Monday, March 31, 2014

Yesterday, A Year Ago

Yesterday was a sad anniversary.  It was a year since I had my 'breakdown' and ended up in Bunbury Hospital.

I'm glad to report though that the 30th March 2014 was a much happier day.

As I reflected back, I realised that it's ok to grieve because, although they are less raw, the memories from that time in my life are still painful.  But I can also rejoice because it was when I sank to the lowest I could go, that God set the wheels in motion that would lead to my recovery.

I can look back to a year ago and praise God because of how far He's brought me since then, the friends I've made, the support I've received, and the story of hope I have to share with other women struggling with postnatal depression.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Funny

Happy Friday!


1.  I was driving with my three young children one summer evening when a woman in a convertible ahead of us stood up and waved.  She was stark naked!  As I was reeling from the shock, I heard my five-year-old shout from the back seat, "Mum, that lady isn't wearing a seatbelt!"

2.  On the first day of school, a first-grader handed his teacher a note from his mother.  The note read, The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his parents.

3.  A woman was trying to get tomato sauce out of the bottle.  During the struggle, the phone rang, so she asked her four-year-old daughter to answer it. 
"Mummy can't come to the phone to talk to you right now.  She's hitting the bottle."

4.  A little boy got lost at the gym and ended up in the women's changeroom.  When he was spotted, the room burst into shrieks, with ladies grabbing towels and running for cover.  The little boy watched in amazement and then asked, "What's the matter?  Haven't you ever seen a little boy before?"

5.  It was the end of the day when I parked my police van behind the station.  As I gathered my equipment, my canine partner, Jake, was barking, and I saw a little boy staring in at me. 
"Is that a dog you got back there?" he asked.
"It sure is," I replied.
Puzzled, the boy looked at me and then towards the back of the van.  Finally he said, "What did he do?"

6.  While working for an organisation that delivers lunches to elderly housebound people, I used to take my four-year-old daughter on my afternoon rounds.  She was unfailingly intrigued by the various appliances of old age, particularly the canes, walkers and wheelchairs.  One day I found her staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass.  As I braced myself for the inevitable barrage of questions, she merely turned and whispered, "The tooth fairy will never believe this!"

7.  A little girl was watching her parents dress for a party.  When she saw her dad donning his suit, she warned, "Daddy, you shouldn't wear that suit."
"And why not, darling?"
"You know that it always gives you a headache the next morning."

8.  A little boy opened the big family Bible.  He was fascinated as he fingered through the old pages.  Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible.  He picked up the object and looked at it.  What he saw was an old leaf which had been pressed in between the pages.
"Mum, look what I found," the boy called out.
"What have you got there, dear?"
With astonishment in the young boy's voice, he answered, "I think it's Adam's underwear."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

98% Mucking Around, 2% Malicious Intent

Back in the day (i.e. 2003, before the phenomenon called Facebook hit our computer screens), there was a thing called online forums.  As a third year theatre student, I had access to one created especially for theatre students at Curtin to review plays and generally dribble on about nothing.  I never created a username because a lot of the talk was smutty, slanderous and rubbish, but a friend of mine got hooked.  She started to be given a hard time online by some of the guys in our course (basically because they were 'popular' and she wasn't....nothing much changes from high school sometimes).  Then one of the older students, who was also the creator and moderator of the forum, went in to bat for her.  The guys who had been having a go at her were doing it under the guise of humour.  A lot of people thought they were hilarious....except me, my friend....and the moderator.  He was most unimpressed at what he called '98% mucking around, 2% malicious intent'.  It was the 2% that he was concerned about.

Have you ever had someone have a go at you, but acted like they were joking?  Other people who overheard what they said may have thought it was a joke and had a good old chortle, but they didn't really get it.  You got the 'dig' behind the humour.  They may have been insulting you about something in your past, something just between the two of you.

So, why not just come out and insult you?  Why mask it with humour?  Well, it's so they can get away with looking humorous and you still get the point.  If they just came out and said it, everyone would think they were a nasty pastie.  It's their way of putting you in your place without damaging their reputation.

How do you stop people doing it to you?  I've found the best way is (if it's done in person) to confront them.  Say, "What did you mean by that?"  Very rarely will they have the guts to repeat it.  Bullies are cowards after all.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Postpartum Survival Guide

When I saw this book on the discount table at the Christian bookshop in Albany, it felt like it was meant to be.  It was August last year and I was in the midst of a PND relapse.  My mum was looking after Rory for a few hours so I could have some time to myself.

It was with both excitement and trepidation that I bought the book, took it home and opened it.  I hadn't heard of any books on postnatal depression written by Christian authors and, based on the views of PND I'd heard other people espouse, it could go either of three ways - it could say that PND is caused by a lack of faith and be firmly opposed to anti-depressants, it could take the medical path of looking at PND as a 'disease' but no so much as a spiritual condition, or it could sit somewhere in the middle.

Thankfully this book took the third approach.  Written by Christian psychiatrists, it says on the back cover, This definitive guide explains why this depression occurs, who is at risk, how to treat it, and where to find God in it all.  It uses examples of women whose PND was caused by an intricate mix of traumatic past experiences, anger at God, seratonin depletion in the brain, and hormonal shifts.  The book is both encouraging and sensible, exhorting those suffering from PND to use medication to help them recover.  It is realistic in that pregnancy, childbirth and child rearing will be painful and hard this side of the Fall, much more realistic than the perfect picture of families promoted by some Christians.  It did scare me a bit with some of the statistics about the chances of recurring and worsening PND with each pregnancy, but I also felt better prepared, knowing that if PND strikes me again I know the signs and where to get help.

There are also insightful chapters on postnatal psychosis (there was a mum in the Mother Baby Unit who had it), PND and dads, and adjusting to life as a family.  There were many stories I could relate to and it helped me feel less alone.

Most of all, it reminded me that God cares for the depressed, that He doesn't just tell them to 'pull themselves together', but asks them to entrust their cares to Him.  It is ok to mourn because He will comfort us.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Bubba: 11-12 Months

He's an expert crawler and 'cruiser' of furniture, but he hasn't quite got the confidence to walk yet.  This seems to be a concern to others judging by the looks on their faces when they ask me if he's walking, I tell them no, then they proceed to tell me about their child/grandchild who was walking by nine months.  If Rory wants to be quadrupedal for a little while longer, that's ok.  I'm sure he'll be bipedal eventually.

Not too sure about Nanna's patties

Storytime with Nanna

He loves Ebony so much (she doesn't feel the same way)

This is why I'm not a hairdresser.  Sorry, my boy!  You
look like Friar Tuck.  He's our little monk-ey haha.

This will be last bi-monthly update of bubba photos although I'm sure he'll still feature regularly on this blog!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

From Head to Hand: Pen Name

One question I've been asked a few times in regards to writing is what name I'm going to write under.  Will it be my married name, my maiden name, initials, or a pen name?

I've always wanted to write under my maiden name.  Even though I wasn't too fussed about my surname growing up, it's who I was when the idea for this book was first conceived in my mind, it's who I was when I began writing it, and it's who I will be when I finish it.  Writing under my maiden name will have the advantage that more people know me under that name.  People I knew growing up in Albany would go, "Ah, I knew her," but if they saw my married name on a book it wouldn't attract their attention.

I like the idea of keeping my public and private lives separate.  That doesn't mean I think I'll become a big celebrity, but I do want to protect my family.

Since it's a fictitious novel about Aussie Rules football, I've had a few people suggest I use my initials for my first name or use a man's name.  I briefly gave the idea some thought before deciding against it.  It seems nothing much has changed since the days where women were forced to publish under male aliases if they were to be successful.  J.K. Rowling decided on initialising her name instead of being Joanne Rowling because she thought more people might be interested in Harry Potter if they didn't know she was a woman!  Apparently women don't know anything about wizards or football - I'm going to prove them wrong.

Maybe I'd sell more books as a man, but I'm determined to be myself...who I was in the beginning.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Quote of the Day

You must learn to overcome your very natural and appropriate revulsion for your own work.
 - William Gibson

Friday, March 14, 2014


Rory went for allergy testing yesterday and I received the terrible news that he is allergic to cats.  This means we will have to find a new home for Ebony.  I could hardly stop myself from crying as we left the clinic.

The other bad news is that, despite being pretty much clear of eczema for the past few months, Rory is allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts and cashews.  Environmental allergens (besides cats) include grass seeds and dust mites.

The repercussions mean that I will have to keep him away from these foods until he is re-tested in a year's time.  He will need to drink either a soy formula, or an alternative milk such as almond milk or rice milk.  I bought him some soy yogurt today as well as biscuits and crackers containing no milk or egg.

The doctor insisted we rehome Ebony, have all walls, carpeted areas and furniture steam cleaned, get a protective cover for his mattress, and dry all of his clothes inside.  He said if we don't get rid of Ebony there is a good chance Rory will develop asthma.

I was most unimpressed with this doctor!  Rory was screaming while he did the tests and he offered no words of reassurance.  His bedside manner was sorely lacking!  He had a 'get over it and stop crying' kind of attitude.  I mean, hello, he's a baby, of course he's going to be scared.  This guy clearly seemed to be a cat hater and said that everyone should get rid of their cats because they cause allergies.

I'm sure Rory will be ok.  There is a good chance he will outgrow the food allergies, but the doctor was doubtful about the environmental ones.

I really don't want to part with my dear puss!  We've been together for nearly seven years.  She's part of our family.  Maybe people who don't have much-loved pets won't understand, but she is a great companion who means so much to me.  It's so hard to rehome cats.  No-one seems to want them.  I won't give her to a shelter and I will be very picky about finding her a good home.  My parents said they will care for her temporarily until someone is found.  I'm thinking she would suit a retired person or couple who can have her inside and give her lots of attention. 

I won't give up and I'm already looking at alternative treatments and opinions.  A friend of ours had allergies to cats, wheat, dairy and basically couldn't eat before she saw a naturopath allergist in Melbourne.  She is well on the path to recovery!  I'm going to get in touch with him, even if we have to make a trip to Melbourne.

I'm really praying I can keep spending my days with both bubba and cat.

Lots of cuddles with my furry girl today.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

My Prayer For Myself

Father, forgive me for being lukewarm,
For not having You as my first love,
For being distracted by the shiny things of the world,
For being self-centred,
Help me live for You,
To be 'hot'.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Bible Verse of the Day

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
Revelation 3:16

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Holiday Destinations Beginning With D

It was recently pointed out to me that our two summer holiday destinations (Dunsborough and Denmark) both begin with the letter D.

And in a few days we are off to Dalwallinu...another D.

I think it's fitting to say that this post is brought to you by the letter D. :)

First up, Dunsborough - Duncan's hometown and where his parents and numerous extended family members still reside. 

For the benefit of interstate and overseas readers who may not be familiar with WA, Dunsborough is a beachside town in the south west of Western Australia (this is a winery, brewery and surfing area).  Years ago, it was a small surfie town but now it's a holiday destination for Perth's elite.  The yuppies seem to treat Dunsborough as if it's their own personal playground, coming down to their holiday houses numerous times a year, and shopping at the expensive boutiques which have sprang up everywhere in the town.  Duncan's not too pleased with what's happened to his hometown, but that's life I suppose.  It's still a lovely place to holiday and I love the free accommodation with the in-laws. :)

Playing ball with Granddad.  He loves his Granddad.

Ahhh holidays!  It's tiring being a bubba

After five days in Dunsborough, catching up with friends and relatives, we headed home for a night, did loads of washing, and Duncan got his gun ready for a fox shoot he was planning to go in the following weekend (which he didn't end up going in).  Then it was off to Denmark.

Denmark is a hippie town on the south coast of WA, half an hour's drive west of Albany.  It's kind of like WA's version of Byron Bay but on a much, much smaller scale.  Apart from the smell of incense in lots of shops, I love Denmark!

We stayed in a chalet a few kilometres from town.  It wasn't flash and was overpriced, but it was an adequate home for the week.

We visited the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk:

Rory wasn't sure about the whole thing.  Perhaps he's like his
mummy and not too keen on heights!

Don't look down!

Happier to be out of the pram

The estuary near Ocean Beach:

Green's Pool:

Th water was so cold! Brrr

One of my favourite beaches.  Just beautiful!

Perfect for snorkelling...except I forgot my snorkel and flippers

Fish and chips by the river:

Some feathered friends thought they were invited to the party

Shoo!  It's my fish!  MINE!

The downside of the week was that I had a particularly bad flare up of arthritis.  While we were at the Tree Top Walk last Wednesday, I said to Duncan, "I don't feel well.  I think I'm getting the flu."  I had no head cold - just aches and pains, fevers and fatigue.  This happened three years ago, not long after I was first diagnosed, when I had two of these fevers within three weeks, each lasting a few days.  I had to spend a lot of time lying down and we timed going out when I had bursts of energy.  Panadol enabled me to enjoy the week and I slept while Rory napped.  Thankfully it has now passed although my lower back and right hip are still painful.  I read online this can happen during flare-ups.  Despite this, it was a great holiday.

Looking forward to returning to Dalwallinu on Saturday for the first time in over 18 months....and visiting our old cottage in Buntine.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Church Camp 2014

It was nice to be able to be a part of our church camp again this year (last year we had to give it a miss due to Rory being only a few weeks old). 

One of the activities for the weekend was a photo scavenger hunt.  We were given topics and had to creatively think of a photo to take that reflected the said topic.  Duncan and I decided to document Rory's weekend at his first-ever camp:

Sports action
This is Rory and his friend Allen

Bible scene

Food scene

Relaxing weekend

Beach action


This is Rory's beloved bedtime teddy
Our Saturday night entertainment involved getting creative with some fruit and vegetables, knives and toothpicks.  Since I feel very uncomfortable with wasting food, I made sure all toothpicks were removed and lots of people took bags of scraps home for their chooks.

As you can see, there are some VERY talented people in my church when it comes to food art:

Mr Potato Heads

My Mr Potato Head

Rockmelon Jack-O-Lanterns
Farm equipment

Farm equipment

Farm equipment

Food faces

Bible scene.
This is my entry hehe.  Yes, I know Eve wore fig leaves, but I
thought cabbage and spring onion underwear would be a winner.

Moses parting the Red Sea

Last supper

It was lovely spending the weekend near Perkins Beach (between Albany and Denmark).  My Saturday afternoon swim was so refreshing.