I first started feeling ‘funny’ when Esther was 5 weeks old. Joe was heading over to Thailand for a week, my mum was coming to stay and although I was sad about Joe going away I was excited about spending a week with mum. The Thursday started out ok but as the day progressed I started feeling really anxious. Joe had to go shopping for wedding stuff so I decided Esther and I should go along. I hadn’t left the house much since Esther had been born except to go to hospital and my GP which was fine at the time but I was pretty excited to get out. It was a nightmare, I still have no idea what set it all off but I found the lights and music suffocating, Esther started crying (which she really never did), the shop attendants were driving me crazy and all I wanted to do was run home. I can be a very stubborn person so I stuck the nightmare out and promptly sobbed all the way home.
What the heck was wrong with me?
I now know it was the beginning of some lovely post natal depression. I was lucky because it freaked me out so much I actually told me GP the next week. She classes me as an under reporter so although I thought I spun a pretty convincing ‘I’m fine now but please keep an eye on me’ she referred me straight on to a psychologist.
I really struggled with all of it. I couldn’t understand why I was having post natal depression. Esther was such a chilled baby, I had been such a chilled mum, I thought PND only happened when your baby never stopped crying, when you were up all night and couldn’t put bub down. Don’t worry, I’m not saying Esther was perfect but she was exactly as I expected… A normal baby.
Depression doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t really matter or help to find a reason why you feel the way you do. Sometimes there isn’t a reason. All I knew was that I felt AWFUL.
My psychologist is awesome. She made me realise that I really was putting a lot of pressure on myself. Without even knowing it I was expecting myself to be like other mums, to be able to do more than I used to do. I was annoyed at myself on the days that I couldn’t keep up with the housework, dinner or look after Esther. I was angry that Joe had to take more time off work when I had continuously been sick after Esther was born. I just had to STOP.
RULES FOR ANY NEW MUMMY (by me)
1: no matter how tempted you are, don’t compare yourself to other mums. Whether it is good or bad stuff… Just don’t do it
2: be kind to yourself, your body has just been through a crazy 9 months topped off with a massive trauma at the end. Don’t expect yourself to function ‘normally’ for a very long time. If you are one of the fortunate ones that can function normally… Than lucky you!!!!
3. Who cares about housework!! For goodness sake, as long you and your baby are clean, fed and alive I think all is ok
4. Communicate with your partner/ husband. Although I like to believe Joe can do everything, he hasn’t quite mastered mind reading yet. I have had to work really hard at letting him in. This is especially difficult on the days when my head is telling me I suck! But it sure does help to share!
5. Get help! If you are feeling any different to how you thought you would, or how you we’re go and see your GP. You don’t have to go through it alone.
6. You are NOT alone!! Once I started opening up about having PND I found a heap of my mummy friends had also suffered it to varying degrees. In some ways people are sort of open about it, but when I was going through it I still felt very alone. Don’t feel ashamed if you are struggling, talk to your family, your friends, a professional…. Doesn’t matter who, just let someone in. Life is so much better when you do it together!
After Joe praying for me and God lifting my depression (yes yes I know that sound stupid but it is totally true) I feel a whole lot better. I still have moments every day when I start to feel ‘funny’ but I find I am better at talking myself around now. Some days it still feels like it is all to much and on those days I sometimes have a ‘poor me day’. I think that’s ok.
This mummy business is hard work but I really wouldn’t change any of it for anything!!!