I have written and deleted this post a few times now. It’s such a sensitive subject yet it is such a common thing.
Firstly I would like you to know that I am by no means an expert and of course you should consult your doctor/psychologist if you have any type of depression. The reason I am writing this post is because this happened to me and these were some of the things that helped me move forward and actually overcome it and if by this article I can help at least one of you out there then my mission is accomplished.
I remember sitting on my phone searching and searching and the only tips I could find where prescriptions of medicines etc and all of the articles were actually by NHS, or doctors but none of them was personal. And I really needed to read or listen to someone who was there and made it out of that “phase”.
I will probably start by giving you some background on how it all started and when. I had my son with an emergency c-section (my son wasn’t engaged at all and when they broke my water it was full of meconium) 2 and a half years ago and I wanted to do a VBAC with my daughter (2 years later). As I was approaching my 38 weeks of pregnancy I knew that she was not engaged and just the thought that I would put my child through that process, and myself of course, and I may end up with c-section or even worse was something that made me decide that a planned c-section was the best option. I had my daughter with a planned c-section at almost 39 weeks.
She was perfect, my c-section experience was perfect this time around and we were both healthy. I stayed at the hospital for two days which was really relaxing and I enjoyed every minute of it and my son would visit us every afternoon. I also had an allergic reaction, on the one side of my scar, to the stitches which made waking, standing and everything else really painful (it was not a constant pain but it would hit me many times a day). Then we took the baby home (my husband was with me at the hospital but had to return to work the day we were going home, luckily I had my parents with me). My parents were basically there with us all day just taking care of me, my daughter and my son when he would return home from nursery. The first day home went by pretty quickly and then the second day came around and everything collapsed.
My son just left for nursery and I was sitting there crying my eyes out for basically no reason at all. I was so sad, I felt like I was not meant to be a mother again, that having a second baby was an arrogant decision and that I shouldn’t have done it (I feel so guilty now just thinking about it but that was what it felt like at that point and keep in mind that we were trying to conceive so the second baby was something we really wanted). I was having all that quilt that my son would hate me for having another baby, that there was no way for me to be able to take care of two kids and a house and my husband (not even talking about taking care of myself). I was crying all day long for weeks and weeks.
I would wake up positive in the morning that “today will be a good day” and yet 2 minutes after that, I was again crying. I wouldn’t eat or drink anything even sleeping wasn’t an option for me. I spoke to some close relatives about it and my husband but that was it. Just the thought that someone will think that I am not a good mother was killing me so instead of talking to people about it, I would pretend that everything is just fine and the moment I would be alone I would be miserable again. This went on for a month maybe even more. And I knew that I had to do something about it because I was not okay and this had a huge impact on my marriage and my kids. I spoke with a psychologist and was going to book an appointment (I am that kind of person that would actually seek help if I really need it and I won’t think twice). Something came up and we had to move the appointment for a few weeks later.
And at that point, I decided that I would do my best to overcome this not for me but for everyone around me.
Find the why
I remember sitting there and making all those theories and excuses, that the reason I had this depression was because I couldn’t take care of George the way I used to. And that is true, I couldn’t drive after my c-section, I couldn’t pick him up and generally didn’t have the energy to play with him like we used to. Then I would blame the lack of attention I was giving my daughter as the problem. Then the house was messy and there wasn’t a cooked meal in the house and I would find a million reasons as to why I should be sad. However, if you combine all of them you will realise that everything had to do with me. I was the problem at that point! I was doing this to myself.
Lower your expectations
Before giving birth to my daughter I was watching all those videos and all those Instagram accounts that showed motherhood as the easiest thing in the world. And I thought that having two almost under two would be a piece of cake. How wrong I was! I would have all those expectations in my head, a super cleaned house, a cooked meal every day, all those game ideas I would do with my son and all those moments I would have with my daughter. And then they would go to sleep and I would have time for myself and my husband. And then days were the complete opposite and every time something was not the way I imagined it I would be frustrated and sad. So yes, by lowering my expectations and accepting how things really are and cherishing all those small victories (baby would nap ad I would have solo playtime with my son for example) really made a huge difference.
Talk to people
I cannot stress this out enough. You are not a bad mom, it’s just hormones and you really can’t control them. talking to someone and asking for help with the house or asking my mother-in-law for a cooked meal for a couple of days or until I was able to do it myself was the best decision I made. Talking to others that have been through that and made it through and seeing how everything worked out at the end gave me so much courage. Basically a combination of lowering my expectations and letting other help (my husband included, I always thought that he shouldn’t help me clean, but that actually made an enormous change on how I felt) was the things that really made me a lot more positive and I was actually able to move forward.
Take care of YOU
How can you possibly take care of others if you can’t take care of yourself? If you are happy then you can actually help everyone around you to be happy. For me what really worked was putting makeup in the morning and actually changing into normal clothes (even if I was staying at home). After having a baby the last thing you want to do is take off those comfy pyjamas, yet that is probably the best thing you can do.
In every stressful situation, the best thing is to remove yourself from that place. And this situation is no different. Going out, for a walk, coffee, or even a car ride for a few minutes can make a huge difference. The house will generally remind you of all those “to-do lists” you have in your mind but going out will help you shut down for a while and actually relax.
If this is your second child probably the mum quilt is also one of the reasons you feel the way you feel. By making time for you and your first-born child you are actually helping that mum quilt go away. This can be a walk to the park for half an hour or going just across the street to pick up something from the store. I have mentioned in a previous post and I cannot stress out enough how important this is for both of you. It’s like starting fresh, they are happy and you are happy as well.
Seek for help
Last but definitely not least is the professional help. Depending on the level of depression you are feeling this might be the best option for you. It doesn’t have to be a doctor or psychologist, it can be a pack of vitamins or prescribed medicines. It can be anything that will actually make you feel better.
Those are the things that made a huge difference for me. Once again I know this is a sensitive subject and it was really hard for me to open up about it and talk or write about it. But as it was hard for me, it might be hard for some other mother out there as well. She may not want to talk about but maybe by reading this she would find that she is not alone.
My life is by no means perfect right now, motherhood is definitely a roller coaster but I am happy, yes I am sleep deprived and tired but I am so happy with my life. My kids are just perfect and they are obsessed with each other (I was really afraid of how my son would react) and I wouldn’t change a thing. This experience made me appreciate everything I have accomplished and everything I have.