This is probably one of the posts I have contemplated whether to post or not, back and forth, the most. Have you ever been asked if you’re okay, how you’re doing, or how you’re feeling? And you simply answer using the words, ‘all good’, ‘okay’ or ‘fine’ thank you. You may genuinely be feeling any three of those at the time but sometimes it’s not the case and you don’t want to say. You don’t even wish you could, you just don’t feel the need to share.
I am a private person to a certain extent. I have social media accounts and I share photos of my son, my partner, family etc. but I also keep a lot to myself. Some people like a bit of ‘retail therapy’ to focus, I like to write on my blog.
You can’t always control your emotions. It isn’t as easy as making yourself feel happy after feeling sad. Your mind is a powerful part of you – so much so, it can take a toll. Your mind can work overdrive. You can go round in circles trying to understand your own thoughts but you can’t. Telling yourself, tomorrow is a new day, or it could be worse, seems okay at the time but ‘the day’ arrives again. Sometimes, it’s soon after or a few days or a week will pass.
I haven’t wrote this to hear “sorry you’re feeling this way” or “sorry you’re going through this”. The truth is, I think it’s always been inside me but a big life-changing moment happened that meant my body and hormones couldn’t play nice together. I ignored the feelings for a while. Plus I’ve had a baby so you know, it’s all like, oh you’re just tired, sleep deprived, or you need some alone time. Time spent with me, myself and I has been a battle between something that’s good and bad for me.
With the time I have to myself, I always end up doing washing, cleaning, tidying etc. then when I finally sit down, I find myself constantly checking the time until my partner and baby are home because I know I have to pick myself up. And before I know it, hours have passed and I haven’t napped or been for a walk.
I’ve cried most days – something I thought was just a thing in those first 6 weeks after giving birth so I didn’t think the doctor would think anything when she spoke to me 15 weeks postnatal. “Do you think you might be depressed?” Depressed? A term that is used so loosely and a word that I didn’t want to associate with myself. This isn’t because there’s anything to be ashamed of but I was telling myself every day that it would pass. I’ve tried to make efforts to occupy myself and find things to love and enjoy again. I will keep trying.
Pre-pregnancy, for many years, I struggled to think about some upcoming events. No one would get it. People visiting – including friends and family – I can find quite overwhelming on my most struggling days. Recently, my partner has seen me curled up in a ball either staring into space or crying myself to sleep. Some nights, I can’t sleep. And on others, I don’t want to wake up because I want to sleep so much.
Please, the next time you hear someone say they are depressed or feeling low, don’t quickly look in from the outside. Even if you think you have the happiest of friends, check in on them. Forgive snappy or off moments. The only way I can describe the way I feel a lot of the time, is lost. This is not my baby’s fault or mine. It’s just that emotions have took charge. Some people can be more sensitive than you think. Regardless, you should always think before you speak. Or apologise if you speak out of turn. I must admit, I’m much stronger that I used to be when it comes to ignoring some comments and people but there will be a wave that comes over me. When this happens, they are all I think about then it spirals into thoughts about myself.
Three months ago, I birthed our son and a surge of new life took over. I count myself lucky that these feelings I have, haven’t affected the bond I have with my beautiful baby boy. Whenever I feel myself about to have a cry, I put him down. Though, most of the time, it’s when I am by myself or when he is asleep. This doesn’t always happen on the non-stop days. I’m talking about the days when I have some ‘me time’. I should be relaxing, sleeping or doing something I find fun. At times, this happens but it drifts into a motion of sadness. I feel restless, hopeless and I suddenly cry. There are days where I feel absolutely agitated that I respond in ways where I don’t even know what I’ve just been told. It’s like being in a daydream and hearing things but the next day you’re not 100% on what happened.
I am forgetting a lot of things and I was putting it down to ‘baby brain’ even though people have said, that’s just in pregnancy isn’t it? And they are probably right but it’s what’s happening.
Another thing that’s changed is my appetite. I go through ups and downs. I overeat snacks and rubbish food in the day or I skip tea/hardly eat in the evening because I say on many occasions, “Oh I don’t feel hungry. I’m okay.” My partner knows it’s not the case and I’m far from it.
I’ll probably get a few, “Oh I didn’t know…” or “Why didn’t you say?” Think about it. I share my feelings with my partner as I feel like I am losing myself at times but smiling on the outside. He’s the one I will always feel comfortable with no matter how agitated or irritable I am. Oh, and he senses whenever I feel stressed. He doesn’t half put up with a lot! I constantly think about something that needs to be done or could be done better.
I also want to say something else because as sad as it is, there might be people who have something negative to say. I am fully aware of what I have – a warm home, a loving partner, and a beautiful child. I also have a loving family and friends but I will only truly open up about my feelings with my partner and my doctor. This doesn’t mean to say I’m not grateful for any support around me.
There are two people in my life who will always give me a boost when I need it the most – my fiancé and my precious blue eyed baby boy. All it takes is a a big hug and a little smile. I can withdraw myself from situations, visits and plans but I’ll never take myself away from these two.
If you’re feeling low, postnatal or not, perhaps you would like to reach out to someone. It wasn’t until everything was building up that I found the courage to speak to my partner and then my GP who has been lovely. There’s also information and advice on the NHS website. Remember, bottling thoughts and feelings up does not make you a hero. It’s okay to let it all out.