Consider this scenario: an anxious new mum, sat in those seats in the corner trying to settle her 6 week old colicky baby. Whilst half the waiting room coo over this new bundle-of-joy, she is feeling confused and holding back the tears. It may have taken significant courage to actually pick up the phone and book this appointment.
To love someone with postnatal depression must be incredibly hard and exhausting at times and requires so much patience. My darling husband has really been my rock especially over the last 18 months and has been a constant cheerleader to me. He has seen me at my worse, he has seen me broken, he has seen me hate myself and has still been able to love me.
As a mum who went into Motherhood (wrongly) assuming that PND only happened to mothers who had a history of mental health problems, that it was something that happened to women who were not "strong' enough, that it meant they hated their children, I know firsthand how dangerous these misconceptions can be.
We all know that being a parent is not an easy job, we all have good days and bad days. But what do you do when you start to feel like the bad days are outnumbering the good ones at 10:1? It's not an easy thing to admit that at the moment you are not enjoying being a parent. I know I have been there. Here is my first post about my battle with PND
I am incredibly proud and relieved to tell you that not only did I complete my personal mission of putting these demons to bed I actually managed to light the touch paper underneath every single one of them and watch as they want up in smoke and disappeared forever. You see, what I have come to realise in all its beautiful glory is that my illness and this geographical place are two separate entities that exist independently of each other. It is just a place. I am no longer ill.
A few days ago I overheard a dad tell his little boy "stop crying, you sound like a girl"; it got me thinking about how women are portrayed and, more specifically, what lessons am I teaching my son in my role as a "fit mum"? Here are the things I am striving to ALWAYS tell my son and any other child who knows me and my family:
Postnatal Depression (PND) has been, for me, one of the most difficult things that I have ever had to deal with: the struggle to talk to anyone about it who understood, the stigma which suggests that you are somehow completely incompetent and your baby isn't safe with you and getting out of bed in the morning when all you want to do is cry.
As a new mother, I embraced the chaos that a newborn could bring. I laughed at urine stained bedsheets. I smiled at 2am feeds. I rejoiced at staying in my pyjamas for two weeks in a bubble of bliss. I was a mummy and this tiny, innocent little being was everything I had ever wanted. I was in heaven. As the days went on however, it became harder to cope with daily life.