Megan faced a lot of challenges as a new mum including multiple surgeries for her young kids and a personal struggle with anxiety.
For Megan’s two children, the difficulties started from birth.
“Both of my kids have had kidney reflux so they essentially, over a series of surgeries and procedures, rebuilt the bladder and the kidney and reconstructed the way everything flows which is a really intense major surgery for little ones,” explains Megan.
For her son, the health issues didn’t stop there.
“When he was born, he had severe laryngomalacia, which required airway surgery at five weeks old.”
“One day I put him in his bouncer. I turned to put toast in the toaster – and when I turned back, he was completely grey. I just picked him up and as I moved him, his airways moved so he started breathing again.” she says. This would be terrifying for any mother but even more so for Megan as it continued to happen six more times over the next two weeks.
After multiple trips to the hospital they were no closer to getting him treated. An understandably nervous Megan decided to lean on her private health cover.
“I took him to my daughter’s private ENT. That was on a Friday afternoon and they ended up operating on the Monday.”
Most of her kids surgeries were done privately as they couldn’t get in with the public system. The ENT wait times are between 18 months and two years,” Megan said.
Admittedly tired, Megan believed that despite all the uncertainties, she was coping. But before long, it became clear that she needed help.
“I didn’t realise I was having quite severe anxiety. I just thought it was the lack of sleep and extra stresses. It wasn’t until I ended up throwing up in the bin in the middle of the shopping centre that I realised that’s not a normal response to not being able to see your kid.”
“Having a psychology background and knowing all the signs and what to look for, and how easily I could pinpoint it in other people, I still couldn’t recognise it in myself. 1 in 5 parents experience postnatal depression or anxiety so you’ve just got to ask for help and it’s out there.”
Megan said that going private meant that not only were her kids familiar with their environment, but she was able to better manage her own anxiety as she knew who the doctor and anaesthetist would be and she knew things like where they would be staying, that they would be fed and where the playrooms were. “It helped take a little bit of the stress away from what is not a very nice situation,” she said.
As she looked for other ways to control her anxiety, she realised that being physically active played a big part .
“For me, the more active I was, the more easily I could manage my anxiety. Nothing gets out my anxiety better than a good run, so I just decided to do a triathlon. I knew a couple people that did it and I thought I could maybe do that.”
For most of us, completing one triathlon is a challenge but Megan went on to compete as it quickly became the tool she needed to be the best mum and version of herself possible.
“I’m probably the healthiest I’ve been since I was a teenager which you sort of need to be when you’re chasing around after two little kids,” she laughs.
“It’s really nice to make yourself a priority while you’re setting an example for your kids. Everything about it feels quite positive.”
Megan’s journey, although filled with uncertainty, taught her that to take care of her family, first she needed to take care of herself.