AS PUBLISHED IN OH BABY MAGAZINE
It’s funny how time can make a bad experience and difficult period in your life not seem quite as bad as you thought. I was moving out of my Mums recently and found a diary that I had kept from the day I discovered I was expecting. Why did I keep this diary? Well I asked myself the same question. Somewhat nervous I sat on the couch with a glass of wine in front of the fire in my new cosy comfortable little cottage. I began to read back on a journey that I had either chosen to forget or blocked out. Not all of it was bad though, there were certainly very happy parts and I cried at both in equal measure.
I received an email from a lady a few days after I read my diary and the emotions were still raw. Her words jumped of the page and straight into my heart and I felt her pain exactly like it was mine. I wondered about my own recovery and how much of it was masked in denial. It’s so important to be true to ourselves and once again I’m taking steps that work for me to cope again. Maybe this is part 2 of my recovery. The part I wasn’t strong enough to deal with first time round. Either way I’m not going back and let me tell you something its hard work staying well but definitely not as hard as getting sick and starting all over again.
My diary was constant and consistent until the part I’m going to share with you and not one word was written after this. The reason I’m sharing this is that I’m here and doing great. My son is my life and I’m happy. You can be too:
14th Feb 2011
Besides crappy Valentines Day I feel shit and James is sick. I hate feeling like this. I feel like a caged animal that can’t escape. It’s a mixture of anger, self-hatred and frustration. I hate my sisters but love them at the same time. I don’t want pity or anything of the sort. I genuinely feel like falling down at any given time. Without James I would most certainly have had enough
15th Feb 2011
Everyday you push and stay positive and keep up your smile. I have no interest in anything right now. I feel guilty because of that. I feel like such a burden. I can only imagine how they talk. I can’t even support my own child. I wouldn’t mind being in an accident and I think about wanting to die. That sentence lets me know I’ve hit rock bottom. The games up. I’ve no more fight in me.
March 1st 2011
My cousin makes me feel comfortable and safe and without her I don’t know where I’d be. I feel trapped in myself. My voice unable to carry further than my mouth. I’m afraid of what people think. Why can’t I cope? I hate people that pity themselves but a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel would be good.
I have a beautiful boy and he needs me. How many other mothers out there are feeling like this. I have asked for help but now I don’t even want it. The though of having to explain myself is grueling and I’m tired just thinking about it.
Reading these words back was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. We live in a funny world, a world of lets pretend and make believe. A little bit of honesty would go a long way. If either you or a friend are feeling like this please ask for help. Making yourself better is the greatest gift you will ever give yourself and your family.
Here are my top tips to help combat PND
- Try to get as much rest as possible. Sleep when the baby sleeps or ask someone to take the baby for a walk while you nap
- Try to have at least a 10 minute walk every day with the baby
- Taking baby steps is the key eg. Take a shower. I know this can be hard when you’re tired but it will do wonders for how you’re feeling.
- Keep a diary of how you feel and try and write down 10 positive things that happen each day no matter how small e.g. changed a nappy or fed the baby. When you start to see what you are doing you will stop focusing on what you’re not doing
- Eat well. A good breakfast is essential. Cut out fried, fatty and sugary foods.
- Join a local mum and baby group so you can ask questions and learn from other mums. (www.meetmums.ie for listings in your area) It’s also great to get out and about.
- Talk, talk, talk… tell someone friend/partner if you’re not feeling well or go online and talk to other mums (www.rollercoaster.ie) and ask questions
- Trust in yourself ‘mum knows best’ and know that you will return to the ‘real you’ soon
- Talk to your GP about your options and if necessary find a good counsellor. Parentline are the only national helpline in Ireland for PND so call them.
- As women we need to support each other more and try to be a bit more open and honest. If you feel your friend needs help try and talk to her