I’ve been looking through my writing and I found this post during a difficult patch after Parker was born. It’s so sad to reflect on such a sad version of me.
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I remember it like yesterday, my sweet 18th, the excitement mixed with the anticipation of going to experience my first night out clubbing and feeling slightly giddy from the amount of WKD, Archers and Malibu my step sister Stevie and i had consumed before taking me on my first night out in Northampton Town. From what I remember it was an incredible night we laughed, we danced, we ate Mac Donald’s and was our usual hyper selves.
How does this fit in a PND blog post, since our younger years we have developed a way on how to deal with hangovers, don’t we? Lots of water, a mac Donald’s double cheese burger for the cab home, an over dose on a carb loaded breakfast with a ice cold can of coke. This was my routine when I knew I had a hangover lingering over me for the morning.
If it’s really bad, Chinese take out would do the job. Those kind of hangovers are now a blast from the past these days.
But the one hangover I’m just unable to rid off, is my post-natal depression hangover. I’m physically exhausted from fighting myself, trying to keep my anxiety throughout the day at bay. It can keep me up at night, just staring at the ceiling with flutters and flashes of sheer panic sweep across my body, heart races, chest tightens and palms sweat. I can go to sleep with anxiety and wake with anxiety. It’s completely, and utterly robbing me of happiness and enjoying my newborn, Parker.
I no longer look forward to getting up, not because i don’t want to see his perfect smiley face and genuine warm loving eyes, it’s the fear of, can I get through today? Do i really have the ability to look after him? I can’t bare to face getting up. Not wanting to leave the house. What happens if something bad happens and nobody is here for Him? The minute i wake, negativity sweeps my mind and from there on I am fighting myself to get through the day, leaving me physically and mentally exhausted by night. There is no getting rid of this post natal hangover.
My first year of motherhood was tough, it was the type of hangover where you was over the worst, that head spinning unsure if you’re gonna puke or whether you need to ring the fire service to provide you with a gallon of water.
I had severe PND with my first born, I was over protective, over worried, withdrawn and completely lost myself. Although I managed, somehow to raise a lovely little cheeky boy, who smashed all his milestones.
My second born, i escaped the hangover. I was absolutely fine. But maybe that was because I had to be, she was born profoundly deaf and required so much more attention, stimulation and endless of hospital appointments. There was no room for a mental illness to carefully claw itself and grab hold of me.
Now with my third born, Parker I’m at that stage when the after effects are still with you – dry mouth, dull ache to the head, yawning lots and still swearing you’ll never drink again.
And that’s how I feel towards having another baby, if it leaves me feeling this bad after… But how many times do we make that statement after one too many drinks the night before?
I always feel weak saying that I had and still have post-natal depression, because with my first I never saw a doctor about it, or even knew I was suffering from it, at the time. It was around the 7/8 months mark down the line which the health visitor was coming round more often and checking on me, arranging counselling and suggesting i go to the go, i didn’t believe it, or I didn’t want to believe and admit it, it carried on like this until November 2015, it dawned on me, I was clearly very poorly, it had been the terrorist attack in Paris and then night before I was due to leave Luka-James behind with my mum to attend Cheltenham races with my partner for his birthday. I stayed up ALL night, watching SKY news, reading every single news paper article upon the tragic event.
Anxiety had gripped me around the throat and held me hostage of fear, ‘they’re coming for us’ i kept telling myself.
I went to beyond ridiculousness and researched how to keep safe from a terrorist attack, right down to how to survive nuclear bombing. And worked out if London was hit, how bad the nuclear cloud would affect us.
I wrote a plan and emergency plan on how my mum could keep my baby safe whilst I wasn’t with him. I made her promise me she would not leave the house. The day was a blur, a surreal stressful day. But I got through it, somehow. My mum not long after this pleaded with me to speak to my
I think majority of us feel more ready to accept medical conditions and help when a professional has made the diagnosis.
Sometimes you just know with things like this, its the only explanation for the anxiety and inability to cope that I feel everyday minute of the hour, of the day. Life shouldn’t be this hard, your days shouldn’t be just trying to make it through a 3 hourly window, waiting helplessly until your partner arrives home.
There are definite side effects that I still battle daily, from my PND hangover. The knot that still forms in the pit of my stomach when I am reminded by each cry that I have a small baby to tend too, when night feeds are getting tougher, because you just need to sleep these feelings away and hibernate. Because after all we stop feeling once we’re asleep. I make a flippant joke but inside when people ask me how I cope with three children all under the age of 3, I’m trying not to vomit and panic. I feel dreadful that my PND is the sacrifice of a year of my life and sanity for the greater win of brining my newborn baby into this world.
I am looking forward to one day finally feeling free of this hangover. But in reality i am hoping that when I return to work it shall be my coping mechanism. A chance to escape my guilt of being a bad mum who couldn’t cope. The mum who is so emotionally worn out from the past three years of parenting. To the days I feel I cannot deal with days on my own with them. And now, nearly 3 years after my first experience of PND, I’m still working on that knot in my stomach which appears and I start to panic that I am not able to cope through my day.
Which is insanely sad, because everyone who has met Parker always praises me on how amazing he is doing on breast milk, my chunky big baba. Which is all down to me. How bright, alert and happy he is. Which is all down to my guidance and nurturing. I look for light at the end of the tunnel, I look at my water half full in the glass, getting me through my PND hangover and partly looking forward being free from not suffering from it any longer. I want to regain my strength and happiness. I want to be the mother my children deserve . But that knot is there, quietly reminding me that I am unable to cope in my year at home during my maternity leave. I really want to ignore it but it’s something I have to work towards, gradually.
I wish a full English breakfast and a ice cold Coke would make this hangover disappear.