Having three children in the space of three years is a tough challenge for anyone. But for Perth mum El'ise, it was particularly tough – after the birth of her third child, the fashion manager suffered from anxiety to the point she was afraid to leave the house.
"I was walking down the street one day and it was at the time when there were a lot of terrorist attacks happening in the world," El'ise, 33, explains to TV WEEK.
"I had three kids in one pram and I recall thinking I was a great candidate [to become a victim]. I was on edge and couldn't even go to the shopping centre. I felt really anxious."
El'ise – mum to Baxter, eight, Charlize, six, and five-year-old Maverick – says she wasn't suffering from depression. But she admits she felt "scared".
"It sounds stupid, but it came down to having three kids and only two hands," she says. "If something happened, who would I leave behind? The stupid games you play in your head..."
It was also a difficult time for her chippie husband Matt, who struggled to understand why El'ise was feeling so vulnerable.
"It was rough, because I didn't understand it," Matt, 39, explains. "I'd come home and not know why she was crying."
With her friend's advice, El'ise eventually discovered her hormones were "out of whack" and turned to natural medicine to help. Within three months, she was back to her normal self.
"You've got to look after yourself," she says. "You only have one body. I'm not ashamed to talk about it.
"As soon as I started to talk about it with my girlfriends, I realised how many people had been through something similar themselves."
Lifeline offers crisis support on 13 11 14; lifeline.org.au
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