I am your PND sister, take my hand, walk with me and listen when I say: “You are enough, you are an amazing mother and you will find happiness again.”
Wendy Reynolds, founder of Nap Time Natter talks beautifully about Hope during and beyond mental health illness
For mothers suffering with postnatal depression, every day is a struggle. As the weight of the dark cloud presses down on you, anxiety bubbles in your stomach and scary thoughts occupy your exhausted mind, enjoying time with your baby can feel impossible and life sometimes feels unbearable. Just like childbirth, postnatal depression is different for every Mum who experiences it; your friend had a c section, you had a waterbirth; your friend feels she hasn’t bonded with her baby, you feel suicidal.
Postnatal depression can vary from Mum to Mum and each woman’s recovery will be different, but there is one thing all mums need to help them transform back into the happy person they were before: hope. I’m not just saying this, I’ve been there. I’ve sat on my bed at 3am, crying because my baby wants milk and I don’t want to feed him, I just want to sleep and that makes me feel guilty. I’ve been the Mum who is so anxious that her baby will pass away in his sleep that she checks his breathing every time she walks past his cot and doesn’t sleep because she fears the worse will happen if she doesn’t remain vigilant. I’ve been the Mum who’s cried for days on end, who has been full to the brim with anxiety and who’s mind has tortured her with terrifying thoughts. On the darkest days, when thoughts of death whizzed around my mind like an annoying fly trapped in my bedroom, I frantically tried to grasp on to something to stop me falling into the black abyss and that lifesaving aid was always hope.
If I wanted to live a life free from postnatal depression, I had to have hope that such a life existed and was waiting for me in the very near future. I had to believe my smiles wouldn’t always be forced, that my default mood would not always be set to sad and I had to have hope that things would get better. I tried not to let my faith in a happier life with my family slip, I held on to it as tightly as I could and desperately searched for it on those extremely hard days when my confidence for a postnatal depression free life had almost extinguished completely. If you are struggling to find hope, if you are listening to the lies your depressed brain is telling you and feel like you are not good enough, there are several places you can find a reassuring hand that will guide you along the path back to happiness. Speaking to your midwife or a health professional can help, as can confiding in your loved ones about how you are feeling. Living your life behind a facade of happiness is exhausting, stop trying to disguise how you are really feeling and set your feelings free. Professional advice, helplines and charities, medical intervention, kind words and support from family and friends can only get you so far, the people who can provide you with the greatest source of hope are the mothers who have lived through this hell too. These courageous women are your PND sisters, they have fought similar battles to you, they have walked this path before you ever knew you would have to place a toe on it. These mums can supply you with endless streams of empathy and understanding of how hard life with postnatal depression can truly be. These women are warriors, they found themselves drowning in the darkness that you are trapped in now but managed to pull themselves up and resurface into the light.
Reach out to your PND sisters, they are in Facebook groups, online forums, stay and play sessions in your local church and charity run support groups, they might even be women you already know. Listen, read, breath in their stories, let their words of life after the storm flood your body with hope. Catch hold of their happiness and believe, really truly believe, you will feel content in your life again soon. One day you won’t rely on your PND sisters so much and, in time, you will be the warrior a struggling mum needs to hear about, your experience of postnatal depression and recovery will be the story they need to hear.
By talking and sharing our stories, we are scattering around hope to all the mums that need it, this is me scattering some to you. I am your PND sister, take my hand, walk with me and listen when I say: “You are enough, you are an amazing mother and you will find happiness again. I did it and so can you, promise.”
You can follow more from Wendy on the below links
Instagram – @wendy_naptimenatterblog
Twitter – @naptimenatter
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