About Me

Kent, United Kingdom
I have the perfect family but still struggle to find the light in the darkness of post-natal depression.

Monday, 29 September 2008

I'm back!

...after a busy week and a weekend away without internet access - eek! But I survived both....
And I have a week off work now which is a welcome break from some of the tougher aspects of life right now and a chance to enjoy our little family without any external pressure.
So what's new since last time?
Well, there are still piles of poo to be negotiated and I'm still watching my step.
But there is also quite a lot of fluff going around which is a relief.
The weekend away was a family fest which could have been a nightmare but strangely wasn't too bad.
And I think part of that is down to the changes I have seen in myself and my parenting. If I had been in that situation a year ago it would have ended in tears and possibly tantrums, and not just from Tasha.
Last time I attended a big family gathering like that I felt under constant scrutiny and as though my every decision and action was being judged for discussion by others later.
Which of course was rubbish and just my perception thanks to some of my skewed schemas.
This time, I wasn't that bothered if everyone thought I was doing everything wrong because I know it works for us. And if other people do things differently that's their decision.
And a by-product of that was that I wasn't constantly comparing myself to others. Of course I was a bit - this is me, after all! But my default conclusion wasn't that everyone else was perfect and I was somehow faulty or deficient in every way. In fact, there were a few situations that I think I handled quite well....and others that I know I could have handled better, but that's life.
It was a good break though, and did remind me of some of the more important things in life like laughter, love and other things beginning with L that I can't think of right now!
But it's good to be home - and Mark's off tomorrow so the holiday continues!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Shit happens sometimes

and when it does there's not always much you can do about it but keep going and watch your step!
It would be really easy, after a difficult and demoralising day, to sink backwards down into the gloom but at this stage it's something I have a choice about doing, and I'm choosing to hang on.
Tough times are also an ideal opportunity to reflect on how far I've come. There was a time not that long ago when I thought everything that was not quite right in my life was a direct consequence of having Miss T.
And if you follow that warped logic to its conclusion, as I did, the next step is to believe that if she wasn't here all would be sunny and warm.
It sounds so stupid now, after a lovely fun bath and snuggly bed time, and when each day she amazes me by coming out with new words and phrases ("silly daddy" and "Cat miaow sssshhhh" are my particular favourites!) but that is genuinely what I believed.
But now, when some of my pink fluff gets blown away by life, I only think of Miss T in terms of how to protect her from the blustering. Some decisions would certainly be easier if we didn't have her to consider but that doesn't mean I would want to be making them without her.
So for the moment, I'm gathering up the fluff and hanging on to it as I negotiate the piles of poo.
And in better news, today was another good day at the childminders, and I had the opportunity for a bit of a chat about how she is doing which proved greatly reassuring.
More proof that sometimes even tough decisions pay off...

Saturday, 20 September 2008

notes to self...

....or things I have learned in the last few days.
1) A night out is a good thing, but it's best to get home before 3am if Mark is working at 6am the next day. Yawn!
2) Staying generally sober during a night out helps with an early morning the day after - but not with drunken conversations with friends, which work better if all parties are drunk!
3) Managing a dog walk and a morning of fun with Miss T despite late night and early start and with no grumpiness from either party is an achievement to be celebrated.
4) Managing the above and completing several housework-related chores (but not cleaning curtain poles!) instead of retreating back to bed with Miss T is another achievement. Although I'm still not convinced that retreating back to bed wasn't the better option...
5) I can't save the world and everyone in it - but I'm still going to keep on trying!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

A small diversion...

Can you believe it's Wednesday already? Lots to report including some progress with the childminder - she didn't want to go home on Monday which is a fantastic sign. I still hated leaving her crying though....
But anyway - a diversion!
Yesterday two home shopping catalogues arrived at my house - you know the sort of thing, filled with bakeware and cleaning products and stuff.
But they do provide a useful source of income for who ever delivers them so I always try to look through them in case there is something in there I just can't live without....I have actually bought things in the past, I'll have you know and the banana cases are a fantastic invention!
Anyway! There were some real gems in there this time but my favourite was a very long duster, with a picture showing a very efficient woman using it to clean her curtain poles. Seriously.
I have never cleaned my curtain poles. And I can't imagine a time when I would have nothing else to do so I would think, gosh, my curtain poles are looking dusty...
In fact, I'm looking at them now and they don't look dusty so clearly don't need cleaning!
Is it just me? Has anyone ever cleaned their curtain poles? Am I just a filthy person? There's still time to order one - the catalogue doesn't have to be out until tomorrow....

Sunday, 14 September 2008

In praise of praise

Something lovely happened to me yesterday.
But typically, I couldn't fully appreciate it.
Tash and I were out with the dogs when a woman who lives along our regular route and has followed our progress with reformed devil dog Mully was on her way out.
I already know her to be a lovely, kind person because she has previously taken the time to come out of her house to say how well she thinks we have done with the aforementioned devil dog - clearly she watched our early dog-owning days which mostly involved running after him as he sped off after a dog/bike/skateboard or anything that moved and ignored everything we said.
Anyway, yesterday she said we had done a great job with our dogs and were now doing a great job with our daughter as well. As Miss T was walking Megan beautifully at the time I did have to admit she looked very cute.
Unfortunately, a few minutes later it went a bit wrong when she stepped into the road and I had to shout at her.
And it went a bit wrong in my head as well, as I couldn't accept what she was saying.
It's so odd - if anyone says anything that could be construed as criticism I'm immediately accepting of it. But anything vaguely positive gets immediately dismissed by my internal filters. If it's from someone who knows me, I assume they are just saying it to be nice. If it's someone who doesn't, well, clearly, they don't know me and if they did they wouldn't say it.
On a more positive note, we've had a good few days with lots of fun, variously involving sand, babies, drawing and even shopping, and for once I'm not looking forward to work in the morning - I could actually imagine doing this mothering thing full time at the moment.
But Tash is asleep so that could all change as soon as she wakes!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

More bumpiness

Oh dear. Today started so well - and continued in the same fashion, with a trip to the park and lots of fun - but ended rather badly, complete with blood and tears.
Fear not, I did not flip out and set about my child, but she did fall over in a very dramatic fashion, flat on her face on her plastic shape sorter, and the result was a huge lump, lots of blood and even more tears. Oh dear.
Luckily this time the tears were confined to toddler ones - last time she hurt herself I ended up sobbing with her about my failings as a parent and guilt at not having protected her.
Anyway! Back to the world of a PND-er....
This week's rant is another website one, and yet again I've lost the link - one of these days I will get organised. It was on askamum and was a discussion about PND where one of the clearly less-enlightened members suggested that the reason more people are diagnosed with PND now is because they like the attention.
Yes, you read that right. She believed that people faked the symptoms of this hellish condition so they would have something to talk about at their coffee mornings - 'jumping on the bandwagon' was her exact phrase.
At the risk of sounding as dramatic as my daughter (I do wonder where she gets that from!) I was so angry after reading the whole discussion that I couldn't think of anything else for a good half an hour.
It's akin to those comments like 'I know she says she has depression but I saw her the other day and she was laughing so she must be fine'...not that laughing was something I did much of in the dark times.
It's easy to see now how far I've come, and today was a great example as most of our fun involved just Tasha and I, but that doesn't mean for a second I don't remember exactly how I felt back then.
I remember not feeling able to get out of bed, let alone the house, and spending hours just crying and crying.
I remember dreading Tasha waking up because I would have to deal with her and I just didn't know where to start, and thinking I had made a horrible mistake.
And I remember how liberating it felt to realise others had been through the same thing - had also wished they could give their child away - but were now enjoying the challenges and crises of parenthood.
I can honestly say I've never met a single person who can fake those sort of symptoms, or who would even want to (although I have just watched the 9/11 faker so am not so sure.....)
And luckily I've never met anyone who has been anything but supportive when I have revealed my struggles/issues/demons - to my face at least. Some people have unwittingly made comments which perhaps reveal hidden prejudices; a good one this week was 'She was threatening violence but I know most mental people do that...' but I like to think that I can present them with a human face of mental illness to challenge those views.
Right - that's enough for now - just time to sort out the kitchen before Mark gets home...or maybe I should conjure up some trauma for a bit of attention... ; )

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Quality time, and questioning

Apologies for the lack of updates - it's all busy busy busy here, you know!
So where were we? Well, Friday night was night out time again which was fantastic.
Saturday was....challenging....but we made it through (mostly by going out!).
And yesterday I was really proud of myself after having some great fun just playing with Tasha. I had an hour before I had to go out to an evening meeting and I had loads to do to get things ready, but I decided to ignore it all and we just played. And it was fantastic - we both loved it!
It also sort of made up for a difficult day with more childminder traumas. Although Tasha is fine when she's there, mostly, it is still proving very stressful. I mentioned it to her in the morning, that she would be having fun at the childminder later, and the immediate reaction was tears (her, not me!) and "no no no" which wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear.
I got a bit of a telling off from the childminder for "prolonging the agony" by staying a bit when I drop her off so the plan for next week is to dump her and run. It goes totally against whatever parenting instincts I have to deliberately do something which is making her unhappy, and every time I (or Mark) drop her off it is making her unhappy.
I know all the theory and we've talked it through and we both feel she needs the extra interaction, and to develop more independence to avoid even more traumas when she goes to preschool, but it doesn't make it any easier. Especially not when she is so happy to be dropped off at Granny's or left with Mark when I'm working.
When does this get easier?

Friday, 5 September 2008

A rocky road has ups and downs...

....and so does my life. Here are a few.
Down: Last night, when I wrote out a very honest - and mindful, as my therapist would say - post which then got lost. Grrr.
Up: Yesterday playing on the beach with Tasha (although this followed a bit of a down when she refused to sleep at home or in the car - after a mini-tour of Thanet I gave up and we spent the half hour before meeting a friend playing instead)
Down: Completely failing in my very important mission to buy new shoes and ending up in a pub completely failing to convince Miss T to eat any lunch. Although she did make a very creative mess.
Up: Playing finger puppets with her this morning.
Down: Standing in the shower for 20 minutes just so I couldn't hear her refusing to sleep again. Before you all start hunting for social services' number, I would have heard if she had cried, and she wasn't. She just wasn't sleeping.
That all sounds a bit bleak, doesn't it? And to be honest, this morning it all felt a bit bleak. I couldn't get anything to go the way I had planned and was thinking about investigating boarding schools for toddlers - surely if someone else did all the hard stuff and sent her back when she was about six, I would be able to cope then?
But then I realised that it was my obsession with planning, which I know is nothing new to most of you, that causes a lot of the traumas. Which is my problem. In all senses of the phrase.
It's not Tasha's fault - she doesn't know that I needed her to sleep yesterday morning so that we could go out in the afternoon - she just knows that she isn't tired. She doesn't know that our health visitor is threatening us with a dietician - she just knows she isn't hungry.
So for today I've tried to abandon plans. It hasn't worked entirely - there are some things I agreed to do before I started my new chaotic (oops, I mean care-free) regime. But without the pressure of needing to get x and y done by a certain time I hope life will be a bit easier.
I've used an eyelash wish on that thought in a bid to help things along, so if any of you see a shooting star please think of us!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

I need to think of more imaginative titles!

I almost called this one another variation on thinking or thoughts but decided to spare you all!
So, today's update - no tearful moments (well, a tiny one when I said goodbye to my lovely colleagues in preparation for an office move) and no friends squeezed in - but it's a work day so what do you expect?
And, as my original title would have told you, I have been doing more thinking. And there's been a bit of a shift - a bit like the weather today.
That doesn't mean that all the sun has gone and the rain is swamping me - that really is just the weather.
In terms of thinking, I've had an attitude change to second babies. In general, I must stress, so don't go getting excited.
In the same way as I was able to enjoy other people's weddings while thinking about ours and using them to work out what I would like, and not like, I'm seeing other people's experiences with more offspring and learning what seems to work and what doesn't.
Luckily, people have been fantastically honest so far about what they would do differently if they could do it all again which is really helpful for someone like me, who lives by lists and evaluates everything ten times over.
And in return I'm trying to be honest with them, without making it seem like I think they're more mental than me for doing it all again.
One positive point I have noted so far is that Tash loves babies and is very gentle with them - all that time playing with her dolls is clearly paying off.
Of course I'm not stupid enough to think that she would accept a sibling without any problems but it is reassuring that her first instinct might not be to jump on its head.
That might still be my reaction though!

Monday, 1 September 2008

Friday fun....

Apologies for the delay in updating you on plan B, C or whichever version we got to - I'm sure you were all on the edge of your seats.
So I did manage a night out on Friday - and it was fun! It was lovely to be out among people who appear to have no cares in the world (note my careful choice of words there - I'm only too aware that all is not always what it seems!), and to relax and just enjoy chatting without a toddler interrupting all the time.
And there was also a sign of progress in other areas too. I got in at about 1am (shock horror!) and Miss T decided that she wanted to get up to play at 2am. And 3.30am. And 4.30am. And I gave up at 5.30am - Mark was already on his way to work.
Old, pre-therapy me, would have seen that as a punishment for my night out having fun without my daughter. And I'll be honest - there was a split second when I thought she was doing it on purpose because she resented me having a social life. But it was the tiniest of moments and I realised quite how ridiculous it was. So implied punishment or not, I will be out on the town again soon - plans are already afoot for the next two Fridays!
It hasn't all been fluff and fun though - it wouldn't be my life if it was! But the lows have been short-lived and I can recognise them as that.
I also read something interesting today - if I find the link I'll post it - on a blog about parenting and other issues. The author, who has many views I don't agree with, has a little girl a bit older than Tasha and boasts that she has almost reached the end of the "terrible twos" without incident.
One of her theories for this is that her child is better-behaved because of a prolonged period of breast-feeding, which I would dispute having seen no convincing research about that, but that's a whole other blog, let alone another post!
Another, more credible one, is that she treats her daughter with the respect she would another adult living in her home and makes time for activities she wants to do as well as the boring adult stuff.
It's something I have been doing with Miss T, albeit mostly unconciously. If we have to do something for me, like going to the bank or the shops, we follow it with something for her, like a trip to the park or the beach. I organise coffee and a chat with friends for me, and we then go to the swings so she can run around after being cooped up and reined in by a sea of "don't touch" and "come back" commands.
So far it does seem to have worked, although it may be coincidence rather than any great parental skill on my part. But I think there is some sense to that argument - I'm more likely to sit through something dull if there's a promise of something nice at the end of it. And if there isn't then I think a lot of people would find themselves getting frustrated with whoever has dragged them to Dullsville!
That's it for today - but I did manage to find the link if you're interested...