Musings of a tired mummy…zzz…

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UK Maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week 1-7 May 2017

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I have seen many powerful messages this week across social and regular media. I debated whether I had anything that I could possibly add that would seem valuable in light of the strength shown by these mothers sharing their stories.
I have heard accounts that are tragic. Inspiring. Humorous. Heartbreaking. Thought provoking.
My story isn’t any of those things but I thought I would share it all the same.
I was deeply unhappy when I became pregnant with my first child. I was in a relationship with someone who didn’t love me but couldn’t let me go due to his own mental health issues. I was often paralysed by fear, anxiety, panic attacks and phobias. I displayed obsessive and compulsive behaviour that was being treated with CBT by a psychologist and was diagnosed with depression.
I was convinced that I was going to die in childbirth and had prepared myself to never see my baby. In the seconds after his birth, my life changed forever.
Matthew was rushed away from me to be given oxygen as he couldn’t breathe. In that moment I realised that it wasn’t about me any more. I had a son who needed me to be a mum, not a nervous wreck. Whatever happened to me didn’t matter as long as he was safe.
I had to be strong for him. I have to be strong for him and now my other two children.
The early days are so hard and I often sobbed at my babies begging them to sleep. But I got through it. The pain of breastfeeding and feeling like a failure when ordered to stop feeding Matthew. But I got through it. The despair at being unable to find a job to support me and the children. But I got through it. The heartbreak of going to bed alone each night, wishing there was someone there. But I got through it (and met my soulmate Chris 🙂 ).
I have moments when I want to wallow in my own self doubt and hatred but that won’t get homework finished or tea cooked. I still have dark thoughts, get paralysed by fear of what could happen especially now that I have so much to lose. My mental health hasn’t been cured but it has improved, others have different experiences and as I read the accounts of PND I feel very lucky. I manage to snap myself out of my negativity by concentrating on the good that I have in my life now. I think of my children and how I would hate for them to see me struggling to cope. I am so proud of the people they are becoming and I hope they are healthy both physically and mentally. Matthew is very sensitive and I wonder if this stems from the anxiety he experienced in utero when I was so anxious about everything. Anya is self assured because I was more confident when I had her. Zach is the happiest baby in the world, always smiling unless he isn’t getting his own way (!)
So the message that I would like to give to mums out there in the big wide world is that mental health matters. Not everyone has the same story and not everyone deals with mental health issues in the same way. I know I don’t have the usual PND story, that my mental health has actually improved after having children and I am incredibly happy, a word I never thought I’d use to describe myself. My vlog on children and happiness hopefully shows that I am trying to instil the tools for the children to make themselves happy in a world where their needs will not always be met by their circumstances.
What matters most is that mums remember you have just MADE a human being, an incredible achievement but it is hard work and will affect every single aspect of your life. Some days seem impossible to get through but a quick cry in the kitchen relieves tension. I’m not ashamed to cry in front of my children, I want them to learn to express their feelings rather than bottle things up to keep up the appearance of strength. It is much stronger to seek help and confront your issues than to hide them away.
Please ask for help if you need it, whether you think it may be PND or other maternal mental health concerns. Reach out to another person, whether it is a partner, parent, friend, doctor.
Don’t be afraid.
Be honest.
Be brave.
Be yourself.
As this week draws to a closes, let’s unite to remove the social stigma given to mothers who need mental health support.

Mums: your mental health matters.

 

 

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30 comments

  1. I think it’s great that you don’t shy away from emotion with your kids, I agree that it’s positive for them to see us embracing emotion, and I know that it’s ok to be sad sometimes. My story, like yours, isn’t the usual PND story, but every story matters! #RV&HT

  2. Thank you for sharing such a personal post. Mum’s matter and mental health matters. You’ve explained this very important message really well. I hope that things carry on improving for you lovely x

  3. Such a powerful and strong message to other Mums. You’re right, it never gets cured or goes away completely but there are ways to manage and cope x

  4. Thank you for sharing this. I would disagree and say that I think you have been through an incredible amount and the fact that you have come through it and have raised three happy little humans is a testament to your strength. I’m so glad you have found happiness with your soulmate. Thank you for linking up to the #bigpinklink

  5. Well done for writing your story. I always find that writing helps me, and it also raises awareness at the same time too. Sending you love. #bestandworst

  6. Thank you for sharing this, it’s was really brave. It’s great that we’re able to talk about these things in a way that we weren’t a few years ago. Sending you love and hugs

  7. The more of us that share our struggles, the better. You are not alone (and I don’t want to link to my blog here but you can find my own struggles with this on the link to my blog).

    GOOD LUCK MAMA! #stayclassymama

  8. What a great post. So impressed by your strength, and it’s good to hear that things have improved for you over the years. Sounds like your children are very lucky to have you as their mum! #RVHT

  9. Oh wow, well done for sharing your story it is such a hard and brave thing to do. Being a parent is hard and brings so many new feelings and emotions, not all of which are good or welcome. What is important is like you say, get help, where you can take all the help you need and is offered. #marvmondays

  10. How amazing that your children were able to turn your outlook around. I’m so glad you found the light at the end of the tunnel. Well done for helping to raise awareness of mental health issues
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂
    Debbie

  11. As you pointed out early on in your post it’s not just mothers who are affected by mental health issues. We all have mental health so lets look after one another better. Thank you for sharing your raw account of what happened to you and I’m pleased to read that you had a happily ever after. #bestandworst

  12. Such a personal story you have shared here and it’s lovely to hear that having a baby improved your mental health. Thanks for linking up to #TriumphantTales, hope you’ll come back on Tuesday 🙂

  13. I have always suffered with Depression and then came the antenatal and post-natal depression to boot. But on my good days I am amazed at how lucky I am to have a child and that some people struggle to conceive so for that I am eternally grateful.
    Thank you for sharing your story with us at #TriumphantTales. I am so glad that you’re in a better place mentally. I hope to see you back on Tuesday

  14. Every time one of us shares our story the terrible stigma surrounding mental health gets chipped away one tiny piece at a time. We all need to talk and we need people to listen. I suffered with post natal anxiety and it felt so isolating and terrifying at the time. I have so much respect for your bravery and honesty in sharing your story. Thanks for linking up with us for #DreamTeam x

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  16. I’m so glad you shared your experience with us, even with all of the other blogs out there I still think it’s important to share yours! Everyone has a different experience and yours is unique to you and just as difficult and terrifying, I’m glad that there is a happy ending and that you are better now. For me it’s really about taking each day as it comes. Thanks so much for sharing with #StayClassyMama!

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