I worried that you would pick up on my misery. It consumed me.
That somehow you would see straight through your Mamas smile. I tried so hard to love you and care for you like a Mother should, like the many books piled up on the windowsill were dictacting. I was petrified you could somehow hear the thoughts in my head and one day you would hate me for it. I would freeze when my head was taking me away from you and you would look up from your feed and smile. Like you knew. Like you knew that everyday my mind was not my own. The thoughts were endless, constant, relentless, so firgging tiresome. So fast I could not keep up. I was frightened.
As a new Mum I came home from hospital with this baby. You. Life had changed and suddenly I was in charge of a human. You were so tiny. 6lb 6 oz. Bloody adorable.
So many visitors filled the house and yet I have never ever, ever felt so very alone. Trapped in my own headspace. I am so sorry we hardly left the house for those first few weeks. I am so sorry we had the curtains drawn all day. Hidden in our world. I am so very sorry.
I put on such a show. It was not acting though. It was a defence mechanism I could switch on, I do not know how.or understany why.
Your Dad is my rock. Such a support. He would have listened. He would have helped. I was trapped in my head. I felt nothing, like I was numb. I would scream out to him. Mind blowing high pitched squeals when he left for work. All he saw were the smiles on my face. How could he get inside my head?
We got through, Day by day. One minute I would rock you to sleep and then I would be planning my own funeral in my head. Deciding the music that should be played. Working out how I should go. How I should leave. Not in a dramatic way. I was so clinical. So calm. Sounds so fucked up doesn’t it?
One day a community midwife got me to fill out a questionnaire. I answered what I thought they would want a Mother to say. I answered as a new mother, not me. The android form I had become. The midwife told me on a sliding scale I was bordering on ‘Post Natal Depression’. I remember a flicker of hope inside. I wanted to tell her I was scared. I did not want to die. To leave. She said – “Look at you though. As if!!! You are doing great.”
I smiled and maybe even laughed a little with her.
She left. I heard her start the car. Perhaps she was looking up her next appointment or putting on some lippy – no she was not the sort to wear lippy. I could draw a picture of her face and I only met her once. If felt like forever for her to pull away. Then she was gone. I had been holding my breath and as I exhaled I let out a wail. A noise I have never ever made again. It startled you. You cried. We cried. We rocked. We cried. Then we stopped.
I worried every day for weeks that it would stay with you. That somehow you would see how much I failed you and yet every day you offered smiles and happiness.
We made it. I do not really recall when it lifted. When the gloom left me. When the thoughts left my head. We started to go out. Small walks, sometimes even just round the block.
Those days, those weeks were so very dark. You were my shining light. You led the way. I wish I had some words of wisdom to other Mums who are overshadowed by the darkness but I have no idea how or when I came through it. All I will say is Post Natal Depression is hidden. Behind the facade, behind the smiles. Its real.
It has taken this long for me to accept. Accept it happened. Accept it was beyond my control.. It never happened again with your brothers and sister. That is how crazy it is. There is no rhyme or reason.
Here you are about to turn 16 and what an incredible human being you are. I wish I could go back and get inside my head in 2001. Just tell myself you were going to be fine and that you are simply incredible. I will always be sorry that it happened but just know that you saved me. You are awesome. We are awesome.
For help and advice on post natal depression there is so much help and support out there. Please try and let your inner voice speak out.
I may be 16 years on but I cannot tell you what a help the Self Love cards from @yesmummum have been. I am positive that having them in my life has allowed me to bring this to the surface and accept it.