In support of the wonderful Perinatal Mental Health Partnership and their Maternal Mental Health Awareness week I am sharing some of my old articles that I wrote to help get me through some of my darkest of days. The majority of my articles were published by the Huffington Post and were then turned into a book called “Bonkers” – this period of writing was incredibly dark for me and therefore, some of my words are incredibly raw and honest and at times a little uncomfortable to read. However, I hope that by sharing and being open and honest about things that are not very comfortable to go through it will help make talking about them become more comfortable.
Over to the Liv from 2015….
I am also not ashamed to admit that I am angry beyond belief that Postnatal Depression chose me in the first place. I didn’t want this battle. I just wanted to be a mum. I wanted the full Technicolor heart bursting moments, I wanted to be exhausted from night feeds rather than exhausted from trying to keep my panic levels under control.
It is a cruel fact that for some women the reality of becoming a mum is nothing short of debilitating and earth shattering thanks to a maternal mental health illness deciding to pay them a visit. Similar to the most sinister of villains, a MMH illness creeps up on you during a time when you are at your most vulnerable and before you have a chance to fight back or flee to safety it has taken hold and is not giving you up without a bloody good fight.
Who the hell does it think it is? And how dare it barge in uninvited to the time in your life that is supposed to be one of the happiest and most precious? Sucking the joy from moments you know deep down should be filling your heart to bursting point and turning days with your little one into huge mountains to climb as it disables you from getting to the front door let alone getting out of it. It transforms feelings of happiness into a distant memory and makes smiling in response to something adorable your baby has done a struggle. It is beyond unfair and downright unforgiveable how it leaves your old fun loving self a distant memory and the new you feeling nothing but numb and soulless.
As mums don’t we have enough on our hands and minds without having to deal with the terrifying reality and uncertainty of Post Natal Depression? Does Mother Nature not think that we have endured enough? Surely once we have given birth we should be left in peace to get our heads around sleepless nights, breast feeding and becoming best buddies with our new little person in a happy haze of tiny cuddles, baby grows and pyjama days?
I have now been on the battlefield manning my own frontline against Post Natal Depression for the last 18 months and feel no shame in admitting that I’ve just about had enough of this unwelcome house guest. It’s now time it took a running jump (preferably over a never ending ravine that is also home to a fire breathing, limb tearing dragon who will finish the little b&*^ard off once and for all!).
I am also not ashamed to admit that I am angry beyond belief that it chose me in the first place. I didn’t want this battle. I just wanted to be a mum. I wanted the full Technicolor heart bursting moments, I wanted to be exhausted from night feeds rather than exhausted from trying to keep my panic levels under control, I wanted my first worry of the day to be feed schedules instead of whether it was going to be one of “those” days and I wanted to be the wife my husband married, not the stranger living in his house with no idea where she came from or how long she was staying.
IT IS NOT too much to ask to be allowed to just be a mum. IT IS NOT too much to ask to be able to enjoy all the new mum moments with your new tiny person in full glory. IT IS NOT too much to ask for your main “battle” to be figuring family life out with your partner as you forge your new little family unit. This is the right of all mums and dads and should not be stolen from them under any circumstances. If it is then we have every right to feel cheated and royally pissed off!
I therefore, have a warning for Post Natal Depression from myself and all other fellow sufferers.
Despite not inviting you here, you decided to bring this battle to the door of our precious families. You therefore, need to take heed. We may not have recognised you at first and we may not have had the energy to fight you off as you snuck up and took hold of us. However, we see you now and by God this mum and millions of other mums enduring the same daily battle are not going down without a fight! You see, aswell as bringing us to our knees, making us battle through the darkest of times and leaving us at our weakest. You have also made us realise how strong we are and the terrifying heights we can overcome.
With every bad day that sends us back ten paces, with every knock to our confidence that shakes us to our core and with every heart breaking melt down you have landed on us, we have started to grow that little bit stronger. Our old selves have started to shine through that little bit brighter and for that little bit longer. We realise, we may still have a way to go until we have banished you completely. However, Post Natal Depression know this, no matter what you throw at us we will NOT be beaten.