About Me

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

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Terrible twos - or two's company?

So as I mentioned, Miss T has reached that milestone of her second birthday.
And so have we, relatively unscathed. At the moment, at least...
And as well as a turning point in her life, the seemingly random date of December 24, 2008, was earmarked as the time to discuss the next steps in our lives.
Namely, the question of more children.
Life being what it is, we haven't actually had that conversation yet but we both know it's waiting to be had.
So in a bid to be more prepared I thought I would attempt to sort out some of my thoughts - I'm always up for a challenge...
I've said before that we've always seen ourselves as a family of four. And that doesn't include any furry additions!
So the next step for us would of course be another baby.
But is our blueprint for our lives a good enough reason for such an upheaval?
Why do people have more children? Would it be for Miss T, for us, or something else? And is it fair to her, or us?
Some of my friends who are on their second are coming out of those early months of chaos and seem to be reaping the benefits - their children can entertain each other and provide company for each other.
But trips out for coffee and cake are becoming more of a rarity!
It is perhaps testimony to how well they have managed that I have been able to think about having my fantastic contraceptive implant removed without breaking into a cold sweat. But of course that isn't the same as thinking about being the parent of two...
And I can see that my work situation at the moment, which is leaning towards the freelance/self-employed route, is very flexible and so perhaps ideal for adding to our family.
But at the same time the thought of the reality of another baby is frankly terrifying.
If I am completely honest, I am not sure our relationship would survive another bout of PND with the added pressure of a pre-schooler to look after. Or that I would.
Of course, there is no guarantee that it would all happen again. And of course there would be a support network in place already.
So is it fair to deprive Miss t of a sibling, and Mark of another child because I'm scared of something that may not even happen?
I don't know yet. I'll let you know if I work it out!

Friday, 26 December 2008

Festive fun?

So we've almost made it through Christmas.
Which means we've also survived Tasha's second birthday. It's a very strange time for me - I'm another year on from those early days but as things move on I'm struck by how much I haven't.
I was also struck these last few days by how quickly things change. Not just the big things, like having an independent little girl instead of a baby now, but the little things, like how a day can seemingly go from good to bad in the blink of an eye.
A lot of that is down to Miss T, of course, and how she is handled, and whether she's had enough sleep, but some of it is also down to me and my expectations. If things turn out as I planned and hoped then all is fine - but if they don't, all is most definitely not fine.
I know that's something I need to work on, but it's hard after a life time of planning every little detail to let go and just let things be.
Maybe it should be one of my New Year's resolutions....

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Thursday things

Another one of those interesting mixed days....or weeks....or should that be months....
Progress in some areas, and I'm loving spending time with Miss T when I'm not working, but issues in other places.
And, I'm afraid to confess, as usual they are my issues with other people's comments.
I picked her up from the lovely childminder's this afternoon to be told she had been unsettled, which was not unexpected as she reverted to crying when Mark dropped her off this morning.
Of course she was fine, and managed to make two Christmas decorations and play with her two best friends, but it was a bit of a change from the sessions where she waves us off happily.
Wise woman that she is, the childminder suggested the change may be due to the fact that I'm now working quite a lot, and she is now there for longer sessions instead of a two-hour play time to keep the routine going.
I'm sure she is right, and it just means a bit more time for Miss T to adjust to the change. It's by no means a disaster, and wasn't even a big deal for the childminder, who pointed out even though it had been a difficult day it was no way near as bad as the early days with lots of screaming.
But can you guess what's coming?
Massive maternal guilt! I almost went straight home and phoned my new temporary work colleagues to say I wouldn't be in!
Luckily I realised that was ridiculous but still felt quite miserable for a while.
And there was more misery after a festive visit to a friend's yesterday, where there is a small baby in the family.
He was not there but his mum was and was positively glowing with pride and love for him. It was obvious how much she loves being with him and is genuinely amazed by each new thing he does.
It was lovely to see but it did make me feel sad that I missed out on all that - part of me is still astounded that anyone can actually enjoy something I found so hellish.
But let's end on a happier note - more progress to report. I'm working on strategies to deal with those moments where I could happily strangle her (and I know for sure I'm not alone in those!) and they seem to be working. It's early days but no strangulation incidents have occured, even though there has been dog tail pulling, dog leg lifting (don't ask me why!), dog water spilling, dog food throwing....and no, the strategy does not involve getting rid of the dogs!

Monday, 15 December 2008


Lucky people - two posts in two days! Although it took me three days to write the last one, so technically it should be two posts in a week...
I feel the need to record tonight's happenings because I am proud of how I handled it. And who knows, tomorrow I might need something to refer back to!
It was another bedtime which didn't go exactly to plan, although it started very well. Miss T asked to go up for her bath, we had lots of fun, got ready for bed with no problems.
Things began to go awry during story time when instead of listening intently to the tale of a little rabbit who is looking for the moon she began chatting animatedly about her day.
And the situation deteriorated when I tucked her up and went downstairs - the usual 30 second complaint was stretched out more and more and interspersed with plaintive "mummy come up" and "mummy cuddle" requests.
Typically, it just happened to be one of those nights when I have a to-do list that could keep me busy for weeks and Mark is at work till late.
So what did I do? Well option 1 was to hope she would settle by herself, and steel myself for up to half an hour of misery.
I did that for 10 minutes, and became more and more stressed with the thought of all the things I needed to be doing, and the possibility that she might keep this up all evening.
I even sent a few miserable texts out in the hope some magical fairy would come up with a solution.
None was forthcoming, of course so I made a decision. Shocking, I know!
I went upstairs, gave her lots of kisses, resisted her pleas to pick her up, told her it was bedtime and went back down.
And guess what? It worked! By the time I had got back down to my lengthy list, peace had settled on the house (apart from the hungry cats wailing for their tea...but that's a whole other blog!).
It may not sound that significant - after all, parents across the land get their children to sleep every day. And so do I, mostly.
But this incident had the potential to turn into one of those wallowing moments where we both end up in tears and no one is in control.
I am proud I took the decision to take control, and that I was able to go upstairs calmly and confidently - it isn't always so, believe me!
So - there you go. Little steps on the road back to sanity...and further away from the happy pills.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Someone give me a slap!

You never know, it might shake things up a bit!
I've been working this week but don't get too excited, it's basically just temping.
And it's been good to be dealing with the different challenges that office life brings compared to toddler life. But (whisper it!) I wanted to be at home!
Yes, you read that right. I, who have spent the last two months bleating about wanting to work, wanted to be at home.
And not just at home by myself, although that would have been bliss. I wanted to be at home with Miss T, or more specifically out at the dreaded play gym with the painted ladies, out feeding the ducks, out meeting friends or home reading books and baking cakes.
In a way, that's a good thing. It shows that we do have some kind of bond because I wanted to be with her, and it makes me appreciate the time we have spent together during this blip in my career, and the time we will spend together in future.
And it also helps make my future a little clearer - maybe a regimented 9-5, even if it's only for three days a week, just isn't for me any more, at this stage in my life. That doesn't mean I'll be returning to a life of leisure for this week, or indeed for a while - my temporary colleagues want me back and I need the money.
But I will be investigating the freelance/self-employed route with vigour!
Now, that was the good news. The less good news is that despite my new-found, and long-awaited clarity, I have been struggling at home recently.
I'm hoping it's down to my much-documented inner turmoil, which like many other things, will soon pass. Because if it doesn't then I'm afraid I will be taking another vote on the good old happy pills/therapy route. It is something that has been mentioned by others several times lately and as I'm sure you all know, I have so far stubbornly resisted. I can't help feeling it would be a backwards step - nay, giant leap.
But I also can't help feeling that it's not fair on Miss T, or Mark, or others around me, to continue as I am.
Maybe Father Christmas can bring me a sprinkling of perfect parent potion along with a host of freelance opportunities...

Sunday, 7 December 2008

clear as mud!

There are so many posts in my head right now and I'm not sure which one of them is going to come out.
I was going to attempt to be insightful and mindful about the fact that everyone around me seems to be landing dream jobs and I'm still unemployed...but that may be changing...so I don't want to jinx it.
I was going to write about my continuing struggles to accept good news for my friends without feeling massively jealous and angry - bitter, in fact.
Or about my Friday, which started so badly and ended not so badly.
Or the weekend, which started not so badly and ended badly.
But at the moment my overwhelming thoughts are angry ones.
I'm angry at so many things, and a few people as well, myself included after one of those moments when you can see yourself acting in a way you despise but feel powerless to stop it.
I'm most angry at the fact that just as I thought things in one area of my life seemed to be improving, those in another area went spiralling down the pan.
Is this one of those life lessons? You can have some good things but not too many? Or is it just one of those life of Liz lessons - don't think things are good because something will soon prove you wrong.
I do still believe everything happens for a reason - I had PND because I am able to write about it and maybe help others. Maybe I have to go through this period of unemployment to allow me to develop my skills and bond with Miss T. Sometimes I wish the reason were clearer though.
I'm sure you all wish this post were clearer but it can't be at the moment.
Let's all hope next week brings some clarity to all areas.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


I think humph is a much under-used word - it perfectly describes how I'm feeling today.
There have been ups and downs and I can't work out which was prevalent, so I'm not sure if I'm angry, excited, jealous, ashamed....
Explain? Of course....
This morning I was pondering the phenomenon of confidence and how flimsy it can be. Personally, mine has never been great but professionally I got by with a cheery facade and managed to convince myself sometimes - it's amazing what simply adopting my "work persona" can do.
But obviously, with no work, the work persona has been fading away. And today I realised I needed it back as I had some calls to make and questions to ask. It was enough to send me into a panic - what was I thinking? I would never be able to do this! I should never have agreed to it, I should scrap the whole thing - you get the picture.
Luckily the shards of the old work me that remained were able to take myself in hand and of course I enjoyed my brief taste of how things were. So I was excited about the days ahead and the work I have to do (unpaid, frustratingly, but there's more to life than money - isn't there?!).
Another down followed when I found out that my friend who was interviewed as the other half of a job share for one of the jobs I had an interview for has accepted another post. Are you still with me?! Of course it's fantastic news for her, and in a way it serves the other organisation right for being so tardy with their recruitment process, but it feels like one strike for me - one of the three interviews I am awaiting outcomes for will now almost definitely be a no. Two left...
And of course I then felt angry with myself for being so selfish. And negative. There's still every chance that one of the other two will snap me up.
I can't stress enough how much I hope they do - Tash and I went to play gym again this morning, and I'm proud we went alone and she had a great time but I just hate the whole 'mummy world' that exists out there. There are people who turn up dressed for a night out, with full make-up, designer clothes and ridiculously high heels and spend the whole time chatting with their friends, equally impressively dressed, and drinking coffee.
I am not a big make-up fan at the best of times and really would rather spend that extra time in the mornings in bed instead of applying it if I have nothing more exciting to do than play gym. And when I think about it rationally, I know I would hate to be one of those people who seem so shallow, and I am pleased that Tash has my full attention instead of having to cry for five minutes after falling off something in the hope I will interrupt my conversation to help her.
But the whole experience does make me feel hopelessly inadequate and out of place and just humphy.
I know there is a school of thought that says you should make an effort every day, for your loved ones if no one else, but at the moment it feels like there is not much to make an effort for.
That isn't meant to sound as bad as it does, but I just feel there should be more to my life than play dates and toddler activities. Hopefully one of the other two interviewing panels will agree soon...

Monday, 1 December 2008

A week of no dramas?

Almost a whole week without a post? What to deduce from that? Well, either I've been inundated with job offers and have been too busy, or there has been a week without dramas.
The answer is the latter, and I was going to add sadly, but that doesn't seem quite right. It is sad that as yet no employer has snapped me up (although I'm waiting on the results of three interviews so all is not lost!) but not sad that I've got through six days without feeling the need to rant/vent/unload.
So what's new? Well, not a whole lot. I'm clinging to the hope that I'll have a job by Christmas, although as it's rushing towards us at a terrifying pace that does seem slightly unrealistic. Each week seems endless when Monday comes round and I struggle to see ways to get through it. But each time Friday arrives we have managed somehow, and with less of those awful days that seemed to haunt me at the beginining of this latest chapter of my life. In fact, I can even look forward to some of that plentiful Tash and mummy time and the activities we do together!
She of course changes almost daily and today came out with something that no matter how hard I try, I can't simply brush off.
We were having a conversation about cats on mats prompted by a picture in a book when she came out with the following: "Patches is sitting on the mat."
I'm sure that's what it was - and the thing that makes it so strange is that Patches is the name of one of our family cats from several years ago.
She has in the past said things like "I'm talking to the lady" when there is no one but us, but I've put that down to her vivid imagination - she frequently takes her dolls on outings to the beach or the park without leaving the house.
But the specific mention of Patches - and I know it sounds awfully like cat, but I'm sure it wasn't that - was strangely comforting to me. As if not only are my real-life friends and virtual supporters rooting for me but figures from the past are also doing their bit.
I'm going to go now before you all thing I've really lost the plot!