Thursday, 3 May 2012

One day it all changed. Everything. In an instant.

{image via}
Being a mum is ingrained in me. It's in my heart, it's in my skin, it's in my cells.

It wasn't always like this. It happened all of a sudden.

You see, I was happily doing the corporate career thing and loving it. I had money to spare and money to splurge. I could stay up late, and I could sleep in. I could save for holidays, and eat dinner at beautiful restaurants. I was my priority. My husband was my priority. New clothes were important. And handbags, new books, magazine subscriptions, soy lattes and brunch too.

I'm not saying I was a material-loving yuppie with no concern for anyone but myself. Far from that. But maybe a little that. Friends and family were high on my priority list too. What I am saying here is being a mum wasn't top of the list. It was something I was going to get to. Eventually. It wasn't a part of me. The way my husband, family, sleep, work and travel were.

And then one day it all changed. Everything. In an instant.

I can pinpoint the exact moments I realised being a mum was everything I wanted. It was the moment it was no longer a possibility.

I sat in the doctor's office ready and willing to take whichever drug was named to cure the gut-wrenching pain in my stomach that was seeing me curl under my desk at work, walk ever-so-briskly past my colleagues to the toilet praying I would get there in time, and then cry silent tears as I reached the toilet and the gut-wrenching pain intensified before ceasing and leaving me wondering, why me?

This was what I termed hell. I wanted it over. And I didn't care how. Just make it gone. And let me resume life as normal. I wanted boring, same-same, nothing-going-on-here, dullness. Anything but this.

So I waited in that doctor's room, and I said yes eagerly when the medicine was prescribed to make me feel normal again. I didn't want to hear the side-effects. "Because everything has side-effects," I joked.

But then in my daydreaming about life as normal, a body that functioned effortlessly, and a stomach that felt no pain, I heard words... fragments... pieces of information...

...And you will need to stay on this medication indefinitely.
And it's advised that you don't fall pregnant. The drug will cause serious defects...

Indefinitely. Forever? Defects. No babies. Forever? What?

...Because your comfort, and your body's return to natural rhythm is more important right now...


...You will feel so much better. Soon you'll be back to normal. Plenty of people take this medication...


...This is your cross to bear. Do you have any questions?


I had questions. Mainly, "What?"

There has to be another way, I thought. I begged my head to think of something. I thought of nothing. I was overwhelmed, distraught, dumbfounded. And Instead, I made a list in my head: Gut-wrenching pain goes away. No babies. Medication forever.

I wanted to scream, "But I'm healthy! I was healthy! What is going on?" And as I sat in the chair, staring blankly at the doctor in front of me, my mind drifted in and out of consciousness. Thinking, thinking...

I was healthy! I ate healthy. Did I?
I had a good figure. That's healthy, right?
A good BMI. That makes me healthy {even if I don't exercise}, right?
So, I'm stressed. Everyone's stressed. That's today's world. Right?
That lady in the waiting room said I needed yoga {but I don't}. People who need to relax do yoga. I relax all the time. Wait, what's relaxing again?

I wasn't healthy. I thought I was. I didn't know what healthy felt like. But I did know that healthy didn't involve these gut-wrenching pains, and being such a frequent toilet guest.

And I knew I wanted a baby. I wanted to be a mum. In that instant, that was all {everything} I wanted. And I knew what I had been focusing on wasn't what I really wanted at all.

I wanted my devoted husband, my loving family and friends, and our house. But this fast-paced, workaholic, stress-induced, gut-wrenching, no-time-to-stop, productivity-is-most-important, don't-stop-when-you're-sick, no-time-to-listen-to-your-body, never-say-no-to-more-work manifesto? It was killing me. From the inside out. And it was killing my dreams.

And in that instant, I shrunk, I shrivelled and the outer layer of my perfect facade peeled away. I felt raw, ashamed and overwhelmed. I couldn't do it all. I'd created this frenetic life. And my insides were inflamed and bleeding because of it. Because of me. This is what I had become. I had done this to myself.

I had done this to myself. I pondered that. Was I being harsh? Or was I now seeing the truth?

All these thoughts in minutes, and there I was still sitting opposite the doctor. His arm outstretched handing me a prescription. I looked him in the eye, hoping I would find another way. He smiled gently. I took the prescription and walked out.

With a tear-stained face and blurry vision, I drove my car to the chemist and watched blankly as the pharmacist printed off a list of side-effects. I read them. This drug was effective. It would take away my pain. And it would take away my dreams.

I desperately wanted the pain to go away. Just for now, I thought. Just for a few weeks. Just to feel like me again for a few days. I cried big juicy tears onto that list of side-effects, but they didn't wash away.

I handed the list back. I left without the medication. And as I walked out, tears flowing, my whole body echoed with the words: You've done this to yourself. Your body has created this. My body created this.

The doctor had said this {ulcerative colitis} was an auto-immune disease. Auto-immune disease: when a person's immune system attacks their own body tissues. My body was attacking itself. My body created this.

Then, as I slumped back into my car, something snapped, unravelled, shifted inside me. Those words on repeat: My body created this. And then I felt a response: So, uncreate it. "Uncreate it", I said out loud. "You created it. Now, uncreate it." I said it again. This time louder.

In that instant, I believed my dream of being a mother was possible. I believed I could {and would} heal. I believed I would be healthy again. I didn't know where to start. But I believed I would find a way. Somehow, some way.

And in that instant, my whole body yearned to be a mother. It was in my heart, it was in my soul, it was in my cells. It happened all of a sudden.

Elisa xx

{I believe some of us are born mothers, and for some of us like me it takes a certain experience to get us there. Some of us become mothers in an instant. I believe having children isn't the only way to be a mother. We can be mothers to our sisters, to our friends, to our own mothers, to someone else's children. Sometimes we're mothers for a lifetime, sometimes for a few moments. And at some point as a mother you are someone's whole world. I believe sometimes mothering comes naturally, sometimes it's learnt. I believe sometimes all we really need is to be a mother to ourselves. I'm still learning mothering, and I'm okay with that.}

{This isn't the first post on my health journey, but perhaps it's close to the beginning. It's my first on auto-immune disease. Please understand I am no medical expert, and I don't intend to ever be. I'm writing from personal experience. This is one journey to better health, and there are many ways to get there. I'm writing for me, but deep down I do hope sharing my experience will help even just one other.}

{You can read more about what autoimmune disease is here}


  1. Such a powerful story and life you have been through. Congratulations on how far you have come and for taking charge in your own life and health xx

  2. Thank you Jess - you always have the perfect words. So so appreciated xx

  3. I love how you write about motherhood
    What a difficult journey...good luck with it

  4. Wow, what a story. Thanks for sharing Elisa. I'm looking forward (if that's the right thing to say?!) to hearing more about your journey. x

  5. @Ally - thank you so much xx

    @Anna - I know just what you mean :) Thank you xx

  6. Oh wow, what an amazing story you have. I'm so glad I got to read it. Kellie xx


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