I would like to take a moment to thank you all for coming, and to thank you for inviting me to speak.
I can’t begin to put into words what an honour it is for me to be here today at the opening of this Gidget House because I know first hand the impact this service will have on all expecting and new mothers who walk through these doors.
And because I know my story would be very different if it wasn’t for the Gidget Foundation.
My name is Rebecca, and 2 years ago I gave birth to my son, who we affectionately nicknamed Pudge. But my relationship with Gidget Foundation Australia began before birth, when pregnancy pulled the rug right out from under me.
So often we focus on postpartum, but pregnancy too brings unique challenges to our emotional well-being.
My anxiety escalated and changed shape through every one of my trimesters but thankfully my Gidget House psychologist was there with me, and for me, from the start.
When I first found out I was pregnant and was disconnected from my baby, scared to get attached, Gidget was there for me.
When I was hyper fixated on my changing body, over analysing every ache and symptom, scared of every change, convinced something bad was going to happen, scared of the unknown, Gidget was there for me.
When I spent hours awake every night researching, unable to sleep, because with every fiber of my being I needed to have all the information, and needed to know all the answers, Gidget was there for me.
When I was unable to make a decision about something as innocent as nappy rash cream because I was convinced a wrong decision would mean life or death for my son, Gidget was there for me.
When I started having intrusive thoughts about harm coming to my unborn baby, when I was too scared to even leave the house, Gidget was there for me.
When I suddenly developed a debilitating fear of birth, where every day felt like I was walking one step closer to death, Gidget was there for me.
When I finally had my sweet boy but things didn’t improve, Gidget was there for me.
When I felt distressed, ashamed, overwhelmed, and consumed by this constant sense of failure I felt as a woman and mother, when I didn’t know how I would survive - Gidget was there for me.
When the fog started to lift and I finally started to recover, Gidget was there for me too.
Gidget house was there for me, from pregnancy to one year postpartum, it was a safety net for me. I cannot imagine where I’d be, or how much harder my experience would have been, if I didn’t have Gidget’s safe hands to catch me every time I fell.
These services, embedded into hospitals like this, aren’t a luxury, they are a necessity. They save lives.
So as we commemorate the opening of this Gidget House today I can’t help but think of all the mothers who will walk through these doors, possibly at the lowest they’ll ever be or ever have been, I’m saddened that they even have to, but in my heart I know they’ll be ok, because I know Gidget will be there for them too.
Rebecca McMartin - Gidget House at Kareena Private Hospital Opening Wednesday 9 August 2023.