Bad Mum

Magazine

8 September 2017

My Story


My PND began, I now know, whilst in labour with my first child. As a first time mum I had grand ideas about a wonderful peaceful home birth, it was all planned, pool in the lounge ready to go. In reality I laboured at home for 3 days, used the pool but the baby couldn’t be monitored so was moved out like a beached whale and ended up being shifted to hospital during Monday morning rush hour…… anyway after a very difficult and quite frankly traumatic birth I had my boy. My heart was lifted and all was fabulous or so I thought.
We returned home less than 12 hours later with our beautiful baby and things began to fall apart. I couldn’t breast feed which I had planned on doing all along, I received no help, so I gave up. In my head this was the first fail.

My son had allergies but it took months to diagnosed, not for want of trying and going to the doctors every day, or so it felt, calling the health visitor for support and getting none, we were told in the end if we weren't happy we should take him to A&E and let them look at him, we did, we were told go away you're first time parents, babies cry.  Let me tell you my boy didn't just cry he screamed 14 hours a day until he could scream no more, I felt like a failure, I felt like I should never have become a mother.  In my head this was my second fail.
I held in all the feelings I had because my priority wasn’t me anymore it was looking after my poor screaming child, we knew he wasn’t happy but we were turned away again and again by doctors telling us he was just a baby, babies cry, we’re first time parents so we just didn’t understand. I did however understand that a baby shouldn’t scream 14 hours a day and I shouldn’t have felt like I wasn’t a good mum.
Eventually my little boy got the right diagnosis and he stopped screaming and we finally managed to start enjoying our baby and life as a new family. However for me it was just a mask, I still felt like I wasn’t a good mum, like I’d failed him and me. I had no one to talk to about how I was feeling. I didn’t think my husband would understand, and having moved away from my family and friends years previous, I felt alone.  I started to feel trapped by my feelings so eventually I had made an art form of not going out, there was always a reason why I couldn’t do x y or z. Then eventually after so many “sorry I cants” people stop asking. I went on like this for a good long time until one day I just snapped.
It was over nothing, a silly little thing that shouldn't have even been something I'd usually think about, but really it was over everything, all the feelings I had bottle up all the times I felt like I couldn't speak out and ask for help.  I felt like my life had come crashing down but it also felt like such a relief to have a complete melt down because it meant it was all finally out in the open.
By "it" I now know that was my demon, my anxiety, my depression.  My PND.
I’m still not recovered, I’m still on medication and I still have those “sorry I cant” days, but they are a lot less than they ever were, I still doubt myself as a mum too, especially now, as we went on and had another baby 18 months after our first so I am trying to cope with a toddler and a baby but I have found that you don’t always need someone physical to talk to.  I’ve found there are mums out there that are feeling exactly how I am, I have found solace in online friends, other mums and PND sufferers who can 100% understand how I’m feeling that can offer advice and even examples and experiences of how they coped.

I’m not knocking the meds or doctors or therapy because I believe it’s a mixture of all these things can help.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be brave enough to come off the meds, I don’t know if I’ll ever be free of the black days, but I know I am not alone and I know it’s important to keep talking and to keep other women going too, because we need to be there for one another, motherhood isn’t a competition, but it is the hardest thing that most of us will ever do and support, love and laughter goes a long way when you feel like no one else could possibly understand.

No one should ever feel ashamed for how they are feeling, no one should ever feel that there is no one to talk to.  There is, just look for them, they could be your friends, they could be that quite woman in the baby group, they could be that Mum in the supermarket but we're all here and it important to keep each other company.
Written by Sam @mrsshellers
If you would like to donate to PANDAS Foundation ensure they can continue to help support families affected by both pre & postnatal mental illnesses please text PANDAS £3, £5 or £10 to 70660 or visit their website for further information and support.
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