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, 22 November 2010

I wasn't going to do this...

...but what's the point of having this if I don't use it when I need to?
After all, I've seen the results when things are glossed over or ignored when in fact they need to be aired.
So I've been feeling pretty well prepared for baby number two and dealing with everything that involves.
That's not some fluke, in case anyone is in any doubt - it's the result of a lot of hard work with my lovely therapist, with Mark and with myself. Not always pleasant, but necessary to give us the best start possible as a family of four.
That is my focus - our family, and preserving and developing it. Mark and I are stronger than we have ever been and we feel ready to tackle PND again if we need to.
Others have been fantastic too, and I feel confident there is a small army waiting in the wings if and when we need them.
But sadly, there appear to be a few members on an opposing army. People who have perhaps forgotten - or been too wrapped up in themselves to realise - how close to the edge we came last time because of what was triggered by Miss T's arrival. All kinds of edges, in fact.
People who perhaps haven't noticed what we've already dealt with this time.
I doubt those people will ever read this. But I need to say it anyway.
My family is a unit. There are four of us. Anyone who has an issue with one will have to deal with all of us. And I'm not afraid to withdraw our family unit - as a whole - from anyone who is not a positive influence.
And if that happens, that will be your loss, not mine.

Monday, 15 November 2010

And now for something a bit different...

I wanted to do this, and here seemed like as good a place as any! Hope you can all indulge me...normal service will be resumed soon!

Dear baby boy,
You will be here soon, and things could get a bit hectic for a while. So I wanted to take advantage of the peace and quiet of these last few days to write my hopes and fears for you - and for me.
I'm so excited about meeting you. I know things won't always be perfect (and believe me, that's been a hard lesson to learn!) but I'm working on being the best mum I can be to you and your big sister.
I want things to be different to when she was born. But that doesn't mean I want things to be perfect. I don't care if the house isn't spotless when the health visitor or your relatives come - in fact, as I sit here typing this I can see clutter that needs putting away, dust that needs sweeping and a rug that needs vacuuming.
But that doesn't matter. What matters is getting to know you, and adjusting to our new lives as a family of four.
It will be hard for all of us in different ways. Your dad has a lot of pressure as well as he worries about all of us, and your sister is very excited but will have a lot of hard lessons of her own to learn.
You've already taught me a lot and although it hasn't always been fun (I could have done without the gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia!) it's been useful. Before you've even arrived you've let me know in no uncertain terms that you are not the same as your sister.
And that means things will not necessarily be the same as they were when she was born.
I'm sure you'll let us know if things are not quite to your liking, just as your sister will, but I hope we can all learn to compromise together and build a loving family unit. Actually, that should be "build a bigger family unit" - the three of us are already a strong unit and we have plenty of love for you too.
I promise to try to remember that you are different to your sister. You will have different tastes, likes and dislikes, and a different personality. That's okay - just look at me and your aunts!
I also promise to try not to compare the two of you - I know how annoying that can be. And I promise not to take sides - and to make sure you know that you will always be my best boy, while your sister will always be my best girl. There's a special place in the family for both of you.
It's no secret that I find it hard to be a mum, and I won't pretend that's changed.
But your sister has done a great job in training me and I will be able to use the skills she taught me for you. And while you may not be as appreciative of glitter and pinkness as she is, I promise to try to embrace boy noise and boy energy as I learn to be your mum too.
I hope I can teach you things too, and I know your sister will try to impart her wisdom and knowledge. Please be patient with her - she means well!
We're all eagerly awaiting your arrival, and I hope when things get tough that you can remember how much you are loved and wanted, just like your sister.
With love,

Monday, 1 November 2010

It's time to look back...

I don't really want to, but I can't avoid it any more.
One of my lovely therapist's "strategies" for avoiding/coping with PND version two is to produce what I have affectionately termed a 'mad list'.
The idea is that I write down, so it's there for all to see, a list of symptoms and behaviours that characterised PND-me last time. Then, if anyone spots more than one or two of them recurring, they can have a little word.
Of course, that last bit is probably easier said than done. And to be honest, dear readers, if you do spot them, it's probably best if you have a little word with Mark who has been armed with some key words and phrases to use in discussing the situation with me. Just so you know, "Everyone thinks you've gone mad again," is not one of them!
On the subject of honesty, I should (oops, there go those shoulds again!) have done this list weeks ago. Probably months ago. But I just couldn't face it. I don't want to relive those times.
I had a bit of a reminder the other day at yoga - the well-meaning teacher was discussing those first days with a newborn and pointing out that it isn't always a bed of roses. Her openness wasn't well-received by everyone in the group but it such struck a chord with me that it all came flooding back - especially when she revealed she didn't feel like herself until her son was three.
Oops - now I'm procrastinating again. I did warn you I didn't want to do this...
But I have to for my sake, and for Mark's and of course for Miss T's.
So here goes....your guide to mentalness, by me!

1) Reluctance to be alone with the baby
2) Avoiding interaction with the baby
3) Auditory hallucinations
4) Not getting out of bed
5) Excessive crying
6) Obsession with perfection in other areas, eg housework
7) Obsession with being seen as superwoman, ie not failing at anything
8) The thoughts...I don't know how else to describe them. Imagining bad things happening...
9) Reliance on others for activities, ie packed diary of social events and feeling of disaster if any are cancelled
10) Denial of change in circumstances, ie "I'm still me,this baby isn't relevant...", annoyance with people's insistence on discussing it...

I could go on, but I think I've covered most of it. It's not pleasant reading, is it? Not for me, anyway.
I so want things to be different this time, but I'm wary of that becoming an obsession...but maybe I'm overthinking that...
Anyway, it's late, I'm tired and I'm still getting used to the realities of maternity leave, ie full-time motherhood with no escape. I'm enjoying most of it, but I also know this is not an option for me permanently. Give me a busy newsroom any day!