Saturday, 28 August 2010

Postnatal Depression - The role that the media and society plays

I went in to motherhood wearing rose coloured glasses and with very unrealistic expectations of what motherhood was.

I didn't intend to, in fact I did all I could to not go in to motherhood blinkered in this way.  I booked an antenatal course with the NCT.  I talked to friends and colleague who had children.

Did it help, no it make things worse, The NCT talked about me about natural births, with birth plans and little or no pain relief.  Of breathing through the pain or breast feeding only and of reusable nappies.  I came away thinking that yep that was how it was going to be and with a list of acquaintances who all felt the same.

It was the start of the way things were to be.  Pick up any magazine and there was photographs of new Mommy's looking great, pushing Poppy or Daisy in the pram, glowing and back in their pre pregnancy clothes after a week.

There was talk of breast is best, but not only for the baby, but also for the new mum as it helps burn calories.  There was no such thing as couldn't breastfeed, only wouldn't breastfeed.

So I set off on this incredible journey, not only with the wrong map, on the wrong form of transport, but also with the wrong fuel in the car too.

I would meet up with the mums from my antenatal class, only to find out "Jonny is sleeping through", "We have put Mia in her own room", "Formula is why Maxi isn't sleeping".

So I felt a failure, a total failure.  My child wouldn't sleep, I couldn't sleep, I wasn't feeding him correctly, OMG I was pregnant again and Maxi would get no attention at all.

So The one thing I can offer to all mothers out there is that expectations, set them realistically.  Talk to people that you trust to tell you the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  Yes I wouldnt trade with of the boys for the world, but sleeplessness is a killer and sleeping though - yeah right.  I was happy if we managed 6 hours!  Being a parent changes everything, It intensifies everything - the good and the bad.

So for me I would have rather had honest answers and realistic expectations, the fall wouldn't have been so far or so hard if I had know just what parenting was like.


Thursday, 19 August 2010

First Kiss

We had decided to both go to the after work drinks at the pub.
We didn't work together, but you had just finished the audit on the company I worked for.
We were good friends and I had known you for 4 years.
"I will drop you off on my way home, I have to drive past your road" you said to me.
I got in your little white car, off we drove.
"I am not ready to go home yet" I said, tentatively wondering if you felt the same way about me as I did you.
"Let's stop and look at the sea" I mentioned
The tape deck was playing The Wonder Stuff as we watched the breakers hit the shore.
It was dark and you could hear the sea roaring as you wound down the window to stop the car steaming up.
And we sat, pretty much in silence.
Looking at the darkness outside the window, looming closer and closer.
My tummy rolled with the waves.
A hollow pit of nerves and anticipation.
You joked that we were parked in a notorious car park
I looked at you and you looked back at me and then we kissed.
I didn't want it to stop, but it had to.
We both had people at home waiting for us.
I was 20 years old and knew you were the one

We were married less then a year later.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Depression -Not knowing which thoughts were flowers and which were weeds

I thought I was a terrible mum, I really did.  I was not saying this for people to counter with "of course you aren't".  I truly thought that MadDad and the boys would be better off without me.

I couldn't separate the irrational thoughts from the rational ones, the weeds from the flowers and this was something that CBT allowed me to do in a really processed way.
When things got really bad, I would write.  I didn't blog then, I didn't dare, but I did write a lot of my feelings in a small notepad, which has been hidden away, so I am going to share with you some of the things I wrote

"Why cant I go back to sleep, when I know that mini has gone back off to sleep, why do I bother to even close my eyes, when I know that sleep wont come"

"Why can I not comfort him, why can I not stop him crying.  Why have a made a damaged baby?"

"I dread the nights, I am starting to dread the ticking of the clock.  I want to go away.  The tireder I get the harder it is to function"

"I want to drive the car in to a brick wall, to stop the pain in my heart and the feelings in my tummy, my boys deserve more"

£Everything is getting on top of me, I do not know how to cope, so I am hiding.  I hate the world for making me selfish, I do not want to live".

I wrote this was Mini was 3 months old on 22 September 2006 and re-writing it like that, it seems so alien.  I really did feel this way.  The biggest part of my treatment for me was to realise that I wasn't my mum and that in seeking and receiving help my children would not be as effected by depression as I was as a child.

At this point I would have rather been dead than have them suffer the way I did.  I wanted them to be sheltered from the repercussions depression can heap on to family life.

But my Mental Health Nurse empower me to be able to deal with these thoughts.  He and I used CBT to help me initially recognise the negative thoughts and feelings, then to challenge them and eventually to change them.
It wasn't easy, but it was effective.  I had to work hard to get where I am today.  I had to put in additional work every day at home.  I discussed this every evening with MadDad.  I had Thought Monitoring and Challenging Forms and I filled them in, until I could fill them in just by thinking about it.  The repetition in doing this really helped me and this major part of my treatment that I carry with me everyday and still use.

I am often found to be asking myself "what is the worst that could happen", "would I judge a friend like this" and "how would you see this if you went depressed".

More so than the medication I am thankful for the CBT.  It is what allowed me to start living and stopping bullying myself and looking for eternal perfection.