I’m now 11 months into motherhood and it’s been a real mixed bag of emotions. There have been some amazing highs, and some terrible lows. It’s during these low times that I’ve experienced some of my darkest thoughts and feelings, but felt unable to openly discuss them through fear of being judged. I’ve often wondered if these thoughts are normal.
Do other mums feel like this too?
Or, am I suffering from postpartum depression?
I didn’t – and to be honest – still don’t feel comfortable discussing my darkest thoughts with my close friends who also have babies. I don’t want them to judge me. I don’t want them to think I’m not coping. I don’t want them to question my parenting abilities. And ultimately, I don’t want them to think I’m not fit to be a mother.
Thus, began my quest to find my answers elsewhere.
Instagram. This is where I decided to look for my answers. I found tonnes of accounts showing motherhood through rose-tinted glasses: perfectly kept homes, immaculate children and supermodel mothers. Slowly, I started to come across accounts for mothers who I personally found more relatable. And gradually, I started to see “my version of motherhood” appearing. There were many posts in relation to sleep deprivation, lack of personal time, demanding babies, untidy houses and neglected mothers. I came across mothers feeling out of their depth, second guessing their ability and generally being physically and emotionally drained. Although I can relate to all these things, I was looking for something a little deeper.
I was looking for people discussing the thoughts that start to dance with you when you’re at breaking point. There have been times where I’ve had six hours sleep in two days, I’ve not had an opportunity to shower or have a quick wash, my house is a bomb-site, the dog needs walking, and I’ve spent the last three hours with a demanding and hysterical baby who refuses to do anything else but cry despite being comforted and offered everything under the sun. It’s during these times when my dark thoughts begin to surface.
It’s during these times that I think about putting my baby in her bed and running away. When my husband finally asks: ”What can I do to help?” and my response is: “Put me out of my misery”, he thinks I’m joking. But for a split second I’m being completely serious. It’s that split second that scares the hell out of me. It’s the despair of doing anything necessary to get away from the lowest lows of parenthood.
Whilst I found lots of Instagram accounts and posts touching on postpartum depression, I couldn’t find anyone openly discussing their thoughts, their struggles and their lowest of breaking point lows. I started to wonder if I was alone with these scary and frightening thoughts.
In one last ditch attempt to find others quietly hiding out there, feeling afraid of coming forward, I created another Instagram account and decided to get the ball rolling myself. Anonymously, I posted about my lows and shared my thoughts, feelings and fears with others. And the response I received was just what I needed to put me at ease.
It seems that I’m not alone with these scary thoughts. They creep into the heads of other mothers too. They prey on us at our lowest points and push our boundaries, and they scare us into thinking we’re not strong enough for motherhood. It’s times like this where it’s so important to be honest and open with others regarding your journey through motherhood. We have a duty to let other mothers know that they are not alone, to support them, give them strength to get through the dark times, and most importantly not to judge each other. Parenthood isn’t all sunshine and rose gardens. There are shadows in the places the sun can’t reach and those rose gardens, they are bloody full of thorns.
So, in summary:
Are these thoughts normal? Yes
Do other mums have these thoughts too? Yes
Am I suffering from postpartum depression? We are currently dancing, but I’m taking the lead.