Hi I’m Andrea. I am a wife and mother. I have a beautiful daughter Phoenix and have been with my husband for 12 years (met when I was 20yrs old). I have been undergoing a huge shift since having my daughter. Becoming a mum changes your core and I’m currently on the rise after hitting a very low point last year. I am focusing on building up my resilience, self-worth and confidence to be a strong role model for my daughter. I am achieving this through surrounding myself with the right people, education and being brave. I love the ocean, music, dancing, Pilates and writing. I try my best to get as many swims in I can as I find the silence of being underwater extremely therapeutic and completely resets the whole being.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by the people in my life. My husband for being the most supportive husband and shows this through unconditional love but isn’t afraid to hit me with some hard truths when I need them. My daughter has inspired every aspect of my life. I want to be everything for her and show her what a strong and capable woman looks like. I am inspired by my friends who all have such unique qualities and each one of them add so much value to my life.
If you would give your younger self any advice, what would it be?
I would tell my younger self to try more things. Don’t be afraid to fail because failing isn’t a bad thing, it’s just the opportunity to learn and grow from an experience. I would tell my younger self to stop comparing your body to others. A flat stomach or thin thighs don’t determine your worth. Don’t let your body dictate what you do or what you wear. Years later, you aren’t going to remember if you had the perfect body, you are going to remember how the experience made you feel and who you shared it with. I would also tell her not to change who you are to try and fit in, the right people will come into your life and love you for who you are.
Can you talk us through a challenge you overcame and how you managed it?
The most challenging thing has been living with post-natal anxiety. As a new mum I felt like I was experiencing the “normal” amount of worry, but anxiety hit me hard when my daughter was between the age of 2-3 years old. I started to feel panic around Phoenix’s safety. I was constantly thinking something bad was going to happen or she was going to be taken away from me. Being in this constant state of anxiety drained me.
I became withdrawn, irritable and felt like I couldn’t experience or feel joy. I was in such a stressed state, that I had to leave and went to Melbourne to visit for a friend for 2 nights. I had to completely remove myself before it got worse and I hurt myself. I don’t think I have overcome these feelings completely, but I have found ways to manage them in a way that works for my family. After I got back from Melbourne, I booked in to speak to a psychologist and started looking after myself more. I started being open and honest with my husband and spoke up when I was feeling overwhelmed and accepted the help that was offered to me. I started doing the things that brought me joy before having Phoenix and created a morning routine that put me in the right mindset for the day (I don’t achieve this everyday but try my best).
What inspired you to start your journey to becoming a holistic counsellor?
It’s taken me a long time to reach the decision to study. I always knew I wanted to help people but wasn’t sure in what capacity. Experiencing my own mental health challenges inspired me to want to help others. I am passionate about creating a safe place for people and being able to help them realize their own potential. Being the person that believes in them and gives hope that it can be better. While I’m studying, I am also working with The Rise Foundation to help educate others with Mental Health Response which helps people see warning signs of mental health with friends and family and how to best talk to them.
What are your best pieces of advice for maintaining a healthy relationship?
I would say communication and connection. Communication isn’t always as easy as talking, we need to really understand our partner. Different ways to communicate isn’t something that we learn growing up, with have our own pre-conceived ideas of communication from what we observe in our home life, friends and school. Be open with your partner and ask them exactly what you need from them in that moment.
It’s taken me many years, but I have finally learnt to not be so reactive and defensive (maybe 90% of the time). We cannot assume that our partner knows what we want or need. We need to speak up and be honest. Constant work on connection is a huge one. Whether it’s through quality time together, kissing or sex, make sure you prioritise each other and put some extra effort in sometimes. It’s easy to become complacent and stuck in a rut so mix it up and break routine as much as possible.
What does the world need more of?
The world needs more acceptance. Accepting people for who they are and who they choose to love.
What is your favourite thing about being a mum?
My favourite thing about being a mum is the amount of love I receive on a daily basis. It is such a privilege to be her safe place. She is safe to express all her emotions, her thoughts and dreams within my arms.
Something that brought a smile to your face recently
Jumping waves and body surfing with Phoenix late into the afternoon. Watching the pure joy she was experiencing and laughing together.