Postnatal Depression: An open letter to every mum…
If you haven’t seen my personal blog, it’s full of letters to Olivia, so you could say that these are what I do best.
This one, however, has a twist. Not to Olivia, but to you, the one reading this.
Mums, mamas, mummies, I beg you all to be your best. Not the best mother, the best cook, the best anything, but just the best version of yourself.
What do I mean? I mean, get that help, use that support, it’s okay not to be okay all of the time. In fact, it’s normal. Sometimes, though, it might be slightly worse than normal. All that means is that you are vulnerable and you need a little bit extra. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s DEPRESSION. And that is NOT a dirty word. It’s a feeling, a battle, a setback, but with the right help, you will come through the other side a stronger person, and you will be a better version of yourself having done so.
Sometimes you may feel like you’re sinking, and when you do it’s so hard to come up for air. But you will.
Here is my little checklist of things to remember when I do feel like I’m slipping back underneath the surface.
Help for Postnatal Depression is not far away…
Whether it’s my GP, my health visitor (before I moved away, I still haven’t managed to find the children’s health services in my new town yet), or my family, help is always close by and easy to access. My experience with the doctors surgeries is that even if their appointments are full up, they will always try to book you in asap if you tell them it’s for mental health. They will also be able to provide you with crisis numbers. Although I’ve never had to use them, I have friends who have and they have been dependable in their time of need.
Don’t cut off your lifelines…
It’s so easy to feel isolated when you have postnatal depression. You might find yourself sending that text saying “no, sorry but I’m busy”, or to rejecting that phone call because you can’t face other people seeing you when you’re not feeling 100%. The best thing to remember is that true friends will be there for you through thick and thin, and just like having a sickness bug, it’s okay to want to hole up under your duvet and binge watch a tv series until you feel better. When you do feel better, seize those opportunities and see your friends and family. Even if it’s momentarily, you will feel better for seeing other people and having adult conversation, trust me.
Your baby thinks you’re perfect…
This took me a long time to realise, but your little bundle that you carried for 9 months and went through all of that hell to bring into the world thinks YOU are the most amazing woman on earth. Yes, granted, a newborn baby doesn’t understand who you are yet, but you already provided them with a safe place to grow until they were ready to come out to meet everyone, and now you are their one and only source of comfort (especially if you’re breastfeeding).
Sorry, dads, but you just can’t beat the power of the nipple. Hungry? Slip the nip. Tired? Slip the nip. Ratty? Slip the nip… You get the idea. You are providing them with everything they could want. They’ve already memorised your voice, and soon enough will learn your face too. That baby will love you unconditionally, no matter how imperfect you feel, you are perfect to someone.
Baby’s daddy owes you big time…
Seriously, nearly 15 months later I still play this card. “Honeyyyyy, make me tea please”, “No”, “But I made your baby”! It doesn’t really work anymore, I won’t lie! But, in those first few weeks when he has paternity leave, soak up all of the help you can! Usually I am a staunch believer in independent womanhood, but for the love of god you just delivered a 7/8lb something gorgeous lump, so don’t lift a finger. If you’re doing this alone, the same applies.
Take the help and the rest from people you love, you’re taking on double the work for the foreseeable future! You totally deserve to chill out and not have to worry about anything. If, like me, you have terrible anxiety, you are definitely going to spend enough time worrying later on, so just sit back, and look at what you made! Look at that beautiful baby and your family and just cherish those memories. It’s so hard to forget all of your worries, but I promise you will have those moments where everything else slips away and you can only see the beauty in front of you.
Forget your looks, they’re different but no less beautiful…
This is a big one for me, and having postnatal depression has magnified my insecurities. I had enough trouble with my body confidence before having Olivia, but the one thing I actually liked was my nice flat tummy. Aaaaaaand POOF! It’s gone. It’s now covered in stretch marks and I can’t wear a belly bar anymore as the hole closed up. Plus there’s still a bit of extra fleshiness from the mumtum.
But do you know what? What you see in the mirror isn’t what everyone else sees. My other half genuinely made me cry recently after I asked him what he would change about me. I expected it to be something superficial, because that is what I would change, magic me up some visible abs or something. No, instead he said he would change the way I see myself so that I can see what he sees. So to you all, YOU are still attractive, your body is still phenomenal, and there will always be someone who sees you differently to how you see yourself. Next time you look in the mirror, try to love yourself, see what your significant other sees. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so BEHOLD IT!
I think 5 is enough and I feel like I’ve rambled on a lot, but if you’re struggling you know you have people to turn to. If you truly do feel alone and you want someone to talk to who can’t and won’t judge you then you can contact any of the mummykind gang via Facebook, twitter or email – go to our contact us page to get the links!
I hope that this helps someone. It’s not an easy road, this parenting thing, and it’s okay if you’re struggling, just take steps to get better! It feels like a huge weight being lifted once you’ve made that first contact to someone.
Be strong my lovelies, it will get better. It always does.
If you liked this you may enjoy reading…
- Mental Health Monday: PND and bonding
- A daddy’s view on postpartum mental illness…
- Mental Health Monday: Struggling With Depression or Anxiety?
0 thoughts on “Postnatal Depression: An open letter to every mum…”
All very true! #thelistlinky
I particularly resonate with 1 and 5. You should never be ashamed to ask for help and you should be true to you! #TheListLinky
5 is possibly still the biggest one for me that I need to constantly remind myself of! We put ourselves through so much criticism even though we are pretty amazing creatures! Thanks for commenting 🙂
amazing post thank you for sharing with us, all very true and I need to remember to accept help when its offered. #itsok