'I went through weeks of crying constantly' PND by Lisa Cowan
Hey there! It’s Lisa from www.lisacowan.co.uk. I’m a beauty, lifestyle and mummy blogger who wings it every day in my life. My daughter Imogen Rose inspired me to start blogging through my pregnancy and I would like to share with you a personal subject that touches so many parents out there. Postnatal Depression aka the baby blues.
I first heard about the baby blues during my pregnancy but thought it only lasted a couple of weeks. My health visitor told me to expect it around 4 days after giving birth and up to 2 weeks. No one warned me or held up a sign that it could last longer or how horrible it could be. I have a past of severe depression (self harming and worse) so I let every single midwife and nurse know so that I could get the help if I needed it. I didn’t feel like I got what I needed at all and I just suffered.
The baby blues is a time when after your baby you just start to feel sad, lonely and have bouts of crying. They say that you don’t know why you feel this way but I got to understand it better in my own way. Personally it felt like after you’ve gone through this massive build up to having a child and the adrenaline of the birth and going home things start to set in. Your over tired from all the feeds, you’re on the mend so it’s hard to see other people and you’re stuck inside and yes, it’s lonely. It doesn’t mean that this isn’t okay. In my eyes I feel like it’s perfectly normal because you’re letting out raw emotion through everything that’s happening and changing at a rapid pace.
When my health visitor visited me I told her how I felt. I told her that I was breaking down crying and I felt so guilty because I had the perfect healthy child. How dare I cry when others are worse off! I told her that I couldn’t seem to smile and felt like I resented and didn’t love my child at times . Even though strangely it would anger me if anyone took her attention, she was mine. I knew that it wasn’t normal behaviour and she had me do a questionnaire to test how high my PND was. It was low. So low, that she didn’t bother seeing me again after that. So when I had a check up with a nurse for my stitches and my stomach, I told her. She told me to go see my doctor and tell him/her everything. So I did. Off to the doctors I went.
At the doctors it wasn’t my usual GP who knew about my behaviour patterns. About how I struggled to get help last time and I didn’t feel like I had a warm hug of help. It felt clinical, unattached and well, I felt like just another number. I tried anti depressants. We tried different ones because of my health reasons and because of how ones had affected me in the past. My moods became worse just like it did in my past. My doctor encouraged me to go see a councillor to talk things through but believe me I tried, I couldn’t walk through the door to do it. Through loving support of my partner I’ve got back on the mend. The poor sod had to deal with my rollercoaster moods through my pregnancy and then on top of that he had this sad girlfriend and a baby that was wearing him out. I’m not saying he’s a superhero or anything like that, but at the time I didn’t feel like I deserved him. I kept trying to drive him to a point where he would be better off without me. Obviously this isn’t post natal depression, but I don’t want to sugar coat anything. This is real life after all.
I went through weeks of crying constantly. Sometimes it was only a breakdown a day, sometimes it was four and sometimes I didn’t cry. It was on and off for around 5 months. Through this time and even still now we live at my mum’s house. I was working away and was laid off my job when I was 6 months pregnant. He lived two hours away and had to find a new job in my area so we were starting rock bottom. Through ups and downs of not getting enough hours at his work, and not being able to sort out child care it got increasingly difficult to keep my head above water. This is when I knew I was past just postnatal depression, I sunk again. I knew it was happening before my eyes and I stressed to my partner that I had to get out. I had to do more.
I went and got a part time job. I now work in a bar part time just so I can get out of the house even though the money doesn’t go anywhere. Just to see other faces. I started taking Imogen out on long walks, I would walk for about 3 hours to anywhere and just made sure I had things with me. Just to see other faces and to get out the same 4 blumming walls that seem to be sky high with washing. I joined a baby group, not just for me but for my daughter too. During our first session my anxiety was sky rocket but I felt great when I returned again. There were no bitchy girls, or cliques, we all had our little best friends to look after. And my particular little best friend hated it and showed me up, but I will keep trying with her.
My partner tries his best to give me time to go and have a few hours to myself, whether I lock myself in the room so I can blog or do things I want, or a few hours to go get a coffee and relax. Though we both have busy schedules, he does his best to make that time for me.
As you can see, my personal experience for me was hard. It was a lot harder than I thought but not everyone goes through it the same way. I know my tipping points, and I know when I need help. I know a lot of mums try to deny it or say it’s okay, and it is. It’s okay to cry and let things out but I urdge you to talk to someone. Whether that be a friend, family, or someone of a health care profession. Another thing that helped me was to keep a diary of how I felt every day. I would write a few lines of how I felt and what I felt ‘triggered’ my emotions. It’s not easy to talk about and heck, even living with my mum while we’re saving for our bond, she even dusted my moods under the rug. So now, she’s noticed I’m getting better and tries to help me when she sees me getting low.
So through everything, you might get baby blues, you might not. It might last a few days, it might last months and months. If it’s any of them, talk. Talk even though you’re shattered it’s incredibly important. Just message your friends even if they don’t understand what you’re going through. Ask them to meet up for a walk around the shops. Just pop out yourself and walk around the local park for some fresh air. Or go to a huge supermarket and make sure you go around every aisle. It sounds incredibly daft, but it’s something to do when the baby gets too much at home. It’ll do you both the good.
As you can tell, I haven’t posted this on my own blog because I’m scared of what my family might think if they didn’t know I was suffering. I don’t want them sad eyes but feel free to tweet or email me if you would like about anything if you can’t talk to anyone else.
We’re all human after all.
Lisa Cowan XO