You’ve heard a lot about post natal depression, haven’t you? Not many of you are aware of pre-natal depression, that can occur during pregnancy.
I had a hideous pregnancy. I mean, I thought it was all normal. I was in and out of hospital through out the nine months with many pregnancy related ailments; all day sickness, Brixton hicks, reduced movements from baby, reduced fluid around baby and frankly just feeling like a piece of shit for 38 weeks.
It’s natural now to think with the stress on my body, that my mind was also under pressure. It wasn’t until a few weeks after I gave birth that I realised I almost certainly suffered from pre-natal depression. I didn’t enjoy my pregnancy AT ALL. I hated every damn minute of it, and pushed for induction at 38 weeks.
Then, my beautiful baby was born and we all lived happily ever after… right?
Things immediately after the birth shocked and scared me. Spoiler alert; they don’t tell you that the whole world feels like it’s going to fall out of your vagina for weeks after, that your arse will represent a bowl of grapes, and that your tits will actually balloon and hurt like fuck… apparently it’s normal, but it doesn’t stop you feeling like shit. Your belly button already represents a deflated cat’s arsehole, under your eyes are already representing bin bags and your pregnancy hair falls out. You look and feel like a wreck. in most circumstances, you’re still on a high from delivery, and if you’re lucky, you haven’t torn from your V to your A, which is always a good start.
The baby blues can come a few days after baby is born, and can last up to six weeks. I remember looking at N, stroking his little face and sobbing. He was just so beautiful, and perfect… and tiring. Euphoria mixed with sleep deprivation seems like a good thing at the time… but eventually, I hit a wall. Daddy went back to work and I wasn’t sure how to cope by myself.
The weeks went on, and I was battling through the days. The days and nights became longer and I became hysterical at the smallest sort of thing. This is where I should have gone and gotten myself some help… I didn’t.
I didn’t need help. I was fine. N was alive and well, and the house was clean-ish, and that’s where the being fine stopped. I became an insomniac, I would constantly think in graphic detail how every day situations could kill my baby, my relationship with Daddy became strained. I would yell at him for nothing, and I actually did think about causing some serious harm. I didn’t know how to control my emotions.
Things buried and manifested themselves until about 5 months ago; when I realised that actually, what I was feeling was not normal. Not every mum goes through this, and that actually, it was time to get some help before I became too engulfed in the cloud of depression and anxiety. I finally accepted some help and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve had some wobbles since, but that’s all they are. I have acknowledged that not every day is going to be plain sailing, and that every day is not going to be good.
I’ve learned to speak to Daddy, or my friends when it all gets a bit much, as well as the support from my GP and health visitor. I feel great these days, compared to a few months ago where I had convinced myself that I was a shit excuse for a mother and a human being and that maybe the world would be better off without me in it (I didn’t want to die, just to crawl into my bed and disappear).
This week is Maternal Mental Health awareness week and this is my bit of awareness. Maternal mental health isn’t just affected after birth, but can be as soon as you get that positive pregnancy test. This post isn’t here to scare anyone, but to let you all know that if you’re unlucky like I was… that things can always get better.
I want you all to be aware of your GPs, your health visitors and your support network. It’s never too late to talk, and get help. It took me 18 months, and I wish I could have accepted help sooner.
And you’re all awesome. We are all super mums 💪🏻