Updated: Nov 7, 2019
Mr Sun Sun Mr Golden Sun , shine your light down on me. I have a friends (s) who sing this to their wee ones to get them to smile. And it works Im pleased to say . But it also is how I am feeling. It has been a long time coming to write this blog as before , being in the middle of the storm , I couldn't. Wanted to but couldn't. You see I was under a black cloud, it was always raining, emotionally and mentally in my head and I live in Northern Ireland as some of you know so it really was for the past year of my and my child's life !
What I mean to say is coupled with the rainey day feeling of stuck inside, I felt that inside myself too. I didn't want to go out , to get dressed or even bother with myself. Now don't get me wrong this never filtered down to my child , she was washed, fed, dressed and entertained. But when she was occupied by either sleeping or playing I took a turn for the worse. I felt like because I was feeling so useless and hopeless at being a mother I was constantly letting her down , that anyone was better than me to be with her. That she knew every sec of the day that I should be better, her food should be more organised, tasty , not as repetitive. Her days should be more filled, I should be playing games, always attentive, always up! I felt like a lazy mum , doing the bear minimum just to get by. As a nanny there was expectation and pressure to be up to someone else standards, when left to my own devises they slipped, fecking off the cliff we all feel like we are standing on as parents.
Yes, Mums I had surpassed the baby blues and fallen head first periodically in to Post natal depression. And it sucks. It really does, when the cloud descends over you , it's a struggle to breathe at times. You are crying inside all the time, outside when you can and often in public, constantly in private. I can lose track of time, stare in to the abyss for minutes that could be hours or hours that feel like minutes. I don't sleep even when my baby is ( and actually look forward to her waking in the night so I will feel a purpose by nursing her or resettling her ) Im not interested in food but can't stop eating. The pressures of society on my mind and body is immense. Im not bouncing back ( see food intake ) which leads me down the rabbit hole of feeling fat and frumpy, ugly with no will power. Im overwhelmed and can't admit that Im not coping as I was ''that nanny'' and I do know what Im doing (bloody degree in it ) if you know what I mean. But I myself don't know what Im doing, I know better. Why do I feel like this, physically , my body hurts me, see blog about C section. Im not doing it any favours either. Just how long does the excuse I just had a baby hold water till you really have to admit that you are dong this to yourself. And why do we call it an excuse, it's a valid point ? You have just made another human... Emotionally, Im a mess , on that hormone roller coaster. Mentally, Im yelling at myself as I flip flop every justification for feeling this way and slapping myself out of it.
Now I do say periodically , as in a way makes it worse, if it was all the time , I could be brave enough to say I am suffering and get what ever help is out there. It is every so often, crippling doubt days . Sometimes for days, sometimes just hours. Which makes it hard. Like now , it's a good day , its been a good day for about a fortnight. I don't know when these good days will end or if Im out from literally under the weather. (sticking with this metaphor ) I have been researching it , once my husband said , honey I think you have PND ( post natal depression ) . So obviously wasn't hiding it as well as I thought. All mothers ,,,,,,,, Ill let that sink in , ALL MOTHERS, suffer from this at some point in the first year of motherhood. There is something that they don't tell you . The HV asking you in the first few months to fill in happiness questioners. I was fine then ! I had just had a baby and she was beautiful , I was surfing the oxytocin wave. Its now as I enter the last months of the first year that I am crashing. No one warned me about that !! But yes ALL of us will have one or two or all of the PND symptoms at some stage and of some sort. YAHH ( sarcastic laugh ) . Kind reassuring that we are all in this together, if you know what I mean. Others have survived, we will too.
But to help you out , the research also says that there is official help out there, drugs and counselling etc and if you feel you need it , get it. But here are ways to make your days sunnier if you will. And I am trying them ....
Get outside, rain or sun , ( pun intended) fresh air for you to be able to breathe is a life saver, and I don't mean just in and out. Really breathe and push out all the negativity , thoughts, vibes, feelings, imagine them a poison expelling from your body
Do some thing for yourself , go to the gym , get nails done , Im doing pilates, good for relaxation, fitness ( see food intake above ) and company
Which Segways nice in to talk to someone ... even if its about the weather ( again ~Im running with this metaphor ) You will be surprised that they either have noticed your down and didn't want to say anything , or know exactly how you're feeling, if you are brave enough to admit it out loud that this wasn't shaping up as a good day. Partners can be good for the shoulder to cry on , mine just let me cry... didn't need to say anything , I just needed a cry .
Accept every invitation. Other mums are at different stages of PND in their first year so when you're having the bad day they are having a good day so can pull you out of slump inadvertently.
Get organised if you can get one thing in your day done , you will feel an achievement. There is a wonderful guide to doing that called 30 minute Mum. It tells you to have list and only do something for thirty minutes. So do the linen cupboard. Book that holiday, write that blog that you have been putting off !
Have a list like above , write a list of the things you need to do that day , eat breakfast can be one of them, then get on with your day and start crossing things off. When the clouds do crowd in and you feel like you are pinned down , distraction can be keys to pushing them aside. Heck having a shower gets one off the list and we all know the power of a shower can have. At night, have a bath, works even better wonders.
We put so much pressure on ourselves, society intentionally and inadvertently heap pressure on us. It is no wonder that we wobble here and there. We can get trapped under the weather of expectation. But It's ok not to be ok once in a while. We need to remember to give ourselves permission to stop , acknowledge that we are suffering, wallow in it , work thorough it and come out the other side. Let positivity, optimism, support and good vibes blow it all away. Now if the real weather can get on board and I could get some real vitamin D !! I would really be happier.
Heck who am I kidding as I said Im in Northern Ireland , Im putting on my wellies and jumping in the puddles. Make the best of the situation !!