A Typical Day
You pop around for a visit and you find what appears to be a functioning, happy, capable, strong Mother and woman who is doing what she thinks is best for her. My 3.5 month old is full of smiles, happy and you can tell he is loved.
What you don’t see is the internal struggle that I go through on a daily basis despite all of the above. I function on the outside but mentally some days I’m really not coping. You don’t hear my inner thoughts…
All the negativity.
You’re a bad Mum. You are ugly. You are fat. You are unworthy of happiness. Cameron deserves better. You are worthless. You have always held Michael back. Cammy doesn’t love you. You aren’t good enough. You deserve pain. You are lazy. You should give up. You have post-natal depression and anxiety because you weren’t meant to have children — that’s why you miscarried in the first place. It’s not the depression hindering your motivation – you’re just pathetic. & in my darkest moments – You should bleed; it is what you deserve. You’re not really depressed or anxious – you’re just lazy and hopeless
All the anxiety.
Am I reading to him enough? Do I give him enough tummy time? Do I give him enough down-time without stimulation? What does she think of me? Why don’t I have friends? People don’t like me. Why does he scream in the car? Do I sterilise his toys enough? How much of an impact did those 20 days of formula feeding cost my boy? Why am I shaking? I’m always so tense. I feel like I’m on the edge all the time. I feel like I’ve always got a headache. Does Cameron love me? I’m so lonely. Why hasn’t he giggled yet? Is he breathing normally?
You shouldn’t put him in the swing even though you’re hungry. Why can’t you just enjoy motherhood? Why must you fear everything? You’re spending all Michael’s hard earned money on a psychologist. You shouldn’t drive – he hates the car. You should have him in a routine.
Simple things are too much.
I’m scared to drive. I’m scared to park the car. I’m scared to go to the bank. I’m scared to tell people how I truly feel. I’m overwhelmed with household duties. I feel like I’m just waiting for Mike to come home so I can stop living in my head when Cam is asleep. I’m scared to go grocery shopping. I’m scared to go to mothers group. I’m scared to go to my psychologist.
Yet I’m happy. I know that sounds ridiculous but it is true.
Logically I know I’m a good Mumma. Cammy is always smiling, he’s always squealing with delight, he’s growing, he’s healthy, he’s meeting all his milestones, he’s never left to cry (other than if I’m driving and can’t do anything :(), he’s always warm and safe, he’s always fed, he’s always clean, he’s always cuddled and kissed, he’s always talked to, sung to and read to and he’s loved. Completely, utterly and truly loved.
But post-natal depression and generalised anxiety disorder do not run on logic – they are fuelled by fear, negativity and guilt. & I’m fighting it… day by day. & I treasure every happy moment and every small accomplishment. I’m real. I’m a real Mum. I’m not a bad Mum. & I’m not weak – I’m so strong. So so strong.