I’ve been contemplating writing a blog post on this very personal issue or not…. and I suppose it’s something I feel I should talk about.
I set up my Instagram last year when I found out I was pregnant as a means of documenting my journey from being a carefree young woman with very little responsibility…. to suddenly being pregnant, buying a house, having a baby, and moving out with a boy I have been with since I was 17 but never actually ‘lived’ with. Although I am extremely fortunate everything went well….. I bought the house, had a beautiful and healthy baby, and moved out with the other half…it’s only now that it has all kind of hit me. When I say hit me, I feel like I’ve gotten a punch to the ground of ‘what the f**k has just happened to my life?’
I don’t mean for that last sentence to sound like I regret any of it, I couldn’t imagine my life without Ellie or living in our new home, but I feel like the dust has just settled on the most mental year of my life, and I won’t lie…. I’m struggling now as all the craziness and butterflies about the exciting things we had coming our way have come and gone, and now this is just ‘life’. I’d liken it to a ‘come down’ after the biggest run of highs one after the other after the other.
I thoroughly enjoy being a mother, I mean I ADORE it! However, the past 3 months or so, I feel somewhat lost. I’ve gone from being the baby on both sides of the family, to suddenly living on my own and having my own baby. I am no longer am the one being ‘Mammied’ (yes,my Mother is the typical Irish Mammy who had me ruined!) and I am no longer wrapped in cotton wool by my Dad (yep…. Daddies’ girl over here). I feel overwhelmed. I feel anxious. I feel lost.
I’ve also gone from living in my blissful and fab ‘baby bubble’ on maternity leave; to returning to work in two completely different jobs (and a brand new ward!!) And I feel like I just can’t settle back into normal life. There’s nothing ‘on the way’ or in the pipeline. My head is constantly filled with planning ahead for days off and dividing my time between everything. I feel like I’ve lost the ability to be present and in the moment. It’s more like the lights are on, but no ones home.
To cut straight to the point….. I have postnatal depression. There I’ve said it! It took 10 months for this to kick in, which to be honest is the biggest kick in the teeth for me. I felt like I had a handle on everything since Ellie was born, and I was a little smug with myself at the beginning that I only got very mild baby blues after she came along. I suffered with depression during my teens, so I felt like I had ‘been there, done that, got the t-shirt’ . It’s been so hard to build up the courage to admit defeat and go to the doctor to ask for help.
I would class myself as a positive person, and I am a big believer in positive mindset and utilising exercise etc as an outlet to keep my mood in check. All my usual hacks for keeping my mood at bay weren’t doing anything….. for example, a daily walk in fresh air and sunshine left me feeling exhausted and I can barely peel myself out of the bed to go the gym (which is unheard for me… I have always looked forward to my workouts). I get up the mornings with a fog over me. I have anxiety when I have to get myself ready to go out, and I feel like somebody is sitting on my chest when the smallest problem arises.
I’m not too sure what I want to get out of writing this post… but I hope it may reach out to another mother who may feel like they are struggling a bit. I am hoping that even sharing what is going on will help someone else feel like it’s ok to admit these things. If I broke my leg I wouldn’t hide it, so why should I hide that my mental health has taken a bit of a hit?
It’s also worth noting, behind the Instagram accounts we all have our own s**t to deal with. I’m not saying that I am sat at home all day crying my eyes out, because I’m not, but I am making the point that it is all well and good posting the highlights, but we will never show real life stuff or talk about it. For God’s sake I feel guilty I have depression, sure what do I have to be sad about? ….I don’t! I have everything I could possibly want, and yet I’ve still been hit with feelings of utter helplessness. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you have, what you don’t have ….. we all have our own shit, and I think talking about it is better than hiding behind a fake smile and dying on the inside.
Already I feel better in myself the past few weeks (aside from the odd day here and and there) by being more open with family and friends, so I urge anyone whose reading this who can relate to it, please please talk! A problem shared is a problem halved.
I hope that I am able to read this post back in a few months time with a smile on my face that I have come out the other side. I know I will. This is temporary, and by knowing that I am already half way there!
Jessica x .