Just over a year ago, we welcomed into the world an amazing little bundle of joy (from hereon in referred to as the “Little Man” – LM). From the moment of his conception, our lives have changed in numerous ways – some for the better, and some unfortunately for the worse. This is my journey through the dark world of postnatal depression (PND – also known as postpartum depression). I personally found it very difficult to find information on what I was going through so hope by sharing my story I may have the opportunity to help many new (or seasoned) mums out there who are experiencing the same thing. Postnatal depression is scary, confronting, and threatening… Not only to the women experiencing it, but to friends, family, and others in general who don’t always understand that PND as a “mental illness” does not change the core of who you are, only your ability to cope and keep things in the kind of perspective you’re used to. Obviously everyone’s experience differs greatly, however without support and understanding those first initial steps are the hardest of all to take.
So please, take my hand and let’s begin…
When I fell pregnant, I was 35 years old, a career-driven individual in a wonderful, loving relationship with a man I had met 4 years previously. We had bought a house we were renovating, had become engaged, and life was generally wonderful. I began thinking of writing a blog when I was 4 months pregnant. I felt it would be a fantastic way to pass my time whilst on maternity leave given I was fortunate enough to be given 12 months off work. My job as a project manager involved working with midwives, pregnant mums, and their babies. In my mind, it was a given that the knowledge I had, paired with the support surrounding me, would arm me with the best tools possible for getting through this amazing chapter of my life. Seriously, what on earth would I do with myself every day for 12 whole months! Little did I know the start of my blog would not only be significantly delayed (I am now back at work), but revolve more around my need to maintain my sanity than simply filling in time.
I’m sure there are many women out there in my position who thought having a baby at this stage in life would blend beautifully with their already amazing ability to multi-skill and fit everything in their life to a “plan”. I accept now how completely wrong I was! Whilst LM’s pregnancy and birth is an experience I would not trade for the world, it was however the biggest wake-up call I think I’ve ever received. Now, having just celebrated his first birthday, I find myself searching for answers to questions I never thought I’d be asking and finding them in strange, funny little things I had never really contemplated until now.
With all that being said, I guess I am looking to this blog to help me make sense of the ever changing landscape of my life, and to share my thoughts and experience with other mums (professional or otherwise) who might be feeling the same way. If nothing else, I am looking forward to relieving myself of the many “thoughts and feelings” taking residence inside my head on a day-to-day basis… To write them down will be a relief indeed.
My next blog, which I hope to post soon, will share with you the beginnings of my PND journey and how I came to get the help I currently receive. The first step towards asking for help is always the hardest, but the relief you feel when you do is well worth the effort!
TSM (Thirty Something Mum) xx