My second baby, Maisie, was a really tricky sleeper - and what’s more, she only settled for me. For the first 8 months of her life, she would only sleep 45 minutes at a time and then wanted me and only me. So for the longest of times, I was only getting a few hours of sleep a day, usually for just an hour a day. It’s not surprising that I soon developed Post Natal Depression and Anxiety as a direct result of my extreme sleep loss.
"it might be a surprise to some of you that the starting point for my business wasn’t so bright"
Once she (and I) began to sleep, I was left with an absolutely horrible feeling at the centre of my core, and every part of my day was tainted by this feeling. My husband wisely suggested I try a hobby that would take my mind away from my kids, and I decided to try my hand at polymer clay - I had seen it on Pinterest and really liked the aesthetics I was seeing.
I bought a cheap $10 set of clay off eBay and went for it - no lessons, no YouTube tutorials - just with the intention of having some fun and relaxing.
Now it must be said that I have never classified myself as an arty person. In my high school years, there is a history assignment that sticks in my mind as particularly menacing - recreating the Charge of the Light Brigade in pictorial form. I remember crying to my mum that I was bound to fail because all I could draw were stick men; that’s how far my artistic abilities stretch. For the record, I recreated the battle in intricate stick-man form, complete with stick horses, stick swords and stick entrails.
So the thought of me doing something decidedly arty and actually being good at it was never a consideration. Nevertheless, I gave it a go, and you could have knocked me over with a feather when I found I was actually quite good at it! And through our first Covid lockdown, playing with clay kept me sane. I focused on only making things that made me smile - serious patterns and geometry was not enough for my mind!
"Who would have thought from such darkness, such a beautiful thing could grow?"
Of course, the cheap clay really wasn’t good enough and I quickly bought some nicer materials for myself. I made so many cute earrings for myself that I wondered aloud what I would do with them all - and my friends suggested I try selling them on Etsy.
Initially I aimed on making about $50 a week; “enough to cover some fruit and veg for the week would be nice!”, but my business grew really suddenly and one day I realised that I only sold things that make me smile, and that the bonus factor here is that they make other people smile too.
When I hear comments like, “these bring me joy”, or “oh stop it, these are the cutest earrings ever”, I can’t help but smile to myself. Who would have thought from such darkness, such a beautiful thing could grow?
If you, or someone close to you is struggling with their mental health, please know there are many resources that are ready to help you. Please reach out and get help from trained professionals (I did!)
Some great resources include:
- Lifeline Australia | 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue | 1300 22 4636
- Qlife – anonymous and free LGBTI peer support | 1800 184 527 – (3PM-Midnight every day)
- The National Indigenous Postvention Service – After Suicide Support 24/7 | 1800 805 801
- Suicide Call Back Service | 1300 659 467