I’m actually going to talk about something quite serious but I thought giving it a funny caption might make it a little bit lighter.
Mental health is something that it is very personal to me because I experienced the joys of post natal depression so I thought by writing about how I dealt with it and how I am now nearly 2 years on might help someone going through it now? This post is not just for those who have had a baby or experienced the baby blues as there are many forms of depression but with changes in hormones in pregnancy/post delivery, is depressing in itself because you start of euphoric and then the depression so fast that it just takes the joy away of what should be the most precious time with your baby.
For me, it started after I had Ava, It was hard to accept having PND because I felt so guilty about feeling this way I have this beautiful baby and there are women and men out there who have lost or never been able to have that baby in their arms and I thought how selfish of me for feeling this way. Then I realised after time went on that it wasn’t something I could control, my head had so many thoughts whirring round it that I’ve never felt so out of control over my own body and emotions before and it’s was horrible.
I remember it clearly, Ava was about 2 months old and it was a warm summers day and I was just talking with mum in the garden, I went inside and I just cried for no reason and that was it from that moment on, the crying continued, the feeling of I cannot do this and I’m never going to be good enough continued mixed in with all the other mum guilt we all go through.
I felt incapable when she used to cry and nothing I would do would help and I would beat myself up thinking I’m not cut out for this. Thinking that people were right about me being far too young and not knowing what we’re doing but at the end of the day, do any of us have a flipping clue what we’re doing when it comes to parenting. We can read lots of books about what to do and how to prepare but it didn’t work for me! Our babies are not modified robots that are all in sync and as my mum always says ‘every baby is different so it’s like starting anew’ you’re only an expert on your child. You learn as you go on and my next one might be a completely different child that I’ll need to learn about.
To some this might seem awful and yes it is but I think the worst point for me was when Ava was awake and anything I was doing just wasn’t working and I shouted and threw her Ewan the sheep at the floor and it broke. As horrible as this seems, I just didn’t see it at the time. I was crying, she was crying and nothing was making the situation any better and now poor Ewan the sheep was broken!!!! I had this anger come over me and even though I never ever directed it at Ava, a switch just flipped and I couldn’t control it. This might seem like nothing to some but to me I felt fearful, I was still a child pretty much myself and now I’ve got this baby who is depending on me and this what I’m doing. Although I had help around me, the overwhelming feeling of being alone takes over rational thinking. This is how I felt for a very long time and just now am I feeling a lot more in control and this was after seeking help, talking to someone and then in a last attempt trying the tablets which for me did help but I felt defeated. I really didn’t want to go on the tablets because I thought why do I need tablets to lift my mood, I have a baby which I’m so lucky to have and I should be enjoying my time and being happy all the time but the reality is none of us can be happy all the time, no matter what we have.
Depression for me meant lots of tears, lots of shutting down and lots of anger because I didn’t know what was going on inside my head nor did I actually want to accept what was going on with me. I felt like a failure…
I certainly didn’t have my shit together… picture shown below shows just a few days of letting things go and the clothes that mound up. I didn’t want to do anything, I didn’t really want to go anywhere and I tried to hide it because how I felt was insignificant to how others feel and others are in a lot worse situations then me.
I’m not going to sugar coat it, I became lazy and I let things get on top of me. My emotions were a mess so my life became a mess and I had no organisation and I still have those days where things get on top of me and nothing gets done (picture below shows a snippet of what happens when things get on top of me and nothing gets done for a while).
Depression hits us all in different ways but we’ve all experienced those days where you get to the end of the day and you think to yourself ‘today was not a good day’ but when those days become more frequent and you’re not the person you normally are then TALK TO SOMEONE. I cannot stress that enough, I was ignorant in the beginning and I kept it all hidden but it’s worse because then it comes out in other ways and I take it out on other people and say/do things I come to regret but as soon as I started talking about how I felt things started feeling a bit better and a weight lifted off my shoulders. Just having someone there to listen to is just what you need sometimes and you might not even know it. I’m very lucky in the fact that I have an incredible support system and I have people I’m able to talk to so I understand I’m very lucky to be in that position as unfortunately not everyone is in that position and it just breaks my heart, it’s not fair!
2 years later and I’m much better than I used to be, I’ve weaned myself off the tablets but every now and then I still suffer with doubt, wondering if I’m doing the best job I can and would I have done a better job if I was older and been in a better situation and given Ava more. I don’t trust anyone but my mum to watch Ava otherwise I’ll go into panic mode and I can’t relax. I still shut down and I react in ways that I know won’t help the situation but I can’t help it. Depression is something that needs time to heal and that could take 2 months, 2 years or 20 years but we all just need to do things that work for us.
It’s tough, it’s emotional, it’s a rollercoaster but it does get easier and we all need to do it in our own way. Men and women out there all have something going on but find something that brings light into your life and talk to someone.
Your stereotypical teen mum x