Beyond the Picket Fence: A Conversation with Chelsea Bea
Chelsea: [00:00:00] And then all of a sudden everything started to crash. And we look at our son and he is like, Gone
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I’m your host Carlin, a Canadian queer identifying 30 something year old, providing a platform for the stories that need to be heard. hello chelsea. How Are you,
Chelsea: I’m so excited to be here with you and I love you so much.
Carling: Oh my God. Like we just talked for so long and then I was like, we should probably get
Chelsea: I know. [00:01:00] And I am just so, I’m excited to see how you do things cuz it’s really similar to how I do things, so like this is gonna be really
Carling: I’m so excited. I, we met like during a, I dunno, like was it like a course? Like we did like a, like a podcasting collective
Chelsea: Yeah. it, I’m like, I got podcast, podcast
class cuz I have, you know, an eight year old and a five year old and they understood that. So I’m like, it’s time for my class.
Carling: school. yeah. Yeah. met and our podcasts are so similar, and so we thought
we would be on each other’s show.
Chelsea: I’m so excited and I love the name of your podcast, by the way. It’s
Carling: Thank you.
Carling: It’s, it works out to be funny. Like, I didn’t think about things. Sometimes I’ll get messages of somebody, somebody me, on Facebook messaged me once. It was like an old man unsubscribe to something, and so he looked up, I did not sign up for this, but like, it had nothing to do. And I was like, sorry, Jerry. This is a podcast. don’t know what you’re talking about. So, or if you, [00:02:00] if you just Google, I did not sign up for this podcast,
Chelsea: Oh gosh.
Carling: Yeah. Well, I’m so excited to talk to you. I would love it if you introduce yourself, tell me who you are, what you do, where you’re from, and then we’ll find out where your story starts.
Chelsea: Okay. Sounds awesome. So I am Chelsea. B B is my middle name. B e a. I like to go by that cuz it’s adorable. And I don’t super love just the name Chelsea,
Carling: Is that name like a family name?
Chelsea: Yes. Actually it’s my grandma’s middle name, but my parents named me Chelsea Lynn and then my, then they were calling me Chelsea B because it was cute, like for a few weeks. And then in our church, you get blessed as a baby with your name, and he blessed me, Chelsea B. So they had to go legally. Change my name.
Carling: your name?
Chelsea: Like without the Triss or Ariss, I guess. Yeah. Anyway, so I am Chelsea Hansen but I like, my stage name is Chelsea B I have two kids and I’m married and I’m pretty much the basic, like I was stay-at-home mom for eight years and now my kids are in school and now [00:03:00] I’m doing whatever I can to make money.
So right now I’m a carpet cleaner. I’ve worked in childcare I don’t really consider, a lot of people consider their job like who they are, and I, I love to sing. I love to dance. Karaoke is awesome. I’m like very artistic. I love anything. Like I’ll watch sports, I’ll go four-wheeling, like anything.
That’s a good time. And there’s people I’m in. So that’s a little
Carling: I love that. I think we need to normalize not identifying with your career. There’s nothing wrong with like just having a job. I have so many friends that are like, I always feel guilty that I need to have this aspiration of a career, but no, , you don’t. You just need to make money to like pay the bills. But You know, you need to do things that you love and sometimes
that’s not your
my friends always make fun of me. They’re like, Hey, Chelsea , what are you doing these days? And I’m like, well, now I work for a pest control company. And then a year later it’s like, what are you doing now? And I’m like, now I work at a preschool. I’m a carpet cleaning. Who knows where the money will take me? But , I’m here to, find out.
Carling: That’s [00:04:00] kind of cool though. You probably end up with some really crazy stories.
Chelsea: Yeah. I worked in childcare for a long time because it was really important to take care of my own kids, and not to mention that if I get a job and then I have to pay for childcare, that’s gonna like, wipe out the money I make anyways, , I’ve worked, with special needs kids as like a respirate and have , I’ve worked in a preschool. I’ve babysat, I did a lot of childcare and I, love children, but I am really done with that. I’m exhausted.
Carling: yeah. . I’m in Canada. You guys don’t even get maternity leave,
Chelsea: Well, I don’t know. When I’m pregnant, I’m really sick, so I just quit. I sound like such a brat
right now. I can’t be pregnant and work. Yeah. I get so sick.
Carling: if your body,
Chelsea: But I think we do have, maternity leave.
like you can take 12 weeks off, but I think you don’t get paid for most of it
Carling: that’s wild. Like in Canada, you get, I think up to 19 months
Carling: and Yeah. You get like, unemployment, but you’re guaranteed your job that you
Chelsea: That is
Carling: [00:05:00] And some companies, if you’re really lucky, will top up your, unemployment.
So you end up making about the same
Chelsea: Do they have paternity leave for new dads? Shut
Chelsea: What is wrong with
Carling: Yeah. I know whenever somebody that like talks about having a kid and they’re like, yeah, like after three weeks I used up all my sick days, all my vacation days, all this stuff. And then, and I’m like, what? So thinking about childcare, like these childcare facilities end up with like three week old.
week old babies.
Chelsea: Yep. true. I’ve been there. yeah, and It’s hard. And, I learned in childcare when I worked at the preschool that there’s like ratios and like, after Covid. The childcare industry is like really struggling. so many kids and not enough workers it was really, really hard. I didn’t last in that job very long. I really wanna be happy with wherever I’m at, You know what I mean? And
I guess it doesn’t matter how I’m making the money to, you know, help with the bills or whatever. I just really, really value my happiness. And so I would rather be poor than unhappy with the [00:06:00] job I have, I don’t
Carling: I think that’s beautiful. To prioritize your happiness is yeah. Amazing.
Chelsea: , it’s a work in progress. Let’s see, I’m working in carpet cleaning and then I host a podcast. Obviously that is my priority. Like I take care of myself and I love my family. And then my podcast is my next priority, and the people I work for know that. and so I have a podcast called Beyond the Picket Fence. It’s very, very similar to this podcast where people come and they tell the stories going on behind the scenes in their lives, because I just realized there’s too much of, of ourselves to perfect pictures on Instagram and Facebook and all of that stuff.
And after going through my own traumatic experiences, realized that everyone has something going on behind their picket fence. So we really, my goal is really just to create a more. Compassionate and connected society cuz I think we’re so judgmental and we’re so disconnected right now that I really wanna make at least my corner of the world a better place.
Carling: I love that.. Our podcast like [00:07:00] themes are similar but I think they’re so different cuz you are so thoughtful in inserting really thought provoking ideas throughout the episode, which I really like.
Chelsea: And I don’t know that I’m like as funny.
Carling: I mean, my
therapist thinks I shouldn’t be as funny, so
Chelsea: what do they know?
What do you know?
Anyway, I remember like laughing, telling her a story about some childhood thing and she was like, but is that funny? And I was like, yeah, like it was so funny. And she’s like, but was it? And then I was like, oh my God, was it?
I don’t know.
Chelsea: Now I’m second guessing. Yeah, I do. I do have a nervous, like when I’m talking, I have a nervous laugh. I say something like really serious and I’m like, ha ha. And I’m like, Ugh, why am I doing that? I think it’s, I really think it’s a coping mechanism.
Carling: it totally,
Chelsea: I really do.
Carling: cuz like it’s not fun to be all serious all the time.
Chelsea: And sometimes my podcast gets like, I mean I try to be a little funny here and there, but most of the time it’s like really thought provoking. I’ve realized I’m an empath and I feel people’s feelings and I take that on and so yeah, I realize sometimes I probably could lighten up a little
Carling: Well, I don’t
Carling: think what you’re doing [00:08:00] is great.
Chelsea: thank you. I really like it. I’m really proud of myself. I have quit a lot of things before and I just, I’m really proud of myself for this and I don’t plan on quitting cuz it’s bringing so much into my life.
Carling: Amazing. Well, I’m excited to hear your story. Where, where does Chelsea begin?
Chelsea: So I think I’m like a pretty, uh, my friend has told me I’m very vanilla. I was born into a family, a very good Christian family. My parents love each other. the hardest childhood trauma I had was, I mean, we were pretty poor. My parents were both teachers. , there was a situation with their house where they ended up having to file bankruptcy cuz they sold a house, but the realtor gave the keys before it closed and then they created mold in the house.
And so my parents lost everything and ended up being bankrupt. But though we were poor, I never felt it. I mean, like we had Christmases where we made each other things and stuff, but I never felt. Poor. and I didn’t have like as good of clothes as some people, I didn’t feel it.
So I just feel like I have a super blessed quote unquote perfect life my family [00:09:00] loves each other. I have four sisters. We all love each other. Like, it’s so, so vanilla
Carling: So does that mean there was five kids?
Chelsea: yeah, five, well, four of us grew up together and then and then when 12, my mom had a baby when she was 41. She got her tubes untied. My mom’s amazing. So she had a vision that she needed to have another kid, so she got her tubes untied. And there’s an episode about this on my, it’s called the, the host’s mom. My mom tells her whole story and my mom is like, amazing. But yeah, so when I was 12, I had been the baby for 12, years and then my mom had a baby and that probably was one of my traumas cuz I was not willing to give up that baby role.
But I did. And now I love my little sister. She’s amazing.
But yeah, there was, so four of us grew up together and then the one little one came and it was just like two of us at home. Her and I are the closest cuz all the old sisters were married and moved out. but yeah, so that was like my growing up.
Pretty simple, pretty easy. I had like a boyfriend in high school and I was too young. we went to church every Sunday. I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And there’s a guideline that you can’t date until you’re 16. [00:10:00] And I got with a boy when I was 14, snuck out at my house like, you know, all the little young love stuff. I got married, I met my husband at church, very vanilla, and we got married, I was 19, he was 21. Marriage is hard, and it was not as beautiful as I thought it was gonna be.
And for like the first three years, we really struggled. and there were some personal issues going on. And so we ended up going to counseling, which I still don’t give myself credit for because I also feel like that’s still very vanilla, like normal, everyone has marriage problems. we had our daughter she’s amazing then in 2017 is when finally had like some trauma into my life, which I’m saying it like finally,
Chelsea: but it’s, is what shook my world and changed me something I did not sign up for, but I wouldn’t unsign up for it because of who it has made me to be. But it has broken me and it has turned me into like , I am beautifully broken now because of it. So I’ll just tell you that story. Do you have any questions?
Carling: I am curious cuz you said you listened [00:11:00] to, , the conversation with Paige about purity culture and so was that something that was really ingrained in your upbringing as a Christian and like what did you think about that episode?
Chelsea: through church. yes. But, , my mom was, sex was, never like, even in church classes. One time my mom taught the class about how amazing sex is and like how beautiful it is and how it’s a gift and just not to share it with everybody, but, but that it’s really good.
Like my and my parents kissed in front of me five girls, Like we talked about
periods and everything was really open in my house. So mom did a really good job. However, I think the, the culture, yeah, it definitely, I didn’t have sex before I got married. I did have a purity ring. and I didn’t realize, I guess how damaging it was.
I just never really thought about it. it. was a little hard. But I also, with my high school boyfriend, I didn’t have sex, but I did, wow, this is vulnerable. But we were like naked together and didn’t have sex. Like, and I did have to go through a repentance process at church, , where I like stopped [00:12:00] taking the sacrament had to like, repent.
Um, which I actually felt like I still am kind of okay with that because it was a personal, like, I didn’t think anything was really wrong. And then I, I waited, until I went so we broke up because. Wow, this is, I didn’t think we were gonna go here, but we’re here now.
Carling: no, we can shift. We can
Chelsea: No, that’s okay. I feel like I still am discovering that, like, was that repentance, was that shameful or was I still feel like, it was a gift? for me because I did something that I didn’t wanna do, whether we didn’t have sex all the way, but it was more than what I was raised knowing I should do.
And so we broke up eventually and I went to the bishop and like repented , but I never felt. Like in that moment, I never felt shameful. I felt like this is a gift and , to stop taking the sacrament, which in our church is bread and water, and then to get to take it again was such a gift because it was something I wasn’t proud of. and then when I took the sacrament again, I felt like it was gone, like baptism again. Like it was lucky that I got to feel that was gone. Whether that was shame or not, I don’t know. That’s up for debate for other people. But for me personally, [00:13:00] I can only go off of what I feel. but when I got married, it was definitely like a, not having sex my whole life.
And then the next night, sex. And then it was like, whoa. And then I did struggle like, my whole life. Not struggle but I see, this is where I’m still un sorting all of it. Because ever since I could remember being like really, really little. I masturbated I cannot remember not masturbating. And then when I was like in.
Carling: that’s like a normal
Chelsea: Yeah, but I didn’t know. I mean, I was just doing it. And then, , when you get into like 12 or 13 and you start learning about purity and like touching yourself as bad, then I was like, shamed. Like, oh my gosh, I’ve been doing that. Like it’s a habit. I’ve been doing that since I was super little. that messed with me a little bit.
Carling: I find the whole, thing interesting. I didn’t grow up religious, ? And I think there was a lot that I missed out on, just because my family was like, we don’t talk about anything. And I think, you know, even going to public school and not being raised religious, there was like a huge lack in sexual education.
Carling: Just as a society
Chelsea: see I, I still don’t know like what I believe or feel or anything, but I do believe in like when she was talking about how people say like, it’s your job as a woman to dress modestly. I did have that experience, like when I was getting ready to get married in the temple, you have to be worthy to go into the temple and only, you have to have like a recommend and you have to answer certain questions. I don’t even remember all the questions right now, and that’s probably sacred. I probably shouldn’t that, but, Yeah.
I was wearing like a cute little dress to church that had kind of sleeves, but then went went really low and it was like really, really short. But I had black tights coming up to it, which is like, LDS is really, really modest.
Chelsea: so it was
like kind of pushing, pushing the envelope a little But I mean, everything was It was just really tight and like it went pretty low like, I wore it to, winter formal in high school, like my mom bought it for me, so I would wear it to church cuz I’m Like this is a cute dress. I wore it to prom, my mom bought it for me, so it must be fine. I feel cute in it. And when we were getting ready to get married in in the temples, a lady pulled me aside who was teaching us like our temple prep class, and [00:15:00] she was like, you’re really doing your, fiance a disservice because he can’t focus on what he’s supposed to be learning about because he is distracted by what you’re wearing.
And that felt wrong to me. I was like well, I’m about to marry him and he’s about to see my whole naked body and , I want him to have these feelings about me. Like these feelings are righteous feelings and I want him to be , wanting to have sex with me. , I think that’s fine.
Chelsea: And I wore it to church. I was embarrassed of it or thought it was, IM modest, I wouldn’t, I probably wouldn’t have worn it to church, but I didn’t. I felt fine. I felt confident. I felt comfortable. And I’m not mad at her cuz she was older and I really believe in letting people believe what they believe. But it, it didn’t feel right to me But then
we got married and then we had sex and then it was like pretty good. And then, but even now we’re still exploring and like things are getting really good. We’ve been married for 10 years. I don’t know. Wow. You’re a good, you’re a good interviewer.
Carling: I think, we’re similar where we were talking about people just open up, like we just ask the questions and
Chelsea: yeah. But I think it’s because even like I am still a believing [00:16:00] member of my church. And I think it should, like I talk to my kids about, my kids are eight and five, and we’ve already had the sex conversation. And I will talk to them about masturbation, I’m sure. And I don’t know, like these topics are not, they need to be talked about.
And a little girl, the other day when I, she pointed out like a, I was at Walmart with my daughter and her friend, and one of the little girls like pointed at this DVD cover and there was people kissing and she’s like, Ew. And I was like, what? And she’s like, they’re kissing. And I’m like, kissing is great.
Carling: yeah. It’s great
Chelsea: I’m like,
I love to kiss. You should totally be
kissing. Like, not now, of course you’re eight. But like, don’t say ew. It’s not ew. It’s a beautiful gift that these bodies to be for lack of better word, pleasured by each other. Like he gave us that gift. We should be using it within, you know, not giving it out to everybody, but within your belief system.
You should honor what you believe about that. And kissing is great. So I hope my kids know that I like to kiss and me and my husband are kiss in front of my kids all the time.
Carling: Yeah. I think
Chelsea: Yeah. I think
Carling: [00:17:00] Yeah. It’s like representation.
Chelsea: except for my husband does like smack my butt all the time and, my son came up to me one time and smacked my butt. I’m like, okay, now I gotta teach you. Like, you can’t just smack people’s butts like
Carling: everybody’s butt, it’s like a specific yeah. Consent
Chelsea: Yes. And you. have to have consent. Like I’m my trying to teach my son consent and my daughter like, man, being a parent is hard.
Carling: Oh God, I, yeah. As a stepparent, I’m just constantly baffled, like, how
And even if we do our best, they’re gonna be messed up anyway. So everyone’s gonna need therapy. I just have to make decisions I’m proud of. And then they’ll sort out the rest later.
Carling: . Be like, is this something I’m willing for them to go to therapy for when they’re 20?
Chelsea: Sure. Yeah. My biggest thing is I just want them to know that they are loved and they can come to me. You no matter what. That’s, that’s all I want. And that, and I want them to know that, I love Jesus Christ and their relationship with him or without him, like I want them to know they have power over that.
Carling: That’s beautiful.
Chelsea: doing my best, and I make sure they know that I’m living to what I believe. And I teach them to figure out what they [00:18:00] believe and then live to it. Because that can be, I really just, I really want them to have their own testimony or whatever of whatever they believe.
Cuz it’s important.
Carling: Yeah. I think that’s beautiful.
Chelsea: So this went a crazy direction. I’m having
Carling: Well, now, now I wanna go
back to 2017.
Chelsea: Okay. So in 2017. I was pregnant with my son. , I had my daughter, she was about to be three. And at 20 weeks , I went to the anatomy scan and they couldn’t see the heart very well, so they said, I need to go back. So I went back to the anatomy scan they were like, the doctor will talk to you in the next room. And I was like, Ooh, something’s
And so then they came in and told me there was something wrong and then I had to go to another doctor.
Anyway, so finally by 23 weeks pregnant, I knew that I had a son with some major heart defects going on, and I was really stressed , and scared and felt like unsettled. And it was just scary to find out something is wrong with your child. I. Freaked out called my mom, my mother-in-law. And then in our religion we believe that the men have priesthood authority and they can lay their hands on our head and give us a [00:19:00] priesthood blessing. there’s different kinds. There’s like healing, comfort, other ones. I don’t know what they all are. But anyway, so, my dad came and he gave me a blessing and he just blessed me to have peace. So from 23 weeks all until Jackson was four months old, I just had peace and I just knew it’ll all work out the way it’s supposed to, which was so beautiful. And it was a like, it was kind of scary when I was driving to the hospital and about to have this baby. I’m like, here we go. This kid is coming out of us and who knows how his health is gonna be? But I still felt pretty peaceful. so he was born, he was in the NICU for 16 days and he was kind of healthy.
I mean, the middle wall of his heart was missing. and two valves were connected and so all the oxygenated and deoxygenated blood was mixing, and so it was flooding into his lungs, which they can survive For a while like that, he was on a medicine called Lasix that kind of made all of the extra liquid inside of his.
He like was going to the bathroom. His diapers were full all the time, but he came home and he was, he was kind of tired and sometimes a little [00:20:00] blue, but my kids have beautiful skin coloring like their dad, and so you couldn’t see that much blue until his heart was fixed. I’m like, okay. He was a little blue.
But anyway, so. He came home, he was nursing, pretty good. He just would get tired. So he would eat for like five minutes, which I didn’t mind cuz I didn’t really think I wanted kids and then I had kids and I really like having my kids like I love my kids so
much. . So four months later they decided it was time for him to get his heart repaired. , cuz flu season was coming up and he had pretty low immune immunity. And so yeah, we went into the hospital I still felt peaceful. I handed my baby over, which was kind of scary, but I’m like, we’re gonna be here for 14 days, it’s gonna be fixed and we’re gonna go home and have a normal life cuz this is what I had been told, you know?
And so we go, he gets his surgery, he comes out, it’s still a peaceful feeling. go to the Ronald McDonald’s house by Phoenix Children’s Hospital. And then the next day we come in and he’s still intubated and it’s kind of scary to see your baby on all those tubes. And I’ve always been afraid of hospitals anyway, so I was a little nervous, but like peaceful, right?
And then his numbers, [00:21:00] everything was looking good. They’re like, we’re gonna try to extubate him. And so the respiratory therapist started like jiggling the humidity out of all of the tubes to like get it drained or whatever. And they turned his sedation down and as soon as that respiratory therapist was jiggling that tube all of his numbers started to crash. And my husband and I were standing right in front of the bed cuz they were getting ready to extubate him. So we were standing right in front of the bed, the respiratory therapist was right there. And then the nurse was right on the other side, like next to the monitor. And she was like whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a second. And then all of a sudden everything started to crash. And we look at our son and he is like, Gone and they pushed the code blue button, and instead of moving out of the room when like the doors swung open, which , I, wish that we could have, I wish I wasn’t there, honestly.
But we moved into the room and that is like, I’ve done EMDR therapy on that moment. So I’m not crying right now, but I used to cry every time I talked about it. So I witnessed my son die for 36 minutes and I saw him in his bed blue. And the echogram guy who, they’d be doing [00:22:00] cpr and then they’d push epi, like the whole thing.
And um, then the echocardiogram guy would check and be like, no cardiac activity. And then the next, round of all of it. And then he would put it on and he’d say, no cardiac activity. No cardiac
Chelsea: Yes, which is actually pretty short compared to some of my friends who had this happen for three hours straight. Like they keep working on kids until the parent says, stop, because kids come back. They’re so resilient. But it was terrifying. And then like the chaplain came in and he was like, can I pray over you? And so he was like praying over us and it was like one of those slow motion movies. everything felt slow and cloudy and I can’t explain it, but that moment broke me forever. I’ll never be the same.
So that’s what I didn’t sign up for.
Carling: I can’t imagine how traumatizing that is to see little tiny body that you created. Going through all this.
Carling: And is anyone talking to you at this point are they saying we’re gonna work on him [00:23:00] until you tell us to stop
Chelsea: didn’t get that far. I, I talked to the nurses afterwards and I was like, were Wemo because they were about to pull in the, um, ecmo. So they were about to do like a cut him open and connect the ecmo, so I asked him, I’m like, how long or close were we to calling it like he was gone forever and they’re like, oh no, not that close.
Like we would’ve with kids, you keep going, you keep going, like for hours you’ll keep going. Or you put them on ecmo, you bring ’em back. Wow, I can’t even talk about it cuz it’s so do you hear me? I’m like, panicking. it was okay. But to me it felt like he was gone forever
Carling: Did he suffer any, brain issues or anything?
Chelsea: nope, super lucky because we saw happen and they started compressions right away. So he didn’t have any moment where there was no oxygen to his brain. , it did, like now his bones are a little bit uneven, so what was supposed to be a 14 day hospital stay turned into.
Three months. So we went home that night to the Ronald McDonald House, and I was just a mess. And I learned now that [00:24:00] trauma is not what happened to you, it’s what happened inside of you. So my husband was stressed, , but his capacity to not be traumatized as a little higher, I guess because I was like wailing, you know those movies when people die and they’re like wailing and screaming.
I was like wailing uncontrollably the next day we went back to the hospital and I was not okay. And my husband was like, you need to go get yourself figured out because you can’t be here like this. Like you are not okay. So I went and spent the day with my aunt or my husband’s aunt and just tried to get it out of my mind.
But yeah, every time I closed my eyes, I saw it over and over and, I disconnected because I. him dead, body thought he was dead. So then I was trying to disconnect cuz I was like, I can’t love this child because that’s too painful to lose him. and it was just months and months of awfulness and I would be like parked in my car at the hospital, like screaming to God.
take him already. Like why are you making this baby suffer? And like, just let him be here and heal him or take him and don’t let him suffer. Watching a child suffer [00:25:00] is. Unimaginable trauma. For me it was, I’m like, I can’t do this anymore. and then he started to slowly recover, but he had a leak in his mitral valve still.
It didn’t didn’t repair very well. so the surgery was in October. In December, they finally realized he was like throwing up food. He wouldn’t keep stuff down. He was on lots of morphine. So many drugs. His medicine tower was like crazy. They finally realized, I was like, listen, I’m not going home until he’s not like this, because he’s not okay.
I don’t know what it is. So then they realized his regurgitation on his mitral valve was too much. So then he had his second surgery and got a fake valve in his mitral position, which they don’t make valves that small for babies, because it’s not worth the money cuz it’s so rare that if you made one. The money to make them wouldn’t make like they wouldn’t sell enough. Does
Carling: Like that’s awful, but
It’s a business. Everything’s a business after all. so , Boston, came up with this new technology of taking a [00:26:00] valve that goes in the uh, adult pulmonary artery that balloons bigger and smaller and they sew, tissue around the outside and then they squeeze it in and put it into the heart and then they blow it up to the right size. And then it’s adjustable for a few times until it stops working. So my son, that was a Boston thing and everyone told me I should go to Boston, but my surgeon in at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, he said, I’ve prepared to do this before. I have never done it, but I know I can. And it was around Christmas time and I didn’t wanna go to Boston all by myself.
I’m from Arizona, that’s far. I let him do the surgery on my son, the first kid in Arizona to have this surgery. And it went pretty good. And
Chelsea: Then we just weaned him his ween schedule, cuz he had been on morphine for three months. he came home like a drug addict baby. So then there was the trauma of, every time I moved he would cry. He was in so much pain. So he was on Ativan clonidine
uh, methadone and one other one that I can’t remember, but it was, it was a three month [00:27:00] ween schedule, of like lowering him off of these drugs. And so my house was a mess. my life was a mess. I was a mess. My baby was always crying and it was just, it was so awful.
And I was just broken cuz my whole life had been quote unquote perfect. And I had always been happy go-lucky Chelsea. And I didn’t, I didn’t understand that bad emotions were normal. I’ve always been like, oh, I can, I can make everyone happy around me because that’s like my gift. And I wasn’t happy and I couldn’t figure out how to be happy.
And I thought that I should have been happy. But now that I look back, I’m like, actually, you should be happy when this is going. When this is happening to you, you should be sad. Like, there’s some things that you should have bad emotions about and that is normal. and okay, so that’s when my hugest lesson something I’m very passionate about now is hoping to invite people to feel their emotions and that it’s okay.
Like anger is not a sin. When I was yelling at God, that’s not a sin. I’m not giving up on God or [00:28:00] giving up on my faith. You can totally be angry. You are a human. You have human chemicals in your body, and emotions are just chemicals. And so I’ve learned a lot about that kind of stuff. And that’s one of the biggest things for doing my podcast too, is I wanna make sure people know it’s okay to feel all the emotions, like you’re normal.
Lean into it, it’s okay.
Chelsea: And so that’s the biggest thing I learned. Okay. Go ahead. I talked for a long time.
Carling: I was gonna say my, one of the best things that my therapist, she said it to me a few times, and I have to repeat it to myself, is, it’s so reasonable to feel the way that you’re feeling, because I always just want a solution to not be feeling the way that I’m feeling in this moment. So I’m like, yeah, okay, I’m upset, but like, how do I get over this?
And she’s like, but Carlin, it’s so reasonable that you’re having this emotion because what you’ve been through is an injustice and so I’m always reminding myself like, okay, this is so reasonable. This is reasonable, that I’m feeling this way, I’m feeling sad. And it’s okay [00:29:00] to
just be there and be in that moment.
Chelsea: Mm-hmm. And it’s so uncomf comfortable for us that we, when people come to us to tell us their problems, we wanna fix it for them. Yeah.
By fixing it for them, we’re doing them a disservice. Because if I wouldn’t have gone through this, if I would’ve just tried to be okay and not been broken or whatever, people don’t like when they, when I say broken, they’re like, you’re not broken.
I’m like well, I like that I’m broke. I like it because now that I’m broken, the light can shine through. And the love, like, like if you have a a jar, it can only fit so much in it. If you break the jar, you can put whatever in it because it’s Yes. And so I just feel like now I have more parts of me that I can hand out to more people or wrap around more people.
Like I can put the pieces back together around my capacity to love and understand and stop judging grew. And I think it came from you have to ask for help when you’re sitting in your house naked, basically naked in your underwear, holding a baby that will not stop [00:30:00] crying if you move well even when you’re holding them.
But if you can finally get him to be quiet. You dare not move. So the dishes pile up, the laundry piles up, everything falls apart, and you could just sit in that or you can be vulnerable. This is my message. Vulnerability is so important. I had to reach out to those in my community around me, and women came in and they helped me, and they didn’t just help me while they were doing the dishes.
They shared their stories and then light bulb it clicked. I was like, oh my gosh. This life on social media where people are posting perfect pictures and their vacations and these beautiful moments, that’s not, I mean, it, it’s a moment in their life and they’re sharing the good moment, but it’s not the whole story.
And I have always compared myself to people people I am. The, I’m a jealous comparing person. It’s just by nature who I am, which I try not to judge myself for. But I realized if I can get their full story, I can understand and then the comparison just melts away because now I’m not, it [00:31:00] doesn’t even matter. Like
I wouldn’t want their struggles.
They have, they’re also going through horrific things that no one’s talking about. so when you are, allow yourself to be vulnerable and you let these people in. So this woman is sitting there folding my laundry while I’m naked, holding my baby. Like literally not naked. I was wearing underwear. But it feels naked.
It feels naked,
Carling: yeah, Emotionally naked, physically
Chelsea: spiritually naked. Like you’re just at rock bottom. And, and these women, like some of them, my son had an, uh, NG tube where it’s a feeding tube that goes up your nose and down into your stomach. there was a lady that was a nurse and she had a baby, that had been in the hospital before. She had dwarfism her, one of her daughters have do Doism so she’s had a lot of surgeries.
She came and visited me one time when we were in the hospital hospital and then I freaked out cuz he pulled his NG tube out and I was home alone and I needed help and she came over and helped me. And, and then you hear more and more about these people and then you see them. And to, to be humble enough to ask for help, changes, your world.
Um, because you get to allow other people to be vulnerable too. And [00:32:00] then it’s these connections that, no, I don’t talk to these women every day, but I love them. their hand prints are now on my heart because they helped me through those things. And then I learned about, you know, their child’s sickness or their husband’s pornography addiction or their divorce that they went through that I had no about, no idea about.
Like, all these awful, awful things are actually making us better people and we need to be talking about them. I don’t even know where I’m going with that. But now I have lots of deeper conversations and I’m not always happy-go-lucky, Chelsea. Sometimes I do tend to be more on the sad like, skeptical side of things, but I do think I’m a better person.
Carling: I love that. I’m always wondering like who looked after, cuz your son was your second born, right? So who looked after your daughter like that also. And did your husband have to work this whole time?
Chelsea: Oh my gosh, these are great questions. My husband had F M L A, so he was able to be there for important things and he was there during a lot of the first surgery. and then eventually after [00:33:00] so long you have to go to work. You know what I mean? my daughter, was allowed in the hospital for a while until cold and flu season. So she was there with us for like a But then once we realized it was gonna be a long time, my mother-in-law took care of her. I think my mom took care of her. the most cuz my mother-in-law was there with me a lot, if I remember, which people kind of judged my mom about that.
Like, why aren’t you there with your daughter? And I’m like, my mom’s doing the thing that no one, like my mom’s behind the behind the scenes doing that for me. You know what I mean? She took Charlie and took care of her and made sure Charlie was okay. But Charlie actually has the other, a few months ago, Jackson fell off my bed and broke his arm and she was triggered. , and I realized the trauma affected her way more than I thought because she has a fear of when we, when we leave, cuz she was like having panic attacks every night for a few months. And she was talking about how you guys left. Like when Jackson was in the hospital, you guys left me and I was worried he broke his arm and then you guys were gonna have to leave me and blah, blah blah.
So yeah. And then a lot of times my. Husband would stay home with her and I would sleep in the [00:34:00] hospital. and so we would, I have pictures of us all FaceTiming yeah, it was crazy. We just, you just do what you have to do cuz you have
no other option.
Carling: Yeah, You just kinda like dig in and do what you need to do, but to look back at it is always like, God, like how did we how did we do that?
Chelsea: Seriously. Seriously. yeah, so anyway, now he’s just, he’s just medically, cuz he has a fake valve. So he is, had to have the valve replaced. He has a pacemaker. He had a G-tube for a while. But now he’s like a pretty normal kid.
But he still has cardiac appointments every six months and then every three months for his pacemaker. So where was I going with that? Oh, just that his third surgery was in 2020. And my husband switched jobs. And because of Covid, they wouldn’t let him come home. So that third surgery I did by myself, but it was really like, he was only there for six days, which was like a record and it went really, really smoothly. But I mean, I still like hearing the, ding of the machine and seeing the machine that, like when I close my eyes, I used to see like that machine like coming at me, haunting me. Like, I hate hospitals, but I’m so grateful cuz they keep my [00:35:00] son alive. And I, I, my latest episode on my podcast, cuz every, every February I tell heart stories because February is heart month. And I was talking to him and I’m like, do you remember any of this? Were you ever in pain? And he is like, no, I think I was sleeping. Which I’m so grateful for. And a little jealous. And then I read books like, cuz I’ve been studying trauma, like the Body Keeps the score and stuff like that. I’m like, oh no, what if his body event, like what’s he gonna, the future is so uncertain. But I’m trying to just live in the now and just go through the now. But so then hearing stories of other people I just started talking to people and you know, that gift I talked about before we started recording of just like, I asked the questions wanna give people the opportunity to tell their story true through their lens, not through my idea of know what I mean? as I started . Talking to these women and hearing all these stories and just recognizing like, man, life is really hard for literally everybody. then I was like, I should start a podcast. So my idea for my podcast was started way back in like, I don’t know, [00:36:00] 2018, but I just was so scared for so long to do it.
Finally, in 2022, I got brave and I launched it my son had had his surgery, and we had like, everything was kind smooth. we moved to a different town and kind of all of the adrenaline and rush of everything settled. And then I started my podcast and I started with Heart Story with a Heart Story, and then I was triggered.
And so this last couple years I’ve been really struggling with um, depression and anxiety, severe depression and anxiety, as my psychiatrist says, I’m like, it’s not bad. She’s, she’s like, So the way you answered these questions on this questionnaire and the way your body is reacting are very different. like, I think you weren’t super honest in answering these questions. And I’m like, well, I don’t know. There’s, people have that worse than me, so I don’t wanna say like, every day is awful, but I really wish I didn’t exist I’m the worst person ever. And she’s like, so you have severe depression and anxiety and maybe a little ptsd. So yeah, I’ve been doing like EMDR and therapy and so I’m doing better now, but it’s still like especially [00:37:00] around dinnertime and they have homework, I have to make dinner, they have like piano dance, baseball and all these things.
And then I haven’t like decompressed all day and I get really overstimulated and those thoughts creep back. So I’m just trying to learn and go through all of that. But the biggest thing that helps me again, is just connecting with people and realizing they’re going through hard things. I’m not the only depressed person in the world. We didn’t sign up for it, but there’s a reason that it’s happening to us.
Carling: yeah, it’s being able to come out the other side and just see other people that have come out the other side and you know,
Chelsea: yeah. yeah. so it really has helped me to like doing this podcast. I’ve connected with so many incredible people and like I’m rich in relationships because it’s just a deeper human connection. I always preach, be kind, cuz you never know what’s going on behind the picket fence.
But I still get mad if someone cuts me off in traffic. Like get like irritated when someone annoys me or does something I don’t like. So I do sometimes I’m like, okay, I am really kind, but I also am a [00:38:00] human and sometimes I’m a real brat.
So I try to allow myself space for that too. Like, I genuinely hope the best for all humans, even if I don’t like them.
Carling: I love that.
Chelsea: Do you have any other questions? I could talk forever to you.
Carling: can people find, like your podcast, you
Chelsea: I’m trying. I am a little bit everywhere, but I’m most active on Instagram, so at Beyond with Chelsea. And then my podcast, hopefully uh, we could put it links in the show notes. called Beyond the Pickett Fence.
Thank you. Forgive me the opportunity cuz everyone’s heard my heart story. They all know that already. people got a little more of my, of my vulnerability,
I’m gonna overthink this forever. So hopefully it’s, hopefully someone got something out of it. Cuz I am like, sound like a rambling fool. But it’s okay cuz that’s who I am and that’s the fun of me.
Carling: No, not at all. . Chelsea, thank you so much for sharing your story. It has been so nice to connect with you, and I’m excited to see where your podcast grows.
Chelsea: Thank you so much for having me. I just adore you and don’t be a stranger. Like let’s actually be real friends,
Carling: know. [00:39:00] I love that.
Chelsea: Thank you so much for having me. It’s been so fun to get to know you and. I look forward to you being on my podcast.
Carling: All right. I’ll talk to you later.
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