As my previous posts have highlighted I am a proud Mummy of a beautiful little girl, but as incredible as motherhood is it's not a journey I have found easy, and at times have not been able to cope with. I am lucky, I have an amazing support network from family, friends through to my GP who helped me recover from the horrible illness that is Post Natal Depression. Its an illness that so many parents suffer, but unfortunately for whatever reason is one some suffer in silence. I totally understand going to a health professional and admitting that you have developed these awful feelings when the world expects you to be on cloud 9 is a daunting one, but actually without that admission to your midwife, health visitor or GP its an illness that doesn't go away and can have a severe hold over someone. I am fairly sure than anyone who has suffered from PND will throw their hands into the air when asked Who would never ever want to feel that low again!
Although I cant pinpoint the moment for me that PND crept in, I was fairly sure from the start that I knew what started the awful emotions that followed, and it was that I felt I was just a Mum! As daft as that sounds, for me it was something I had real trouble accepting, I wanted to still feel a wife, a woman and an individual who's mind wasn't 100% focused on how many ounces does your little one drink? For some women, I believe their ultimate goal in life is to go through the right of passage and become a mother and embrace the life that comes with it - the home-maker. But for me as terrible as it may come across that wasn't enough. I have always had the desire to learn, to think and to achieve and being at home and adjusting too domestic duties was the start of me snowballing into the depths of PND.
I knew from the moment I saw Lylha that I wanted to spend her early years at home with her, I didn't think it fair to spend such a rough 9 months carrying her for someone else to get the excitement of her 1st step or 1st word! But I also knew I needed something mentally challenging to occupy me, to start with I was too tried to even get my head around what I could do to stimulate me and by the time I came to discover what I could do PND had taken over my life.
I also felt that there was a 3rd person in my marriage which was a weird feeling to have, I didn't know what I expected to feel like as a family before it happened, but when it did I didn't expect to feel the way I was - I almost resented the fact there was 3 of us and only wanted a 2 person world either me and my daughter or me and my husband and as for sharing her with other people it was a no go, it was a period of time when emotional confusion dominated my every minute.
Once diagnosed and starting to recover I decided to take the time I would have been at work and make good use of it. 1 of my many dreams was to be a Journalist or an English Teacher, (I made a few wrong decisions as a teenager as far as education went and although I got great A Level results I couldn't bear the thought of more studying and decided to earn money - ironically that lead to much more studying than what my degree would've taken but at least I will always have it too fall back on) so I enrolled with The Open University to study English Lit and English Language with the intention to one day teach it, by enrolling on the course alone I had something significant to look forward too and this in itself lifted me almost instantly.
6 months into the course and I am loving it, my brain feels like its being challenged again, and it has also made a huge difference to my general well being I spend my evenings (when Lylha is asleep...) reading and writing about some of my favourite authors, poets and linguistic specialists this alone has added a different dimension to my current worldly being (deep, yes i know)!
My husband and I are trying to implement a monthly night off parenting and letting the grandparents have their special time with Lylha, as she is so funny at this age (I am scared I will blink and miss the stage), although we are yet to find a convenient time we have had some wonderful date nights where I have turned off all contact to the world, as has he, and we have had a simple bottle of red wine, watched a film and laughed - something that hasn't been in our lives for quite a while now. We are hoping this month to upgrade to a night out together but knowing for a few hours we are Husband & Wife again, a reason to get glammed up, a reason to feel more than just parents for a while is worth its weight in gold to us.
As this last year has gone on my lifestyle has become almost a 1000 times (yes exaggeration) busier than what it was in the first 6months of motherhood and I can hand on heart say it has made me appreciate being a parent more than words can say!
Peppa Pig DVD and a cuddle!
Adding extra activity, combined with the anti depressants and talking therapy, into my life and into our marriage has made me as a woman feel almost whole, and why shouldn't it??? I am pursuing the career I have always wanted, I work a few hours a week for one of the loveliest families I know, I have started blogging which has lead me down a really exciting pathway too work with some amazing people, I have a lovely home and most of all I have most precious gift - a family I love beyond imagination only topped off by the little girl who fills me with joy, unconditional love and simple innocent laughter! Oh and I can hold my hands up in the air and say I no longer have a bloody clue what happened in Eastenders, Hollyoaks, or Emmerdale last night, last week or last year I ditched the compulsory soap viewing in exchange for my sanity!