Disclaimer. I am not a doctor nor am I a therapist. This is all from personal experience and you can take this advice if you wish.
This post is very personal for me and I have sat with this screen open for the last four days, wondering if I should, in fact, post something that could perhaps be taken two ways.
When Alice was born I was overcome by this feeling of joy and happiness, it grew into something bigger every minute I looked at her. I memorised the shape of her face, the way her nose poked up slightly, how her eyes stared at me with wonder. Silent she was. I remember how the room went quiet around me and all I could see was her, as William peered over my shoulder and smiled with joy.
When we arrived home, life was pretty difficult as I was unable to do much for the first week or two without being in pain. I found it very hard to get up or even lie down. However, I watched Alice change slightly, her body growing, she was no longer in a curled position and she began to open her eyes more. What I didn’t notice was how my attitude had started to change towards William and those around me.
I wanted nothing more than to be alone with my baby, I refused any help even when I needed it. I argued with William every single evening and would cry all the time through frustration because I had convinced myself that my life before becoming a mum was now over. Whereas William although a father and parent, he was still able to enjoy the little things such as going for a drink with my dad or meeting up with our group of friends to drive aimlessly through Cardiff or relax in Starbucks late into the evening.
I was no longer able to do any of that, I was purely just the nappy changer and bottle feeder. I began to resent William to really no fault of his own. I would sit and cry my anger out to my mother and complain how William had gone from helping me for those two small weeks to all of a sudden forgetting he had a family (please note this was all in my head).
We would argue day in and day out, even when my parents would have Alice for a few hours for us, we would still be arguing with one another and of course, this started to put a big strain on our relationship. We had forgotten we were once partners, lovers and supporters of one another’s dreams. We sat down one evening to discuss everything and William asked me to go see a doctor (I refused) and instead spoke to my health visitor about what was going on and she confessed to me that not all PND is baby blues and self-hate, it can sometimes go the other direction.
It was amazing once I finally realised what was going on. It was as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. The reason for that was, I started to learn how to control everything again. Once I had become a mum, I felt as if my life had truly and utterly ended and my love for William had to solely go towards Alice, I wasn’t able to share my heart with both of them. Of course, that was a silly thing for me to think as my heart is and always will be big enough for the both of them.
The point, I am telling you this is because I know, while you sit here reading this blog post hugging your beautiful baby, you might be thinking and ticking boxes. I thought I was alone and unable to ask for help and had to do everything on my own. How wrong I was.
So my advice to you really is this,
Allow your family and friends to help. If your mum or best friend comes over and you say you need a shower, allow them to take over for a little bit. A fifteen-minute shower can be amazing when you’re not concerned about how quick you need to wash your hair before the baby wakes up.
Go out. Seriously! Go out! Even if it’s just a walk, take the baby and your partner. Fresh air can do you so much good. William and I walk every evening if we can and we enjoy it so much. Alice sleeps better in the night if we’ve gone out and we can chat about everything or nothing. Just the other day we did a photography challenge for giggles.
Suggest to your girl mates about a cinema date or dinner date. Let your partner know and allow them to play parent for a little bit, they’ll love the bonding time.
Don’t feel bad if you can’t rush right away to your baby if their crying. I’ve had to leave Alice for maybe a few minutes on her playmat if I have been dying to go to the toilet or needed to make another cup of tea. I still of course call or sing to her so she still knows I’m around and haven’t left her.
Write your feelings down. This blog is the Godsend I never knew I had and I adore being able to write these things down. William loves it too as he enjoys reading the things I post.
And most importantly, take pictures! Go to baby clubs! Meet other mums, they may feel the same as you. Still listen to music, dance with your baby and try not to put so much stress on yourself. You’ve been given the best job in the world and yes it’s scary and exhausting and sometimes you wonder how you’re even managing but you can do it!
Don’t be as scared as I was and try not to push those who love you away
Feel free to share this post, you never know who it may help and post your comments, I love reading your thoughts.