Hi, I am a nearly 30 year old mum of a 26 month old toddler. On the outside I am a happy very proactive mummy and partner who works two days a week and runs the house like all us stay at home parents do. I come up with activities for me and my little girl to do and I am an avid baker who’s dream it is to have a bakery/coffee shop that has an eclectic mix of healthy and not so healthy treats.
However on a daily basis I struggle with a few mental health issues. For years I have dealt with anorexia and anxiety. I was told I’d be a very lucky girl if I could ever have children so it was the best gift I could have ever received to find out I was expecting. That was until it all sunk in and I started to wonder about putting on weight etc then I got terrible news that set my anxiety off again regarding possibly losing her. So soon into a pregnancy yet no less heart-breaking. After plenty of tests the baby was doing on and off okay but the damage mentally had been done and I slowly found it hard to deal with eating and resting like I was told to. For an over exercising anorexic this was hell I can tell you. Luckily I was informed that I could see a mental health midwife if I wanted extra support throughout, being sensible I decided to take this opportunity, after all the baby was the most important thing and I wanted her here and healthy over being skinny, this insight came after much support from my own very loving parents.
Moving on a few months and the birth was a tad traumatic, please note to any pregnant women no matter what I went through I would still do it all again so don’t let people make you fear a birth, you’re safe and well looked after wherever you go, this led to a very tired and ill mummy! I then started to panic every five mins about her and my anxiety went through the roof. Now here is one for the daddy’s, please please support your partners as much as you can if they come out of hospital ill, let them rest for a few days and cook, clean whatever they need, even feeding if they aren’t breast feeding as during this time us mummy’s find emotions hard to regulate and we need all the extra love we can get. Yes I know you will all be finding it hard too but your body hasn’t been slashed prodded or exerted itself as much as ours.
I didn’t feel that I had as much support as I probably needed or would have liked and in turn when my child was 6 months old I crashed and burned. After a midwife friend of mine saw me cry at the littlest of things I made and appointment at the doctors and explained how I was feeling. He came out with the words ‘postnatal depression’ I burst into tears some more and felt like the worst mother in the world. Of course with hindsight I was not and am not at all.
For you mums feeling like you want to shove your children in a cupboard or you just sit listening to them cry, go speak to someone. I assure you you’re not a bad mummy your hormones are causing an imbalance or you’re just not getting the sleep and support that you need.
I went onto a few anti depressants which for me don’t work and made me ill. However the best support came from my Health Visitor who came every other week just to chat about what was frustrating me or what advice she could give me on a non sleeping child. By the way my child still never sleeps so If anyone’s got any tips on how to get a two year old into bed before 9.30/10pm that would be great haha.
My antidepressant is baking….alot! The satisfaction of seeing the finished product and people enjoying it brings my anxiety. Being able to make my own stuff and mess around to make sugar free or lighter recipes in turn helps my eating disorder and I get to teach my child a skill and for her/him to take part in creative play etc.
So to all you mummy’s and daddy’s out there who feel alone or that you don’t have someone to talk to I am here to let you know my experiences and that you are not alone and we can get through anything, after all we have little people to watch grow up and look after. There are lots of places and people that can help. Health Visitors, Doctors, First Steps, Midwives, sometimes it’s easier to go outside the family network, don’t forget friends with kids it’s always good, like reading this to hear you’re not mad you’re just normal and finding things a tad harder than usual. Things will get better I promise just think, we have extra life experience and empathy for little people to give out when they are in need later on.
Much love to all.
Written by | Anon