POSTNATAL DEPRESSION: @REEANDMILAH
When the happiest time of your life just isn't...
What is postnatal depression? Postnatal depression is depression suffered by a mother following child birth. It typically arises from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood and fatigue. Approximately 1 in 4 of us has suffered or is suffering with postnatal depression or knows someone who is.
Being a first time mum is a huge adjustment to your life. You start to realise everything you can not do alone anymore, how you have such little time to be with just yourself and realising your childs life depends all on you. You feel frustrated, upset, overwhelmed, confused yet happy all at the same time dealing with the next few weeks of learning to be a mum. Your child is your greatest achievement, you want to be the greatest mother of all time and be the best role model you can be.
Waking up to a beautiful daughter and a loving boyfriend what more could you ask for? I had never suffered from any type of anxiety or depression before so when things started to change I didn’t think much of it. Rob (my partner) didn’t return back to work (he does FIFO 2:1) until Milah was 2-3 weeks which meant we both took turns and worked together to be the best parents we could be. Milah was a good sleeper…even from birth she would sleep 4 hour intervals before she would wake up so luckily I was never sleep deprived. I would look at her and cry with happiness because I couldn’t believe Rob and I had created a little bundle of perfection.
Rob eventually went back to work which meant I had to adjust again but this time playing both roles while he is away. I have a lot of family support around me and I knew if I ever needed help I could easily get it. My days were repetitive with Milah…feed, burp, change, bath and sleep it was a constant replay. I started to notice small changes in myself within the first few days of Rob going back to work. If people wanted to come visit I would either ignore there message or not read it at all, I was starting to feel negative about myself and I just couldn’t be bothered. I denied and fought against the fact that maybe I had a little bit of post natal depression…I knew deep down something was up but I just kept telling myself I was fine.
Days past and I got worse…I love Milah with all my heart but I would look at her and just not feel a connection. I know that sounds bad but honestly I didn’t feel like me, I didn’t feel like I had the connection I did with her when she was born and it came to realisation that Milah depends on me 24/7 and I just couldn’t be bothered with anything or anyone. I would find myself doing the same thing everyday I was shutting people out, I was putting on a happy face when people came to my house unexpectedly and I was barely eating. Nobody knew…nobody knew but myself and sometimes I would just break down for no apparent reason and put on a brave face for reality.
After a few more days I ended up phoning my mum because I was sitting on my bed with a screaming baby who just wouldn’t settle even tho I tried everything from feeding, burping, bathing, changing and re swaddling. I packed my bags and drove out to my mums house that night…when I arrived I placed Milahs capsule on the bench and just burst into tears (I seemed like some crazy hormonal person.) Mum knew for a few days that I wasn’t okay but I still denied to her everything that she had suspected and tried to put on a brave face…that didn’t work. I was coping fine and loving my new life as a mum just something in my head would make me feel like absolute shit. It honestly scared me to death that the what if I felt like this forever, what if I couldn’t be the best mother I planned to be and what if I just failed at everything.
As I finally opened up to my mum it felt amazing because she already had her suspicions because I was acting like someone other than myself. I ended up staying at my mums for just over a week because I felt more confident and happy where as when I would return home for something I would instantly feel alone and not myself. Its crazy because I left my full-time 38 hour week job for an ACTUAL full-time 24/7 job that does not pay (unless you are entitled for centrelink which I am not because Rob earns way too much) and it not ending for 18 years time. It didn’t make it better when I looked in the mirror and absolutely hated the way I looked because I had stretch marks, baby fat and just completely different to what I was before I fell pregnant.
I did eventually open up and speak to Rob…he was understanding about it all but he didn’t really understand what it was and how it doesn’t go away straight away. I am a very private person so it was the hardest thing to explain such a personal situation. I feel like if I blog about this other women will realise they’re not alone and it is completely normal to feel the way you are feeling.
Almost eight months on and I have never been happier and content with life. The connection Milah and I share is a love like no other… I would be completely lost without her. I feel like I have finally found myself becoming a mother. Yes I still get a drop of the post natal every now and then but I can control it by talking to someone, going for walks with Milah and going back to my old way and gymming atleast 5 times a week to clear the mind.
I just want anyone who is feeling down and going through this to know that its OKAY to feel these feelings. You should never be ashamed or guilty that you had felt what you did because the hormones in your body change completely and its a massive adjustment to your life. One thing you should not do is disconnect yourself from the outside world because that is one thing that will keep you sane. If you feel like you need to seek professional advice then go and do it because its a horrible feeling to go through. Just remember you’re doing the best you can and everything will work out in the end.
Love Ree xx
If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression you can get help.
PANDA: 1300 726 306
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636