Internalized 

It’s so hard, because you have to function. There is a tiny defenceless human who needs you to look after them 24/7. But you can’t function because of your depression, so you don’t for a while and just sit or lie there, listening to your baby cry out for you, his hungry cry, his lonely cry, any of his beautiful cries. You feel so guilty, so ashamed but you physically can’t move and you consider ignoring him but you can’t because he needs you to get your shit together, he needs you to look after him in this big scary world, so you finally get up and help him, crying the whole time because you feel so terrible for making him wait, worrying that your mood is affecting him negatively, messing him up before he’s even begun to live. 

You tell him how much you love him and how sorry you are, even though you still don’t know if you’ve bonded with him because you never felt that overwhelming feeling everyone told you about, the one your partner felt the first time he laid eyes on your son. The one they tell you it’s normal not to feel right away but it still plays on your mind every single day, do you actually love your child or are you just going through the motions? And you feel so ripped off that you didn’t get that feeling and you wonder if it was a mistake, having a baby at all, you’re obviously not maternal, you can’t do it, you never should have done it and what if you never get better and you screw up this tiny little baby for life and he ends up a giant mess just like his mother. 

But you’re disgusted at yourself for even thinking like that, he’s amazing, perfect, everything you ever wanted, you just thought you would handle it better, you knew it would be challenging but you thought because you’re a nurturing soul that you would cope, but you just can’t seem to get a hold of yourself this time around and you’re crying while you comfort him and you’re feeling selfish because you’re not the only person who’s had a baby and found it difficult and confusing but everyone you see with a baby is doing so well and you just can’t understand why you can’t do it yourself.

Then he smiles at you, his adorable gummy smile, the one that lights up his eyes making his whole face shine and he gurgles the cutest little sound at you, so sweetly that you melt and manage to pull yourself out of your funk for a while and you function again like you should. But after a while you start to freak out that you’ve scarred him for life, taken too long to respond to his needs. You go downhill again and repeat the process. 

And you know you should be telling someone, your partner, your mother, a friend, but you’re in denial. You know that tomorrow will be different, that you’ll get up early and do shit tomorrow. You’ll have a healthy breakfast, you’ll go for a walk, you’ll get the million things done that you’ve been neglecting for too long and you’ll be a better mother too. The mother that your baby deserves, who responds to the cues and doesn’t leave him to cry for too long and interacts with him, helping him to grow because you know how amazing it is to watch him develop. 

But then tomorrow comes and you’re tired and sore and just need a break, or a nap, or to watch an entire episode of a show on TV without having to stop it to tend to your childs needs and without feeling selfish for wanting that. Or to not have a pile of dishes to do in order to be able to eat something substantial instead of just wolfing down a yoghurt between babies cries. To not be alone with the baby and feeling helpless until your partner comes home and gives you a hand. 

But he needs some time out too because he’s been working all day as well, just a different kind of work and you remember what that feels like and how tiring it is and how terrified you are of going back to work in a few weeks time and how it’s going to be so hard to be away from your little guy and let someone else, a stranger care for him and maybe miss out on his milestones, even though you knew this is how it had to be before you even conceived him. You knew it would suck but you thought you could handle it, just like everything else you thought you could handle. 

And now the thought of working all day, then to have to go home each night and still have responsibilities, little chance for a break and you wonder how you will cope even though it’s what’s best for your family, but you’re scared even though everyone tells you that you’re looking so good and doing so well and you don’t understand because you stopped looking after yourself weeks ago, you just didn’t have the energy to look after both yourself and the boy and soon you’re going to have even more responsibility and you’re lying in bed, paralyzed by these thoughts circling round and round your head, then you hear your baby cry for you, but you’re frozen in place…

How could you be sad seeing this beautiful face everyday

All Mixed Up

I think the worst part about post partum depression is the continual flow of mixed emotions. I feel happy, sad, annoyed, overwhelmed, grumpy, apathy, confusion, guilt, the list goes on. Some days are worse than others, some days I am absolutely fine, but my current reality is that my mood can change at the drop of a hat, often for no apparent reason.

As I write this, I’m sitting at a table by myself, sipping on lemonade, while Zombie and his ice hockey team mates enjoy beers and banter. Several times they’ve invited me to sit with them and join in, but I am exhausted and all I want to do is be alone for a little while. I was looking forward to some alone time while Zombie was playing, sitting in the cafe at the rink while bubs slept, but instead one of the other WAGs was there and she spent the whole hour chatting to me. She is a lovely person, but I just couldn’t be bothered being social and I feel really ripped off that I didn’t get that time.
And of course I feel terrible and rude for being annoyed and I feel awkward sitting by myself next to a table of people who may or may not think that I’m just a rude or antisocial bitch. The guilt that comes with depression is a force to be reckoned with.

I can’t stop thinking about the fact that I don’t know when my next chance to just sit and relax alone for a while will be. We’ve just moved house both the old house and the new one are bomb sites at the moment. I’ve got a massive writing assignment due in a months time that I’ve not completed any of and I have an eleven week old to care for.

I sound like I’m complaining. I’m not, things are actually pretty wonderful at the moment. I have an eleven week old to care for, who gives me beautiful smiles on a daily basis and who’s favourite pass time is to fall asleep cuddling after a feed. I’ve just moved into a lovely family home with a big backyard and so many features that living in a small apartment for six years can’t even come close to. Plus I have a wonderful partner, a supportive family and fantastic friends.

Life’s pretty cool at the moment which is why having post partum depression really sucks. It’s stealing all these wonderful moments I should be enjoying from me, which makes me feel guilty, which starts the cycle all over again.
I don’t feel terrible all the time. Just often enough for it to be affecting my life more than I’d like it to. But I’m getting help now and not just medication, so it won’t be forever. For now I’m just lookin forward to having some me time.

Smiles and Sunshine 

Katie

Small Goals Week One

So I’m a week overdue with this post. I’ve been incredibly busy with the final week of my course, my wee man has been going through his longest growth spurt yet and we are moving house in less than a weeks time, which is exciting, but stressful enough without a young baby!

I have however managed to do pretty well with the goals I set in my post Setting Small Goals for both of the weeks that have passed, which I’m pretty pleased about.

My soft drink consumption has decreased dramatically, I’ve only had about 3 glasses over two weeks, instead of a few each day. I also had these when I was visiting friends instead of in front of the TV, which I think classes it as more of a treat, as soft drink should be.

My second goal of eating a decent breakfast has been on track for the most part. There have still been a couple of days where I’ve had to graze all morning between feeds instead of  sitting down to a bowl of porridge or toast, but it’s gone from a daily occurrence which is an improvement. Next week will be more difficult however with the final pack up of our current apartment.

My final goal of daily walks and hitting 10,000 steps has had mixed success. I’ve only missed one step goal, but life and the weather has gotten in the way of daily walks. There have been more walking days than not however which I’m happy with. 

So it’s been a mixed success, but definitely not a failure as I’m trying to ease myself back into healthy habits.
My original plan was to add to my goals each week, but with the shift next week it’s just not going to be feasible. I’ll be trying my best to stick with the current goals, but I’m definitely not putting any pressure on myself. My week will be active and full enough without adding to it.

A few years ago I would have considered the last few weeks efforts a failure and possibly even have given up completely, but not this time. I’ve learned that success doesn’t have to be jumping in headfirst and not having any setbacks, it can be as simple as making a decent effort and not giving up.
Smiles and Sunshine

Katie

Turning Thirty Three

Just over a week ago I celebrated another year on this planet and my first birthday as a mother, which made it vastly different from any other birthday I’ve ever had, but also one of the best.

I like to sleep in on my birthday, but not this year. The wee man had other ideas and decided he needed feeding at 6.30. But that was nice because I got a birthday smile super early (only to be replaced with crying for the rest of the morning). It was strange having responsibility on my birthday (I usually reserve that day for only doing what I want to do) but I wouldn’t have traded it. I also got to enjoy a relaxed and laughter filled evening with my little family and a few close friends.

My 32nd year was another great year but as it goes with my life, was full of ups and downs. I lost some weight, I gained a lot because I was pregnant, and I conquered a lot of demons. I started a course to develop my writing and actually did my homework and enjoyed it. I did several radio interviews regarding mental illness (I’m up to five now) and once again volunteered for the breast cancer Pink Ribbon collection.

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I did something I never thought possible, I shared pictures of my body, stretch marks, bulges and all, because I was suddenly proud of my body. People told me how brave I was to do it, but the truth was it was surprisingly easy and I haven’t regretted it for a minute. I also completed the City 2 Surf, the 6km walk while nearly 6 months pregnant on what felt like the hottest day of the year after months of struggling to walk with a bad back.

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I sent a piece off to Ariana Huffington who accepted me as a blogger for The Huffington Post, only to be disappointed when I never heard from them again (I was gutted and did send a few follow up emails but there was only so many times my anxiety would let me hound them) and I was diagnosed with Post Partum Depression.

And of course the best part of 32 was fulfilling a life long dream and becoming a mother to the most wonderful baby boy who is growing up so fast already!

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I cried a lot, stressed myself over breast pumps and nappies, napped more than I ever have in my life and lost all my dignity on the operating table the day my son was born. I also laughed a lot, reconnected with old friends, felt excited and impatient for the birth of my baby and fell even more deeply in love with Zombie after seeing him with our boy.

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I’ve been 33 for eight days now and already it’s shaping up to being another exciting and challenging year of my life that I’m determined to enjoy for all it’s ups and downs.

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie