Coby Stokman is the owner of Stok Denim and Mumma of 2,
she recently reached out to me to help share her story of Post Natal Depression and suicide attempt.
If you require any support, or if this story affects you in any way, please scroll through to the end for support networks.
Super Mum - an exemplary or exceptional mother, especially one who successfully manages a home and brings up children while also having a full-time job.
Falling pregnant and giving birth to our first boy at 21 years young I, and many others around me, considered my husband Matt and I to have the perfect life. We were married, had a house, both had stable full time jobs. I was getting paid maternity leave and we were lucky enough to have the most supportive family and friends going around so, why did I feel this way? Why did my chest ache, my mind spin and my toes curl up. Why did my shoulders roll up to my ears while tears would stream down my face over just putting our baby to bed when he slept like an angel?
Baby blues – that’s it, that’s what’s wrong with me. But, did baby blues last weeks? Cooper was 6 weeks old now and Matt just had to drag me off the couch, down the stairs to the shower to snap me out of an anxiety attack? I must just be tired - It’s ok, these feelings will pass.
‘Young mum killing it at life.’
I need something to take my mind off this pain, the throbbing in my chest. Work? Yes, that’s what I need. My parents own a company – I can go help Mum and keep my mind busy. Awesome – this will dull those throbs.
‘Super Mum – working and so soon after having a baby!!!’
Ok, these feelings aren’t going away. I’ll go see someone – an organisation that specialises in this field… They told me I know what’s happening, I just need to get over the feelings? Seems simple enough – get over the feelings.
Exercise – that’s what I need. Mountain bike riding, weight training and working full time. Well, my chest doesn’t ache so much and my tears, well they don’t come at all. So this is good. I’ll keep this up.
Its time to up size our house. We sell our house, rent a small apartment while Matt builds our family home in his ‘spare time’. I’m ok, I work full time, exercise 5-6 days per week, have a toddler, run the house and assist in the build on the weekends – this keeps me busy. The way I like it.
My chest aches, my mind spins, my toes curl up – I feel like I need to stamp my feet. Escape. Shoulders rolling up to my ears…
‘Wow, so much going on. I don’t know how she does it’
We’re pregnant!! Baby number 2 is on the way. Better make sure the build is done on time. We miscarry.
We’re pregnant again so soon – no time to dwell on what happened last time. At least it was early, I guess I was lucky. I don’t know how I’d cope if it happened later.
My chest aches, my shoulders rolling up to my ears…I want to cry, but nothing comes out.
Riley comes into the world on September 20, 2014 after a quick, incredible, empowering natural birth. I want another one before the cord was cut. This feeling, this power. I am alive.
My chest thudding, my toes clenching, my shoulders tense and rolling towards my ears. This feeling is back. I yell all the time. I cry all the time. I want this feeling to leave. I’m sick of being in pain – I need to escape this pain.
I’ll just feed Riley, put him to bed, grab my bag and leave. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. Riley won't wake till morning and by then no one will even know I’ve gone – they will be better without me around. I just go to bed.
"How does she do it?"
Ok, I need something new. Acupuncture. Yep, I’ve heard great things about balancing hormones. Yes, acupuncture.
We’re pregnant again!! 6 months after giving birth. This is all I wanted for my birthday.
We miscarry. At least it was early, I guess I was lucky. I don’t know how I’d cope if it happened later.
My chest aches, my mind spins – its foggy, my toes curl up – I need to escape. Shoulders rolling up to my ears…
Ok, we're pregnant again – we miscarry, again. Maybe this is the universe telling us something?
I’ll go to the doctors. Anti-depressants? But I really didn’t want to go on them? Ok, I will for my family’s sake. Wow, the thudding and pain, its dulling. Emotion? Non-existent - I now don’t feel a thing – this isn’t going to work.
Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome is diagnosed. Well, this explains a lot. This is what’s causing the aches, the miscarriages – hormone imbalance. I’ll work on diet and exercise.
Psychologist? I have this box that’s full, that I’m just not ready to open yet. Maybe later, I’m sure I’ll be fine. I’ll keep busy – I’m sure its just hormones.
'Wow, she’s now started a business, works another job and had 2 kids – serious super mum’.
Life is busy and stressful. Matt and I don’t connect the way we use to. I yell – a lot. My chest aches, my toes curl up and my shoulders are consistently rolled up to my ears. I cannot bare this pain – it hurts. I’m so sick of this pain!!
Matt is talking in the car – its more information that I can take right now. My toes start to clench, my chest is pounding.
Where is the air?? Why can I not breathe in here. My feet stamp trying to push through the front of the car. I need to get out.
I can’t live in this pain anymore.
My left hand reaches over my body and clicks the seat belt as my right hand grabs the door handle in one swift movement. I need to escape this pain.
Matt grabs my shirt as my body leans outside the door. I’m panting. We’re in our street.
Psychologist? Yes, I need to see a psychologist. She recommends a mindfulness course...
5 years of pain. 5 years of ‘keeping busy’ and dulling pain.
1 year filled with psychology appointments, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, practicing mindfulness, self care, self-gratitude, and using pure essential oils – today, I am a new me. A me that Matt said he needs to get use to, but loves. Someone I love and I am proud to be – I never thought I could be this person!
I masked the pain and kept busy in hopes it would just leave…but it didn’t. It came back harder every time, it ruled MY life and I felt like I had no control over my life, my feelings or my reactions.
How did I get to where I am today you may ask? I tried so many therapies, medicines and diets to change my hormones levels as I thought that was the main trigger for my feeling and reactions. But for me, I needed to stop, listen to me, look after me and daily be kind to myself and others around me.
Today, I continue with acupuncture and other therapies when I need it, eat as fresh as I possibly can and make it a habit to listen to my body every day. I choose to do things that make myself and my family happy. I now don’t let the thought of what other people think, or gaining others approval prior to doing anything rule my decisions, feelings and reactions – this is my life and I am in control.
Everyone has a different journey, and not one therapy, drug or practice will be the same for everyone to bring you to contentment in your life. Your life is worth living and there is so much over the other side – I am not saying it is easy, but I am testament that there can be light, there is always time to work on you.
Where to from here? I am now on a journey to help others, but especially new parents. Being a parent is bloody hard, and for the most part your life changes for the good, but for some (like me) it doesn’t always feel good. I want to be able to help others discover themselves, release pains, emotions and fears so they can learn to love themselves, and their life – we only get one, make it the way you want it and be the amazing person you were born to be..
My story is only a story, but is part of my life everyday. Kate from the Hope Project once said to me, ‘Your past is a library. You don’t need to carry it around on your back, borrow chapters, learn from them, grow and place them back when you’re done.’
Super Mum – one persons own perception of another person.
That is all it is. Don’t get caught up with what others are doing or thinking – live in the present, and live your life you want to live every day.
A note from Coby -
If my story has brought up any pain or feelings for you, please contact one of the below people/organisations. If you just want to have a chat, want to learn more about becoming the best version of yourself/learn more about mindfulness or feel like you just are not coping – it is all important and you do matter.
Coby Stokman – Stok Denim Founder & Creative Designer
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
*Click above images to link to Stok Denim's website /Instagram / Facebook
Kate Seselja – The Hope Project
Email - email@example.com
Amanda Mackenzie – Holistic Counsellor and Psychologist
Web - www.amanda.mackenzie.com.au
Seriously Milestones are also supporters of PANDA and
encourage all mums and dads struggling to contact the organisation -
PANDAS – Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia
1300 726 306 – Monday-Friday 10am-5pm AEST
Beyond Blue – Depression, Anxiety
1300 224 636 – 24 hours, 7 days a week