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From hatred to devotion, this is Ellissa-Mae’s story

Ellissa Mae
Posted 13 June 2023

I became a parent in 2019 to the most beautiful little girl. Adele was exactly what you’d hope for in a first baby, she slept, she ate and had the sweetest nature. In 2021 I had my son Marcus who was a completely different baby.

He did not sleep, he had eczema, reflux, had lots of issues feeding, sudden weight loss and was extremely clingy and sooky. I was completely out of my depth.

My mental health began to suffer devastatingly. I began self-harming, I would leave Marcus to cry in his cot for hours through the night and constantly day dreamed of dropping him off at the fire station. I remember vividly thinking “I don’t want to be his Mum anymore, I just want to be Adele’s mum. I don’t want him”. I had these thoughts often, and if I’m honest with myself all I felt for that poor little baby at that time was hatred. Even though I had been seeing a psychologist since before Marcus was born, I realised I had to seek more advanced help.

I had appointments with countless specialists and social workers, and never stopped asking for help. Annalise from CaFHS came to my rescue and I ended up getting admitted to Helen Mayo House for 12 days. The help at Helen Mayo was incredible and I probably owe them my life, but it has been the enormous amount of support I’ve received from CaFHS since leaving that has truly turned my life around.

I began weekly sessions with Annalise in my home without my children, where I was able to start working on myself, looking at my past traumas and my childhood experiences to work out where all of those incredibly negative thoughts and feelings were actually coming from. This has been an incredibly long and very difficult on-going process, but as I am about to finish up my sessions with Annalise, I can clearly see how far I have come since those long dark nights ignoring my baby’s cries. I now have the skills and awareness to interact with my children more effectively, to have more patience and compassion, and to see the needs behind the tantrums. It has also helped the relationship I have with myself, and also the adult friendships in my life. The skills I’ve learned actually benefit every aspect of my life.

I also started seeing Abby in my home with my children, where she was able to practically see what the relationship was like with my kids, and also how they interacted with each other. These sessions were vital to me being able to repair the bond between me and Marcus, and to show me that whatever damage I perceived had been done could be repaired. She helped me dissolve my mummy guilt, and focus instead on the wonderful things I was doing now and how it could get even better in the coming months.

The third support I received from CaFHS was sessions in the Child Development Room, which my children and I lovingly referred to as “Belinda’s House”. All three of us looked forward to these sessions all week. This was 45 minutes where the kids could play and I could actually sit and watch and fall in love with them. Abby and Annalise would also try to attend these sessions when they could, and with their help Belinda would encourage and support Adele and Marcus’ relationship. She would gently teach sharing, turn taking, and getting enjoyment out of seeing the other sibling happy. She also taught me practical ways I could continue that encouragement at home and how to schedule play time so that it didn’t feel so stressful or chaotic. The sessions at Belinda’s House also opened my eyes to how truly beautiful my kids are, which had been clouded by the dark hole I’d been living in. I saw Adele and Marcus’ love for each other blossom over the course of those sessions and it gets me emotional just thinking about it.

My relationship with my children has completely flipped over the last 12 months. I look back on the me from a year ago and hardly recognise her. I have infinite compassion for that Ellissa-Mae, but I have fought hard to get healthier, and I will continue to fight every single day to avoid that existence again.

I owe all my current happiness to those three incredible women at CaFHS. Annalise, Abby and Belinda you have completely changed the trajectory of my life. I am devoted to my children now and am utterly obsessed with them. They are beautiful, cheeky, kind, compassionate, strong, and completely hilarious. I will forever be grateful to the three of you.

My advice to mums who are currently struggling is to never stop asking for help. Follow people up, request second opinions, ask if there are other resources available, be honest with yourself and with the professionals helping you about your situation. Don’t be afraid of voicing your feelings or thoughts, it is the only way you will be able to get better and I can guarantee you that you are not the only mum having those thoughts and feelings. But it’s not ok to let those thoughts and feelings poison your life, and it’s not ok to let them go on and on. Get on top of it, get the right help for you, and ditch the guilt. Just do the work and get better for those beautiful babies.

If you or someone you know needs support, visit or for advice, information or to make an appointment. To find out how you can best support your child' mental health, download Parenting SA's new Parent Easy Guide - Infant and Child Mental Health.