Mental health and wellbeing is very close to our hearts, and while we aim to have an always-on approach to covering all aspects of mental health, we have chosen to shine an extra bright light on #WorldMentalHealth today, and for the rest of October.
We bring you The Big Burn Out — a content series made up of honest personal essays, expert advice and practical recommendations.
As I scroll through hundreds of lovely comments on my latest Instagram post of our newborn baby, I'm filled with warmth and love. I feel immense gratitude for having such a supportive and kind online community. Then one comment stops me in my tracks — "Why would you want to pass on your deformity to an innocent child?"
It's only a day after my caesarean section, the pain is pretty solid, and the hormones are coming in hard. For a moment, I question my ability to be a great mother. Then, thankfully, the positive self-talk I've been practicing for years speaks up. It supports me in a weak moment, telling me that I am enough, and these people can't hurt me.
My name is Charli Adams. I'm 29 years old, mother of two beautiful daughters and am married to my husband, Cullen. We're a regular family of four; however when you walk past us in the street you might look twice, that's okay. We all have Dwarfism, and we're awesome!
Cullen and I met when training as a part of team Australia for the 2013 World Dwarf Games which were held in Michigan, USA. I have Achondroplasia Dwarfism. Cullen has Geleophysic Dysplasia Dwarfism. Neither of us suffers from any severe health issues, and we are both strong, fit, and happy humans.
When we decided to have a family, there were four different possibilities for our children. Either of us could individually pass on our form of Dwarfism to our baby. There was a 25% chance we might have an average height child. A 25% chance that we might both pass on our forms of Dwarfism resulting in our baby having double dominant Dwarfism — a most often fatal outcome if that baby is carried to full term.
Each of our children was born with Dwarfism, one type. They are so capable and happy — just like us. We passed on strength and courage and we give love. No one is 'deformed', and no one is suffering.
I still find images in magazines of perfectly proportioned, 6-foot tall models. Advertisers in 2019, still proclaiming that this is what we need to be healthy, wealthy and happy. Obviously, these images and I don't add up. And, they probably don't for a lot of people. So, I learnt quite young to redefine beauty.
When I was 15, I went to a leadership course, and it was all about empowering yourself through your self-talk, and that's something I've really carried with me and practiced for nearly 15 years now. It hasn't always been on point, and it won't always be, but overall, I've been able to teach myself that I am so worthy of positivity. We all are.
We are solely responsible for those voices, and it's really about choosing only to be kind to ourselves. You can be constructive but not critical. And once you've set those guidelines in place, I've learnt that I must follow my own rule book. And once you've had had a taste of what it's like to know yourself that you're enough, you'll always manage to get back to being your own best friend.
Movements like the Baby Dove #trustyourway and #realways campaign are helping to smash through the stereotypes of a "perfect parent" that social media can sometimes dictate. The campaign is allowing mothers to feel secure in themselves and their ability to parent. And once this happens, the space inside our head, that was previously filled with doubt, is now able to establish and foster strong and positive self-talk practices.