The Story Behind the Story


The Story Behind the Story
3 October 2013

It is so nice to be home. Back to the chilly Central Highlands and out of the heat of Central Australia. It is such a beautiful thing to come home, it is the best thing about a trip away, I think. To feel safe, loved and comfortable.

I have thought about writing this blog post since we got home, whether or not I should. Perhaps I should just put up another recipe, I HAVE made a killer pear and chocolate crepe creation lately. So good. But I thought I need to write this post. The post about WHY I took my girls to the middle of nowhere, in a car that probably should not have left the street, let alone civilisation!

It is a post about being a mum. And trusting that innate mum gut feeling.

In May this year my ‘mum gut’ told me there was something happening in my kids life. They were acting differently, they were angry and my youngest had started to suck her thumb, at the age of 4, it was an odd thing for her to begin. As the month went on they became more withdrawn and eventually my eldest daughter confided in a close friend and the flood gates opened. It was possibly one if the worst things a mum can hear. That their kids have been hurt.

These are the moments in life that define you. That steer your ship in a new direction.

I knew I needed to do something. But at the same time I questioned myself. Was I making this something bigger than it was? What if there was a perfectly good explanation? What if it is all just a crazy misunderstanding?

The following month was spent in and out of police stations, court rooms, lawyers offices and community help groups. All of them telling me, I was doing the right thing, but still I questioned myself. This couldn’t be happening. Not to us. This happens to other people (you know, the usual response people have to major shit things that happen in their lives).

Every time I looked at my kids I could have broken down. Just knowing that I had let them down, not been there for them, when they really needed me. Seeing how broken they were. How sad, confused and scared they had become. Instead of being normal kids, talking about poo and farts. I couldn’t even leave the room without them panicking thinking I wasn’t going to come back. It was tough. It was shit. I wish I could have a collective hug with all the other mums that have had to go through the same thing. There really is nothing more painful than knowing your kids have been hurt and that you were not there to protect them.

One night I was flicking through instagram in bed and saw someone had posted a pic of Uluru. I turned to my guy and said “I’m going to drive the girls and Crystal to Uluru.” I am not sure if I really meant it at the time. I lay there playing out how I thought the trip would go. Lots of cinematic images went through my head. I imagined it would be like Thelma and Louise, but without Brad Pitt or dying.

It was going to be a challenge, something we would do together and something we would remember for the rest of our lives.

The biggest challenge I faced during this time was fighting with my gut feeling. Talking myself in circles and not trusting myself. I want other mums to know that your ‘mum gut feeling’ is nothing to be ignored and something that should be trusted and listened to. Mums are amazing things. x

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  • Beautiful photos and I hope this memory will help to move past what has happened <3

  • Sue says:

    Oh Kate, I am so so sorry that you and your beautiful girls have had to go through something so traumatic. You’re right – there is nothing worse as a mum to feel you have let your kids down even when it is often totally beyond our control.
    Sending much mama love and hugs to you and the girls as you continue on your healing path. xx

  • Cath @ mybeardedpigeon says:

    I am so sorry this happened to you all. I work in this field and you have probably been told the most important things you can do when this happens is believe them and make it stop. You did that. We often hear about how this is a deeply traumatic experience, which it is, HOWEVER the biggest indicator of how this will impact on them is how it is dealt with at the time. Not all kids grow up to have this effect them deeply forever.

  • Kate your story has moved me to tears and made my stomach churn as you describe the impossible task of accepting of what has happened, and how you came to do so. I know from adult friends, who were hurt as children, that having parents who never really acknowledged what happened to them was one of the most painful parts. You remind me of a mummy lion taking her cubs to into the wild and roaring in the face of hurt and broken trust. Thanks for your honesty you are so brave and powerful and it reminds all of us to parent from our gut, our animal instinct will guide us on the right path.

    • lunchlady says:

      Wow, thanks so much Megan. It is funny you mentioned the lion, as I deleted a sentence that I mentioned how I felt like a mumma bear protecting her cubs. That gut feeling is a pretty amazing thing. xx

  • Cath @ mybeardedpigeon says:

    Sending you all the love- you really are a great mumma. That’s the bit they will remember and know forever. Xxxxxxxx

  • frances says:

    Aw lovely Kate this is just stunning, the whole thing – the words, the pics, you and your girls. Beautiful my dear. xo

  • Julesuptree says:

    Dear Kate, thank you so much for writing about what must be a very painful time. That inner mumma voice is a powerful voice that I too have listened to and acted on just recently. Sending you and your gorgeous girls much love, xx

    • lunchlady says:

      You poor thing, I am sorry to hear you’ve had a crappy time. Sending love straight back at ya! Thank you for your message, and good on you for acting on instinct. Ace mum you are. x

  • Ceridwen says:

    What a powerful loving mother you are. I loved following your adventure on Instagram; it made me laugh and smile. I’m so sorry that your family has had to go through such a trauma. To go on a journey like you did must have made your girls feel so safe and loved. My daughter saw the photos and thought your youngest looks like her and what happy kids they seem. So glad to hear they are finding their smiles.

    • lunchlady says:

      Thank you so much. It was so amazing to see them smiling and laughing and loving our sometimes crazy adventure. It was lovely having you along for the trip. x

  • Jen Armstrong says:

    Pretty darn proud to call you my friend Kate Berry. Love your family.

  • Kate says:

    I read your blog post and felt sick to my stomach. Then I saw those beautiful photos and could see that somehow, everything was going to be ok. The strength of the human spirit. When times are tough, really tough, children need to know that they can rely on their parents – especially their Mum. Through thick and thin, your beautiful little girls no that you will strongly advocate for them, believe in them and protect them. Surely that is the perfect recipe for gently healing and coming to terms with tragedy? You are obviously a remarkable person. You daughters are lucky to have a mum, just like you. I only hope that while you are caring so wonderfully for your girls, that someone is also looking after you. I bet they are 😉
    Take care,
    Another Kate x

    • lunchlady says:

      Thank Kate, I am getting well looked after, that’s for sure. I have my amazing guy and such great friends that have been so supportive. The tough times really do make you appreciate the wonderful people around you and make you realise that that is all you need. Thank you for you kids words. xxxxxx

  • You are a rocking mum Kate, what an incredible trip to do with your girls in that awesome car. I hope the traumatic bits have passed for your girls. I adore your words and your photos as always, they are honest and straight from the heart x

  • That image of your girls holding each other in front of that big, beautiful, special rock. It made me gasp and my eyes prickle with tears. Your girls are truly blessed to have you. Thank you for sharing your story, no doubt it was so hard to do. Wishing all the best to your family as you heal. Belinda xx

  • Jubilee says:

    Kate, you beautiful woman! How loved and safe your girls must feel knowing that you have the intuition and the power to feel, see & then do what needs to be done for your family as a whole; Uluru, what a healing place & home is the nurturer where this continues.

    My mother is one amazing woman; she couldn’t find the strength to do as you have done and are doing for your girls but she did her best & that’s what’s it’s about in the end; doing all we can to the best of our ability at the time. She did that & I adore her for it.

    Embrace your strength Kate, your girls have one amazing role model right there in their mother.

    Thank you for sharing Kate.
    Much love & brightness! X

    • lunchlady says:

      Thank you so, so much for this beautiful message.
      I also had a mum that fell short, but I can understand the struggle better now. It is not an easy job the mum business.

      I am feeling a little humbled by all these messages at the moment. Thank you. xxxxxx

  • Kate says:

    Oh Kate. I have tears reading this. I am so sorry that you have all gone through such a horrible time. What strength and grace you have shown your gorgeous children. I have loved following your road trip in Crystal. The images are divine. The happiness I see in them is now even more beautiful and poignant. Keep your arms wrapped around your loved ones – they are very very lucky to have you as their mummy.

  • Joanna says:

    (I think I lost my message so apologies if this comes up twice). Just wanted to say that I’m so sorry that you and your girls are going through this. But as has been said before, it’s the response that often determines the longer term outcome, and I can’t imagine a better response than this. And what a special healing place Uluru is! And though the post is not about this, your photos are just stunning.
    Well done you for trusting your instinct and for sharing what must have been a difficult story to tell. Wishing you and the girls all the best… joanna

  • Alice says:

    You are amazing and inspiring. What lucky girls your kids are to have you.

  • laura says:

    wow, what a rollercoaster of a read. you have such a gift for words & pictures (& for motherhood too). hope the healing is well underway, for all 3 of you & that eventually the memory of the adventure will be what remains. you & those girls rock x

  • Shannon McDonough says:

    Kate, you will undoubtedly help countless others (past, current, and future) parents and children through your act of sharing. We all send continued healing vibes to your family.

  • Beautiful and touching story. You guys are about as inspiring as parents can be. Hope you and your girls got the medicine you were after.

    • lunchlady says:

      Thanks Mark, I think that the best thing anyone can say to a parent, is that they’re doing a good job. Because it is something that I question so often. Thank you. x

  • My mom and I went through a similar ordeal when I was 10. Now I know that she had been hurt as a child too and it was her greatest fear that something would happen to me. When it did, her loving actions (going to the police, ect) made me feel like it wasn’t my fault and we were seeking justice. There was no true resolution but I am proud of my mom for standing up for me. It is a beautiful thing to be so fiercely loved. Yes, it changes a person, but your daughters have you and you did not let them down. You let them know they are precious and worth fighting for. I’m proud of you Kate, and my heart aches for you and your girls. Thank you for your boldness in posting this. Sending lots of love your way from the rural northwoods of Michigan. <3

    • lunchlady says:

      Thanks so much for your lovely Marci. I love how we follow each other’s adventures on the other side of the world. I hope one day our worlds collide. Lots of love. x

  • chef mimi says:

    What happened??? Is it okay to ask? Am I being too nosy?? I also have two daughters…
    You photography is stunning.

  • angela says:

    I don’t know you, but reading your post, i feel proud of you.
    Gees, i love it when we remind eachother that as mothers we have a sixth sense and we can rely on it. You’ve encouraged me.
    Thanks and good on you.

  • Helen says:

    I was a victim of HURT.
    I was 5. My mum had no idea and was too young herself to be intuitive. You did the right thing….you are spreading the word on intuition…so many of us either dismiss this little friend of ours…..or just dont trust themselves…dont listen closely to ourselves. YOU have passed this gift on to your girls…..and although my heart breaks for you as a mama, to quote another.”this too shall pass”

  • Dearest Kate, I loved following your journey on instagram and was so proud of the courage you displayed to take the girls and head off on the ultimate Australian road trip. To now read the story of the motivation behind your journey not only brings me to tears, but I am even more in awe of the truly remarkable lady you are. Incredible. xx

    • lunchlady says:

      Thanks Michelle, your message made me a little teary. I truly appreciated your support along the way, as it was one of the toughest and silliest things I had taken on. I love the fact that we made it there and back, and that the happy ending of our little movie ended up happening. I hope we get to catch up in Jan when (fingers crossed) we are back on Bruny. xx

  • This is amazing and sad and amazing. Being a mum is brutal. But where mine fell down is where you don’t – you are doing something about it and helping them to heal. That will go a long way to erasing the hurt that was done to them. Big love to you x

    • lunchlady says:

      Being a mum is brutal! So so true. One minute it’s all happiness and laughter and the next you have your heart ripped from your chest. Such a tough gig. But it made easier to know that we’re all in it together and we have the support of other awesome mums like yourself! Thank you for your kind words, I hope we get to catch up when you’re a local. xx

  • Kate Ellis says:

    Dearest Kate
    Having met you and your beautiful girls today I am so sorry in part to read this, the other part so filled up by the choice you made to take the girls into or rather out into nature.
    I’m often getting on the road, getting out, believing that physical movement can literally shift things. Shift perspective, help one stretch beyond, …and your kids no doubt would have felt and appreciated this too.
    And then there’s sonething about nature. And ain’t Uluru just spectacular.
    Sending you and your family love

    • lunchlady says:

      Hey there Kate,
      It was lovely to meet you yesterday. Thanks for such a lovely message. Uluru is pretty amazing, and the perfect place for us to go and conquer… something. Being on the road is awesome, I love it and I can’t wait to drag the girls on another crazy adventure. xx

  • Gabby says:

    Kate your post is beautiful. I can’t imagine what a hard time your family is going through right now. Your girls are gorgeous little things and they’re lucky to have such a supportive mother. Family road trips make fantastic memories, I have particularly fond memories of an unreliable Mitsubishi that my dad insisted on driving the seven hour trip to our holiday destination – your girls will thank you for those memories one day. Lots of love, Gabby

    • lunchlady says:

      Ha! I do believe Crystal’s side of the road moments were some other best of the trip. Even though at the time they seemed hot, annoying and full of flies, now we can look back and giggle at it. Thank you so much for such a lovely message, it is so great to hear from everyone!! x

  • The Life of Clare says:

    As I sit here, incubating my first born, my greatest fear is that something like this is so out of a mothers control. I commend, respect and am in awe of your response to an awful situation but want to thank you for making me aware that there are recovery options out there. Thank you for such an open and honest post.

  • hi Kate, I watched your trip on IG and thought it courageous and amazing. To hear this story makes it even more so. My heart aches and I wish I could give you all a giant hug that actually made it all better. For now just a virtual hug and a prayer for peace & justice and love that conquers all.

    • lunchlady says:

      Thanks Hailey. I am still looking back on the trip with total amazement. Not for the scenery or unreal road trip music, but at the things it taught me about myself. 5000km of driving time does give you plenty of time to think. I hope to see you again soon! x

  • Lauren says:

    Hello beautiful lady, I just read this post and can barely see the screen now! You are amazing, I love you and your girls are apples from a beautiful tree! I hope that trip began the healing. I was hurt as a child but to this day have never told my mother. Your daughters are very brave!! xxx

  • Sam says:

    Oh my. Tears. You are one amazing lady. Strength and love to you and your girls. xx

  • Suzanne Davies says:

    Hi Kate, Dad sent me your link and this morning I sat here in the kitchen reading your posts. Just wanted to say to you, you are an incredible mother and your strength of conviction to your 2 adorable children is truly remarkable, you were so right to listen to your gut feeling and go on this amazing adventure into the desert with them. By reading I feel that the 3 of you needed this time together to mend the hurt that had affected you all. I understand totally that feeling as my children and I went thru similar circumstances a long time ago now and it takes love, time, commitment and strength of conviction to not only get thru it yourself but to also have the energy, time and love to encompass the healing of your children. You were always such a beautiful young girl who has grown into an amazing young mother. You need to be so proud of yourself Kate, as you have taken the time to show your children they are the most important beings in your world as this will be their foundation and benchmark as they mature and they will never forget how their mother showed them how much she loves them and cares about them. I also adore all the amazing photos you took on your travels, especially the 3 of you hugging each other at Uluru. One of these days we will have to catch up, would love to see you and your beautiful family. Sending lots of love and hugs from Buchan. Suzanne xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

    • lunchlady says:

      Now I am sitting here crying like a big baby. Love you Sue. We are looking at getting a caravan in the next few weeks and a trip to gippy would be perfect. Love you. x

  • I have been meaning to come back here and comment since I first read this post. I kinda want to say a lot but don’t want to say a lot too, if that makes sense?.. So I’m going to err on the short side and say thanks so much for sharing. You really never know just how wonderfully a story can impact your readers. You are one hell of gutsy brave women to take on such an adventure, under such circumstances… and you have my gratitude, appreciation and admiration. I hope the healing is in full swing for you all.

    ps. I love crystal!