9 February 2017

Huge welcome to...

Hi all, today I have a post on mental health and motherhood from Paige (@sweary_mummy

Again, we know how important this subject is and the more we talk about it, quite frankly, the better! Sometimes it takes a lot for these lovely women to come forward and share their story (or even just to write it down) so they deserve a lot of credit for being brave and helping others in doing the same.

Keep going girls and let's kick this taboo subject up the arse! 

Mental health and motherhood 

Mental health and motherhood: three words that people wouldn't use in the same sentence. Why? Because to be a new mother and to have issues with your mental health is deemed to be a shameful thing. I'm here to tell you it is not.

I  stopped keeping my struggle with my mental health a secret a long time ago; I no longer feel shame about my mental illness. Whilst pregnant with my daughter H, I suffered with pre natal depression and extreme anxiety. I remember one of the midwives writing in my notes that I needed to be referred to the mental health team. She didn't discuss this with me before writing it down and I didn't find out until I flicked through my notes when I went home. I was sure that because she hadn't discussed it with me, that it was a secret and someone was going to think I wasn't good enough to be a mum. I was petrified someone would take my baby from me! I ripped that page of my notes out and suffered massively because I so desperately needed help.

H was born at 39 weeks and we spent a week in hospital with her being treated for suspected meningitis. I didn't sleep the whole time we were in because I was convinced I'd fall asleep and wake up and she would have been taken away. H was poorly for the first 6 months of her life with her allergies, GORD and sandifers syndrome and this had a massive impact on my mental health. 

I was diagnosed  with post natal depression when H was 6 months old and I suffered terrible bouts of psychosis, where I was convinced everyone was talking about  how shit I was and plotting against me. At some points I really didn't even want to be here anymore. I contemplated ending it all many times. Some days I would literally be at my wits end by the time R got home. 

I would hand H to him, get in my car, pick a direction and just drive. I tortured myself so much on those drives; I'd think about how much better off they would all be without me, convinced that my baby hated me. I thought about never going back and just disappearing to give them a better life without me in it. I hated myself. I convinced myself I was a terrible mother and I loathed myself for it. It got to the point where I was hurting everyone else around me because I couldn't control the thoughts, like knives, in my head; I was literally driving myself crazy.

I still feel upset and guilty about the things I put R and my family through on my darkest days. I eventually found out about an amazing charity called Pandas and contacted them via Facebook. They helped me along my journey and with the support of my amazing other half, family, friends and my lovely, understanding GP, I started to get better. 

I still suffer with my mental health, but I'm not ashamed of it anymore. I know now that it's OK not to be OK. Let's stop the stigma. Many people with mental health issues are made to feel ashamed. Let's change the way we all think  about mental health; It's OK not to be OK! Don't keep your struggles to yourself. 

If you can relate to any of this and are still suffering in silence, I urge you to seek professional help. You don't need to be scared of your doctor; they will not judge you. You don't need to feel scared about being referred for counselling. You don't need to feel shame or embarrassment about anything to do with your mental health. Your mental health is just as important as physical health. 

If you're reading this and you're thinking 'god this sounds like me,' then I want you to know that the dark times don't last forever; things will start to get easier when you seek help. Bringing up a baby whilst battling with your mental health is fucking hard, but you've GOT this and you're doing awesome!


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