Admitting you're not ok is sometimes the hardest part

If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen my post earlier this week about Maddox’s christening. And talking about PND.

I’ve never really openly spoken about PND; not even to my nearest and dearest. I didn’t even tell Tom - because I didn’t need to. He knew; and he actually ended up telling me. 

I only told my mum after I’d been to the doctor (who wasn't any help whatsoever, but I’ll come back to that later). 

And other than that, I don’t think I ever described it as what it was. 

I remember vividly walking with my best friend one day. We’d walked from Goole to Howden to go to Kitchen (a regular weekly jaunt) and we were walking back when I told her I felt really overwhelmed by everything at times and like I was struggling. And that was as much as I said. 

I think I was still in denial at this point, not realising that those things were postnatal depression. 

What sparked me to talk about it was Maddox’s christening. So we had him christened on Sunday and then went for Sunday dinner after. We had just 16 of our family and friends there and kept it really small. 

Peyton’s christening was the complete opposite. It was like our wedding all over again with 70+ people there.

In the run-up to her christening I was dreading it. I wasn’t excited. All I could do was worry about her and the day. I was anxious she’d kick off all day with being passed around, worried she wouldn’t nap, worried about how I’d feed her, anxious about how many people were going to be there… just about everything. And when it came to the day, I hated every second. 

I couldn’t relax, I didn’t want to socialise, I didn’t want to be there. I couldn’t wait for it to be over and us to go home. 

That was the November, and it wasn’t until the January that Tom finally said “I think you’ve got postnatal depression”. 

Some days I felt like I was drowning, like I was constantly trying to keep my head above water. Even the most simple of tasks felt like they were impossible. 

I remember one day trying to put the food shop away after it was delivered. Peyton was crawling around and crying, wanting to be picked up. She kept picking up bits of the shopping and either trying to eat through the wrapper/smashing it on the floor. Her crying got worse and worse as she was fed up of waiting. I was just getting the fruit out of its bags and putting it in the fruit bowl and could feel my heart rate going ten to the dozen. I had the plastic bags to put in the bin but the bin lid wouldn’t open. I kept hitting the lid but nothing was happening. She was still screaming. My head felt like it was about to explode. I burst into tears and finally the bin lid opened. I threw everything in and slammed the lid so hard, letting out a big scream in the process. The slam, and my scream, were so loud that Peyton stopped crying in shock. Then she looked at me and started crying even worse. It was horrendous. I remember picking her up and taking her into the lounge and just cuddling her, both of us crying. 

I felt like the worst mum ever. I was trying so hard but nothing ever felt like it was right. 

Just thinking about it now, writing it all down, is making me fill up (I’m sat in Kitchen on my own, enjoying a peaceful drink while Maddox is on his settling in session at nursery, so not the best time to be starting to cry haha!)

Anyway, when Tom finally realised something was wrong, I phoned the doctors. I cried down the phone to the receptionist as I said I wasn’t coping. She was lovely and so understanding. She booked me in to see a doctor and, when I saw her, I cried again. I sat and sobbed as I tried to explain what was wrong. It was hard because I didn’t know - I just felt like I couldn’t cope. I was overwhelmed most days. I resented Tom for going out to work and getting to do his own thing while I was caring for a baby on my own all day. But then I felt guilty for feeling all these things and like I was a failure for not enjoying motherhood and not relishing in every moment. 

But nobody tells you that you won’t love every second. Some days are fucking hard. Like really hard.

I spilled my heart out to this doctor, who gave me various options of medication. However, because she wasn’t fully qualified, or something, she couldn’t prescribe me anything and I’d need to see another doctor and tell them everything again. I felt crushed. I didn’t expect to be “fixed” straight away, but I’d hoped I’d come away with something to help.

She gave me some leaflets and recommended I look up PANDAS on Facebook for support. And told me to make another appt. In the meantime, she said that I should talk to my family and friends and get some support. 

I didn’t want to talk about it because I didn’t want to admit it. I had only just been able to admit it to myself, admitting it to others was out of the question. 

I never did go back and make another appointment. I confided a lot in Tom, and made sure I made more time for myself. Then it wasn’t long til I was going back to work, and that helped me massively. I finally had something for me. I had adult conversation, I spent days with my friends, I laughed, I used my brain, and I got to do something I felt good at. 

Over time, everything got easier. Peyton got easier too, which helped. Suddenly I didn’t have any of those thoughts or feelings any more. And it felt great. But I felt so sad that I’d missed enjoying so much of those early days with her because of how I felt.

This time around it’s been totally different. Tom was so aware of how I felt last time so went above and beyond to be there for me and to share everything so I didn’t feel the same way again. 

I haven’t felt anywhere near as blue as I felt the first time. I’ve loved every second of my maternity leave. And, typically, it feels like it’s gone by ten times faster. 

I worried that I might find things hard again this time, if not harder. Especially as I haven’t had anywhere near as much “me time” away from Maddox as I did with Peyton. Tom and I have only been out once for a meal without either child, whereas we did it loads when Peyton was a baby. And I’ve only left him a handful of times. With Peyton, my mum used to have her all the time when I had nail appointments or even just so I could go to the supermarket. 

Sat writing this, on my own in a tea room, feels so weird. Maddox has basically been joined to my hip for the last seven and a half months. He’s come to my hair appointments, my nail appointments, my blood taking clinic, the doctors with me, Peyton's gymnastics classes… 

He starts nursery in less than two weeks and is there having his first solo settling in session today! By this point with Peyton I’d basically weaned her off the boob onto formula and was fully ready for her to start - and me to go back to work. I think, again, that was my PND as I was trying to rush through every stage to get to the next in the hope that everything would be less foggy.

This time, I haven’t even thought about weaning him off the boob, and I definitely don’t feel as ready for him to be leaving me. But I know he’s ready and I know he’ll love it.

It’s selfish of me to want to keep him with me because everyone else needs to experience what an absolute delightful ray of sunshine he is. 

I start a new job when he starts nursery, which I’m very excited about! 

I’m so glad my maternity experience has been so much better this time. Although sad that I couldn’t have felt like this with P. 

To anyone else who might be feeling like I was, I really recommend finding someone to talk to. Someone you’re close to - or even someone you’re not. Often it’s easier to open up when the person doesn’t know you that well. 

I’m always here if anyone needs to offload or vent. I wish I’d taken up people’s offers of that before, then maybe I wouldn’t have got to feeling as bad as I did. Because it wasn’t just about feeling overwhelmed and like I couldn’t cope and just like everything was against me, I felt embarrassed. And there’s absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s ok not to be ok! And admitting you’re not ok is sometimes the hardest part. 

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