I finally have time to write and am not feeling very inspired. I find this usually happens and it is quite frustrating. It is that same feeling when Honour goes down for a nap and I don’t have anything urgent to attend to…you could say I had some ‘free time’ (even though there may be cat hair on the floor and dishes in the sink…). It is during these ‘free’ moments that I get flustered. I am not used to having time to myself so I scurry around picking up a book here, a magazine there, making a tea, quickly getting out of my pjs and before I know it I have spent all of Honour’s nap dithering about what to do with my free time that I never actually complete any one thing…argh!
Therefore, I was determined to write the next time I had the opportunity as I desperately miss it and always think of great ideas to get down or feelings to expound on when I can’t get my fingers on the keys.
I guess there is one thing I can write about, real life.
PPD. To those not in the medical, birthing field this stands for post-partum depression. Now depression is a large scale that ranges from teary times to dark days we shouldn’t wish even on our enemies. As women we usually have the mentality that this will never happen to me, I will be head over heels for my child and joyfully frolic into motherhood…I thought that way…until 5 months in.
5 months after Honour was born I changed. I cried daily for no reason. Washing the dishes, cried. Taking a shower, cried. Holding Honour, cried. My patience felt non-existent, my anger bubbled in my throat with the smallest of offenses bringing it to the surface, spewing from my mouth. Besides impatience I was basically unemotional. I did not want to do anything with anyone unless it was with Honour. I had no desire to see people let alone hold a conversation and I woke up only wanting to cuddle my baby and bury my face into his soft neck for the day. I disappeared. I was not violent in any way but my short temper scared me. The sleep deprivation, distorted body image and cycling hormones made me a teary, angry and ashamed mess.
Some people wonder, how can you feel sad? You have such and such, live in country such and such and have a supportive family. Please get rid of this mindset. Just as anyone in the world is not immune to a broken leg, neither are any of us immune to mental health issues. It is not situational, situations may enhance or reduce an issue but just living a great life does not prevent you from suffering. I just heard someone say that you know you are acting irrationally, your crying, anger, or dejected state are irrational based on your circumstances but you cannot help it. I can be the first to say that knowing how illogical your feelings are and still feeling them only expounds the shame and guilt felt.
When you do not feel like yourself you know you are not being the best mother or wife you know is inside you. This was one of the hardest issues to cope with. I felt guilty for my impatience, for the way I spoke to Ben and the days I spent laying around with Honour, not socializing or connecting with those I loved. This shame led to more tears and more nuzzles. I wanted Honour to have ME as a mother, not this strange hormonal creature who had taken over my body with its vicious claws scratching raw my emotions.
I knew what needed to be done, swallowed my pride and went for help. My family doctor is incredible, I love her kind heart and her accepting arms. She sat with me and we worked out a plan to deal with the PPD I was diagnosed with. I was tired of the guilt I felt and the lack of control I had of my emotions, especially my anger. She spoke life into me, calling me a great mother, a strong woman and a wise person for seeking help. I want to share with you that your PPD is not you, it affects you. Just like flowers are not the rain that pours on them but does effect them. You are not the rain and you cannot control the rain but you can grow from it.
Being a happy, outgoing person I never thought I would suffer from depression. I truly thought I would bask in the love I had for my son and only ever shed purposeful tears. PPD is nothing to be ashamed of. We have no problem sharing our physical ailments after labour and carelessly chat about stitches, sore hips and painful boobs but the emotional changes never seem to be as effortlessly addressed. Your hormones are out of whack and you have just made one of the biggest transitions in your life…you will feel the emotional effects. If it is the occasional sleep deprived bad day I’d say just give you hubby a hug, kiss you baby and maybe ask Mum to make you dinner (thanks Mum :)), but if it lingers and the bad days outnumber the good don’t feel ashamed. Talk to someone who knows you, who can sense the change. Then take them with you and talk to a professional 🙂 The longer it goes untreated the worse it can get and the more dangerous it could become.
You are a good mother.
Sometimes you need a bit of help being you, but your baby, your family and most importantly YOU deserve it.