THAT Post

So… this post has sat in my drafts for quite a while. Partly because it’s hard to write, partly because it is hard to share and partly because it has taken me until only recently to be 100% OK with ‘the past’.

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Last year began with a newborn baby who changed my world. The first month or so of his life are a blur of elation and concentrated fear. It sounds dramatic… but that is what it was.

Sleep woman..

I was in such a dark place with postpartum anxiety attacks and depression that now my life is just so freaking perfect comparatively that I can almost not believe it!

It is only now that I look at a newborn and feel warm and fuzzy and… clucky. For a long while there, seeing a newborn made me flash back in my mind to the calls to ambulances, poison-filled-veins and thoughts of driving my car off the road. Even though I was no where near that mental-space anymore. It took me a long time to truly get past the shock of it all.

Starting from such a difficult place in motherhood meant that I obviously grew a lot and learnt even more. As much as I hate to remember the depths of the negative emotions I felt at first; I know that they play a huge part in how amazingly beautiful motherhood is now and has been for most of my journey as Cam’s Mummy.

I remember thinking that I could never be the Mum I want/ed to be and that there was some kind of ‘right’ way to raise my son (and that I wasn’t doing it!). I remember loathing myself. I mean truly hating who I was.

I remember the envy that I would feel when I saw seemingly ‘normal’ Mum’s who had newborns and were themselves. But I soon realised that it is OK and that there are other Mum’s out there (especially through places like Postpartum Progress and #PPDChat on Twitter) like me who truly ‘get it’.

I, only NOW, consider myself a postpartum depression survivor as my PPD relapses occurred in my recovery in the 8th month of Cammy’s life.

Recovery was HARD guys. With plenty of two-steps-forward-one-step-back moments where I’d wake up and not want to face the day… where I’d literally fight my thoughts which were saying “I am a shit Mum” or “I am making mistake/s” or, the worst “I don’t want to be here anymore” as well as the fear of returning to The Darkness.

I still have residual feelings of self-blame for the negativity that is scattered through all the joyful memories… and I still hold some hurt regarding those in my life who did not understand or made things harder. But that too is normal.

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I now have a life without anxiety attacks that is not blackened by PND. EVERY Mumma deserves this and will get there too.

Now, when I see the hospital that I gave birth in (and returned to twice with anxiety attacks and insomnia) I get this beautiful pang of want and remember all the appointments, the I-am-woman-hear-me-roar labour, the first feed and smelling his newborn smell.

I still remember all the difficult things but I know that I’ve worked through a lot of the emotions and I know now what to expect, where to turn to for help and that I can handle anything.

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I really believe that the general public need awareness of postpartum mood disorders (depression, anxiety, OCD, etc). Even as an intelligent young woman who had suffered from anxiety and depression in the past had stereotypical views.

There are too many stereotypes and stigmas attached to mental illnesses, treatments (i.e. ‘happy pills’) and all I wish for sufferers out there is for more support and empathy.

I read amazing, inspiring women who put it ALL out there – even when it is still happening and I am just in awe.

I really admire those women out there who help other PND sufferers because I could barely take care of myself mentally or physically back when I was struggling. All I could do was hate myself, feel guilty, shame myself, take care of my son and wish I felt differently! There was no way I was going to be of any help to anyone.

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So, if you are out there reading this (and I know you are because I see the amount of Mummy’s finding my blog by searching things such as “want to off myself” or “postnatal depression story” and I just want to hug you and say “I get it, you will get through this“) then email me or follow the links in this post to resources such as Postpartum Progress and feel the relief as you realise that you are normal and this is TEMPORARY and TREATABLE.

If you are Australian, like myself, the Post and Antenatal Depression Association (PANDA) helpline – 1300 726 306 – offers support and advice to Australians.  They have recently extended their hours and are open from 9am to 7pm (AEST).   Do not hesitate to reach out for help and call the line.  They are there to support you.

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7 thoughts on “THAT Post

  1. What a brave, fantastic, eye opening, honest post – I am not pregnant (yet) and don’t have kids (yet) but thankyou for posting this.

  2. Rachel you are so honest and inspiring! I congratulate you on having the strength to get through everything you have and be able to talk about it so openly.

  3. Pingback: THAT Post « Racheous | www.babiesgrow.co.uk

  4. Pingback: Postpartum Voices of the Week: Janice of @5minutesforMom & @Racheous | My Postpartum Voice

  5. Pingback: Postpartum Voices of the Week: Janice of @5minutesforMom & @Racheous

  6. Good for you for sharing! It’s such a hard thing to talk about. My PPD experience was different than yours, and I didn’t get help for over a year because I wasn’t willing to admit I had a problem. A year after *that* I am still struggling, and I do wonder if it will ever be over.

    Now I’ve really embraced my willingness to admit to and share my experience with PPD – I’ve started blogging about it. It’s helping. I hope you feel great after putting this out there too!

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