Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Down The Rabbit Hole

The first week in May will be maternal mental health week. It is a week to maybe check in with someone you know.

A new mum.
A not so new mum.
A seemingly seasoned veteran mum.
A bereaved mum.
Someone who so very much would love to be a mum.

For no matter how wanted and loved our children are, becoming a parent or trying to become one is tough. And if we are lucky enough to already be parents, it does not make us ungrateful to put up our hands and admit just how tough it can be. Perhaps even more so for those of us who belong to the undesirable club of bereaved parents.

Postnatal anxiety and depression do not discriminate. They do not care how long you've been yearning to become a mum or have another child, whether it's your first or 6th, whether you've experienced loss or are lucky not to have.

Anxiety and depression may still slowly creep into your mind and life and temporarily cripple you. It's a lonely, isolated place to be. Feeling you ought to be happy and making the most of those precious first months with baby but struggling to find the motivation to get out of bed and figure out what to cook for dinner. Simple stuff becoming insurmountable obstacles and sources of panic: shopping lists, nct's, getting your dryer fixed, organising bills, not having made it to your son's grave since his would have been 9th birthday, being short of patience due to the stress of it all and months of interrupted sleep and wondering will the unthinkable happen again.

Constant worry and panic about nothing and everything all at the same time and yet perhaps sometimes not really being able to put your finger on what exactly it is that causes the anxiety.

How can you talk about it when it is confusing and impossible to verbalise?

It's easier (yet far more damaging) not to.

I'm very grateful to be mammy to all of my children.
I miss Patrick more than I could ever put into words. The passing of time makes his absence even more difficult to come to terms with.

Eoghan was a blessing at a most difficult time. He's growing into such a wonderful little man-boy and protective big brother.

I feel blessed that we were lucky enough to have our little girl last year... after so much heartache.

Yet... I'm still not feeling myself. That doesn't mean I'm not acutely aware of all our blessings. I am. It's just something I still cannot shake and it is affecting me, maybe not daily, but a lot more than I would like it to.

Self care is, I believe, hugely important. For all of us of course, but particularly for any new mum. It's so easy to loose your identity among the sleepless nights, nappies, feeding and being in mammy mode. We still need to be able to have an outlet, time to ourselves.

I know what self care means to me and what impact not getting to practise it has on me. Even still, I often miss my body's and mind's cues until I'm well down the rabbit hole.

Self care for me is running, being in nature (preferably by the sea) and writing. Writing is nigh impossible at home at the moment which is why I am sat here, in my local, post walk, with a sneaky G&T, tapping away furiously at my phone.

I suppose it's time to head back... Back to the most important people in my world... Ever patient Pat (who contacted me to enquire where I put the baby monitor but didn't press any further as to where I had disappeared off to), Eoghan, Squealy-Caoily and our little star in the night sky.

My happy place 

No, self care does not always include a G&T... But it sometimes can. #drinkresponsibly . 😉

1 comment:

  1. Thinking of you, and Pat.

    And you're right, selfcare is very important. Especially when you're stuck under a pile of nappies, not completely sure what day of the week it is and when you had your last *warm* cup of coffee.

    Hope you're alright, and you know where to find me when you need a chat (or a precious warm cup of something). Jan