Chapter 4 - 'Lexie's Village - A New Kind Of Family'

By 2009, I’d worked on a variety of digital marketing projects. I was also volunteering for the University of New South Wales Business School’s Alumni Committee in order to network and meet some new people. It seemed a safe way to slowly enter back into the real world. I was soon setting up and managing all of their social assets in my spare time. Running campaigns and driving traffic to their website was immensely satisfying. It was a perfect fit: ever‑changing, fast‑paced and incredibly dynamic. This was where I wanted to focus my vocational energy.

Fuelled by this new passion, I began to think about returning to the workforce and what the criteria of my dream job entailed. Digital was a given, and it would need to specifically be a sales and marketing role. I also knew that I loved working for big brands. On a more practical level, I wanted to work within walking distance of Pyrmont and avoid commuting altogether.

One quiet afternoon while catching up on a marketing blog, I stumbled on the news that Facebook was opening an office in Sydney. I wasn’t sure if it was coincidence or serendipity, but I felt in my gut that this could be the perfect match. The possibilities were so exciting that I contacted Facebook (via Facebook!) immediately. Within the matter of a week, I found myself in a serviced office in Circular Quay overlooking the Opera House and Harbour Bridge and being interviewed for a sales role.

I was monumentally nervous in the days prior to the interview, drafting several sales and marketing presentations on how I would approach the role in the Australian market. I had one shot at this and I wanted to give it my all. By the same token, I was interested in bringing my full self to the role, so, although I felt a shaky confidence in many respects, I also felt a new and humbling sense of vulnerability.

Gauging by our initial small talk, the newly appointed head of Facebook Australia was a water buff. He spoke of his love of boating and surfing as I admired the stunning harbour views from the window. This allowed me to share my recent experiences in Lake Macquarie and the solace that the seaside town had offered me.

Despite the million‑dollar views, the office was otherwise very basic – one small room and a mere handful of desks, since the staff total was just four people in those early days. That same day, I interviewed with the two sales hires I’d potentially be working with. I finally exited the building into the sunshine of the harbourside with a subtle, but hopeful, spring in my step.

The interview process continued over the next two weeks via conference calls with regional managers and other sales staff in different countries. As the interviews progressed, so did my feeling of confidence. Soon, I was called back in by the manager and given the wonderful news. I got the job, and they wanted me to start in just a few weeks.

Returning home from the final job interview, I walked by a small jewellery shop that had huge discount signs plastered out front. A small, unusual black diamond ring in the window display caught my eye. I noticed it had been marked down in price. In a rare, financially‑loose moment, I went into the store and bought the ring. It commemorated my entry back into the workforce and the promise of a regular pay cheque to come in July. I aptly named it my ‘Facebook Ring’.

As I slipped it onto my finger that day, I felt empowered. At the age of forty‑two, I’d finally made it to the other side of my darkest period, which spanned nearly a decade of my life. I’d gone through several disastrous relationships, including one that brought me financial ruin. I’d had an unstable career period, three back surgeries and several years of mental and physical rehabilitation. I was a survivor – battered and scarred, but ready to start all over again. I was finally on the right path. 

***

My new role took some major adjusting. I was starting at the bottom of the media industry, working to build relationships with barely‑twenty‑year‑old digital buyers with little‑to‑no budget for social media. I’d been a National Marketing Manager for a well‑known international company with control over large marketing budgets, and now I was trying to catch the crumbs of budget leftover after everyone had taken their slice. It took long days, nights and many weekends to establish myself by building a solid list of clients. And all the while, I was undergoing physical therapy and driving the heavily trafficked, hour‑long commute north for back treatments once a week.

Despite my life slowly being pieced back together, I still had a niggling feeling in the pit of my stomach each evening as I returned home from work. There was still something missing. What in the world was I working this hard for? What was my ‘why’? When I finally stopped long enough to listen to myself, I knew straight away. What I truly yearned for and had always wanted more than anything else was to have a child of my own. 

I’d always thought there would be a man in my life to do this with, but I had to face my romantic failings. I had no more time to lose. It was hard to fathom all the challenges of going solo, but it was either that or not have a child, which wasn’t an option. But before I went forward, I needed to have a very important question answered. Could I even carry a child to term with the condition of my back being what it was?

I was very thankful when I heard my back surgeon’s response to this question. ‘Certainly!’ he exclaimed. ‘Your back is stronger than most people’s now. I see no reason why you can’t enjoy a healthy, happy pregnancy and even, potentially, a natural birth.’

His green light buoyed my hope. I could carry a child. Now all I needed to do was figure out how to get pregnant.

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