I have been gone for so long that I’ve forgotten that I actually have a blog. Oops.
It would not be a lie if I said that life has been super hectic but I’ll spare you. I also just needed a break, from absolutely everything.
I’ve been deep in the trenches of postnatal depression and I’ve had many things to work through.
But I’m back now.
It goes without saying that having a child changes you but it has changed me more than I ever thought it could. I was expecting it, but under estimated it.
I never went into this whole motherhood thing unprepared. I’m a very perceptive person and very realistic too. I knew what was coming from the moment I saw those two lines appear on the pregnancy test. It was absolute love combined with the hugest feeling of dread. Not dread in the “oh fudge, this explains my tummy bug” sense (I was delighted), but from the weight of the immense responsibility that I now will carry for the rest of my life.
I knew it was going to be hard. I knew I would not sleep again. I knew that my relationships were going to be tested. I knew that I would get postnatal depression. I knew that I would need other moms around to get me through tough times. I knew that it would be the happiest time but also quite treacherous. But I still under estimated it.
I suppose the one thing I didn’t factor in, was that there could/would be “something wrong” with my child. I don’t know how to explain it without sounding like a dick.
You go through the antenatal screening for Down’s Syndrome, sickle-cell anemia etc. They check the gap of your baby’s neck. As all these things come back A-OK, you feel proud that you are growing such a healthy, strong little baby.
Your prefect child finally (FINALLY!) arrives and passes their eye test, their hearing test. He’s prefect – but you’ve blindly believed it all along. They do a heel prick test and that too comes back A-OK. You can breathe now. You did it. You made a perfect, healthy, human being.
But did you? Someone calls you up and says, “We messed up and sent you the wrong results from the heel prick test”.
WHAT? How, even?
Suddenly, I had no one to turn to. No-one to relate with. The very group that I relied on for support, my “mommy tribe” with all their healthy, “normal” babies became a source of extreme jealousy… and hatred. I’d get so mad when they would complain about “trivial” things. It made me furious and I so badly wished that that was “all I had to worry about”.
I didn’t let it show though. Not ever. THAT would be even more messed up. I had to calm myself and tell myself that everyone is going through something. Their normal / their difficult is different to mine, but that doesn’t make it any less painful for them. The same goes for me, because there are parents facing scarier things than I am. It’s still a work in progress.
My postnatal depression hit me like a truck after this. It kept getting worse because I felt like no one understood. Who could I talk to? I didn’t know anyone else going through this. I wasn’t going to go searching for someone in mine and Seth’s shoes and bombard them with a million questions. That would be rude. People were doing it to me and it was excruciating – so I opted not to do that to anyone else.
It made me feel so isolated.
Another thing that boggled my mind for a long time, was that I could be SO happy and SO unhappy at the same time. I’ve come to realise that that is exactly how I’m supposed to feel – and how all moms feel. This is when things started to change for me.
I started realising that, actually, we (all mothers) are no different, regardless of our kids’ health, disabilities, development etc. All that matters is, is that we HAVE kids.
Even though I told myself that “we are all going through something”, it’s as if I hadn’t believed the words that I was trying to convince myself with. I was just trying not to lose my shit. But they started to sink in and I started to climb out of this hole as I started talking to more and more moms.
They are the only ones who truly get it. It doesn’t matter if your kid is not sleeping because they are sick, teething or just being a troll. The end result (a frustrated mother) is exactly the same.
Having other moms around, even if they are just ones you talk to online, is so damn important in this whole process. I would not have been able to do this without them. I really couldn’t. It’s one of the things that have helped me fight my postnatal depression the most. (I will write about the rest another day.)
So, this is a very long-winded post to say THANK YOU, ladies. I could never repay you but you know I’ll be here at three in the morning if you need a chat.