I wanted to share this post today to reveal how much I struggled to cope after giving birth and how completely overwhelmed and anxious I was.
I honestly think more should be said about postnatal depression because what's supposed to be an extremely happy and exciting time can quickly turn into sadness, guilt, anxiety, and negativity. The effect it has on the emotional and mental health of new mothers is very upsetting. It's one of the worst possible feelings, attempting to bond with your baby and each time you look at them you struggle to contain your tears or feel an immense amount of guilt. Plus trying to remain positive when you have a screaming baby with you 24/7 is very hard to do, and we can put huge amounts of pressure on ourselves trying to be perfect.
When I found out I was pregnant, It came as a bit of a shock because I also suffer PCOS and my doctor warned me that it could be difficult to conceive, So it took us six years to finally get pregnant and I was ecstatic I always wanted a child and I felt so blessed that we were going to have one.
Pregnancy had its downsides though, I was very sick to the point where I couldn't keep any food down, I couldn't drink anything but water, and no matter how much sleep I got I was tired all the time. Over the course of the months, I developed gestational diabetes which resulted in me having to be induced because my blood sugar was way too high. Giving birth was okay, although I had to be put on a drip to speed up my contractions which were slightly horrendous and painful. I screamed for an epidural in the end, and that was that he was born at 5.10 in the morning and the first time I held him was magical I fell in love instantly and cried so much which were, of course, happy tears.
After spending two nights in the hospital we were finally allowed home, and then it started, I struggled to feed him because no matter how much I tried he would not latch on properly, meaning I had to formula feed and this was one of the first things I felt guilty about I remember thinking what sort of mother can't feed her own baby. My partner had to return to work, so I was up each night trying my best to calm him, however, there were occasions where I became so overwhelmed I had to wake my partner up because I couldn't handle it I would pass him over and run to a spare room and start sobbing what made this worse was he'd stop crying once my partner comforted him. I remember thinking there was something wrong with me, what if he didn't like me, and why couldn't I comfort him, I felt like the worst mother ever. My partner would tell me its because he could sense how stressed and worried I was and that babies can pick up on it, so I needed to try to relax and keep calm.
Because of this I hated being alone with my baby I'd panic that I wouldn't be able to settle him, but I had no other choice I had to try my best. I was extremely tired, the bags under my eyes were a kind of yellow, black colour I looked like death, my hair was greasy, and I hadn't showered in days. There was one day I decided to take him to the doctors because he would not stop screaming and it was horrendous. Walking into that waiting room with dozens of disapproving looks made me so anxious I was rocking him, trying to feed him, walking up and down the room because he hated it when I sat down but nothing worked. I remember thinking that I couldn't do it anymore, he hates me and is never going to stop screaming. What annoys me the most is when a baby is screaming, people looking over with that annoyed looks on their faces and wondering why you can't calm your baby, there's just no need for that the parents are already stressing out there's no reason to make them feel any worse. Anyway, the doctor asked what milk we were giving him and decided it was best to change brands, and that honestly worked wonders, he became so much calmer and content and that in itself made me feel guilty because he could have been suffering in pain and I didn't even no but fortunately all was good.
After the crying stopped and he became relaxed I felt like I could calm him down by myself and enjoy the precious days we had while he was still small. All of a sudden I started crying every day and one evening I sat in the bath and heard my partner making our baby laugh I smiled before sobbing uncontrollably and all these thoughts bounced around in my head making me believe I was a terrible mum, one because he wouldn't laugh with me no matter how much I tried, and two I was continually on edge I could never relax around him because I was trying my best to keep him safe.
Along came the intrusive thoughts, which I now know are completely normal but they were terrifying. I felt distressed when I noticed mothers and their babies laughing and having loads of fun, and I would feel that sadness start to take over like I was going to break down right then and there why couldn't I be like that. I googled every symptom I felt and truly believed I was going crazy, especially when I saw some pretty scary stuff if you do a quick google search about postnatal depression you should be able to see what I mean. My appetite decreased, and I was practically living on junk food because I had no energy to cook. I was just exhausted, irritable and sad all the time.
It's true that you find out exactly who your friends are when you've had a baby, I only had a small circle of friends but guess what I didn't hear a word from them for months no phone call, no texts, visits, nothing. When we did finally speak, not at one point did they ask how I was feeling, It was all about them, so I gave up out of anger and dealt with this on my own. What bothered me was I needed a friend, somebody who I could open up too. After a few disagreements, I revealed how alone I actually was, but they didn't seem to care, they had the nerve to say I should have got in touch with them well I'm sorry, but friendships work both ways it is in no way one-sided. So I was completely alone, even though I had family around me I couldn't bring myself to open up to them I felt embarrassed and didn't want it to seem like I wasn't coping.
So, I managed to keep this hidden from everyone and it made me feel a million times worse. One evening, after our baby was asleep me and my partner decided to watch a funny movie but when I was supposed to be laughing I was crying, and I couldn't stop. I broke down and told him everything he tried to comfort me and urged me to go and speak to someone for help. Well, that just made me angry I remember saying I'm not bloody crazy, I'm fine, I'm just tired and a little emotional. He apologised and advised me to tell them how I was feeling as I could be suffering postnatal depression. I hesitantly agreed and booked an appointment for the next day.
My doctor was kind and very patient she literally just sat and listened. I poured out my feelings, and she asked me why I didn't visit her sooner I told her I was too afraid in case she thought I wasn't capable of looking after my baby. However, she put my mind at rest and assured me that postnatal depression is pretty common and it in no way means I'm incapable or a bad mother. I was prescribed citalopram, and after a few weeks I was no longer crying, no longer feeling guilty and able to breathe. It took a while until I felt like myself again and they were times when I would have one of those upsetting days where I felt like everyone was against me which made me feel very isolated. Eventually, I began to find different ways to relax and was able to stop the tablets through doctors orders. I was now enjoying life each day free from feeling depressed, my anxiety was and still is there but I try to manage that in several different ways.
If you are feeling this way and unsure if its postnatal depression or not then these signs below will hopefully help you out.
Feeling extremely guilty
Lots of negative/intrusive thoughts
Finding it difficult to sleep
Feeling incapable of looking after your baby
Finding it really difficult to bond with your baby
Thinking about suicide
Lack of interest in anything
Loss of appetite
Anxiety or panic attacks
Don't sit and suffer as I did, speak to family and friends whoever is around that your trust and can open up too, and go and see a doctor I appreciate how scary it is, because you may feel like they are judging you and think your unable to cope, but they don't they listen and help. So get some help, and you'll start to feel better and be able to enjoy all the precious moments with your baby while they're still small because It passes by so quickly, before you no it there starting school and acting like little teenagers with serious attitude I speak from experience!!
I hope this can help some of you I'm always here if you ever need a chat. feel free to share, comment and don't forget to subscribe to my blog for post updates and my monthly newsletter. xx
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