My children have given me a life. They have shown me every emotion under the sun. They have taught me that my poor mother had a lot to deal with even though she had girls, and that my children will never appreciate how hard this job is until they become a parent themselves – if they do!
But they have also given me opportunities. Because without them I wouldn’t have had some of the chances that have come up for me since they’ve been in my life. In fact having kids is like receiving a VIP ticket to a really exclusive and sometimes confusing club!
So it is from this I feel I have a lot to say as a mum and I will say it. And It could offend. And you might be shocked. But from what people have told me that’s quite refreshing!! I don’t lie and I wear my heart on my sleeve.
Postnatal Depression – the good, the bad and the ugly
Apart from learning from an opinionated South African how to express myself I also found that having postnatal depression did something strange to me.
It made me to say the least…… Very expressive….. Somewhat aggressive and errmmmm not a lover of motherhood. Which doesn’t bode well when you become a mum!!
I actually believed that everyone was lying about how wonderful they felt and how much they loved being a mum. How could anyone love something that has changed their life so much. It wakes me up all night, cries a lot, makes a lot of mess and generally requires too much time and attention for my liking. It made me cry, lots, and shout, lots and generally resent life.
It was considered Postnatal Depression.
The negative thoughts consumed me, the black cloud hung over me and even with all my knowledge of complementary therapies nothing could take this feeling away from me. In all honesty there were times so dark in my head, that my husband feared coming home to see if his wife and child would be dead. I was openly miserable. It was no secret. But I really couldn’t understand that no one else felt like this.
22 months later my second child popped along, the negativeness increased. I was totally head over heels in love with my second child but struggled still to accept my first. Which lets face it is never a good recipe for building relationships with your children. In hindsight my first really was still a baby!
Anyway. I plodded along. Still with a black cloud hanging over me and crying at everything. Screaming at everyone. Anybody could have asked me how I felt and I don’t think there would have been a positive comment come out my mouth ever. “Same shit different day” ” groundhog day except it isn’t getting any better”. My standard replies. What a horrid horrid existence and how horrid for my children.
When my children were 3 and 1 I Eventually went on antidepressant. I desperately needed the help. The thing for me was along with PND I suffered a variety of other medical issues. A permanent headache, jaw problems, back pain. I was in and out of consultants offices with issue after issue….. It was mainly stress related, but try telling a depressed person that!! The pills helped take the edge off and lifted the cloud slightly. It’s like a plaster to help heal a wound. But it doesn’t heal you. It’s just protection.
I didn’t take them long as I’m not one to take regular brain altering chemicals. I came off them and decided to try and balance out my hormones naturally.
As the kids got older and more manageable I realised how PND really and truly is a chemical imbalance. There was NOTHING I could do to help this naturally. There was NO amount of talking it over to help answer why I felt like running away. There was no amount of trying to understand why it was targeted towards my poor darling first born. It is a total chemical imbalance!! For me it was time, patience and my job that helped me. Mainly time.
I still suffer with PMT – aka pre-murderous tendencies but its for a short time each month!!!
My life has improved no end. I can say honestly that I no longer suffer with PND. It took nearly 4 years to get over it!! But I feel positive. I adore my children. I feel guilt and sorrow that I have wasted those years feeling so horrid. But I can’t change the past. I can improve the now and the future! It’s doesn’t mean I don’t shout, scream and get irritated. But I definitely know when to switch it on and off and MOST importantly my children and I laugh, hug, cuddle and kiss and generally have a great time together. There is no way that I cant also mention my husband who has been my rock. He has helped my children to turn out to be the well balanced, loving, affectionate children they are today!
There were a few positive things that PND helped me with
1. Disciplining my children guilt free
2. Good sleep routines – I didn’t mind leaving them to cry – guilt free
3. Well adapted and tactile – I had no worries about passing them to anyone who would have them so I didn’t have to deal with them – guilt free!
I did feel that it was shameful to admit how I felt even though it was probably clear to everyone. It was like admitting you’ve failed as a mother so its difficult to talk about when you are in that state. I also realise now that there are many sources of help. In fact there was a Postnatal Illness Support Group near where I lived. But unfortunately only now, whilst through the other side am I able to say I wish I had not been so ashamed and gone for more help.
All I can say is if you feel like I felt or worse, get help. Don’t feel ashamed. Talk about it with a professional who you won’t feel judged by – family and friends might not understand how you feel! And most importantly take the drugs. Take the antidepressants. They will help. It took me way too long to admit I needed them. I felt like I was a failure for admitting I might need them but I may have been able to nip this in the bud earlier and enjoy some of the best and important years of my kids life if I’d owned up to this horrid evil illness.
Here are some links:
http://www.postnatalillness.co.uk (based in Herts)