Well, I’ve been procrastinating about this post for a while because let’s face it, talking about ourselves and those who are close to us is always a daunting if not terrifying concept. Telling the story of a total stranger is easy, I simply relay everything they have given me permission to relay, but writing about my own life means sifting through a thousand files, containing a thousand stories, with a million thoughts, feelings and revelations, in order to portray myself and my story in the most condensed, informative, interesting yet concise and compact way. It’s like being asked to pack your entire house into one little cardboard box, and putting a pretty label on it that reads ‘My Life’.
That’s why I decided to break My Story into parts. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, feel free to pause your reading here and catch-up on that first or you can go back to it at the end of this post. I’ve attempted to make each part a separate story so as not to leave anyone feeling like the new kid at school, desperately searching the room for someone that looks familiar.
I’m also painfully aware that a lot of the people in my life story will be reading these posts and so discretion and wisdom have been applied to the amount of detail I have been able to go into. Please feel free to post any comments or questions you have though, at the bottom of this post. I love to hear from my readers, no matter how short the comment, it’s what keeps me writing!
Young and Naive
After completing a Certificate in Christian Broadcasting course with Fusion Australia in Poatina Tasmania at the age of 18, I was sent to Gippsland, Victoria as part of my placement. I had just spent 3 months in Tasmania away from my parents for the first time and thrived on it, but this was very very different.
In Poatina I had made several friends my age and been taken care of in a close community environment, in Gippsland I had a small group of people around me but not really any friends my own age or any age for that matter. We were expected to fend for ourselves and be grown up all of a sudden. Coming from quite a sheltered home life, where I’d completed all of high school via correspondence, I was not at all ready to be independent. While I enjoyed most of the new experiences, I became very lonely.
Now given the fact that I was painfully shy and hadn’t experienced the social integration and worldly wisdom that most teens gained from years of subjection to a higher education institution, that can only be likened to an overcrowded cage full of monkeys (or something like that), I hadn’t yet entered into every teenagers right of passage and had any kind of relationship with a member of the opposite sex.
Due to the isolation of home schooling plus the teasing I had experienced in primary school (see Part 1) I could barely look at a boy without wanting to run and hide. That said, I desperately wanted to know what it felt like to be loved and have someone want to spend their time with me. So when, let’s call him John (name changed for privacy reasons) came along and paid attention to me, I felt helpless to resist.
Now I’d been told my whole life that as a Christian it was best to be with someone else who is also a Christian so that you can be travelling on the same path and have the same morals and values etc. Given the fact that I met John in a church, I automatically assumed he was a Christian but it became apparent after our first date that he was not. He was however searching for something and ended up giving his heart to God, three months after we began dating. Long story, condensed into a little package, we were engaged after 6 months and married after 11.
What Honeymoon Period?
Our relationship was rocky from the start, I was just 20 when we got married, he was 22. Neither of us really had a good sense of who we were, we both had insecurities that manifested as codependency and we struggled to have any kind of friendship. I rushed into a life long decision because I was lonely, insecure and I felt I needed someone to ‘complete me’. I knew the first night of our honeymoon that I had made a mistake and the entire week was a rollercoaster of emotions that left me feeling lost and alone.
He wasn’t a bad guy, he didn’t abuse me or mistreat me but through different events and incidents, I learnt not to trust him and I never truly felt that he loved me. Whether that was due to his actions or my insecurities, I am unsure, probably both. I didn’t realise it until years later but I was very depressed during our engagement and after our marriage and due to this plus my continuing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I struggled with full-time work and didn’t feel confident to go to Uni like I always thought I would.
After a brief discussion about starting a family, I decided I might as well have kids then, as my options were pretty limited in other areas. Looking back, I was not in the best season of my life to be making big decisions and ‘having nothing better to do’ was not the greatest reason to start a family, but that’s how it happened. (Don’t worry, I ended up with amazing children so it worked out in the end). Little did I know that this would be the beginning of the toughest season I have ever faced in my life but one that probably produced the greatest growth.
It only took 4 months of trying and I was pregnant. Just a couple of weeks after discovering this exciting fact, I entered into the depths of morning sickness hell. I couldn’t eat without immediately projectile vomiting it back up, and the emptier my stomach got the sicker I would feel. The smell of just about everything caused me to gag.
I lived in a fog, bright lights hurt my eyes, I was so exhausted I would lie on the couch feeling useless and incompetent but as soon as I stood, my head would spin and all the contents of my stomach would attempt a speedy escape up my esophagus. I would plan my breakfast around what was easiest to throw back up, out my mouth and my nose mind you (I didn’t touch sultana bran or apple and blackcurrant juice for years afterward). I literally felt like a zombie and wanted to die. It was the longest 12 weeks of my life and at our 11 week ultrasound we discovered why.
“Do you see that” the ultrasound technician said as she pointed at two little blips on the screen “theres two”. We were shocked, my mum had said just a few weeks earlier “It could be twins, your grandfather was a twin”. I had ignorantly shaken my head and told her “It’s not twins, I’m sure its not” and of course my mum was right like we all know mums often are (wink wink, hi mum!). We were of course all thrilled, I was also terrified and with good reason, raising two newborn’s with depression and chronic fatigue was an extremely stressful and sometimes traumatic journey that was very painful at the time but very rewarding in the end.
I enjoyed being pregnant and feeling my two little humans kicking and pushing each other around, that feeling of growing life inside of me is one privilege I feel very blessed to have experienced. I didn’t however enjoy the hoards of stretch marks, the reflux, the back pain, the incontinence, nor the breathlessness that came from having two babies crammed into one living space but seeing their precious tiny little faces at 37.5 weeks gestation was all worth the discomfort and pain of the previous 9 months.
In 2003 I had my first c-section at 23 years of age, as twin 1 was breech and after my water broke at 2am, my twin boys were born at 4.45am and 4.47am. One was born screaming (he’s the one who lost his amniotic fluid) and the other was born sleeping, they had to break him out of his cocoon). I cried at the sound of their little screams and was in absolute awe of their tiny little bodies that kept curling up in the fetal position and the tiny little squeaks that came out of them, like little kittens crying for their milk.
The whole family was instantly in love but it took me a few days to bond with them as I had to divide my time between them both. This would be the beginning of at least 4 years of sleep deprivation that would ultimately lead me to a prolonged season in a very dark place, but that’s a story for Part 3.
Thank you for reading more of my story and please stay tuned for the next installment in a few weeks time, it does have a happy ending and I pray you all find some encouragement through it and enjoy finding out more about me and my journey and why I write this blog, in the hopes of encouraging and empowering women to believe in themselves and what they can do.
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Happy reading and God bless!