Life Lessons Mental Health Parenting

Can we please talk about post natal depression?

Mum and Byron black and white

New parents are everywhere .. and so is the relentless pressure to get it right, and to make it look like you’re getting it right even if that is far from the reality. 6 years into my parenting experience, I can honestly say that there is a real mix of messaging ‘out there’. Out there beyond your front door, on the other side of your device, and often in your own head. It can be the most isolating time navigating those first few months, unless you reach out .. unless we make it OK to reach out.

On the first day of the year 2010 I wrote a short blog post about my own experience of post natal depression. It was a little blog that has evolved into this space and I spent some time tonight back there. I was reminded of the power of sharing, and never apologising for it. I have sometimesย wondered if I over share, if anyone is reading, or if anyone cares. Then I remind myself that none of that really matters, what matters is that I am being true to me. I know that people are reading, and I know that people care. The more important thing to me is that I care, I care enough to over share.

So here is that post from almost 7 years ago. It is raw and real and it allows others into my experience of something that can be debilitating, incredibly painful and sometimes life threatening.

“Moving from reflection to the moment, the here and now – in my somewhat naive outlook I assumed that Byron suddenly sleeping through the night would equate to me finding the same inner peace and sanctuary. Sadly this was not the case and the long, silent nights that stretched before me became a place of fear and anxiety for a different reason.

My baby was quiet, the serenity that he was experiencing drifted through our home however it seemed to be just out of my reach. I so desperately wanted to share in his bliss, to climb into my bed and drift into a dream state that would restore my energy in body and mind. I ached for this after so many weeks of broken sleep. Instead of drifting my mind raced as soon as I hit the pillow, I had so many irrational thoughts fighting for my attention that my head pounded and my tired body could not rest as the blood pumped faster and my anxiety levels reached fever pitch.

For weeks this was the pattern of my nightly life – I tried to busy myself and I tried meditation, yoga, reading, guided sleep music – nothing worked! It was then that I realised I may need some help, it is always my style to try and fix things myself however I am not afraid to admit when its time to reach out. Some people who know me will jump in here and remind me that sometimes I take too long to reach out.

Post natal depression, anxiety and panic attacks were not in my plan – I was determined to beat the statistics and survive the experience of becoming a Mother without going there again. It was not to be the case though, and it has now been many weeks of consultation with the best doctors and the huge challenge of changing my medication after so many years of relief.

It has been a time of extreme inner turmoil balanced with the light that Byron provides. It is a struggle to get up and greet each new day and he makes it possible. Since losing my Mother it has been a personal goal and mission to ensure that my life experiences are shared. Originally I shared the story of being a young carer because I did not want the loss of my Mother’s life to be wasted, each time I told her story and touched another family I knew that her 48 short years were honoured.

This time I am telling a different story, a story that I know is also experienced in differing and individual ways by many, many others, and again it is my hope to touch others by simply sharing.”

Please don’t wait to long to reach out.

CLICK HERE if you need help.

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