Monday, November 28, 2022

Know your local – Hannah Jungwirth

Recent stories

My sister, notoriously bad at telling jokes (she always gives away the punchline), was born when I was 11 years old, and is now one of my closest friends. I originally interviewed her as an emergency backup, but her story is honest, and brave and gives a personal insight into issues that might help someone in similar circumstances.

I was born in Ferntree Gully, but we moved a lot. I think I went to nine or 10 schools, plus two separate lots of homeschooling.

After high school, I moved to a dodgy YMCA youth accommodation to study psychology at Latrobe University. I was there for about a year. I met my ex-husband Matt, and I had my first child, Scarlett, when I was 20.

I left my course while I was pregnant and moved to Maldon. We lived in St Arnaud for a while when Scarlett was young but moved back to Maldon again. I’ve now built my first house here.

I loved being a young mum, but it was hard (I didn’t really know how to ‘human’ yet, I didn’t know how to pay bills or anything), and it was isolating.

I had my second child, Hayden, when I was 22 years old. I have a stepdaughter, Mia, who is great and a one-year-old daughter, August. I actually find I put more pressure on myself as a parent now that I’m older.

My first birth was at Ballarat hospital. Scarlett was posterior. I had an induction. The labour was three hours from start to finish. It was horrendous.

My second birth was at Castlemaine Hospital. They were awesome. He was also posterior, and his head was stuck, so they had an ambulance on standby, but when they broke my water he came out straight away.

That labour was 25 hours. With posterior babies, there’s no break in between contractions (something to do with the angle, I think), and so they are constantly pushing on your cervix.

Then when I had August, who was the right way around, that was the best! I could have breaks in between the contractions.

I had her under the new Castlemaine Hospital birthing model and that was amazing! I was also at my nephew’s birth, which was great.

It’s such a unique and special time in someone’s life, and once you’ve had a baby, I think that makes you a great birth partner because you know what to do for them.

After my second birth, I ended up with post-natal anxiety. About five weeks after he was born, Hayden ended up in hospital with severe bronchiolitis, which really exacerbated my fears. I started to have panic attacks all day, every day. I went on medication and saw a counsellor, and it helped so much; I still use some of those skills now.

I’m planning on becoming a midwife. I was so scared during my labours, and so I think it’ll be amazing to be able to be there for women. Even if it doesn’t go to plan, I’ve always wanted to work in a ‘helping’ role, and I can be there for them.

I start my Diploma of Nursing at Bendigo TAFE next year, and then I’ll transfer to Latrobe to do my Bachelor of Nursing and Midwifery.

My middle child, Hayden, was diagnosed with level two Autism when he was three years old. I knew from when he was born that he was different. He only ever wanted me, which I know is normal for a lot of babies, but when he went to someone else, it was like he pretended they weren’t even there.

I remember at 10 months old he would stim (a repeated action that people on the autism spectrum often do). He would take a ball and roll it down his back, over and over and over. His vocabulary was not as well formed either.

Now at six years old Hayden has also been diagnosed with both hyperactive and inattentive ADHD, Opposition Defiance Disorder and Anxiety. He sees an Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, and Paediatrician, and he’s about to start seeing a Psychologist.

It’s a bit sad because these things are going to make things a lot harder for him, but there are so many positives too. I love the way his brain works; he sees things from a different perspective.

I’m really glad we found out when we did so we can put things in place to make his life easier because he’s amazing. He loves kinder, and his teacher Leone has been amazing.

I feel that at 29 years old I’ve already achieved my biggest goal in life, to raise wonderful, brave and kind human beings.

Tarrangower Times 30 September 2022

This article appeared in the Tarrangower Times, 30 September 2022.

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