Opening the lid of my takeaway, I couldn’t wait to tuck into my Thai noodles.
But my stomach lurched and I made a beeline for the bathroom.
I recognised the familiar nausea in my belly.
‘I’m pregnant!’ I told my husband, Moses, then 29, after doing a test.
We already had our gorgeous girl, Mere, then three, and I couldn’t wait for her to become a big sister.
At four months along, suddenly it was like a switch had flicked.
I’d always been a super positive person, but it felt like a dark cloud had taken hold of my thoughts.
What is the point in even living, I thought on one particularly dark night.
‘Every day feels like the worst day of my life, I can’t seem to find any joy in the world,’ I confided in Moses.
Worried, he didn’t know how to help me.
Then I remembered my mum, Michelle, telling me about our family history of perinatal depression.
'Every day feels like the worst day of my life.'
‘You need to take care of yourself,’ she’d often say.
So I spent as much time as possible out in the fresh air, walking with Mere in the pram, until I tired myself out.
Welcoming our beautiful son Nemia, in January 2021, it felt like the storm clouds had blown away for good.
‘You’re perfect,’ I cooed, cuddling Nemia close.
But three months later, everything came flooding back.
I’d cry all day, never wanted to leave the house and couldn’t stop eating.
I’d munch through three slices of cake and two large packets of popcorn a day as the weight piled on.
Enough! I thought.
Searching for something to busy my mind, I downloaded TikTok.
Coming across a video of a lady throwing brightly-coloured lollies in a bucket, my anxiety melted away.
It felt hypnotic.
One video was of lollies covered in chamoy sauce and Tajin spice.
Originating from Mexico, chamoy is a mix of sweet, salty, sour and tangy.
It looked so delicious, I wanted to try it.
‘I could make that,’ I told Moses, feeling a bit of light return to my life.
Ordering chamoy sauce online, and some Tajin seasoning, I combined them with peach ring lollies.
But the flavour was off!
‘I’m going to be sick,’ Mum said, spitting it out.
‘This is yucky, Mummy,’ Mere added.
But I pressed on.
Starting my business, Swish N Delish, I posted videos to TikTok, while I tweaked my recipe.
Then, 12 days later, my first orders came in!
The flavour’s still not right, I realised, when there weren’t any re-orders.
‘Can you help me develop a new recipe?’ I asked Mum.
And we soon had the perfect blend of hibiscus flower-infused chamoy and five-spice Tajin.
Now I just needed people to notice.
So I posted videos to TikTok, pouring my sauce over a batch of lollies.
My phone began dinging with a few orders.
Not wanting to get my hopes up, I put it on silent.
The next day, I was amazed – I’d had $2.8k in sales overnight!
'I knew I could do it!'
As requests rolled in, I was busy juggling work and the kids, even staying up till 3am fulfilling orders.
Raking in more than $300,000 in my first 12 months, I was ecstatic.
But I knew deep down I was trying to fix my problems by focusing on the business.
My kids needed to come first.
Sharing my depression journey with my followers, I began receiving heartwarming messages.
Thank you for being so transparent and real, one Aussie mum commented.
Twelve months on, I’ve found the right balance and love spending time with Mere, four, and Nemia, 16 months.
‘I’m so proud of you,’ Moses tells me.
I hate to think what might have happened to me if I hadn’t found my passion when I did.
Lollies saved me, and now the future looks sweet!
For support with perinatal mental health go to panda.org.au or call 1300 726 306.
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