0

My Journey Begins

How do you begin to write about yourself? Where do you start? What do you think others will want to know?

How do you start to write about how sad you are?

So, a little about me. I’m 30 and I have a 15 week old son. He is the most beautiful little boy I have ever seen, and he is an absolute dream. He came into the world pretty early and pretty quick, and we weren’t quite ready for his arrival but I guess he just couldn’t wait any longer to meet us! My partner and I have been together for three years and we couldn’t wait to start planning for our family. He is an amazing man and an absolutely incredible Dad. There is no way I could have gotten through this new journey without him.

I have heard about PND (post-natal depression) but never in a million years did I think it would happen to me. I still find it hard to come to the fact that I am a sufferer, especially when I have such a beautiful baby boy.

But that’s the problem isn’t it? I couldn’t let myself believe that I had it. I had a responsibility now, a new role as a mum. I didn’t have time to feel sad. I didn’t have time to think about what I needed to do for myself. I always knew that it was going to be tough. I knew there would be sleepless nights, countless hours of trying to figure out why my baby was crying, hourly feeding and remembering to eat myself. But, I never knew how much it would affect me both mentally and emotionally.

I put it down to sleep deprivation as to why I felt the way I did. Trying to stay positive when the feeling of fatigue was slowly taking over my entire body. The long days of trying to look after a tiny human and feeling like I’m just talking to a wall.  My partner was constantly asking if I was OK and if I needed help with the baby, but I always convinced him that everything was fine.  I was trying to convince myself that everything was fine.

It’s a hard thing to try and accept. Did it mean that I wasn’t cut out to be a mum? Why wasn’t I good at this? It’s MY baby, I made him, surely this should make me feel euphoric?

I can’t remember when I broke. I think that when my partner asked me for the umpteenth time if I was OK, I gave up. I just couldn’t lie to myself and to him any longer. It was draining trying to pretend.  That’s when things went even more so down hill.

The day I admitted to him how sad I really was, I sat down with a glass of wine and wrote out two pages of what made me sad. Writing that down proved that there was something wrong. Why did two pages of my life make me sad? How could that have happened? What made me feel worse was how could I fix it? If I hadn’t of written these things down, then I would not have had to face them. Now I had to. Now that my partner knew, there was no way I could get out of it. Things would have to change.

There were times were I really had to think and ask myself if I did want things to change, surely it was just because I was so tired and I was just being dramatic and wanting some adult attention. But no, it was 100% depression and I had to face it. I had a baby. He needed me. I needed him.

Now that my partner was aware, I think I started to feel worse. I should have felt better, but I used him to take the baby when I had had enough. Someone to take the baby so I could just go away and cry. Someone who would play with the baby, make him smile and laugh. Because I couldn’t. I would watch him and think why I couldn’t be like that. I loved my baby more than anything, why didn’t I want to show him. I used my partner to give our baby the positivity and happiness that I couldn’t. And that’s what made me feel worse. Before, I would force myself be happy. I would force myself to give my baby some fun stimulation, but now I had an excuse, that when my partner was home, he would do it.

He would always insist that I spoke to someone, always trying to get me to call the health visitor but I wouldn’t. I believed that I could do this by myself.

And I did try. But the days I tried, the nights were awful. I would sit and cry as I fed my baby and while my partner slept. I would sit and think why did this happen to me? Why do I feel like this? Will it ever go away?

Most of time I didn’t even admit to my partner how bad some nights were. I hid my sadness as I was scared I would upset him and I wanted him to think that I was OK and I was getting better.

I couldn’t tell anyone. I didn’t want everyone to know that I was failing. When friends asked how we were getting on, I lied . I lied so much, I nearly started to believe myself. That was until we got home, it was just me and the baby, and reality hit. Here we go again, just me and a tiny human that I have to do everything for. I tried to make plans with friends because at least then I could talk to an adult about normal life and listen to their stories about their lives without talking baby. It was something I looked forward to. When they would cancel, it would set me back and then have another ridiculously sad filled day. It wasn’t their fault, they had no idea what was going on as I pretended my life was great, they didn’t know that cancelling our plans made me sit straight back in my huge seat of depression.  It was then that I realised I needed my mum.

Opening up to mum made things feel a bit better, I didn’t let on how bad things really were, but I think she secretly knew. Talking about some things did feel like a weight (a very small weight) had been lifted and I could see the tiny light at the end of the tunnel. But again, I was still convincing myself that this would one day go away on it’s own .

I had countless conversations about PND, and how many woman suffer from it, and what needed to happen to make changes. The thing was, was that I needed to make these changes , I needed to own up to this depression and start making a life for my son. I needed to be the mother that he needed me to be. I started looking online as to what I had to do to sort this out. There were pages and pages and this then became overwhelming so I stopped. Then started the vicious circle of my emotions again. I felt like I was fighting a losing battle, but still wouldn’t open up.

My sister, my best friend, was next to know. Now three people knew and again I felt too much pressure to make things better. She however had spent time and sent me links to self-help sites and I never felt pressure to read them. If I’m honest, I didn’t want to read them, I had no motivation to do anything anymore. When baby slept, I wasted time watching TV or reading magazines. My energy levels had pretty much disappeared and I didn’t really care anymore. However, one link I did read. I read from start to finish.

So today, I am starting “31 days of self-love”, and this is my journey.

0

Day Thirty One

Day Thirty One

“We all make mistakes, sometimes terrible, horrible, life-changing mistakes, but remember, that’s what makes you human and it’s okay. Know that”.

From the first day I started feeling weird, a bit like I was on a different planet, somewhere that I wasn’t fit to be in, I thought I had made a mistake. Why was it OK that I had a baby and was going to bring him up in a world where I didn’t understand, where I didn’t know of what I was doing was right. Why would I do that to him? Why would I allow that to happen ? Surely that is absolutely unfair to the little , tiny human that should have the best in life. And I couldn’t do that for him. I wasn’t going to be the Mum he deserves. He deserved the best. The best mum in the world. And I just wasn’t that.

WHAT AM I DOING?!!! WHAT AM I DOING WRONG??!!! HELP MEEEEE!!!

Since writing this blog, I have grown so much as a person . And so much as a new Mum. I have undoubtedly had the best year of my life, and also the most hardest, most terrifying year of my life. I admit , there have been times where I wanted to give up. Where I wanted to hand my baby back. Because I felt like I wasn’t good enough. And I did want what was best for my son. And at the time I wasn’t that.

My little solider is now a year old. A YEAR OLD! And he is the most happiest , smiliest, funniest little human I have ever met. And that’s because of me.

I admit there have been times where I have made countless mistakes , because everything was new. I had never done this before. And that’s what scared me. I hadn’t had this confidence before . I hadn’t had this knowledge before.

I mean there are still times where I have to take a step back and think oh my god what am I doing?! Because I am still learning. And I have to remind myself that I have done a fucking good job this past year. Through all the tears and meltdowns , through all the door slamming and near walk outs, we have done the best we can. And that is what counts.

I feel so proud of myself. I am so proud of my partner who has put up with all my shit and helped and guided me through this. I am so proud of my son. I am proud of our family.

We will continue to make mistakes as that is what life is. We make them and we learn from them. And that is what this past year has taught me. And that’s what has made me stronger. And happier.

PND will always be there. I still have days where I want to do a runner or hide in a hole for a week. But I now have the strength to battle past that.

Writing has saved me. Writing down and sharing my story has helped me. And I hope that I have helped other mums out there who have felt the same way I did. And I want you to know that it is OK to feel the way you do. Because you are only human. We have feelings that we can’t control and don’t understand. And it is scary. But, there is help out there . Stay strong, speak out and be brave. You can do it.

0

What is sleep?

At 4.30 this morning I was losing the sleep battle. Do I get up? Is this the start of my day already ?? Being kicked in the head at that time of day was not what I signed up for.

Usually my little man is pretty good at sleeping. He goes to his bed and then comes in with us in the middle of the night and that’s that.

The poor little mite has a cold. He couldn’t settle because he couldn’t breathe. He woke up when his dummy fell out. He woke up when his dummy was put back in. At times he wasn’t even awake, he was just having a little disco between me and his dad. Haha. A little disco, who am I kidding. It was a fucking rave. Resulting in feet, hands or head being bashed at either one of us.

I literally feel like a zombie.

Sleep deprivation really is the worst.

I remember being told when I was pregnant to “get enough sleep in, you’ll be up all the time when the baby arrives blah blah blah “, “make sure you rest blah blah blah” , “sleep blah blah blah”, ” BLAH BLAH BLAH”.

Sleeping when pregnant ?!! Seriously . What does that even mean ?! I can’t remember feeling comfortable, ever! That was probably worse than it is now! How ever many pillows I shoved around myself didn’t stop the kicks in my ribs, bum, my entire body.

“Nap when the baby naps, blah blah blah”, “try and relax when the baby is down, blah blah blah”, “BLAH BLAH BLAH”. All a load of bollocks. I wish I could sleep during the day. But who will come and do the chores? Oh yeah I forget, the fucking chore fairy.

I love my son sooo much. And I do feel for him when he’s poorly and not feeling himself. But he really is a devil when it comes to the lack of sleep.

The fact is that now it’s 8.30am and he’s wanting a nap .. why didn’t you just sleep longer earlier ?!

I’m never going to understand it.

0

Day Thirty

Day Thirty .

“Watch what you say to, and about, other people. Don’t buy into gossiping and bullying. Create a loving atmosphere around yourself. Let love shine through”.

I’m not very confident about taking about my PND or my anxiety as I get embarrassed. I get embarrassed because I’m afraid. I’m afraid of what other people will think of me. Of what they will say to other people about me. So I tend to keep very private about what’s going on in my head. I try to stay strong in front of others to, I guess, prove to myself that everything is OK. So there won’t be any gossiping. And I expect there actually isn’t any gossiping but I just can’t and won’t believe that.

I’m not one for bullying. Never have , and never will. Bullys are weak people and it’s sad. So I have stayed well clear of all of that.

But I guess I kind of bully myself. And as I keep so quiet about everything , it builds up and I begin to doubt myself. Why do I do that? Am I really that sad? Am I that stupid? I argue with myself. Should I have been that bit braver ? No. Because I’m not brave. I’m weak.

This past year has been a huge struggle. A struggle that I have tried to be strong. A struggle that I am proud to say that I’m nearly overcoming . But I still can’t help but think about everything. And wonder why I do the things I do, or don’t do for that matter.

So I am very careful about what I say and who I say what to. Because I want to beat this and I can’t let my anxiety take over and think about who’s saying what about me and why. And that’s why I keep quiet.

I’m my own battle.

It’s a never ending cycle I suppose . But one where I can actually , finally see the end.

I must be stronger and try not to worry if people do gossip. I have a mental illness and that’s OK. I should be able to speak about it. Because it actually helps. And the people who I talk to, I know won’t gossip, who won’t joke that I’m flakey , and a little unhinged, who I know that have my back.

And I’m happier most when I’m with these people because I love them, and they love me. And they’re the people that are helping me get better.

1

Day Twenty Nine

Day Twenty Nine.

“Don’t judge your beauty by the number on the scale. You are sexy and beautiful no matter what your size. End of story. Believe it, beautiful”.

So, I weighed myself for the first time since having a baby. 10 months on. And even though I have lost pretty much all of my baby weight, I’m still not happy.

Having a baby changes so much . So many things that I’m not used to. So many things for me to worry about. To be self conscious about.

I know and I realise that I should be so proud of what I’ve achieved . I made a human and that is the greatest achievement ever and I am 100% proud of it. However , I can not come to the fact that my body changed.

It is a daily struggle choosing what to wear, especially if I am going outside and being seen in public. I have real bad social anxiety so body awareness is huge for me. I care so much about what others think and how I am and how I look. It makes day to day life hard for me.

My partner , now fiancé (proposed at Christmas , thank you!) has been and always is an amazing support and tries to reassure me pretty much all day every day that I’m beautiful . And I shouldn’t shy away from it.

You can always tell people how you think they’re beautiful but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll believe it too. And then when you hear it too often , you start to actually doubt it. You just can’t win.

I look in the mirror and it hurts. I have tried really hard to get where I am today. I exercised every day for months. I have tried to eat as well as I could. I walk rather than drive. And yet I’m still seeing bits wobble around that weren’t there before, that Just. Won’t. Budge.

I am so, so proud of what my body did to make the perfect little human I have today. And I really must learn to love every single inch of it. And I am trying. I am trying really hard.

This year has been a huge challenge for me. Nothing is easy and I’ve had to work at what I’ve achieved. I know I will get there, one step at a time. And I will love my body again however it looks. Because at the end of the day, I have to thank it for doing what it can, as without it, my little solider wouldn’t be the perfect son I have today.

So above everything, I thank you body, for being amazing. And I’m sorry I don’t love you the way I should right now, but I will. I promise.

0

Day Twenty Eight

Day Twenty Eight.

“Make boundaries. Trying to please everyone will not make you feel nourished or happy. Set your boundaries and stick to them. Best thing you can do for yourself”.

I’ve had anxiety for as long as I can remember . I most probably had it as soon as I came out of the womb. So I’ve always been a very reserved person, which means I have boundaries for everything.

One of my biggest fears is socialising. Socialising especially with people I do not know. So I set boundaries to not do that. Not to push myself too far . And it’s difficult . Especially since having a baby. There are so many baby groups it’s unreal. I said from the beginning that I’ll try. I’ll try and go to at least one group. Try and make new friends .

I never have.

We go to Water Babies every week which I suppose counts .. and I struggle every single week. It takes me at least four days to the run up of actually going to calm myself . We’re on our third term and I still can’t really cope with it all. But I go. Even though my mum comes along with me. I know how much she enjoys coming , but I need that person close to me, near by. And that is enough for me.

Today I went to a baby Christmas party. By myself. It was fucking terrifying. The friend I was originally going with had to unfortunately cancel, and instead of my usual “phew, I can stay in and hide from everyone”, I went. By myself. And oh my God I panicked. I over stepped my usual boundaries . Because I wanted to do it for my son. He had a Christmas jumper he was just eager to wear (he told me obviously..) and there was free cake.

It was tough. I didn’t know anyone and my little man was a bit sleepy. But, he played and seemed to actually enjoy himself. He had a free gingerbread man which he was just ecstatic about and there was Christmas music and lights and oh so many toys.

Sometimes I have to go over my usual boundaries not because I have to, because I want to. I want to do things for my son. I want him to enjoy every little thing possible. And I know how much he loves gingerbread , so obviously we had to go today!

However nerve wracking it was , I can say that I went . I went by myself . We played , we ate , we had fun. And I can be proud about what I did today. It’s another tick off the list. Even though I burst into tears as soon as we left, I am proud of myself.

Probably won’t do anything like that for a while… but for the meantime I can say that I did something mentally challenging , I beat my anxiety for just that moment and I watched my son enjoy his party. Our party.

0

Day Twenty Seven 

Day Twenty Seven. 

“Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Break down those walls and barriers every now and then and let others in. Don’t hide. Don’t suppress. Let love in”.

Every day I feel vulnerable . I mean, I still don’t know what I’m doing. Every day is new. Every day is different. Every day is a bit hard. But, every day is good. 

I have very tall , thick walls surrounding me. And in all honesty sometimes I feel more comfortable leaving them there. It’s easier for everyone. Once a brick falls off, I want to instantly put it back. It opens up a problem. An issue. Something I don’t want to address. 

But, these past few months I have tried so hard to let other bricks fall. I am in a much better place and I have to remind myself that it’s OK that I still have days that are a bit hard and I can talk about it with others, especially my partner. 

There was a time where I felt alone. Where my wall was so high that it was dark. Because I mentally couldn’t let anyone in. I had left it too long and I had given up. 

I thank my partner for everything. He finally got me to believe that I wasn’t alone. I did have people who were around to help. Who loved me. Who wanted to help to make it brighter for me. 

I hid away for so long and even thinking about it makes my heart ache. Why did I do that to myself? Why did I do that to my son? Why did I do that to everyone who cares for me? 

Because I was ill. Because I didn’t understand what was happening to me. Because I was embarrassed. I was ashamed and I was hurting. So I hid. 

I can admit now that even though I feel so much better, I do still have those days where my vulnerability takes it’s toll and I feel weak and useless. But, all I can do is keep going. 

My little solider is nearly 9 months old. He is an absolute character and he makes my world so much brighter. He makes me let love in and keep it there. He shows me that it’s OK to feel vulnerable at times, who’s more vulnerable than him right now? I have to show him how the world works. What it means to be happy and to be loved. 

I honestly can not thank my family and friends enough who have been there and helped me through this difficult time. I didn’t seek any medical help. I self helped. I have used the love around me to help. And I don’t think I would have had it any other way. 

0

Day Twenty Six

Day Twenty Six.

“Not happy with your life? Do something to change it. Start small, be brave , and be happy. Your happiness (or unhappiness) is all up to you and no one else”.

I wasn’t happy for a long time. I didn’t know why. I didn’t understand why. I had no idea how it happened and if it was ever going to get better.

I had many dark days. Many days where I really thought that this was it. This was how it was going to be. This was how my life was going to be for the rest of my life.

Why?

Why was I so unhappy?

I had never felt this way before. It was strange, it was confusing, it hurt.

The first few weeks after my baby arrived were undoubtedly the best weeks of my life. I had made a tiny human and he was perfect. He had a perfect little nose. Perfect little toes. A perfect little baby noise. Our family was complete and it was really, truly perfect.

We were all happy.

So why when he was two months old did everything suddenly seem wrong?

I cried all the time.

I hid away all the time.

Going outside was near impossible.

I had always thought that PND happened pretty much as soon as the baby popped out. I never thought it could have happened that much later on. I never thought it could have happened to me.

Hiding away my feelings made everything 10 times worse .

And I was to blame for it. I was to blame for everything. I made myself unhappy. I didn’t talk. I didn’t open up. I mean, who really wanted to talk to me about my mundane problems ? No one wanted to hear that. I didn’t even want to hear about it , especially out loud.

But I did.

I had so many people around me that offered so much support. And eventually I took it. My friends and family have been , and are all amazing. Without them I don’t think I would be where I am today. My partner has been my absolute rock. He has helped me overcome my bad thoughts , my bad days. And I can now be brave enough, be confident enough to open up, be honest and talk . Not just to him, but to anyone.

And it was the best thing I could have ever done.

My little solider is nearly 9 months old and I can finally admit that I am better. I am happy.

It’s so hard to admit that I have a mental health problem. Because some days I still don’t really believe it. It’s still there, niggling at the back of my mind. But it’s at the back, and when it creeps forward a bit. I have to talk about it. I have to beat it.

I’m happy . And I’m going to stay happy.

It’s been a long journey. It’s been a tough journey. But I’m nearly there.

My baby boy is the most beautiful thing in the world. He makes me so, so happy. I make him so, so happy. We have the best time together ever. And these times make me forget the bad times.

I mean, I’ll never forget what happened. It’s all been a part of our journey together. And it’s made me the Mum I am today.

A good one.

A proud one.

A confident one.

A brave one.

A fucking happy one.