PND doesn't make me a bad mum by Sophie Slayford-Doe
When I was a child I used to bottle things up until I would explode. On the outside it looked as if I was a live wire. When in reality I was harbouring every dark thought, every sad thing I had to deal with, and pretty much every other emotion I didn’t want to share with anyone. I was going through extra stress and pain that none of my friends had, I didn’t think anyone would understand. It wasn’t until I started speaking to a councilor weekly my mind began to ease, and I wasn’t so afraid to speak out anymore. So I now know it’s okay to speak out about your problems, you think you’re suffering alone when in fact you are surrounded by plenty of others feeling the same as you.
Motherhood didn’t come as easily as I had expected (why isn’t there a manual?!). It wasn’t the rosy fairy tale that other mums at babies groups portrayed it with their little married lives, their fancy mortgages and conservatory extensions they had planned. Why didn’t they want to moan about how crappy teething at 3am is?!
My mind spiraled out of control and I was biting Paddy’s head off about the teeniest, most trivial things. We were on the brink of a break up and I didn’t know how to stop myself before things could get worse.
I used to wake up in a panic checking Delilah was still breathing. Not once a night but hourly. It was heart breaking to feel like I wasn’t Sophie anymore. I was a shell.
One sad day, Polly called and I cried and cried and cried. I told her I didn’t want to hold my baby or look at them anymore.
It wasn’t normal to feel this way and it wasn’t just a bit of ‘Baby blues’, a term I have grown to loathe by the way, it was the feeling like my children shouldn’t have me as a mum, a sad thought that struck so deep that I knew it needed dealing with as soon as possible.
It took a lot to pluck up the courage to go seek help and without Paddy, my friends and my family I’d have never come to terms with it but now I know I can talk to people, take my medication and be a happy mum. You may not be able to start the day until you’ve had a coffee or speak to anyone until you’ve had a shower. Me? I have to take an antidepressant and then I’m me. It’s not a forever thing nor is it me romancing things like it’s some kind of new trend. It’s not a shiny Bugaboo Pram in a Gurgle magazine. It’s normalising a mental health condition.
“I love being a mum, I’m good at motherhood and my children adore me.”
Every mum should say this when looking in the mirror. Granted some days are tough and you wish you could hoover up the lego when a tiny piece impales your foot or hide in the cupboard under the stairs to have a cry/drink your tea before it goes cold/scroll through Instagram. But even then when you check your babies sleeping you know every tantrum, projectile vomit, Poo leaked nappy is worth it.
There’s absolutely nothing embarrassing or silly about admitting you have PND, it’s so important to get help and seek your GP for advice or www.samaritans.org or even message me, I know how crappy things can get.
Love Sophie, Delilah and Indiana x