unpacked the barest of necessities. Grace was due to start school in the new year so we had booked her into two schools, Wauchope and Barraba, with my heartfelt prayer being that we would be settled by the time this date came around. It was through this time that negotiations continued to purchase Barraba IGA and so on January 27, 2003 we headed up over the mountains and into the beautiful rolling hills of the Fossickers Way. Grace started kindergarten two days later, and Eve began pre-school. A prayer answered, and I was now pregnant with number 3 due in July.
Undertaking a move such as this with a young family, another house to renovate, a new business to learn how to run, a new community, and completing my studies was not without its challenges. But we were welcomed with open arms into an amazing neighbourhood, houses filled with children that would run through purpose built gates in fences, pantries always open and screams of delight, tears and band-aids were part of our daily existence. I have such hugely fond memories and these were just some of the things that we wanted for our family when we chose to stay regional and not return to the city. Our neighbours were incredible and I will never forget their open hearts and generous spirits. They made another lonely move so much easier.
So once again, we were throwing ourselves into life. At this point in time my dear friend and business partner, Leah, and I were trying to sell our internet business and when that sale was completed it took one little piece of chaos out of our lives and we went onto focus on other areas.
With baby number 3 still a few months from arriving into our world I went about trying to finish my yoga teacher training. This was an intense time and I remember feeling very emotional. I had to fly to Sydney for my final exam weekend which included teaching a class to other teachers (intimidating or what!). I think at this point I was about 34 weeks pregnant, feeling exhausted and overwhelmed and in fact failed that class exam and had to redo and submit it again. I was devastated thinking I would never be the yoga teacher I wanted to be, but also knew that I was under a lot of pressure and being pulled in so many directions and expecting so much of myself, and all fuelled by pride. Thankfully I passed that next submission, graduated and then the learning really began!
Mae Rose came into our world a lengthy 14 days after her due date and without fuss in Manilla Hospital. She remains now as she was then, calm, steady, whimsical and creative - even though she wouldn't credit herself with any of these attributes. The perfect number 3, she fitted into the busy-ness of our family, as we shuffled the older girls to school and afternoon activities and when I returned to work she would spend her sleeping hours tucked behind one of fridges in her pram while I worked. She was constantly surrounded by our great team who adored her and cuddles were aplenty from doting customers. She settled into life just fine - slept well and was utterly adorable.
But things weren't so great for me. Life started to fall apart a couple of months after her birth as I now know I had slipped into Post Natal Depression. I ignored it, I battled on, my pride got in the way of asking for help, I felt so isolated from my family, my friends and even my partner and I hid it all. I just got on with it and from all appearances I had it all together. BUT I CERTAINLY DID NOT! I remember having enough energy to get the girls on the bus to school, went about my days with regular teary outbursts, but always making sure I didn't show any weakness to this new community I was trying to settle into. What would they think of me? So I suffered in silence and still remember the deep pain and isolation I felt within. PND wasn't something that was discussed and at that time any mental health was seen as as a major no-no to reveal shrouded in shame. In some ways society has come along way since then but yet I still see people suffering in silence too scared to reveal their anguish.
It would be 6 months later at a friends wedding that I started to think things were really on the edge - I was utterly despairing when I left her to come home and when I went to my next visit to my clinic sister Trudie, things started to unravel. I completed the PND survey - diligently shielding the paper from my truth, but the following week when I returned all was revealed. I had let my guard down and the collapse began as the pain unfolded. I will never be able to thank Trudie enough for her precious patience, care and support of me. Her encouragement to open up when I really didn't want to and for encouraging me to see my doctor to seek help. This was the beginning of my healing.
But now I had to tell someone. I couldn't keep this to myself and because I had hidden it, even those closest were shocked at my revelation (except for my mum - she was seeing the signs as mothers tend to do). It took a while to get the right support, to find the medication that would work for me and find a way that JB could support me while he was so snowed under running a new business. To his credit he changed his work hours to allow that to happen, adding whatever support he could manage and that I so desperately needed to rebuild my despair.
The next problem I had right in front of me, was a commitment I had made in the previous months to teaching a weekly yoga class in Barraba. How on earth was I going to manage this?