Postnatal Depression: Back up and running after Baby Number Two!

Hello… My goodness… Hello… Is anybody out there?   I’m so, so sorry for the 5 month gap between posts.  God!  Anyone would think I’ve had another baby or something!!!  🙂  Actually, to be perfectly honest, I’ve been wanting to blog again for quite some time but something else has always gotten in the way (namely a certain 2 and a half year old).  But not today!  Thanks to Emma’s recent comment on my last post in September (Postnatal Depression:  10 days to go… How am I feeling?), I finally have the energy to get back up and running.  So thank-you, Emma!  Without your comment I would probably have put off writing this post for another 5 months… Seriously.

“So, what have you been up to for the past 5 months?”  I casually hear you ask.  Well, where to begin.  I wish I could say I’ve been partaking in a little of this…

hammock

… but instead, my reality has probably been a little more like this…

crying mum

Actually, no… If I’m completely honest, the above probably happens only (ONLY!) once every 3 or 4 days.  I mean, what can I expect with a 2 and a half (nearly 3) year old throwing the normal developmental tantrums on top of all the feelings that come with a new baby in the house.  So yes, the losing my mind part happens probably twice a week on average, and the rest of the time I pull off the look of someone surviving parenthood for the second time around with postnatal depression.  Adequately surviving.  Surviving as all mums of a new babe and a toddler would survive… You just knuckle down and get on with it.  So, as much as I wish I could say I look like this…

shopping posh

… my reality is a much more frazzled appearance!  I feel my days are made up by my feeling about 60% comfortable with motherhood, 20% fun and games, 10% wanting to be back at work, and 10% still dealing with my PND meltdowns.  It’s certainly been an interesting time, but one I would  not exchange for anything in the world!

We had our little girl on the 16th September last year, and my depression and anxiety was (and has been since) very manageable.  My pregnancy with Miss H (MH) went very smoothly and was really very similar to that of mine with our LM (if you were to take away the massive highs and lows of mood I experienced throughout his pregnancy).  I was truly terrified of what would happen after MH’s birth, but again with lots of open communication, good management by Dr B (my OB) and Dr J (my GP), all combined with continuing to take my medication. things have been going very smoothly.  I’ve found motherhood this time around to be a very pleasurable experience.  This is a result of two things: 1) I’ve done the “first-time-mum” thing before (it really is sooooooo much less anxiety provoking the second time around!); and 2) I am much more aware of my depression, its triggers, and both mine and my HF’s ability to manage the meltdowns when they do occur.  Although I’m happy to say my meltdowns occur much less often than they used to, they inevitably still occur.  What I’ve found is they rear their ugly head usually when a combination of challenging things happen all at once and one of those things is ALWAYS my forgetting to have taken my medication.  I can assure you my forgetting  doesn’t regularly happen, but when it does I know there will be consequences with anything from flat/emotional mood to full-on, irrational, bitter, hateful meltdowns (it really does depend what else is going on at the time).

It’s a confronting thing for me knowing that my experience with motherhood relies so strongly at the moment on medication, I really do wish it could be different.  But at the same time I think how incredibly lucky I am to have found one that works so well for me.  I honestly wasn’t at all open to medication in the beginning, but know if I hadn’t combined my therapy, general lifestyle changes, and doctors visits with medication I would be in a far worse off state than I am now.   I’ve also found that a good diet (really?) and exercise (no!) are integral to keeping my depression on an even keel.  My HF and I have made extra effort this year to eat well, and whilst our exercising isn’t where it perhaps should be, we are determined to get our plan into action.  Wish us luck on that one!

So, whilst there have certainly been the usual challenging times with a new born and toddler to juggle, I have felt this second-time experience for me has been a true blessing.  It has shown me what it feels like to enjoy both pregnancy and motherhood with a baby with a clear mind and ability to rationalise (and not sweat on) the little things – it has made such an incredible difference!  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still hard… VERY hard!  But isn’t parenting hard anyway?  I definitely think so.  What I’ve discovered though is there is definitely a bigger picture at play  for us, as there was a precious little girl waiting to show us what a complete family feels like… And that is now what we have, all of us together.

Thanks so much for your continued support (for anyone left who feels compelled to read this after so long) and I’m very much hoping my blogging journey will now continue on a much more regular basis.

Take care,

TSM xx