It’s funny, I always wondered why mums had post natal depression. You have a beautiful new baby, some women would give their right arm for a child, so what is there to be depressed about? You come home from hospital with your bundle of joy and the house is full of flowers and visitors and Dad is home on paternity, the grandparents practically move in and the neighbours drop in a casserole. Your 4 year old is whipped away to McDonald’s so you can have some peace and your reassured the school runs are taken care of for the week. Bliss! Then a fortnight later everyone stops calling, Dad's back at work and you can’t wait to get back to “normal.” Except normal isn’t normal anymore because now there’s another person in the mix. A person who needs you 24/7. Which is fine except your 4 year old needs you too. At first you carry on as you already know how, your well placed routine, but that doesn’t work anymore, but you know you can do this. Next door does it, umpteen mums at the school do this hell the woman opposite has nine children this will be a breeze!
Then the day arrives when you forgot the birthday party they were invited to. You are clearly the worst mother in the entire world and the spiral of inner negativity begins. Can you do this? Why can’t you do this? What the hell’s wrong with you? Fact... nothing!! I struggled inwardly whilst looking perfect on the outside. It’s amazing how well you can look with bright red lippy. My house was perfect, my children looked perfect but my lack of affection was killing me. I hadn’t made play-doh, I hadn’t made cookies or painted her toenails. I’m sure she didn’t notice but I was so sure that there was nothing beneficial about me being there and that anyone could have easily taken my place as their mother that I bought DVDs and colouring books so that they could amuse themselves. Anything was better than interaction from me. Also you can’t tell anyone how you feel! What if they questioned my mental health? What if they came for them? I had visions of meeting them in years to come on Jeremy Kyle. I fooled everyone and no one knew how much I was drowning but I was wrong. My husband did. He noticed. He saw and he fixed. I got the help I needed with no shame attached. I talked and talked and talked. It was essential for me to understand that what I was feeling was NORMAL. I was broken for a while and it took a while to heal but I did. I’m not the same person and never will be again but I learnt a valuable lesson in that year. No one is invincible, depression can happen to anyone and the stigma needs to be quashed. We as parents do amazing jobs daily, even when we don’t think it. I’m so proud of my now teens and so grateful for my husband's support. We all need help sometimes and if we can’t help each other what a sad existence we would live in.