I want to be honest in my blogging about my experience of parenthood so here it goes. I definitely suffer with post natal depression and the most terrible anxiety. So far so good, it actually feels better just to say that. I have always lied when I’ve been asked how everything is and when actually what I am really thinking is “everything is totally and utterly awful and I’m crap at being a Mum” I have actually just fake smiled and given some rubbish answer about how great everything is. I suppose it’s guilt and shame that actually stops me from being honest but in the early days after LO’s birth I found the path to postnatal depression a very slippery downward spiral. Not really surprising after his dramatic (and pretty traumatic) entrance into the world. It wasn’t a great start and everything definitely went downhill from there. I want to publish a photo with this story that I took when I was feeling the lowest of the low. I’m not sure how old Ewan was when I took this photo, not very old, possibly a month, at the most two. I had just got him sleep, I felt drained, but most of all I felt like crying but I couldn’t. I knew I looked as miserable as sin (exhibit a) but I wanted to know what my face looked like at that point in time so I took the picture… I’m pretty haunted still to look at it and it makes me sad that’s what I looked like after time spent with my baby, but I also think it’s important to remember that time and just think how far we have come since that day. To me this photograph screams post natal depression. I’m knackered, and drained and probably was still ill (I was recovering from an emergency c section and sepsis), the hideous hormones of the fourth trimester were flying anywhere and everywhere but it’s the fact that that period is supposed get better and for me it didn’t feel like it ever would. Even now it sometimes feels like that but not to the same degree that I felt it in that photo (this is the shred of hope I cling on to). I regret feeling like this now of course. I just wanted to enjoy the time with my baby. Especially then because then I was on maternity leave and it was a meant to be a special bonding time. I remember thinking when I took that photograph ” I should be happy” over and over again. This was the beginning of a definite slide into the worst depression/anxiety I have ever experienced. I was losing /had lost what rubbish ability to breastfeed I had in the first place, I was convinced my breast milk I had managed to give Ewan had given him acid reflux because of all the antibiotics I’d been taking for weeks (reflux he probably did have, acid reflux not really so much thinking back but at the time I was convinced), and probably most upsettingly of all the arguments with the other half started rocketing off the scale. A lot of which was due to my increasing anxiety, and him working silly hours at work didn’t help. Still to my mind the worst question you can ask a mother/parent who has stayed home with a baby and managed to keep them alive all day is “what have you done all day?”. That one is a definite one way ticket to argument city. Fast forward to now, and I am back at work part time, the arguments with OH are less (but still happen, I do hate him a little bit less than those dark days because I have had to learn how to compromise with him all over again-baby=new balls please). I have tried a couple of medications to help with my anxiety but the side effects were too much for me to put up with but I do feel like there are more good days than bad now. I still lose my shit from time to time. Please show me someone who doesn’t. By the power of social media I am finding yout there are lots of people like me, that do what I do, that lose their shit and are tempted to sell their kids (or OH) so by feeling less alone in my feelings helps the healing process. By the same token there are some hideous, heartbreaking stories on the internet. The sanctimummy/mommy brigade, the pictures of perfection, a sleeping baby normally. Of course they are perfect when they’re sleeping-they’re quiet. Massive fan of nap time right here! I am guilty of posting the best of the best on Instagram also. The smiling boy in the bathtub belies the fact that he’s just screamed his head off exorcist style getting his hair washed. They’re all ideals you can’t attain 100% of the time. It’s impossible. Social media really is a double edged sword. Don’t pay any attention to it so why on earth should anyone pay attention to me waffling on. Well it’s up to you I guess! I would urge anyone that is struggling to admit it. There’s plenty of help out there so accept it. There is light at the end of the tunnel as trite as that sounds. This motherhood/parenthood thing is tough. Much more tough that I for one could have ever imagined. My son is the most perfect work of art that I never want to stop looking at, but at the same time he is the reason that I am massively anxious, about everything he does, comparatively or not. I have become helicopter Mum and sometimes it’s not a very good feeling, however there are people/places that can help relieve the feeling. Even if it’s just temporarily. When he was first here I didn’t think I would ever see the day when I’d enjoy going to work. Well I use the term “enjoy” loosely. I kind of like the stepping out of my front door part by myself but that’s as far as it goes….
Anyway I’ll end this by returning to the picture. I wanted to publish it during maternal mental health week on my IG but I didn’t have the guts. I still don’t have the guts now really, and it’s a terrible picture (even worse in colour), so I’m feeling quite lucky that this blog is a bit of a slow burner right now if I’m honest. I would desperately urge anyone feeling low in general to seek help, but especially if you are a parent and you are struggling-don’t carry on struggling by yourself.
#maternalmentalhealth #PND #mentalhealthawareness #postnatalanxiety #depression #anxiety #motherhood #parenthood