This is not a sad story. It is a story about hope and healing. A story about parenting, pandemics...and puzzles!
In 2017, I gave birth to my first child, Olive. Within three weeks of having given birth, I was not ok. I was barely eating, barely sleeping, constantly googling. I believed I was the worst mother who had ever lived.
My husband knew something was wrong and took me to the emergency department at our local hospital.
I did not leave the hospital for a month.
I was fortunate to have access to a mother baby mental health unit where Olive could be with me for our month long stay.
While it was truly the absolute worst and most horrific experience of my life, I shared four weeks of my life in hospital with some of the bravest, most wonderful women and their beautiful babies. During this time, we not only bonded over our shared experience of mental illness, but over our love for doing jigsaw puzzles as a kind of therapy.
Fast forward to November 2019, and I had just given birth to my son, Miles. Fortunately, I did not relapse with him and enjoyed a "normal" post partum experience! However, the day I brought Miles home from the hospital, there was a severe smoke warning out. The bushfire season was upon us: what eventuated was the worst bushfire season in Australian history. During the months that followed, communities rallied together to shop local and support Australian businesses whenever possible.
Only five short months later, and a little pandemic that you may have heard of, COVID-19, forced us into a period of isolation. Australian artists and creatives were some of the hardest hit as galleries, theatres, and venues were all shut down. My husband, a musician, and I, a former drama teacher, saw our creative communities decimated by the impact.
I was on maternity leave and my husband was out of work. Anxious and stressed, I turned to the wonderful women I met in 2017 during my holiday to the mental health unit. Sure enough, we were all looking to our default coping mechanism: jigsaw puzzles.
And then, the pieces started to come together and my idea was born. What if I could make beautiful jigsaw puzzles that featured Australian artists? Even better, what if I could make beautiful jigsaw puzzles that featured Australian artists AND Australian themes (no gumnut babies or winking kangaroos allowed, sorry!). Even better better, what if I could start a jigsaw puzzle business that supported the mental health of the 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men in Australia who experience anxiety and depression during and after pregnancy?
And that’s how One But Many Puzzles was born. Take a look around - we’re sure you’ll love what you see.
Brisbane Queensland, Australia