We all know that being a parent is not an easy job, we all have good days and bad days, but what do you do when you start to feel like the bad days are outnumbering the good ones at 10:1? It’s not an easy thing to admit that at the moment you are not enjoying being a parent, I know I have been there.
When Pudding was born before Christmas, I was elated at last the pregnancy was over, I had survived the elective c-section (a real concern of mine) and I was finally cradling my beautiful girl in my arms. I fell in love immediately, I was totally head over heels for this tiny Pudding as soon as they laid her on my chest in the operating theatre. Taking her home and enjoying our first Xmas as a family of four surrounded by proud grandparents was wonderful but then the festivities were over and everyone returned to work leaving me to deal with having two small children. Let me tell you reality hit home hard. I was so tired and still recovering from major surgery, but Pie didn’t really understand that and he wanted his Mummy back to do all the things we used to do, not to mention Pudding who needed feeding and changing as an almost constant. I could feel all my patience for the children start to slide away from me slowly, I was irritable and snappy all the time. Everyday started to feel like ground hog day, get up, breakfast, activity, lunch, film, tea, bath, bed. Over and over like a monkey with a miniature cymbal. I could feel myself slipping away, I had become a drudge for two small children and there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I started to dream about just getting in the car and driving as far away as the petrol in the tank would take me, I wanted to run away from my life. How could I have been so deluded to think that I could handle two children? I wasn’t cut out for this motherhood thing. As my mood got lower, my relationship with Pie really started to suffer, he was my constant source of irritation, I found myself nagging and niggling at everything he did and said, I knew I was being unreasonable but I just couldn’t stop. I kept thinking that if he could just calm down and be quiet I would feel better…
Everything came to a head one night, as my husband and I climbed into bed and prepared to dream feed Pudding. I had made the decision to give her some formula in a vague attempt to get a bit more sleep. So I settled back into the pillows to feed and as I tipped the bottle I realised I hadn’t put it together properly and milk went all over me, all over her and all over the bed. This resulted in what I can only describe as a ticking time bomb going off! I plonked Pudding on her Dad, announced I was a rubbish mother and that it was no surprise the children hated me and then ran from the bedroom sobbing. I think that was a pretty big red flag to my husband that I was probably not as ‘OK’ as I kept telling him I was! After sorting out a very cross Pudding he found me sitting outside in the rain in my dressing gown. We talked about how I was really feeling, about how I spent a lot of the day sobbing or just walking about in a daze. He was great and he made me realise that all the things I was feeling were not normal and that maybe I needed to actually get some help.
The next morning, I rang first my Mum, who did some long distance counselling. Just talking to her and my husband made me start to feel better. Then I called my health visitor, she was amazing! She came round that afternoon and spent an hour talking to me about how I was feeling, explaining that postnatal depression can strike at any time within the first 12 months and that it was nothing to feel ashamed about. Some of the guilt I had been dragging around with me started to lift. The HV suggested that if I thought it would help that I could stop the breastfeeding, this would at least give me the opportunity for a break away from the children if I wanted a break. She also suggested a local talking therapy group and said she could arrange for someone to come in and watch the kids for awhile if I needed some extra help. I couldn’t believe how helpful and understanding she was, I had felt like such a fraud ringing her, but she made me realise that I had done the right thing. I chose not to go down the route of medications before I had accessed the talking therapy and actually now I feel like I won’t need to start taking any tablets.
Things have really started to improve, and I am finding that the blogging definitely helps me to express some of the things I am feeling. I am trying to lose that guilt that I am not doing a good job, I know I am never going to get it perfect every time. At least now I am starting to enjoy both the children, I have a great load of support from friends and family now I have admitted that I need some help and that I am no superwoman. I am so glad that I reached out when I did and didn’t let PND consume me.