Journal

  • Watering the Flowers

    I actually intended to post this a while ago but chickened out a bunch of times. I feel vulnerable sharing this part of my life but I know that if I can make someone out there feel less alone in their struggles with fertility, it would be personally worth feeling totally exposed. I turn to Brené Brown for encouragement, “vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.” ❤️⁣⁣

    For the last 8 or so years, my husband and I have been “trying” to conceive on and off. In the last few years we’ve had countless IUI and IVF treatments, all with negative results 😓 I honestly thought IVF would be the answer but even that has been failing, so it’s coming to a point where I’m making peace with the fact that becoming a mother may never happen for me. It’s been a tough pill to swallow and I know I’ve been a shadow of myself for god knows how long now. I’m really grateful for friends and even clients who have shown me kindness and compassion 🙈⁣⁣⁣

    ⁣⁣⁣I can’t explain to you how incredibly draining it’s been emotionally, mentally and physically over the years – it kind of makes you feel less of a woman and somewhat broken as a human 👎👎👎 I had this picture in my mind of the future: holding my own child, them playing with their older fur-brother Charlie, our little family living happily in the hills … but I need to let go of all of it and the desire to control the future (as gracefully as I can 😌). I think this will give me room to focus on the amazing things I do have, find joy in life and regain my sense of self-worth 👍👍👍⁣⁣

    ⁣⁣This is why it was serendipitous that my client Bettina and her book cover project came into my life earlier in the year, when I was feeling pretty much at my worst. ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣

    She wrote her book “Watering the Flowers” as a gentle guide to finding healing and hope after losing a baby. She shares her story of experiencing multiple miscarriages and I’m not going to lie, it was so devastating to read ☹️ It’s the horrible reality though for many women, it makes me recognise that my own situation has a silver lining – I have never had an embryo stick so I’ve never progressed into pregnancy, which has meant no miscarriages. I think a miscarriage is a more heartbreaking experience to go through than my own, by far 🖤 ⁣⁣⁣

    ⁣⁣⁣For you ladies out there going through fertility struggles, please know that you’re not alone. My heart goes out to you. There are so many of us who are in the same sh*tty boat as you are and can understand your pain 💔  I am here if you need a shoulder, please feel free to email/DM me, you have someone to reach out to 🤚 ⁣⁣⁣

    ⁣⁣⁣Bettina’s book gave me a bit of light in the darkness 🕯️ She actually asked me to share my story in her book and at first I was hesitant, but the more I thought about how Bettina’s story gave me a sense of solace, maybe I could be brave and do the same for someone else ❤️⁣ Maybe it could even be cathartic✨⁣⁣

    Healing takes time but regardless of what you’ve been handed in life, you can live a full and happy life if you choose to think and feel good. I highly recommend checking out Bettina’s Insta, website, book, videos and community as she is full of great advice and healing practices 🌞⁣ ⁣⁣

    https://www.instagram.com/bettinarae

    http://bettinarae.com

    https://www.facebook.com/BettinaRaeYogi

    http://www.youtube.com/bettinarae

    My Story

    My husband and I have been “trying” on and off for the last 8 years or so. We’re both heading towards our late thirties now and I feel this overwhelming sense that time is running out for us. Unlike the other ladies who have shared their stories, I have never fallen pregnant. I have never had a positive result, natural or with IVF. I can only dream of the day where I take a pregnancy test and it comes up with two lines or the day that a nurse calls me and says “Congratulations, you’re going to be a mum!”. That would be amazing and surreal. After so many unsuccessful cycles, a part of me is making peace with the fact that we may never have a family. This is the loss that I’m grieving. I feel like there’s a small hole in my heart now, it’s not enough to completely stop it from beating but I know it’s there. If it never gets filled, my husband and I will no doubt still live an enjoyable life, just the two of us. I’ll eventually learn to live with it and we’ll be okay, family or no family. I say this to myself a lot these days, some days it’s easy to believe, some days it’s challenging.

    It’s funny to think back that my husband was ready to start trying for a family early on in our relationship but I was like ‘no way, you’re crazy man’. I was still studying at university and I didn’t feel anywhere near ready. I naively thought we had all the time in the world back then, it didn’t even occur to me that we would have trouble conceiving when I finally felt everything aligned for us to start a family.

    We spent a lot of years trying naturally and seeing different naturopaths and holistic doctors to help us increase our chances. Frustratingly, I wasn’t falling pregnant and it was becoming apparent after a while that we were going to need to go down the IVF route. In the midst of all that, I was diagnosed with latent tuberculosis and I had to go through a course of heavy antibiotics which meant another setback for us. It felt like we were trying to swim upstream the whole time and it really made me question whether I was trying to force something that clearly wasn’t meant to be. Meanwhile, all of my friends were falling pregnant left, right and centre. I felt like such a failure. Every time I received someone else’s good news – I wanted to be happy but it unceremoniously triggered so many negative thoughts and emotions because it felt so unfair. Why not me? Was there something wrong with me? Was I a bad person? Was I not worthy? Was I not fit to be a parent? Was my relationship with my husband not good enough?

    To top it off, everyone had advice or a story of a sister, a family member, a friend, a work colleague who tried this, who did that and they fell pregnant straight away. I do recognise that people had good intentions and wanted to comfort me but it did the opposite, it just made me feel worse about myself. Relaxing holidays, changing my diet, holistic healers, more exercise, less exercise, hypnotherapy, fertility crystals, you name I had probably tried it. I even had a family member pass away a week or two after my embryo transfer (not that I planned or caused this!) I mention it because as soon as it happened, someone said to me, “Oh, you know what they say, someone has to pass away for a new soul to be born, it’s going to happen for you soon!”. Its disheartening when it’s never you.

    I went into the first fertility treatment with such high hopes but every negative cycle chipped away at that. I felt at breaking point last year when I had back to back embryo transfers, all with negative results. It was heartbreaking. When I talk to people about IVF, they instantly bring up financial costs and while that can be a pain point, I mean seriously, we could have gone on a few awesome holidays with the amount we’ve spent (not to mention the sessions of reiki healing, herbal medication and acupuncture that I was going through on a regular basis to support the process), it was more the emotional, physical and emotional toll that bothered me. I was becoming severely depressed and I couldn’t find the joy in anything anymore.

    My life became all about IVF and falling pregnant.

    I didn’t really see friends or go out all that much last year, partially because of all the random clinic appointments and partially because I felt too tired and sad. I was a shadow of myself. Every conversation I had felt hollow and I had to fight back tears. I felt like I was constantly disappointing family and friends. As well as that, I wasn’t really coping with work, I felt extremely drained every day and I couldn’t focus, which of course, made me feel like even more of a failure at life.

    At the moment, we’re still on our IVF journey albeit being on a much needed break. I’ve given myself permission to heal, my priority being to cultivate a more positive mindset. We have one last frozen embryo to transfer before my husband and I close this chapter of our lives. A huge part of me has been wounded too many times to think that I’ll meet my baby with this final attempt. I was going to have the transfer done earlier in the year with the attitude of “let’s just get this thing over and done with so we can move on with our lives.” However, I caught myself and thought what is the point if I go into the procedure with a dismissive “whatever” mentality. I wholeheartedly want to approach this last transfer with faith in myself, in the universe and in the process. I want to give it a fighting chance. I think time is the biggest healer so I’m going to take as much of it that I need to replenish my spirit and energy. When the time comes, I want to lean into feelings of love and have an open heart, even if it means it might get hurt again.

    “You’ve got to trust yourself. Be gentle with yourself. And listen to yourself. You’re the only person who can get you through this now. You’re the only one who can survive your story, the only one who can write your future. All you’ve got to do, when you’re ready, is stand up, (and begin again.)” — Tessa Shaffer

    Watering the Flowers
    Watering the Flowers
    Watering the Flowers

    I know how alone I felt in my thoughts while going through fertility treatments so if you feel like you don’t have anyone to reach out to that understands, I’m here for support – please feel free to email or DM me ❤️⁣ And of course, Bettina at www.bettinarae.com

  • This has always been something that I struggle with in changing, I have this strong internal belief that everyone is better than me. When I took a social media break, I was actually much happier and in a much better state of mind because I wasn’t scrolling through other people’s feed and thinking “why should I even bother?” 🤦🤦🤦 However, part of adulting is checking in with yourself and your behaviour … and the logical me knows that avoidance isn’t how you get through life. I choose to find a different path where I can appreciate other people’s creativity and success without reflecting back on myself negatively and feeling insecure 💕

    I watched a video from Lavendaire on Youtube about comparison and a suggestion she said really stuck with me. If you’re feeling envious of someone else or you’re comparing yourself and feel like you’re not good enough, ask yourself “what exactly is the quality that you like or admire or are envious in that person?”. 🤔 When we like or admire something, it’s because a part of us connects with it. In Lavendaire’s video, she says that these qualities that we like or admire in other people, exist within ourselves and they are asking to be brought out 💃💃💃

    It has really helped me because now when I notice myself thinking “oh, they’re so amazing and I’m not as good”, I can stop myself and flip the script in my head. Then from there I think “how can I incorporate these qualities into my life” and act from a place of inspiration rather than jealousy 🌞🙌🌈

    Check out the gorgeous Lavendaire, if you are into self-development and a bit of woo woo … https://www.lavendaire.com/enough-self-worth-comparison 👈

    It’s interesting that the universe keeps bringing back to my attention the idea that “people are mirrors, we reflect back what we see onto ourselves and vice versa”. What are your thoughts on this idea of us being mirrors or flipping the script suggestion? 👯✨

  • Sheryl Young / Illustration

    After a 4 month break, I thought it was high time I came out of social media hibernation and what better month to return to posting than my birthday month. Thank you to the lovely folks that are still following me on Instagram or Facebook or both, you guys are stars 🌟 I really appreciate your patience and support.
    ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    I feel like I’m in a much better headspace to share and engage, as taking time off has given me the chance to reflect on how I was approaching social media, why I wasn’t enjoying the experience and what changes I could make to shift the negative.
    ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    Running a biz isn’t easy and you can spread yourself extremely thin, especially if you try to do it all! If you feel like you need a detox from social media, be it a few days or a few months, I highly recommend doing so.
    ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    Naturally, I was concerned of losing people’s interest by being away longer than intended but that is nothing compared to the benefit of having the time to reflect and refocus so that when I came back from the hiatus, I could give you all my best and positive. At least that’s my intention moving forward!
    ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    Have you been on a social media break? what was your experience like? Do you find them helpful?

    You can follow my socials via Facebook and Instagram

    Please feel free to share your social media links in the comments so myself and others can support you!

  • Pet-Blessings-Cat-Card-Envelope-closeup

    Pet Blessings custom logo design in one colour

    It’s always such a privilege to be part of someone’s business journey, especially right from the very beginning. A beautiful part of my job is not only building brands but building relationships with fellow girlbosses and, also the occasional boybosses 😀

    A graphic designer that “gets” you and your business is a valuable asset to have! … and I’m not just saying that because I’m a graphic designer but because visual communication is such an integral part to growing a successful brand. Can I get a hell yeah!

    I know that I’m not going to everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s okay, I recognise it’s essential to have compatibility. If you’re on the lookout for the right graphic designer for your business, here are a few key questions that I believe are important to consider.

     

    In no particular order:

    Do their visual style resonate with you and what you want for your business?

    Browse through their portfolio, their website and social media accounts – if their volume of work aligns with your aesthetic vision, you’re winning!

    Do they have the experience and have worked on projects with a similar scope to yours?

    As they say, with experience comes wisdom. So for those of you new to running a business, it might be reassuring to work with someone that’s familiar with the type of project you have and can guide you through the process.

    Do they have the type of personality you can work with?

    This is absolutely crucial! Design work relies so much on clear communication, if you’re both on the same wavelength and feel at ease with each other – it certainly makes for a far better experience.

    Do they come recommended in person or online?

    Check out their reviews and see what others are saying about their services, you’d hope to find more positives than negatives.

    Do you agree with their creative processes and policies?

    This may not sound like the funnest activity, however, I highly recommend taking the time to read through the fine print of their services as it can differ so much for designers. Every designer has an individual method to their madness – make sure you know what you’re agreeing to and you’re comfortable with the way your project will be handled!

    Do their costs match your budget?

    This is self-explanatory BUT please make sure you are sensible about your budget, be mindful that creativity takes time and effort.

    That’s it my lovelies, hopefully it’s something that’s helpful to some of you! If you’re looking for a graphic designer and you feel like you resonate with my work and style, please feel free to get in touch with me via hello[at]nevertheless.com.au

  • Hey folks, I have just come back from a Hills Biz Chicks casual catchup, come along to the next one if you’re  a fellow boss babe operating a business in the area. It was my first time with the group so naturally, I felt the nerves but I would have to say that all of the ladies I met this morning were super lovely and despite feeling sweaty and experiencing butterflies in my stomach, I really enjoyed the conversations and the laughs.

    I thought this would make a great blog topic for today seeing as it’s still fresh in my head. Hopefully for those of you that also suffer from social anxiety but at the same time run your own business, the advice below will come in handy in preparation for your next networking event.  As much as I’d like to hide behind my computer for the most part, there’s certainly advantages to attending these – it’s a great opportunity to make meaningful connections, build trust with others and create visibility for yourself and your business. Every time you attend an event, regardless of how painful it is or if you feel like you’ve made a complete ass of yourself afterwards – you learn and grow from the experience, which is why I push through my fear and make myself go. Just like any exercise, the more you do on a regular basis and the more persistent you are, your social and networking muscles will develop and you will feel stronger and confident with each and every event. Slay girl!

     

    10 Networking Tips:

    1. Affirmations – before you go, give yourself a bit of a positive pep talk. I know it kind of seems silly and embarrassing to tell yourself that you’re amazing and you’re going to kill it but it really does help place your mindset in a positive space. Even if your conscious mind wants no bar of it, your subconscious mind is soaking all of that goodness in!
    2. Dress to impress – it might sound shallow but dressing in something that makes you feel professional, authentic and damn fine will increase your sense of confidence.
    3. Get to the event early – when you’re rushing, you’re in a state of panic which is never great when you’re already anxious about meeting people. Allow yourself plenty of time for getting there and finding a parking space or whatever else you need to do, so that when you walk in – you’re as calm as a cucumber, or at least as you can be!
    4. Give yourself credit for attending – even if you don’t talk to anyone, at least you SHOWED UP and that still counts.
    5. Making one genuine connection far outweighs flitting from person to person and talking to them for a minute. It’s all about the quality of the conversation rather than the quantity!! This also puts less pressure to talk to a million people which is draining for introverted boss babes.
    6. Remember that it’s not all about you and promoting your business – engage with the person you’re talking to, ask questions, show your interest in who they are, listen and help out where you can. It’s about creating a relationship and if you’re lucky, you might end up with a new BFF.
    7. If you’re feeling really anxious, it’s okay to be honest and let the other person know – you might find that you’re not actually alone in feeling the way you do. But try not to dwell on it too much, smile, take a breathe and if you need to excuse yourself for a little time out, do!
    8. Create and commit to memory, a short paragraph that details who you are and why you’re in business. I stress the committing to memory part! When I’m really nervous, I tend to blank out but because I’ve said this paragraph to myself so many times, it usually does come to me in dribs and drabs, enough to introduce myself. Thanks gosh right?
    9. Humour tends to make everyone feel more relaxed – if you can make people laugh, it really does change the vibe for yourself and everyone else!
    10. The lucky last advice nugget is more for post-attendance – don’t forget to celebrate the positives! For so many of us, we don’t tend to do this, we only reflect back and critique ourselves harshly and negatively, which tends to discourage and damage our confidence. I don’t mean for you to ignore the things that you feel you can clearly work on, but try and approach self-improvement in a kinder and more compassionate way.

     

    From the words of one of the fiercest women in business…

     

    In today’s world you have to interact. You can’t be some difficult, shy person who is not able to look somebody in the face, you have to present yourself, you have to know how to talk about your vision, your focus and what you believe in.

    Anna Wintour

     

    Those are just a few handy pieces of advice, I’m sure there are heaps more out there – I would love to know what helps you! Please feel free to share your thoughts and advice in the comments, it’s all about sharing and caring here.