Teamwork

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When you are in the throes of self doubt, your Pnd thoughts keep telling you you’re not a good mum, you’re not doing things right. Other mums seem to find it easy. Why don’t I see other mums struggling? I’m a failure, I can’t even look after a little baby without feeling like I’m the worst mum in the world. My family would be better off without me. I need sleep. I need a rest but all I do is look after a baby. How hard can it be? So I tell you as I have told myself and countless other mums who have voiced all those thoughts as some point or other;

You are a great mama and need to know that when you signed up to be a mummy that your partner signed up to be a daddy (or mummy) too. It’s a partnership. No where does it say that you have to do everything for the baby. You see mums doing things “perfectly” but maybe you are seeing them on their one good day or maybe they are thinking the same thing as you; that they are not doing things right. Or maybe they’re looking at you thinking how good you are doing things. Our judgement of ourselves is not the same as how others see us.
I am the same. People say to me I’m so calm, organised, helpful etc but what people don’t see is my anxiety makes my stomach feel like it’s a washing machine of stress and I have to keep running to the toilet. They don’t see that I have a very good mask and I wear it well. Let your partner help you, friends and family members too and don’t see it as a failure on your part but the fact that you have an amazing relationship and you are a good team together.

 

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my photos don’t say a thousand words

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Whilst there are many social media trends of posting a “way back” photo, no make up selfie, or the twelfth photo in your phone album. One that is currently circulating of which I’ve no doubt I will be tagged to join in is “post 3 photos which show you’re happy being a mummy.”

I could quite easily scoop out 3 or more of my favourite children’s photos, ones which I’ve probably posted before but I wonder what does it actually mean? Do those 3 photos perfectly describe my journey as a mum? Or are they the photos I want others to see that it’s okay that being a mum isn’t always about the happy times.

Neither is most likely the answer. I don’t know what photos would honestly perfectly depict an honest account of me being a mum. Should I take a photo of the laundry pile or the state of the kitchen after a school run breakfast? Or a photo of a clock showing the time is now 3.46am and I’m feeding/ nappy changing/ or just awake with insomnia as a result of having Pnd?

My initial thoughts are yes I’ll post photos of I’m asked but with all these trends either they are just there as peer pressure or some charity or organisation has embraced that band wagon and added that after everyone has posted them they should text £5 to this number.

My particular charitable organisation would be any local or national one which helps mums going through postnatal depression. So if you have been tagged in this trend. Spare a thought for those mums who can’t remember those photos being taken, can’t look at photos of them and their baby as it reminds them too much of how ill they were feeling at the time or simply have to look at a photo to remind them that they were an amazing mummy despite being very ill.

The request is that we post photos depicting our journey as a mother. I’m not sure I can, I’m still on my journey as are many others.

I’ll be there for you

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Driving back from a friends house today, reflecting on our mornings conversations, listening to the radio this familiar song came on.

Being a teenager in the late ’90’s meant growing up with watching the US hit series of Friends. I absolutely loved it, watching it in a Friday night and watching reruns on Sunday’s even now there’s always one channel that is showing an episode. I’ve not watched it for ages but I suddenly have the urge to and know I could choose pretty much any episode and still find it funny.

Anyway I digress, listening to the song in the radio, one that I’ve heard a thousand times I started to actually hear the words and relate them to becoming a mum.

Particular poignant after having a baby the words;

“Your mother warned you there’d be days like these
But she didn’t tell you when the world has brought you down to your knees that I’ll be there for you”

Peer support is so important when having a newborn and going through that motherhood journey. I’ve found peer support crucial in my recovery from postnatal depression. And whilst going through this depression/blip at the moment I have really called upon my close network of friends for that support.

Some friends who have not had Pnd understand and have been amazingly supportive but those that have the following words couldn’t ring more true;

“No one could ever know me
No one could ever see me
Seems you’re the only one who knows what it’s like to be me
Someone to face the day with, make it through all the rest with
Someone I’ll always laugh with
Even at my worst, I’m best with you, yeah!”

Here’s the rest of the lyrics so that whilst you’re watching a Friends rerun which you will undoubtedly want to do now after reading this then at least you can sing along, exactly how I was doing in the car today!
“I’ll Be There For You (Theme From Friends)”

So no one told you life was gonna be this way
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D.O.A.
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear
When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year, but

I’ll be there for you
(When the rain starts to pour)
I’ll be there for you
(Like I’ve been there before)
I’ll be there for you
(‘Cause you’re there for me too)

You’re still in bed at ten and work began at eight
You’ve burned your breakfast, so far things are going great
Your mother warned you there’d be days like these
But she didn’t tell you when the world has brought you down to your knees that

I’ll be there for you
(When the rain starts to pour)
I’ll be there for you
(Like I’ve been there before)
I’ll be there for you
(‘Cause you’re there for me too)

No one could ever know me
No one could ever see me
Seems you’re the only one who knows what it’s like to be me
Someone to face the day with, make it through all the rest with
Someone I’ll always laugh with
Even at my worst, I’m best with you, yeah!

It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear
When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year

The Rembrants

Therapy at the school gates

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All to often we can see other parents dropping off or picking up their children. We exchange pleasantries but it’s not often we share anything deeper than “oh we’ve had one of those mornings” and exchange knowing glances.
It’s only when we stop to chat in more honest ways that we can really know what’s going on in our separate yet parallel worlds of parenting.

I’ve started to be more honest with my school club mum friends in how I’ve been feeling and it makes the aftermath of a really tough morning so much easier. It also means that I feel that by being honest and sharing my parenting struggles coupled with my depression has given invitation for others to be honest and share their parenting difficulties as well. This is so lovely as it means that I am not alone in how I feel. All too often I fill myself with self doubt of not being a good mum because I got cross when I couldn’t get my girls out of the front door, dressed, teeth brushed with school bags in hand without having a complete meltdown resulting in me having a not so silent scream to myself in the bathroom.
Many parents have these struggles and they don’t have depression, postnatal illness. They are parents like me or you merely trying to maintain their sanity whilst on a tight time schedule.

They say a problem shared is a problem halved and that certainly rings true in this case. To know that other parents are having similar issues means that you can help each other, everyone can relate to arguments, tantrums and incessant nagging, and that’s just from the 5 yr old (I jest 😉).

It’s with sharing and being honest with others that we can help each other more.

Where’s the blue sky?

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This low is hitting me with full force now. Since Christmas Day when I broke down in tears and just wanted to be in bed. And after making the right decision for me to go back on my anti-depressants, the force of this low is really beginning to takes its toll.

I feel like I am numb, whilst some of the side effects of my tablets have worn off either them or the depression has settled into its distinctive routine. Moulded around my usual school run routine I get up and get the girls ready and off to school, yet as soon as I drop them off I sink into an unmotivated heap. Usually involving taking a nap or trudging through depending on my day.
Anxiety makes me want to skip food and I can’t even taste food at the moment. It’s like my tastebuds have gone awol. Even if I do force myself to eat just so the rumbles in my tummy are put at bay then I can’t appreciate what I’ve eaten. Cooking is barely on the agenda despite the online shop arriving. I can’t even think about what to cook.

Close friends know I’m going through a difficult patch but it’s still hard to maintain that smile. I literally feel like I want to curl up and sleep for a month.

My energy levels are really flagging and even a rare blue sky day last week could shift my mood and encourage me to get outside.
I’m hoping a walk with a friend and dog in the countryside later this week might just be a good start. I’m going to see my mum at the weekend without the children so hoping that a bit of TLC and being around my old home town might give my energy a kick in the right direction.

I haven’t worn make up for weeks and today after getting dressed in a shirt instead of my usual jumper my daughter asked me if I was wearing a new shirt! I know my self care hasn’t been high on my agenda but I did go and get a massage today; cashing in a birthday voucher I’ve had for ages. The massage although good, just left me sleepy rather than relaxed as my brain couldn’t switch off.

I wish I could just shake this feeling off. I know that it will pass almost unnoticed like a rainy day after a drought I will suddenly think oh I’ve not had a bad day for a while. I won’t give it more than a momentary glance. But for now I know I need to close ranks and give myself the best self care possible.

Meeting my #pndfamily

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I have another family

Of which we’ve seldom met
A family that gets me
A family on the net

The most amazing people
Who have experienced Pnd like me
Lived through the fog of mummyhood
And who now are inspirational to me

It’s started when I read
A little poem you see
A lovely little poem
Called pnd and me

Supporting each other with kind words
Like virtual hugs and more
They picked me up and reassured me
When I felt as low as the floor

And now I’m well with just a
A momentary blip along the way
To finally meet my #pnd family
Was such an inspiring day

Knowing such a group
Can be my virtual family
Is incredible and one
Which I embrace happily

To meet them in person
Is like I’ve known them forever
So off they go back to their homes
I shall forget them, never.