So I have had this saved for a while and thought it would benefit a few people to know your not alone.
Depression…. what a horrible word. Especially when it’s linked to what is branded as the miracle of birth. While pregnant everyone says how wonderful parenthood is. How you fall in love with this baby and it’s a love you can’t explain, just that it’s powerful and wonderful.
I can say from personal experience this is the case but sometimes it’s harder then anyone tells you.
I’ve got 4 beautiful babies and 4 completely varying cases of depression. So like every pregnancy every post natal experience is different. You may relate to some, all or none of the things your about to read.
My first pregnancy was with BG. I experienced pre natal depression, at the time it was relatively new to be diagnosed with it. My dr thankfully was very good and spotted the signs quickly and saw me weekly without fail. Due to this I was at a higher risk of developing post natal depression.
Don’t get me wrong when my daughter was born I cried instantly, I created and pushed this little human into the world. She was reliant on me. It was scary!
I can remember while being in hospital after giving birth, feeling fine. In fact for the first week I was floating around in the new mum tiredness, I had a constant stream of visitors, I lived with my parents so only had to worry about me and BG. No chores. No money worries nothing. I had no reason to be depressed life from the outside seemed good.
Then boom visitors became less frequent, I was spending more time alone, I didn’t know what I was doing, this baby wouldn’t stop crying, it hated me. I felt alone. I didn’t love my baby, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want anything to happen to her but I didn’t love her. I just felt that I was babysitting, that the mum would drop by at any moment to pick her up.
Then came the dreaded thoughts. My baby wouldn’t stop crying, and all I remember was looking at the open window and thinking if she was out the window she wouldn’t cry. Driving home from shopping thinking, if I crash the car she would stop crying and we would both be in a better place. They were horrible thoughts, but very real thoughts and thoughts that if I hadn’t of got help when I did I dread to think what would have happened.
Thankfully my health visitor was due to come that week. I was scared to tell her what I had thought. I was scared to mention this love everyone said about wasn’t there. That instead of being in the new born bubble I hated my life, that this child had changed my life and I don’t know what to do any more. Yet she sat and listened and just said ‘your not alone’.
She set up a private baby massage class to help with the bonding. A massage teacher came to my house once a week for 8 weeks we did the massage and we spoke, she helped with the bonding… it didn’t help completely but I was talking to my baby, I was seeing her as a baby that was part of my family rather then just some random baby to look after.
My health visitor came every week, sometimes more and kept me upbeat, she was always so positive, so helpful, so encouraging. My health visitor was amazing and I can not stress enough TELL someone, your health visitor or GP or someone if you are struggling. They are there to help and they know how to get you help. I dread to think what would have happened if I didn’t let my health visitor know I was depressed.
Having all that help did help with the big thoughts, it did help me cope with the new bundle of joy however it didn’t help the little things, I remember meeting up with my sister in law and her asking if BG was hungry as she was crying, I responded that she couldn’t be as she was only just fed. It turned out BG wasn’t fed for a few hours and was hungry. That made me realise I needed to set alarms. It was a scary wake up call.
Saying that, I still didn’t love BG until she was older, a lot older. It wasn’t a remarkable day when this love came but I remember vividly looking down at BG, she was sitting playing with some toys in the dinning room and she just looked up and smiled at me. Then my heart just burst open with love. It was highly emotional and that was it BG was mine and that over powering love came through! I can’t remember a lot of BG’s first year, it is a haze of a black cloud. I remember bits but not a lot. I do remember thinking that I was not me. That the way I was acting and feeling was not me. I was numb. This depression consumed me. I wouldn’t say it ruined BGs first year of life, she thrived, she was a fast learner and met all her milestones quickly. She was extremely well loved from other family members and extremely happy. That is what I cling onto.
Then a long came MO. I was fully expecting the same depression, the same feeling of wanting to shut my baby away and the lowness and darkness that came with it. However it never came. I didn’t bond with MO for a good 18 months-2 years. To me he loved his Dad more. Dad could do no wrong. Dad would be at work, MO would be screaming and as soon as Dad was home MO was in his arms and asleep. I felt useless and that made the bonding even harder.
With MO I actually breastfed until he was about 8 months. I did this to help with the bonding. I knew it could help and it did help. MO knew who his mum was, I was feeding him, bathing him, playing with him. I smiled and laughed and played with him the bond just was not there. I didn’t even class it as depression as I wasn’t thinking of harming myself or him. However apparently it is a type of depression. I was more myself however I was a shell of myself at the same time. It is extremely contradicting and hard to explain but my spark had gone. MO I look back on and think why couldn’t I love him, if I had loved him then those first couple of years would have been perfect.
The bonding was an issue for Dad, he was upset as he couldn’t understand why, however he knew it was hormones. He understood that it wasn’t me and that I would eventually love him and the same thing happened as it did to BG. MO was having an extremely difficult day and right at the end he just stroked my face. No words just a stroke. The love again just exploded inside me and I brought him close to me. The cloud has finally departed.
SB was premature. This bundle of joy was in an incubator, I was ill myself and I didn’t know what to do. I went to the incubator for the first time and can remember peering in and seeing all these wires and the familiar feeling of the mum love. SB I bonded with straight away.
We got him home and I went into OCD mode. I hated seeing anyone hold him including dad. I cleaned the house and sanitised my hands a lot! He wasn’t going anywhere he was mine and I had to protect him. I stopped going out except to one baby class. He was never weighed unless it was the health visitors visits as I didn’t want him to get ill by mixing with other babies and adults and all the germs.
We did move to Prague when SB was 3 months old and this was an experience. I worked part time so I had to let him go into hands of a nursery. I had done it with the others but SB I just felt strange doing this. However I did and it was lovely to see and hear how well he was getting on. He loved it which instantly put me at ease.
Then around 6 months old I started to feel generally down. By the time he was a year I was barely holding it together. If I wasn’t at work, I was asleep. I was finding it hard to parent so would just switch off. Dark thoughts of getting me out of the world started and got extremely strong. Dad was at his wits end not knowing what to do. He couldn’t get through to me. I was like a robot.
By 18 months I had spiralled even more and was found on a bridge. We handed notices in and was home in the UK within 2 months. I was put on medication. Slowly my mind was less fuzzy. My thoughts were clearer. I wasn’t asleep all the time. I was being a parent and not just letting them get on with it by themselves. I was a better wife. I was me. It scared me looking back and dad and I watch closely what my emotions are doing and sleep pattern in fact any signs of depression creeping back. Talking to people this seems to have been some sort of delayed post natal depression as if something in my brain was pushing it away as had an international move to sort. It’s quite interesting what the brain does.
As for BBG it’s just been up and down. Apparently the first year is a rollercoaster of emotions. I was under the perinatal emotional wellfare people up until January. I had traits of all the past experiences. The thought of just wanting to get out no matter how I would do it. This could happen even come about when doing silly things like washing the clothes or doing food shopping. People haven’t been able to hold BBG I’ve been very protective and only really been letting people hold her this last couple of weeks. I have had times of not wanting to participate in anything, where I just sleep or just can be staring for ages without knowing what’s going on around me. The feeling of uselessness. The feeling of just being overwhelmed.
I have learnt that everyone deep down at some point feels a variety of these things. That some people feel lonely, useless and they struggle. Yet some can lift themselves out of this dip easily. That is absolutely fine. But for those of us who find it harder, who can’t see ourselves and we are just a robot, for those of us who are getting dark thoughts, and daydreaming of how to escape. There is help out there and you are not alone.
This subject is only just being spoken about openly and even then there is still a stigma. People don’t like admitting their struggling in the time where everyone thinks they should be in this wonderful bubble of awesomeness.
I’ll take everyday as it comes and enjoy my wonderful children it has taken a few years to accept that my depression wasn’t my fault and it can happen to everyone.