My history with depression
On some levels I feel depression is part of my genetic make up my mum suffers with depression as did her mum.
And although it’s something I’ve always been aware of; I have never been proactive in looking after myself. Before pregnancy I worked too much, drunk too much and didn’t care about much. I was just know for being moody, in fact my family nick name is grump!
Finding purpose in pregnancy
But as soon as baby Effy was in my tummy, my life and how I felt about it completely changed; now I had a purpose! I spent the first few months of my pregnancy researching everything I could about it & what I needed. When people made comments about how well I’d done getting everything second hand & not overspending, I was proud. I worked for as long as I could and enjoyed being pregnant.
The birth of a new mother
The birth, although very long, was OK. My mum tells me of a moment during labour where the old me left and a new person took over. And that’s completely how I felt – like I had become a new person! The respect and confidence becoming a mum gave me for my body was incredible. I loved having this little human and I loved being a mummy. I loved seeing her experience new and exciting things. Deep down I knew these early days were incredibly important and I wanted to do the best I possibly could. The joy I felt was incredible
The cloud of postnatal anxiety & depression
But in the back of my brain there was still this dark cloud waiting to take over. From as early as I can remember I had this terrible anxiety. I worried about someone taking Effy away solely because I wasn’t good enough. Like they were just going to appear and be like ‘haha only joking she’s to good for you’ and grab her and run away into the woods like something from Shrek! Anytime anyone gave their opinion or offered “advice” I thought it was so they could use it as evidence as to why I didn’t deserve my baby!
This made me a very difficult person to be around. I stopped caring about myself, my home, my husband and my family. I was able to put on a mask & be this wonderful proactive mum all day. But as soon as Effy was alseep (or not around me) I felt I became grumpy, defensive & lazy. During the early days I was able to pass it off as ‘hormones’; but as it continued and started to effect more of my life people started to comment. They asked ‘do you think maybe you, should go to the doctors’ and I would very defensively reply ‘no I’m fine’ and then avoid seeing that person for a few weeks.
But as the months went on I started to become unable to focus solely on Effy. I was becoming ratty and grumpy all of the time, including towards Effy. After my mum made another comment about it I googled postnatal depression……
I didn’t feel I was showing any of the listed signs which confused me.
I loved being a mum.
I loved my daughter.
I loved breastfeeding, in fact I loved every aspect of being a parent
BUT I wasn’t happy. I did feel I wasn’t good enough, I did worry that one day everyone would realise and take my daughter away. I did often think how much better off people would be without me & I felt constantly numb.
Reaching out for support
I went to the doctors and he was incredible. I got put on antidepressants and encouraged to consider psychological therapy. The medication worked and I started to feel happier and be able to care about things other than just Effy. I started asking for time out for ME. And breaks for things other than work. One time I remember I sat in a coffee shop for an hour reading a book – bliss! And things just started to feel better.
Making longer term changes
Then in January 2020 I started some psychological therapy. This has helped me massively. It’s taught me to start recognising negative thought patterns and to learn to control them. I am learning love and care about myself (it’s not easy but I’m trying and that’s the point) and I’m making plans for my future
I hope that my story of depression in parenthood can be of some help to someone.
You are not alone getting help is scary but you deserve to feel happyFay
When we become parents it’s so easy to forget who we are. Let’s all make ourselves a promise to value and look after ourselves and our own mental health as much as we do our children. Because actually the results of this can only be positive for all involved. Our children are our future and a massive part of how they learn is through watching us!
You are incredible and deserve to be happy
Love and positive vibes Fay x
Check out our ‘Looking after yourself‘ page for links to more information on perinatal mental health & sources of support