MEMORY JOGGING BY CATHERINE PANDAS - PANDAS Foundation UK

Thanks to ‘Time Hop’ my life is now riddled with odd jolts back to my PND infested world. I don’t even have the app, but members of my family do and often send videos and pictures over to our shared WhatsApp group of my daughter when she was tiny. They’re fun to watch, and my little girl loves seeing her little chubby face blowing raspberries or dribbling porridge down her chin. I laugh with her, because it’s funny, but also because it’s like watching these things for the very first time.

V’s Dad was not around when she was little, he’s never been around. We lived with my parents, and I think it’s thanks to my supportive family that I survived that first year in particular. Sometimes I’m in the background of the photos, dressed in dark clothes, eyes blank, exhausted. I feel guilty for the Mother I should have been at that time, and for the memories I’ve lost in the timeless fog of depression.

It’s not just photos though, it can be looking through baby clothes with an excited pregnant friend, seeing a Sophie the Giraffe or even hearing another parent squeeze “Please will you just shut up for one minute” through gritted teeth.

When V was very little, I used to lie in bed watching The Sopranos while feeding her, or expressing milk, or lying down praying for a quick nap. I watched the whole box set. Recently, I thought I’d watch it again and as soon as the opening music hit my ears I was plummeted back to my dark place. It was an almost physical reaction. The black dog laying selfishly across my shoulders. I became hunched and I could feel the anxiety creeping all over my skin. I turned it off.

It’s hard because you can’t go back to reclaim those memories, or do them differently. I just remember to cherish every moment now. Every simple conversation. Every shared bath. Every time I smell my sleeping daughters hair. I can’t relive those early days, but I’m determined to continue making a happy world for my daughter to live in and love making new memories together.

AUTHOR

Catherine Jones

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