If there is one thing that I have never been shy to speak about, it’s my struggle with post natal depression. It took me by complete surprise after I had Aria; not because I didn’t think that I would get it, but more because the symptoms weren’t what I expected. You can read more about that over here.
Since having Aria, more and more conversations about post natal depression have started to happen and I cannot applaud loud enough. More and more women that feel comfortable sharing their experiences are speaking out, making other mom’s feel less alone and less like a failure, because dealing with post natal depression doesn’t make you either of those.
Having already dealt with PND with Aria, I had sort of resigned myself to the fact that I would be fighting the same dragons after having Maia… but I was wrong… sort of. If you read my first post you’ll remember that I said that post natal depression manifests itself differently in everyone, which is why it took me so long to catch it after I had Aria. Well I experienced a completely different type of post natal depression this time around.
I could tell that I was short tempered, but I put it down to being a little bit sleep deprived and dealing with both a baby and a toddler. The weeks passed by and I didn’t seem to be any less angry. I was snapping at Aria unnecessarily, and poor Dan was in the dog box constantly for no good reason. But still, I didn’t think that I was suffering from post natal depression again, in my mind I was just adjusting and not getting enough sleep (even though Maia was technically sleeping through).
When Maia was about 3 months old I started I started to have little episodes of intense self doubt and self loathing. It would get to the point of me convincing myself that I should pack up and leave and that Dan and the girls would be better off without me, that I was a terrible mother. It’s a bit difficult to explain but it was like my mind was arguing with itself; one minute it was beating me down, telling me that I was failing as a mother; and the next minute it was fighting back, telling me to be logical and that I was being absolutely silly. It came to a crux while we were away on a short holiday; I was bashing myself so much as a mother that I was too scared to go to sleep, worried that the thoughts would get even worse if I closed my eyes. Dan and I stayed up most of that night talking, I could tell that he was incredibly worried and even though deep down I knew that I needed to go and see my doctor, I decided to give myself two more weeks to try to sort myself out.
Two weeks came and two weeks went, and although I wasn’t as self deprecating, I still wasn’t in a great space and I was still extremely short tempered. One Friday morning I had just finished feeding Maia and all the “you’re a terrible mother” thoughts came flooding in and reduced me to tears. Now those that know me know that I never ever ever cry, I’m just not an overly emotive person. But there I was sitting in the lounge, sobbing. I decided then and there to call my doctor and make an appointment. She was able to see me that afternoon and prescribed a low dose anti-depressant.
Within two days I could feel that “the cloud” had lifted. I didn’t feel as angry and my self esteem was starting to increase. Being on medication just took the edge off. It made me feel like I was completely capable and that I wasn’t wrecking my kids; something that I had been continuously anxious about.
I’ve been on my anti depressants for about two months now and the difference that I feel, although subtle, is life changing. My relationship with Dan is so much better, my relationship with my kids is healthier and I feel like a functioning, capable woman, wife and mother.
Motherhood is challenging and there are some really tough moments, but for me there was always a little voice telling me that something was wrong, that I shouldn’t feel the way that I was. I’m so glad that I finally listened, that I went to my doctor and that I picked up a script for anti depressants. It was difficult to put my pride aside and do it, it was tough admitting to my husband the horrible thoughts that I was having and it wasn’t easy admitting to myself that I needed help but at the end of the day, the state of my mental health doesn’t only have an effect on me, it has a knock on effect on my husband and my kids and that’s more than enough reason for me to make sure that my state of mind is a healthy and happy one.
Do I still have tough days? Of course! In fact today hasn’t been a great one; I’ve had little to no sleep, Maia is teething and Aria is being overly emotional. But the difference is that I won’t go to bed tonight slamming myself for being a terrible mother.
I never really know how to end these posts off so I’ll just say this; if you feel like anything is amiss, like you aren’t really yourself, that it’s more than just baby blues; please make an appointment to see your GP of psychologist if you have one. The relief that you will feel once you are on the road to recovery is indescribable, and you deserve to feel like the amazing mother that you are.