POST-NATAL DEPRESSION AND ME – BY RACHEL (THE L’S MUM) - PANDAS Foundation UK

I have only ever been told once that how I was feeling was the signs of post-natal depression. It was last year and I definitely wasn’t feeling myself.

You see back in 2013 something life changing happened to me, I had a baby, the most joyous and happiest moment in my life and yet somehow I felt inadequate, that I wasn’t doing things right. I had a fair few complications during my pregnancy and labour and perhaps that had something to do with it, I don’t know. I just seemed to put myself on a pedestal of this perfect domestic housewife, with the perfect baby, the perfect house, the perfect life and yet life really isn’t perfect, not all the time.

I wasn’t sure why I felt so bad, like a failure each time my little boy cried, why I questioned each and every little thing I did because I was sure it wasn’t good enough. I was scared to talk to anyone and so I put on a brave face, a smile, in the hope that no one would ask, question me further, make me feel worse.

Had I have just spoken to my husband at the time, or just admitted I wasn’t feeling myself, maybe things would have been different.

Looking back now it seems like a blur and that makes me sad for a different reason. I don’t have many fond memories of my little boy being just a baby and enjoying those moments because I wasn’t enjoying my life back then.

It was like a dark cloud had descended upon me and everytime there was a glimmer of happiness the rain would pour down on my parade. The dark cloud followed me everywhere, even on the sunniest and warmest of days.

But now my little boy is nearly two and this year I made a change. I did go to the doctors and I heard the words and for some reason that seemed to be enough. I realized that for me, I was the only person who could make the change, and so I did.

Life shouldn’t be about adhering to dark clouds and feelings of failure, it should be about embracing the good things, the happy memories, the here and now. I can’t get back those snuggly baby days, and so now I don’t intend to keep on going down that road and missing out on the first words and the milestones ahead of us.

Life as a mummy is conflicting and confusing. It can be the loneliest place in the world and you can feel isolated. Life as a mummy is also exciting and challenging. It’s a new chapter in your life, a chance to do things differently. A moment in your life where you can climb around in the soft play area and no one thinks your being silly, who doesn’t love those big slides? It’s the smile on your little ones face when you just look at them, it’s the first time they call you mummy. You are everything to one little person, and the pair of you deserve happiness.

Feelings of failure still haunt me, and sometimes I can feel the dark cloud coming back. Now I know the signs I know to take myself away for a moment, I do something for me, I relax, I write a list to clear my mind, I take my little one out for a walk. There are so many things you can do. I don’t doubt for one minute that I have made mistakes, but they were mine to make and I own it. Each and every decision. No one is perfect, but life should be perfect for you.

To read more about Rachel, please visit her website: http://thelsmum.co.uk/

AUTHOR

Catherine Jones

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