noun: post-natal depression
depression suffered by a mother following childbirth, typically arising from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood, and fatigue.
– definition from Google
I never really understood what PND was. I always thought it was when mothers didn’t bond with their babies immediately and for some reason felt like they didn’t love their little ones. That is literally all I thought it was. I was completely ignorant to what it really is, what it can actually involve and how mothers really feel because of it.
It’s having an undying guilt for things not working out as you had planned. Whether it be a natural birth, your perfect birth plan, breastfeeding etc. That guilt is so horrible. You can be told a million and one times that you shouldn’t blame yourself and that you’re not a bad mother. You already know all of this but you just can’t stop feeling so guilty. It eats and eats at you every single day. You look at your baby and just say sorry even though she’s so happy and healthy.
It’s such an overwhelming love that makes you feel both overjoyed and sad. Sad? Yup, I don’t know why. Maybe that’s the guilt pissing all over your happy moments. It’s weird. You love that little one with all your heart and soul. You never want any hurt or harm to come their way and would do anything in your power to stop them from getting hurt. You’ve even thought of wrapping her in cotton wool.
It’s knowing that you can be overprotective but feeling hurt when anyone mentions how overprotective you are. You know how you’re being. You try to stop it but you can’t. You haven’t just woken up one morning and decided that you’re going to be an overprotective mother. It just happened and that’s how it is. I’m pretty sure that it could be argued that it’s actually a natural instinct. But I’m not gonna argue that point.
It’s feeling alone. You feel so alone even though you know there are people there to talk to. There are people that care about you. Your baby is there. Your husband is there. Your family is there. Your friends are there. But you just feel alone.
It’s having panic attacks at the mere thought of having to be in the company of others, especially more than two people at the same time. Long gone are the days you loved being out in the bars with tons of friends, having a great time. This environment scares the shit out of you now. Again, you have no idea why but you do know that there’s a fierce tightness in your chest when you know there are going to be people where you’re going. Same goes for when you’re out and you see someone you know. You really want to show off your little bundle of joy but something else inside of you makes you want to run in the opposite direction.
It’s feeling offended by everything and anything people say or do that relates to you and your baby. Isn’t she cold? Is she hungry? She’s not wearing enough clothes. She’ wearing too much. Why don’t you just leave her with me and go out? Do you want me to stop her from crying? You’re feeding her what? You haven’t started her on solids yet? Ok, people are trying to help out and be nice but you’re not getting this side of their words. You just feel hurt and offended. You are doing your best and just want to scream at those people.
It’s knowing that you’re doing all the very best for your gorgeous little one but feeling that you could still be doing a lot more.
It’s not wanting to leave the house. It’s not wanting to get dressed. It’s not wanting to shower. It’s not wanting to eat. It’s not wanting to do the simplest of things but you do them. You do it for your baby mostly. You don’t want to show these horrible emotions to her. You want her to always be happy and to feel happy and secure in your company.
It’s horrible and people don’t understand. People don’t notice. Well, you don’t show it as much on the outside as you feel it on the inside so how would they notice. It’s something you don’t want to talk about but sometimes feel so overwhelmed that you burst into tears for no reason and just cry for hours to your husband who tries to understand but nothing or no one can stop you from feeling this way. You know it will go away eventually without the need for any medication and you just smile and wait for It to go.
It’s feeling like people are going to think you’re looking for sympathy by writing this blog but you’re not. You’re writing because you like writing, because it helps you to feel better. You’re writing this because you’re positive that you’re not the only one feeling this way or that has felt this way before. You’re writing it because you want to help others so that they don’t feel alone. You’re writing it so that people are more aware.
It’s not wanting people to feel sorry for you because of this blog or to feel that you need a chat or a shoulder to cry on. You’re dealing with it and you know that you are getting better. You know who’s there when you need a good cry or a chat and you appreciate their love and support. Merely knowing that you’re loved and supported is enough.
It’s something that more mothers-to-be need to be aware of and be prepared for. I can’t advise on how to prepare yourself for such feelings. I guess, just know that it could happen to you. Meditation or yoga, maybe? Both? Do make sure that there is someone there for you when you have those moments where you just can’t hold all the emotions and feelings in anymore. Write a letter with your feelings. Write it in a blog. Do whatever helps YOU because the sooner you get better, the sooner you’ll feel happy all the time and not just every now and then.
PND is serious, just like any form of depression, and it can be a lot worse. Feeling alone or having any bad feelings towards yourself, your baby or anyone you love is not healthy. Don’t battle PND alone. There are people and professionals that will help you. Just because I feel that I don’t need medication, does not mean that another mother doesn’t need it. Don’t be scared or ashamed of how you feel or what you have to do to help yourself. Please get the help that you need because we all deal with things differently.