I actually never thought I would share my story on my blog, I’m a private person. I’ve not even shared my story with a number of my friends.
However, the timeliness of PANDA awareness week and this fantastic campaign put together by the wonderful team at Brand Meets Blog – I feel it’s a sign. I need to share my story even though I have to admit I’m still not out the other end. I need to let others know they are not alone and there shouldn’t be a stigma attached to feeling the way we do sometimes.
I’m a pretty controlled person and I work hard and I do things well. I’m a good friend, I listen and I make time for all the beautiful people in my life. I’m a model daughter, I worked hard through school I got a good job, I married a sensible man and I speak to my parents every few days despite there being continents between us. I’m a loving wife, totally and utterly committed and obsessed with my husband, when I’m with him I’m safe and didn’t bat an eyelid about moving to the other side of the world with him.
I’m a mother.
I’m a mother.
I’m a mother?
Really? This was without a doubt one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life, become a mother.
I remember being in hospital and having the call button for the nurses and midwives. Gosh I was obsessed with that button… Come please help me I don’t know what to do!! And they did and I found so much comfort.
Miss M didn’t feed well, she didn’t want to latch on and she fell asleep too easily. It was hard but the amazing women in the breastfeeding room at Frances Perry were my favourites. They always had time for me and I got so much support from them.
Then it came time to leave the hospital and I can’t even begin to explain the feelings. I was so overwhelmed. Leave? Go out there in the big wide world with this precious little beautiful child we’ve made? But I can’t. I don’t know what to do! The shaking, the tears, the apprehension – it was crippling.
But we got home, we survived and my husband was my rock. I could barely eat and I remember a haze. Getting up at all hours, feeding, sleeping, moving. I don’t know what else. This was where I learned about the baby blues.
The extreme feelings passed but there was still always something hanging over me, a low feeling, a rain cloud. At face value no-one who met me would know about this cloud. It was reserved for those tough period that were only shared with my wonderful and understanding husband.
This rain cloud came and left…. came and left…. came and left….
And then I went back to work and it was like a breathe of fresh air. Don’t get me wrong the ache in my heart every time I left Miss M at childcare was suffocating but as that eased I actually enjoyed the space. The time to concentrate on something else.
The rain cloud eased and became more just like a shadow.
Then it started to come back as I increased my work days. The concern around leaving Miss M became more of a guilt – is she ok? Will we lose our special bond? I broke down in front of my GP and she suggested I talk to someone. Which I did. And it helped.
And it’s still helping. The feelings I’m trying to combat now are very much around feeling overwhelmed. I’m a working mother who struggles to find time for herself and that manifests itself in anxiety and paranoia.
I consider my situation mild as I’m not in need of medication just a little bit of extra support. This is exactly what the people at PANDA do – give mothers who are struggling extra support and advice. I think that’s awesome.
For anyone out there that has these feelings. You are not alone. Not alone.
Mrs B x