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.