'We thought he was going to die': Mum works through shock
THE small joy of seeing a smile spread across a client's face was enough to help one Warwick woman cope with the heartbreaking drive back to the children's ward of a Brisbane hospital where her struggling infant son waited on a diagnosis.
Little Hendrix Sly suddenly dropped from the 95th percentile in weight to under the first, prompting grave warnings from doctors who weren't sure what had caused the rapid change.
"We thought he was going to die," said mother Matilda Chapman.
"We had family fly in from all corners of Australia to say goodbye."
Miss Chapman teared up as she described the helplessness she felt, watching her child fight for his life, surrounded by feeding tubes and cardiac monitors.
"It was a shocking situation," she said.
"And that was when I decided I needed to do more."
The Warwick woman turned to the only thing she could control: Her newly established makeup business, Nude Beauty by Matilda.
"I couldn't do anything for my son, but I could help people to feel good about themselves," she said.
"And by making someone else's day, that would kind of make my day.
"I'd drive back to Brisbane at night in a totally different headspace because I'd managed to make other people feel happy."
Miss Chapman said her approach to makeup focused as much on her clients' inner beauty as it did their external appearance.
"My favourite part is sitting down with a client and showing them that that part of themselves they don't like really isn't that bad," she said.
"I just like making my clients feel good."
In turn, the work provided a welcome distraction from the horror of the hospital.
"I spent every night with Hendrix so coming home to do makeup was a release," Miss Chapman said.
"It was my chance to be Matilda Chapman again and not just the mum of a dying kid."
Hendrix, now 17 months, was eventually diagnosed with a rare vitamin B12 deficiency and was given the all-clear to return home, where he continues to see paediatricians, take supplements and work on developing his muscle tone.
But from his nightmare health scare came a thriving business and a support network that would see the family through the challenges that lay ahead.
"It brought the entire family together and we've met some amazing people," Miss Chapman said.
And now Miss Chapman is trying to pay it forward, offering makeup services to local businesses for free promotional shoots and planning a ladies day for drought relief in the near future.
"We're in a terrible drought and no one can afford to do anything," she said.
"So why not support each other?"
For more information check out Matilda's makeup company at facebook.com/nudebeautybymatilda