Becca’s Stories

My Birth and Parenting Story

My first son was born in November 2012 after an arduous 18 hour natural labour that involved two hours of pushing and a 2nd degree tear. Despite the pain, it was a joyous moment when I finally gave birth to my precious baby boy.

The Early Years

During the first few years of motherhood, I experienced both joy and exhaustion, but I cherished the time I spent with my son. I breastfed him for two years, and it was a wonderful experience. My son was healthy, energetic, and emotionally sensitive. He enjoyed dancing, hugging, and showing affection. He started going to daycare at 13 months, and his teachers loved him. He rarely fell ill and was sociable wherever he went. I recall strangers often admiring my son’s eyes and commenting that he had an old soul and was wise beyond his years. I agreed with them and was proud of the boy I was raising.

The Challenges Began

When my second son was on the way, things started to change for our family. I had a difficult, sickly pregnancy and found it tough to look after my eldest son who was two years old at the time. Luckily, my mum was visiting from Spain and was able to take care of my son for seven months. However, I felt like I lost the connection with him and he became anxious and aggressive. I remember him pulling my hair whilst I was laying in bed and him finding it funny, which upset me a lot.

When I was nine months pregnant, we moved to a new house and my eldest son started a new daycare. On the day I moved in, I went into labour and I gave birth to my second son, and my mum left to go back to Spain. My husband worked a very stressful job six days a week, and I had no family support around. This was an emotional and overwhelming time for me. Looking back, I now realise that I may have been experiencing postnatal depression, but I didn’t seek help and just did what I could to get through each day.

My eldest son struggled to cope with all the changes, and his behaviour escalated into defiance, running away, and aggression. No matter what parenting strategies we used, nothing seemed to work. I found it difficult to cope with the daily incidents, and our connection was truly lost.

The Journey from Hell

For more than four years, I encountered numerous healthcare providers with lengthy waiting lists who offered little assistance. There was a great deal of contradictory information, and the strategies we employed proved to be fruitless. I received many calls from schools, daycares, before and after-school programs, and extracurricular activities, all of which we tried but were ultimately forced to leave. Throughout this time at home, I was attempting to manage an uncontrollable and oppositional child. We spent thousands of dollars on seeing professionals, yet we never received the help we required. The medication we were told was the most effective course of treatment so we tried it but it had serious adverse side effects, and I vowed never to give it him again.

When my son started school that was another level of trauma for both of us. After trying three different schools over 16 months, which included a behavioural school called Arndell, I ended up pulling him out to homeschool. It was the last thing I ever wanted to do but I was violently attacked most mornings because he didn’t want to go to school, and the amount of visits and calls to all of the teachers over that period took its toll on me. It was highly traumatic and I couldn’t bear to see him so upset at school anymore.  

The scope of our ordeal was so significant that I suffered a mental breakdown in 2019, with suicidal ideation. By that time, my marriage was under tremendous strain due to our inability to obtain the help we needed and our different parenting styles, and we have since divorced.

After I pulled my son out of school, I researched everything I could about home schooling. I read books, spoke to experts and realised that the current education model was failing our beautiful, sensitive children. That was where I originally came up with the idea for Life’skool, a personalised curriculum based on the interests, personality, skills, and learning style of my child, incorporating life skills and everything that schools don’t teach but need to based on the state of society and mental health right now. My focus was firstly on improving his mental health, and restoring our connection, and then using my Life’skool plan to help educate him. It was working, and my son’s condition significantly improved, his meltdowns and violent behaviour became much more infrequent and I was then able to work on myself, healing my trauma. 

What I know now

I frequently express my wish that I had known certain things before becoming a parent. This typically leads to feelings of anger. I often ask myself why the books I read before parenthood advised me to do certain things that are actually detrimental to a child’s brain development. Additionally, I wonder why none of the medical professionals we consulted, including paediatricians, general practitioners, and other allied health professionals, provided us with this critical information during the five years we sought assistance for our son.

For a few years, I carried immense guilt, believing that my husband and I had failed our child due to the many changes in his life. However, I have since gained knowledge and have released this guilt, understanding that we were doing our best given the circumstances of living in a highly toxic and stressful world. It is possible that some children may have adjusted differently to their surroundings, which is precisely what my younger child did, as he had no behavioural problems.

My son received multiple diagnoses, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, ODD, and anxiety, but I don’t fixate on these labels. Rather, I see a kind and intelligent boy who has experienced developmental trauma and attachment disorders. His exposure to adverse childhood experiences had put his nervous system in a heightened state of alertness. I see a boy who was sleep-trained as a baby, had a typical yet unhealthy Western diet, received vaccinations, and had a high level of toxins in his system. I see a child who was parented inconsistently by two parents with different parenting approaches, and our marital stress undoubtedly affected him. We followed traditional parenting techniques such as time-outs, rewards, and consequences, which research shows actually exacerbates behaviour in sensitive children. I see a child, like many others, who got lost in the Western medical system, despite my persistent search for answers and help.

Throughout this ordeal, not a single medical professional we consulted was willing to listen to what I believed was going on with my son and what I have come to realise through this experience is that we, as parents, are the foremost authorities on our children, not those who have only seen them for a brief time and read some reports. That’s why here at Life’skool we want to empower you as parents to make decsions that feel right for your child.

Since then, my life has been a mix of very difficult and wonderful events. Looking back, I now realise that every challenge and personal crisis I experienced happened for a reason. They enabled me to start Life’skool and share with the world what I’ve learned from my personal experience and thousands of hours of research to prevent them from having to go through what I have endured. This includes reading hundreds of non-fiction and personal growth books, consulting with experts in the holistic space, and replacing my habitual viewing of reality shows and news with informative documentaries.

This mission has given me purpose and kept me going through a very turbulent last few years. If more people could discover their life’s mission, I believe we would have a very different world.

You will note that my children won’t appear on this website out of respect to them. When they are older, they will be given the option to appear if they choose to.

My Health Story

As a child, I frequently fell ill with colds, flu, gastro, tonsillitis, and more. This pattern persisted until I was 38 years old when I experienced a four month bout of unexplained tummy troubles that often left me bedridden. Despite seeking help from multiple sources, no one could provide answers until I began studying coaching and learned about the concept of secondary gain. I realised that being sick had certain benefits for me, such as being able to miss school, which was a relief from the all the bullying I had experienced. My parents used to give me lollies and ice cream and let me lie in bed all day watching TV. I loved being sick. Even though as i’ve got older, the bullying had stopped, my body was so accustomed to this pattern that I continued to attract illnesses. Understanding this pattern has helped me break it and take control of my health.

After I became aware of this, I decided to break it and make a promise to myself that I wouldn’t continue to live that way anymore. It may sound simple, but it worked for me. As I reflect on the past five years, I can honestly say that I am no longer that same sickly person I used to be. I haven’t had a single cold, flu, gastro, or even contracted coronavirus. I can’t even remember what it feels like to be sick anymore. If I ever wake up with a dry throat or a sense that I might be getting sick, I immediately start affirming to myself that “I am healthy,” while drinking plenty of water. And surprisingly, nothing ever comes of it. At first, I thought it was a miracle, but now, it’s just second nature to me. 

I now believe that my immune system is so strong that it can fight off any virus, and every February, I celebrate reaching another year milestone of being healthy.

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When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.

Alexander Den Heijer