Did you know that Postnatal Depression week has already been and gone for the year in New Zealand? It wasn’t that long ago, 31st October-8th November. I remember briefly seeing something about this, but am I right in thinking there wasn’t much awareness? Today is the last day of PND awareness week in Australia, 15th-21st November. As a big follower of Instagram and following other bloggers who write about their PND journey I have been made aware of TheHood. TheHood is an Australian website and they have designed some fab T shirts and sweaters, in conjunction with COPE- Centre Of Perinatal Excellence . From each sale of a T shirt and sweater a gold coin goes to COPE. The slogans on the clothing says #nofiltermum and #nofilter, check them out here.
A little bit of information about TheHood has been put together by twin sisters, Rachel and Natasha Wells in July 2015. They are both mother, Rachel has a son and Natasha has three daughters. Since becoming Mothers they have realised that often its the little things, a text, a smile from a stranger that can really make a difference to a sleep deprived Mummy who is really struggling. Putting their skills and knowledge together, they have created some great tongue-in-cheek messages onto T shirts and sweaters. Rachel and Natasha feel that the motherhood journey should be shared, the good, the bad times and ugly bits.
I made contact with Rachel and shared with her my blog and my journey thought PND and how I found sharing has been helpful to me and hopefully others who read my posts. In her reply, Rachel gave me permission to share some information about TheHood in a blog post. Even though it has been PND awareness week in Australia, she like myself is passionate about sharing raising awareness of this illness.
Raising awareness around PND is very important to me, I AM one of the statistics. I’m not afraid to say I am a #nofiltermum, No one should ever have to suffer and be on their own with this illness, it is an illness. I did not choose to have it and I would not wish it on anybody. To feel so alone, have thoughts that go round and round in your head all day long, like the song you heard on the radio that you just can’t get out of your head. With no break from these thoughts is exhausting and debilitating.
To question why I wanted to be a Mother has been one of my biggest struggles, to wake up and want to have nothing to do with your children is devastating. They are MY children, part of me, I nurtured them and brought them into the world. “I didn’t sign up for this”, would often be the question I would ask myself the most and “why me?, haven’t I been through enough during my motherhood journey”. I must be the only woman and mother who feels this way.
But I’m not alone, mothers are speaking up and sharing their stories, thank you ladies for making me feel a little less on my own as I fight this illness.
The thoughts are constant, even when I close my eyes at the end of the day, they are still there, round and round they go and you know when you wake in the morning you have to get up and start another day. The dread in my stomach, would forever be present, meaning I didn’t want to eat. You tell yourself that you should eat, but it takes to much energy to prepare anything, you find yourself reaching for anything that is ‘quick and easy’ or skip the meal altogether. And the lack of motivation to enjoy anything in your life has completely vanished, you no longer feel yourself. You are barely existing.
Just the other week my three year old daughter, reminded me of a time earlier this year I thought she would of had no idea about…….
My three year old daughter, walked out to the lounge at bedtime, I presumed it was for a goodnight cuddle and a kiss. We had our cuddle and a kiss and then she asked me if I was still sad? This completely threw me, I wondered where this had come from “Are you sad Mummy? One day you were sad and crying, when you were talking to Daddy?” I quickly wrecked my brain trying to recall the time she was talking about and then she said “remember Mummy you broke the glass and it went ‘smash’ all over the floor”, I then remembered the time she was talking about…..
It had been earlier this year in January, it was when I realised things were not right, I wasn’t ok, I had reached breaking point. I quickly assured my beautiful, caring daughter I was feeling much better and that Mummy was feeling happy, I took her back to her bedroom and tucked her in bed for the night. This brief conversation I had with her, has stayed with me. I don’t know if I will ever be able to forget it. I felt heartbroken that she remembered something that had happened over nine months ago, when she was still two. Have I messed this girl up, because she witnessed her Mummy having a breakdown. Thinking about it has made me realise my daughter and my son could remember things about their childhood. I would hate from them to remember their Mum being sad and crying all the time. But this is our reality as a family at the moment, but hopefully not forever.
I have been writing this post you have just read over several days this week and I have I been struggling. I have felt low and can not figure out why, a bump in the PND road I guess. Last night (Friday) was particularly bad. We were child free and decided on a movie night at home. Thoughts and feelings have been building up over gradually over the past week, but as usual I put on my happy face and face the world. But last night, I exploded at my husband. I told him I was leaving, I needed to get away and it seemed the logical situation in my irrational brain. I was desperate, I had to get away quickly. I rang my Mum, I knew she would be wake in England, no reply, next my Dad. He answered the phone, I probably wasn’t making sense but he told me to skype him. I spent roughly about an hour talking to my Dad, he got it, he was there even though he was on the other side if the world. See my Dad has been married to my Mum for 36 years and he has lived through depression with her. Of course whilst I was growing up I was not aware of this, my parents did a damn good job at hiding Mum’s depression and Dad’s bankruptcy.
I went to bed last night feeling, a calmer, and so, so appreciative of my Dad, my Mum and my husband. I don’t want to leave my husband at all, and its awful when I feel that it is my only option. I also did something I have never been before. I took a selfie of me lying in bed, with puffy eyes from crying and I shared it on Instagram and this is what I said:
“This is me 5 mins ago about to go to sleep. I see on social media how brave people are about sharing their bad days, well this is me doing the same. It actually takes a lot of guts to do this. Sure I share on my blog about my pregnancy loss and PND journey but I don’t think I ever really show you the reality of it. This is me, blotchy eyes from crying for the past two hours, I told my husband I wanted to leave him. I thought I’d had enough of him but I’ve actually had enough of myself and my mind. I felt desperate and who did I call, my Dad. I spent a good while crying and chatting to him tonight. I now go to bed, feeling a lot of love for my Dad, my Mum and my husband who I do love and don’t want to leave. Thank you for letting me share, I hope to wake in the morning ready to face the day ahead”