Come on the journey to discover how I broke free from the clutches of stress and anxiety to feel ALIVE again!
My lead up to becoming a mum wasn't the fairytale story that we all hope for, however my experiences have shaped who I am today and I have grown significantly from them.
I was that girl that was known for her commitment to work and her career, and found myself putting work first for many years. Yes, I achieved a lot and held various roles within Management for large food industry corporates, with my latest role being as a Senior leader that headed up the ANZ Quality Assurance team. The more I earnt, the more I wanted to earn. The same went for the seniority. I was always looking for my next step up. I developed quite an unhealthy relationship with money and status and let it define me and prop me up for other areas of my life that I felt were lacking.
I remember at the time being petrified and I would be so proud when I woke the next morning and began counting the nights I had been alone in an empty home. I remember thinking to myself "why did it take this long to stay in a house alone?". I soon lost track of the number of nights, as I lived the single life for approximately 10 months (which I know is not long in the scheme of things!).
Prior to my separation, my family would take turns "adultsitting" me, as I much preferred the company and was too scared too stay in a house alone (Lame I know!). I guess I have always been used to having people around. I am one of four kids and dad worked from home for majority of my life, which meant us kids were rarely at home alone (and clearly I was a sook!).
I couldn't believe at 34, I was having to enter the brutal world of online dating. How else was a then 34 year old meant to meet someone when friends were all settled into family life?
Let's just say that it wasn't a time in my life where I felt true to myself. I was lost and I did not know who Tammy was anymore. I had become someone that was stuck in a loveless marriage and as I was so desperate to make it work, I had suppressed my emotions and lost my way.
For those that have experienced the world of online dating, you would know how tough it is. It is full of games, it's ruthless and plays on your self-doubt. I can admit now that I tried to be someone that I did not know. As I met different people, I found myself morphing into someone that I was not proud of and someone that I did not recognise.
I have always struggled with my weight and would do yo yo dieting. At this time in my life I was the fittest I had ever been and I was feeling incredible. I had trained for over 12 months in footbiking (let's just call it an adult scooter), travelling all around the country to compete. Yes it is a very small sport, however I was constantly improving my times and was getting stronger and more confident. I was so focused on training and had the World Championships in The Netherlands in my sight to compete in. Approximately three months before the World Championships, I broke my toe when I was away for work. To this day I cannot believe how much breaking a one single toe affects your entire balance and quality of life.
I spent those last few months before heading to Europe to race, struggling to train. Somedays I could hardly walk, so training was off the cards those days. I had gone from training twice a day, travelling around the country racing to feeling completely deflated and if I had wasted the last 12 months of my life. I now know that, those experiences provided me with invaluable lessons and I learnt that I could do anything I put my mind to and I could overcome my fears.
I had never been to Europe, as I can't say I enjoy flying, so 20+ hours in a plane going to the other side of the world single, was BIG for me. As expected, my toe played up and I really struggled to race. I felt my lowest when I was in Europe and to be honest, I didn't get to enjoy it as I was very much in my head the entire time.
I looked forward to getting back home to Sydney, where I could spend a month sorting myself out and trying to discover who I had become before returning to work. This is when I started to spend quite a bit of time up on the Central Coast at my brother and sister's houses.
One of my most memorable times was when I ventured up to what my sister calls "meditation rock". It is the most incredible spot out on a rockface that overlooks the ocean and national park. I remember sitting up there alone in the sun reflecting on my life and being present in the moment. That was one of the first times I had allowed myself to slow down enough and just live in the moment. As I sat up on the rockface I decided it was time to start living. I acknowledged that I had spent the last 34 years in my head. I felt like a prisoner in my own mind that was holding me back from experiencing the true beauty of life. This is when I came up with the concept of a "Life is NOW" list. Basically, I felt as if I was given a second chance at life. I felt as if I could start again and re-discover who I was and what I enjoyed.
If I could have skipped off the rocks back to the bush trail, I would have. I had an abundance of energy and in that moment up there, I found my mojo again and was so excited to work on creating my Life is NOW list and starting to tick each item off.
The weeks ahead seen me take up rock climbing classes, horse riding lessons, ninja warrior classes, pole dancing, swimming lessons, crossfit, abseiling and more challenging bushwalks to name a few. I was known as a gipsy, as I would be constantly driving up and down the coast to visit my family and to try out a new activity. I absolutely loved the feeling of being in control of my happiness and loved the feeling of facing my fears!
The funniest part of this Life is NOW journey was when I was in a horse training arena with my then seven and nine year old nieces, trying to overcome my fear of horses. I may have been the most senior person there by 20 years, however I was by far the most unko as I just couldn't get the hang of it!
Or... was it at clip 'n climb, where I was fighting the kiddies for a spot on the Skyfall???... You can decide hahaha...
Months passed and I continued to live by the Life is NOW method, where I got out of my head and really started to live.
Later that year was when the online dating "journey" began. As I mentioned this was quite a low time in my life. I was not being my authentic self and as time went on, I continued to lose the abundance of confidence I had gained from becoming independent.
During this time, I was a size 10, I was fairly fit, however I was still judged and criticised for my size. It was during this time that my next cycle of weight gain began and I found myself slowing losing focus in how I looked and felt. It's almost like self-sabotage kicked in. If someone thought I was "big" at my smallest and fittest, I thought I might as well become that person. Today I still have my weight challenges and continue to battle emotional eating, however I am determined to break this vicious cycle for good.
Although I was not a fan of online dating, this is how I met my now partner, who is one of the most selfless people I know and loves everything about me. I can definitely be my silly and quirky self with him.
After going through some significant challenges in my professional life in 2019, we decided to leave the rat race and move up to the Central Coast. I wanted a complete contrast to the pressures of my work and I listened to my mind and body that needed to slow down. We moved to an area that is quite remote and is in what I would call a sleepy town. So much so, that our phone reception usually runs off WIFI calling and reception at the beach is limited. Our house overlooks the ocean and I FINALLY could enjoy that sea breeze at home that I have always loved (just ask my family!).
This was HUGE for me. I had been born and breed in Sydney, I worked in Sydney, however I just followed my gut and took the plunge to live some 1 1/2-2hrs each way from work. I know it sounds counterintuitive to slowing down, having to spend so many hours in the car, however I told myself that we would work the rest out later. I have no regrets on this decision. I absolutely LOVE the Central Coast and LOVE the sense of community. Everyone is SUPER friendly.
In February 2020, I discovered that my dreams of becoming a mum were going to become true. Family is extremly important to me and having the opportunity to become a mum one day was at the top of my list. I was ecstatic and couldn't wait to share our news with family and friends.
Unfortunately, covid hit Australia and I was not able to share our news in person. I remember having a Friday night zoom session with my primary and high school besties, where I broke the news to them. Announcing our exciting news over zoom was definitely not what I had in mind hahaha!
As covid restrictions heightened, I was asked to work from home. This was a blessing in disguise as not only did it save on my travel time, it also meant I was not having to drive the length of the freeway with a bucket on my lap. That's right... I had to have a bucket attached to me for my entire pregnancy. I had hyperemesis right up until birth that seen me vomiting all day everyday. I would quickly switch of my camera on zoom to have a chuck and return for everyone to know exactly what had just happened. It became a bit of a joke at work and with my family. When I say I had a bucket attached to me. I wasn't joking. I kept several buckets all throughout the house, as I didn't often get warning when I might need it. I honestly did not believe that someone could get that sick. Although I was on various medications to try and control it, nothing would stop me from being sick everyday.
Like other dare I say 'covid mums', we endured disappointment after disappointment. My work colleagues didn't get to see my bump for over 4 months (I am sure some of them forgot I was pregnant, as my growing belly hid out of sight from the zoom camera, my partner couldn't attend some ultrasounds and obstetrician appointments and my baby shower had a limit of 10 people.
In October 2020, I became a geriatric mum mum (as we call it) at the ripe age of 37 to a beautiful little girl that made a grand entry into the world via a vacuum birth. The first comment from the midwife was that she had been here before. I would have to agree that she came into the world knowing the go and literally tried crawling on day 1. Of course she wasn't up on her knees, however her body was up off the hospital bed and she was propelling forward. Her determination and fierceness hasn't slowed down. We like to call it determination, however just quietly, I would also call it being stubborn! haha. My partner says she gets the stubbornness from me, however I am not sure if I completely agree, "says a stubborn person".
Covid challenges continued, when we had to "schedule" and let family members know who was able to come to hospital to visit on what days. We were only allowed one visitor a day for an hour maximum. I don't like to let people down or offend them, so this was a struggle for me to work through this, when we wanted everyone to meet our miracle child. Oh yeah... I forgot to mention that. We had been told that we only had a 1% chance of falling pregnant naturally in 7 years, so we had begun the preparation work to go down the path of IVF. It was when we were staying in Sydney for the Queen concert when I realised that how I was feeling was not quite right. I was faint, dizzy and extremly nauseous. I remember patiently waiting in the hotel room whilst my partner went to the chemist to get a pregnancy test. Within seconds of completing the test, double lines appeared. I was PREGANT!
Back to getting to know our little girl.
I now understand when people say that there is no love like the love you feel for your child. Indie is definitely the light in our lives and is our sunshine as we like to call her.
I won't go into the full details of developing perinatal anxiety, as my full story can be found via my blog "Silencing the Inner Voice"- , however I will give you a brief run down.
There is never a good time to develop Perinatal anxiety, however amid a pandemic where there is a mental health support shortage was far from ideal. I had to wait 3 months to see a psychologist, and as I was determined to begin healing, I sought the support of alternate therapies and started educating myself around anxiety.
Through my experience and journey of healing, I have developed an absolute passion to support other mums with reducing stress and anxiety, so that they feel ALIVE again! Whilst on maternity leave, I completed my training as a life coach and I have continued to invest in further training, mentoring and coaching.
I am now a Mumma coach and I empower mums to break free from the clutches of stress and mental ill-health to feel ALIVE again, which again is targeted at offering immediate support to mums and will complement the services of mental health professionals.
I also have a passion for supporting mums to have a successful return to work from parental leave. Having worked in various management roles in corporate, my understanding of business and being able to relate to a mum put me in the perfect position to bridge the gap between the employer and the mum, with a mutual benefit to both parties to have a smooth and successful return to the workplace.
So that's a wrap. This is me. Warts and all.
My life experience has brought me to this very spot where I can support mums and truly make a difference to their lives.
So no apology. This is ME!
October 2020... My world changed...
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