Maternal Mental Health week has just ended in the UK, and I have seen a few friends and acquaintances share their stories with the tag #maternalMHmatters
It’s probably about time I shared a bit of my story.
My pregnancy was probably the longest length of happy time in my life. I have struggled with depression on and off throughout my life and had my share of bad relationships too, so having found ‘the one’ and moving on to getting married and expecting a child (and the prospect of not going back to work for a while!) definitely helped.
We moved to a new area a few weeks before she was born, so I didn’t really know anyone. Family was, as usual, a couple of hours away by plane.
Chloe’s birth was not at all what I had hoped for, then we had a rough start to our breastfeeding journey, and I few days after she was born I was told that my grandma was dying.
I don’t think I was able to do anything apart from keeping her alive for the first few months. I mean, I did go out a bit and meet people, but I couldn’t do anything in the house for example – felt overwhelmed and paralyzed for a long time.
Thankfully my husband took over the shopping and cooking duties, and we got a cleaner (best bit of advice from our NCT course!). He was also the one to sort out Chloe’s passport so we could travel to Spain.
My HV wasn’t much help. She even stopped contacting me, even though she knew I was at risk of PND and what was going on.
I saw the GP a few times and we spoke about medication, but I have always tried to avoid any medication when I can, so I was referred to some online/phone service. Turned out to be useless as all they wanted me to do is to set my priorities in order and make appointments with myself to do my daily tasks (I mean, who on Earth has a newborn and can commit to showering every day at the same time?). It just felt like it absolutely didn’t apply to my situation.
After a few months I was able to face the birth again, so I went for some birth debrief sessions. I was also referred for treatment for PTSD. This really helped clear some of my major issues.
Here I have to thank a (then) total stranger that volunteered to look after Chloe for a couple of hours a week so I could get a break. It was perfect for me, as then I could go for my treatment without worry (we do parent similarly).
Eventually I started feeling more like myself, but with this came the need of having some ‘me time’ which was difficult with noone around to help.
I managed to find a gym with a crèche, which is not perfect but she was a bit older now so I made the compromise. Again, this helped.
And then toddlerhood hit 🙂 and I’m again overwhelmed and having anxiety here and there. Taking on too much, and not being ok if I’m not busy.. you get the picture.
So Chloe is going to start nursery three mornings a week from June, and here’s hoping that I can strike a balance then!