Postnatal Depression: To have? Or not to have? That is the question…

The last couple of days have seen me thinking about something I never thought I’d think about… Having another baby.  I always swore I was a “one child mum”.  I always preached whilst pregnant that I was most certainly NOT a “natural earth mother” put on this planet to procreate and have an abundance of children.  However, it seems there are many factors impacting me at the moment forcing me to take the topic that little bit more seriously.  I’ll be honest… I don’t want to think about it.  Not at all.  The horror of being pregnant again is frightening in so many ways.  Those feelings of awfulness following our LM’s birth are in themselves enough to see me running in the opposite direction.  But alas, thinking about it I am.

Let me clarify… When I say “thinking about it”, I mean that in a very literal sense.  I am just thinking a lot of thoughts which happen to be focused around being pregnant again and having another baby.  It is NOT to say there is any type of actual decision making going on in my mind as to whether or not that baby will one day become reality.  Does that makes sense?   At the moment I’m surrounded by friends who are either:

  • trying to fall pregnant (with either first or second bub);
  • reassuring me that if I fell pregnant it would be different this time;
  • asking (with no knowledge of my PND battle), “So, when’s number 2 going to be on its way?”;
  • asking (with knowledge of my PND battle), “So, things seem to be getting better… Will you go for number 2?”;
  • telling me my biological clock is ticking, so best make a decision now.

It appears I’m simply being thrown a curve ball with regard to working through issues I perhaps didn’t want to deal with right now.  I’m being made to face my demons and confront head on those reasons for feeling the way I do about having another child.    Okay, so maybe that’s all fair enough.   From what I can make sense of so far, my main thoughts both for and against the idea are as follows:

FOR:

  • I like the idea of our LM having another sibling close to his age as he grows up, particularly when he’s older;
  • BF2 is trying for another baby and it would be nice to share the experience with her again;
  • Maybe this time it would feel “good” to be pregnant;
  • Maybe the labour would be a more “natural” process;
  • Maybe the birth would be much less traumatic for both myself and the babe;
  • Maybe the postnatal period would be different – full of good and positive feelings, enjoying every moment;
  • Maybe my HF and I could enjoy the experience together.

AGAINST:

  • I only ever wanted to have one child and can’t imagine a life with more than one;
  • What if my experience was exactly the same?  Would I be able to cope?  (I don’t think so)  Would I beat myself up about it?  (most probably, yes);
  • I am petrified of going through postnatal depression again;
  • My HF has been through enough, it would not be fair to put him through anything more;
  • Our life is only just getting back to “normal” after 18 months of roller coaster madness;
  • I am too old to have another baby.
  • What if I had a girl?

I always find it helps to clarify your thoughts when you write things down this way.  As is proven here… Do you see what I see?  Look at all those “maybe’s” in the FOR section.  By compiling this list, I get the sense I’m more concerned about making my past experience “right” by going through it all again.  But as you know, the reality could be that my experience would be exactly the same (as I’m also very afraid of).  My innermost need to somehow justify what both the LM and myself went through over the past 18 months, not to mention the impact it had on our family as a whole, would be the only reason I would consider having another child.

Very clearly, I want to make it right – for all of us.  But I can’t.   I want to experience pregnancy and child birth in the “ideal” way I had always envisioned.  Not have as my only reality this traumatic, dark, clouded experience I don’t like to think about.  I want desperately for my HF to experience me at my glowing, pregnant best, singing and dancing about the joys of motherhood every afternoon when he arrives home from work.  I don’t want him left with the memory of how ugly I’ve become.  How difficult and straining the past 18 months have been, and how much he’s had to pick up the loose ends just to keep things together.  But most of all, I want to know myself as a “happy” mum.  I want to know what being a mum feels like when you’re not held down under this constant weight and pressure of postnatal depression.

If I’m really prepared to slap myself in the face with the truth… I want to prove I’m not a failure as both a partner and mother and that I can do it properly!

Maybe… Maybe… Maybe…

I want… I want… I want…

But honestly, what about making the most of what I have right now?   It seems I’m letting that little question slip right through the cracks by focusing too much on the past, and thinking I can change it with the future.  I need to take a good, hard look at myself.  Take a step back… take a deep breath… and live THIS life.  Not the “ideal” life I somehow feel I’ve missed out on.  But for anyone who’s suffered from postnatal depression knows, it’s definitely easier said than done.  The positive for me at this time, I guess, is that being aware of what’s happening deep, down beneath all those crazy thoughts is (I hope!) 80% of the battle won.

Thanks so much as always for reading my babbling thoughts and continued efforts to sort them out… I appreciate it more than you know!  This has been a huge off-loading of information, so do hope it all makes sense for you in one way or another.

Until next time, take care.

TSM  xx

Allergies: Finally an egg and dairy free muffin recipe that works!

I’ve never blogged about recipes before, however this afternoon I am motivated to do so because I’m sooooooo incredibly excited!  As I’ve alluded to in earlier posts, our LM suffers terrible allergies to both raw egg (anaphalactic) and dairy protein (extreme eczema).   To write about our struggle with his eczema and other allergy hardships would take way too long… But needless to say, it’s been difficult to-date to find egg and dairy free snacks that are both easy to make and taste good.  So today I’m going to let you in on a little secret I’ve discovered through a lot of trial and error… An egg and dairy free muffin recipe that is easy, works, AND tastes yummy!

Now in all honesty, I can’t take any of the real credit as I’ve been using a recipe developed by Joanne Choi over at the Week of Menus blog.  Joanne’s research into Allergy Friendly recipes has led to her posting a fantastic Banana Blueberry Muffins (egg and dairy free) option.  I have made these muffins many times and we all love them, particularly the LM.  But I was wanting some other options with different veggies, fruit, and less sugar.  Hence, I began experimenting using Joanne’s recipe as a base.

After many failed attempts which saw the LM screw his face up due to the hardness, tasteless, and dare I say – disgusting, muffins I was placing in front of him, this afternoon I appear to have hit the jackpot.  Now, I may be completely jumping the gun here, but am very interested to know if you can duplicate my recipe and let me know your thoughts!  Might be a bit of fun if nothing else.  🙂

Carrot & Banana Muffins (egg and dairy free)

1 and a half cups plain flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

Half teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Quarter teaspoon of salt

3 tablespoons of Nuttlex (melted)

3 tablespoons of Rice Bran Oil

Quarter cup of water

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Quarter cup of castor sugar

1 ripe banana (mashed)

2 medium carrots (grated)

Quarter cup of steamed diced apple (optional)

Steps:

1.  Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees (C) or 355 degrees (F)  (Nb:  I have a fan-forced oven)

2.  Place all dry ingredients, except the sugar, in a medium sized mixing bowl (flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt).  Mix together well.

3.  Mash banana in a separate bowl and add the sugar, Nuttlex, Rice Bran oil, water, and vanilla essence.  Mix well.

4.  Add the grated carrot (and diced apple if including) to the DRY mixture, stirring until evenly coated.

5.  Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture.  Stir gently until ingredients are just combined (the mixture is not runny, but firm and sticky).  Over-stirring will result in the mixture hardening too much during cooking.

6.  Place spoonfuls of mixture into a 24 cup mini-muffin tin (I find the mixture makes 28 mini-muffins comfortably).

7.  Cook for 22 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown.  If under-cooked, muffins will be doughy.  If over-cooked, muffins will be hard.

So, be sure to let me know how you go and if they are a success for you too (or complete disaster!).  Thanks so much as always and very much look forward to sharing more with you soon.

Take care,

TSM  xx