25 April 2012
When it comes to postnatal depression all we ever hear about are the total extremes. The cases where the poor moms are psychotic and want to kill their kids. Very few of us can relate to that. But how many of you just wake up one day and think, “Really, is this it?”
I think there are varying degrees of PND and all moms suffer from it on some level. Let’s face it, 90% of parenting is hard work, it’s a grind and moms are tired, resentful, grumpy, frumpy and bewildered.
I will probably get hate mail now. So let me qualify. Parenting is rewarding. The smiles and giggles, the cute things they say, the unconditional love and watching a human you adore discover the world does make it all worthwhile.
But all of that takes a pretty long time to happen. In the beginning the investment is all about you paying in and not getting much out.
I recently read an article that said most moms admit they were much happier pregnant than in the first year of their baby’s life. I can believe it. I lived it. You are still in that special fantasy life that you think having kids is going to be. Your angel is going to sleep all through the night from day one, is going to eat seafood linguine as soon as it weans itself off your (still perky) breast, is not going to throw a hissy fit when you change its shoes or fall desperately at your feet when you try to go to the loo alone.
And then baby arrives. At first you can’t believe how obsessed you are about how much it eats or what its poo looks like. You are overwhelmed with how much you love this creature but are so hard on yourself and frankly, nobody around you seems to care.
When you were pregnant the focus was entirely on you. Now you can be in your pyjamas for the sixth day in a row, crying into your ice cold tea while your nipples bleed and your mom will phone and ask about the baby. And then about 3 weeks into this whole thing, you realise This Is Your Life. And boom, down you crash.
Most of us just blame the hormones and try to move on. But stop. Give yourself a break. Your life has changed forever. And like any change a lot of it is uncomfortable and pretty damn tough to face. Allow yourself to take a deep breath and admit that you expected more and that is okay.
Then come and connect with real moms who know it does get better, life will never be the same but neither will you, and that is okay. Talk to somebody, get help if you need it.
Stay warm everyone!