Me & My Postnatal Depression
I have gone back and forth trying to decipher whether I should post this or not. There was a time where I was too embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I had PND. But, this is the whole point of Perfect Flaw, a place where I lay it all out with no filter right? So, this is me and this is what I have been through…
What is Postnatal Depression?
According to the NHS, it is a type of depression that affects parents after the birth of their child. This does not necessarily have to be their first child, parents can suffer from PND with their subsequent children. Postnatal Depression affects 1 in every 10 women and can even affect fathers also. Women commonly experience baby blues after having a baby, which usually last around 2-4 weeks. Anything lasting longer than that should be monitored a bit more closely.
When did I realise I had Postnatal Depression?
If I’m to be honest, it has taken me up to the beginning of this year to actually accept and admit to myself and others that I did have PND. I was so embarrassed that I would actually refer to my condition as “prolonged baby blues”. I realised something wasn’t right about two months after having my son.
I gave birth to my son five weeks early. I was only about 20% prepared for his arrival at the time. I had left work for maternity leave on the Friday and had him two days later on the Sunday. From the day he was born, life went the100 mph and I felt as though I had no control over it.
What symptoms did I experience?
- Anxiety attacks
- No motivation to leave the house
- Not feeling good enough to befeelin
- Low mood
- Regularly tired and forgetful
- Isolating myself
What was my PND experience like?
Due to my son’s early arrival, I found it hard to adapt because nothing was prepared for him. I was looking forward to those five weeks, so I could prepare for motherhood, buy all the baby things, pack a hospital bag… you know all that stuff. I wanted to be 100% ready or at least as ready as I could be.
After Xion was born, I had everyone telling me that I had to do this and had to do that and have I got this and have I got that. I WAS NO WHERE NEAR READY FOR BEING A MUM AT THAT POINT! It was like can we hit the pause button somewhere because all of this is too much right now. I had spent so long working my butt off and saving money, those last five weeks were for me to finally get my head around what was happening. It sounds selfish to say but I felt and still feel that it was stolen from me, I never experienced the preparation segment, I just got thrown into the deep-end immediately. Many times I became angry at Xion, then realised it wasn’t his fault, so I’d be angry at myself for thinking I can do so much whilst pregnant and as a result have my body cave in on me and cause me to have my baby early. Then I’d displace that anger on to God because he is in control and why would he put me through this? Then I’d feel guilty for even being angry, period, and this cycle along with many others would rotate numerously in my mind and before you know it, my anxiety is at an all time high and I’m sat there having a panic attack.
My support system was not it’s greatest, if I’m to be entirely honest. I would not say I did not have people around who could help. It was more that I did not have anyone around who I felt comfortable enough to talk to about what I was going through. And when I did try, not no one really got it.
I was thrown into a new family, who are lovely, but I was not at a level within myself or with them, to be entirely open about what I was dealing with.
Being a born and bred Bristolian meant that my immediate family and closest friends were far away from me. I would regularly travel there but didn’t want to use the rare time I have with them to talk about my issues because being with them was like an escape from what was going on.
My partner could only help as much as he could but he never really got it either and to be fair, at the time, he was adjusting to his transition from Boy to Man, Man to Father, taking on the role of the supporter, provider, thinking twice about his actions etc. So unfortunately during this time we clashed a hell of alot.
My living conditions weren’t great? I lived in a room in a shared house with horrible neighbours and a heartless landlord.
I really just felt as though I was in a limbo. So it’s safe to say I was at an all time low and this was one of the loneliest times of my life.
How did PND affect the bond with my son?
I am grateful that my bond with Xion was good, I just felt that he deserved. I am kind of contradicting myself because I do feel as though I failed him. I could have done so much more with him when I compare what I do with Jahzara. But rather than beat myself up about it, I have had to accept that I was at two different places in life when having my kids. I just wanted him to come into this world with everything prepared and laid out for him but instead it was a whole lot of disorganisation and a mum with a frazzled mind and no one to talk to. I wish I wasn’t so focussed on my surroundings after Xion’s but that’s so much easier said than done.
How did I overcome PND?
I got to a point where I just couldn’t live like this anymore. The first thing I did was go to the doctors, who confirmed it was PND but wanted me to be assessed properly beissuing me with antidepressants. What bothered me was his answer was before issuing me with antidepressants, after listening to everything I said, after baring it all out with no filter….,. I was offered antidepressants. That’s it. Do not get me wrong, each to their own, but I personally did not feel antidepressants was the answer for me. I wanted guidance, someone to speak with. The fact that pills was his answer only showed me that I was of no importance to him. I went home and made the decision to take my life into my own hands, it wasn’t easy but I was determined to shift this mood, it wasn’t healthy for me and especially for Xion.
I went back to the gym. To get back into shape and feel better about myself with those happy endorphins.
2. Everyday Positivity
At the end of everyday I would write something positive about the day. Even if I had the crappiest day ever I had to write something positive at the end of everyday.
Although, many times, I did not know what to say or felt as though I was not being listened to, I prayed more asking for strength, clarity and guidance at this time in my life.
Although I do write anyway, I started to write my feelings down more regularly. This was oh so very helpful and after every entry I felt weight was lifted off of my shoulders.
5. Stopped with People
I found after Xion was born certain “friends” showed themselves even certain “family members” and I took it to heart so much so that I became hateful. I decided to let all of that go. Anyone in my life who was did not add to it had to go because having them around only made life harder for me. I needed to br around people I could count on.
It took a while…. a long while… a lot of times I felt like I had taken five steps forward and ten steps back. But eventually, I would wake up more positive, be more positive and think more positively.
Dealing with PND, I don’t like to say suffered from, taught me to become more resilient when dealing with hardships. This has helped, especially this year, after the birth of my second child my life became difficult not only was I adapting to the role of being a mum of two, I also had to endure some hardships which arose within my family and that brought me to a very low place in my life… again. But I was able to get a hold of myself much quicker and get out of that hole…. which I’m still getting out of lol.
What I have learnt is consistency is really the key. It is so easy to have a good couple of weeks of positivity and think the coast is clear to relax and think the worst is over. But no, the trick is to keep on doing whatever it is that made you better and then some.
I am not speaking about my experience for any type of gain other than letting other women know that PND is a real thing, it is not something to be ignored or treated as some kind of disease. Most importantly, it is normal and you are not abnormal or a bad mum for feeling the way you do or have done in the past.
I felt to share my story because I do not think any mother should be ashamed to have experienced or dealt with any kind of depression. This mum life is a whole other world and definitely not for the faint hearted. Imagine starting a new job, you only know the basis of the job, they give you your desk and a computer login and leave you to do the rest….. Well yes that’s motherhood in a nutshell. There’s no manual to this, so of course it can be mental strain, of course you can ask yourself is this really for me? Of course you can be angry or frustrated and what is happening. However, like I have said in my previous posts on dealing with hardships, please find help whether it be self help, antidepressants, a therapist, a friend, family member etc… ensure you find something or someone and do not allow PND to consume you. PND is not expected, it comes out of no where for many reasons, it doesn’t mean you are unable to cope with motherhood or a bad mother.
I still have bad days and boy are they bad. But my option are to either have a bad day or let that bad day consume me so much that I have a bad week. It is my choice.
I feel as though I’m rambling so I will finish with a quote that really helped me whilst I had PND and also helps me now whenever I am having a bad day.
“It is not a bad life, it is just a bad day.”
Thank you for reading…
Until next time…
P.S Please see below, useful links that may help yourself or anotber who is dealing with postnatal depression.