pink umbrella on a rainy day outside

Feeling Low Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Love my Partner or Baby

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. 

dark cup with hot drink inside

Sharing Those Postpartum Feelings

The postpartum life brings a new love and happiness but let’s not forget about the exhaustion and everything else. Some people might question why someone like me opted to be a mum when there’s a lot of new challenges and a drop in energy levels some days. I’ll tell you why, it’s something I’ve always wanted. I’m not saying that to sound like anyone else because it’s true. I’ve always dreamed of bringing a new little life into the world and I count my lucky stars that it all came true.

It goes without saying that parenting is hard. And that’s probably putting it lightly. Though, the moments of joy and pure heartfelt memories stay with you forever. They overpower those ‘days’ where you don’t don’t feel like yourself and wonder if there’s anything you could do better. Even when the sleep deprivation hits, all it takes in one smile for it all to melt into the air and you smile as your heart gets fuller.

The last couple of weeks, I’ll be honest, I haven’t felt right. I don’t mean I haven’t been feeling well with this super cold that going around or a bug – I just haven’t been the usual ‘me’. What is the usual ‘me’? Well, in a nutshell, I’m usually smiley, random, and like to see the positive in everything.

In those last weeks, it all changed. Now, I wouldn’t say it was sudden but there was a big difference. Here’s why…

A sense of hopelessness

I felt like I had lost myself. I never forget I’m a mum and a human being like everyone else but I felt disinterested in so many things. There were days I spent in a daze – nothing going on around me other than staring into space while Freddy napped. I would try putting upbeat music on or a good film but it didn’t have the usual effect. I was so quiet but so busy and loud with thoughts in my mind. I wondered how I would get out of this pit. As always, a good chat with Danny channeled me back through after a couple of days. It doesn’t mean to say those days won’t come back. I just need to remember that I can get through them.

Being self critical

Sometimes I think I’m harsh on myself and other days I don’t. I’ve found myself looking in the mirror most days and not liking what I see. There are things I can do – eat well, exercise etc. But I think, I’ll always find something regardless. My legs are covered in stretch marks that weren’t there before. I’m reminded that they are ‘love marks’ that carried the weight of our beautiful boy. I think the body changes that are still happening combined with what I see physically really play on my mind, a little too much. I might not ever love my body but I will find a way to like it again.

Is it the hormones or just me?

Ever cry and wonder why you cried? Sometimes you have good reason, don’t you? Other times you think, why am I so damn emotional right now? The thing is, I need to remind myself that there’s no rush for my body to reach a new kind of normal. I used to hate when someone would look at a woman and say “Ooo she’s a bit hormonal isn’t she” or whatever. But wow, I’ve never truly felt more hormonal days than postpartum ones. Maybe I’m pressuring myself as each week goes by as I think it’s another week I could feel ‘better’. None of these thoughts take away how much love I have for my baby. He (and his dad) are my everything. And the three of us have so much to look forward to – they are what I need to hold onto when my mind does play a battle with me.

Speak to someone

To finish this post, I just want to say, up and down days are completely normal. Sometimes we need to pick ourselves back up but remember you don’t have to do it on your own. It doesn’t take for a number of people to understand how you feel. It takes a good person or two to listen, maybe empathise too. Postpartum life especially, can drag you down in ways you can’t even understand yourself.

Someone can look in from the outside and see nothing but happiness. However, they haven’t got a mirror to see what’s going on in your mind. You can be your own demon sometimes. Remember though, you can’t control everything. So, when things get tough, try to find a couple of things that bring you back to a level of the real you.

Links for support

Image source: John Mark Smith on pexels.com

back of the head shot of Tasha on her Mac

Daily Positive Wellness Check In

Positive wellness is good for the body and the mind. Do you practice any healthy habits? I often think that wellness is something we think is here for us ‘to survive’ but it’s so much more than that. Regardless of what’s going on in your life, instead of just living to go to work, coming home, getting the tea on etc. why not think about thriving for more, for happiness? For me, this starts when you see how precious the little moments in life are. I hope you will be able to take away one or two of these examples, that help me when I feel myself heading towards a slightly difficult or lower state of mind.

Going outside

If you follow me on Instagram, you will see like I like to go out and about, getting those steps in, and I do enjoy a good walk. Anyone who knows me, knows how I am willing to walk anywhere and everywhere. But there’s something about taking myself for a stroll that enlightens my mind. It is a breath of fresh air and nice to stretch your legs, but it’s also escapism. I don’t just been being cooped up in the house to COVID-19, it’s a way to reduce any worry and to focus on things clearer. Going for a walk helps me to focus.

Dancing in the kitchen when there’s no music

From the moment we became homeowners in February 2019, one of our favourite firsts was dancing in the kitchen with no music. Then we started to bring it through to the living room. It makes me feel so warm inside and moments like that really melt my heart. Sometimes, all you need is to be held and feel calm with your favourite person.

Choose something to be thankful for

Has today been one of many of those ‘worst days ever’? How many times have you told yourself it’s been a rubbish day? Stop for a moment and think about the things you are grateful for that day. Just one thing, make a note of it, or just keep it in your mind. It could be something as simple as that nice cup of tea you had this morning or that moment after work when you soak yourself into a hot bubbly bath.

Smiling and laughing

I was saying the other day, how would I cope if I didn’t laugh so much? Unfortunately, that is the case for some people. I am so lucky to have people around me who brighten the mood no matter what. Whenever I am not in that situation, I tell myself to now remove myself and find another ‘place’ as in taking myself away from a person, place, or time. Smile back at the old lady at the bus stop, the shopkeeper who serves you, smiles can mean much more than you think.

Find a good mechanism

If you have been a reader of this blog since day one, you will know that writing is my therapy. That why I am here on this blog. But I must admit, I have come a long way since I hit the publish button on my first post. It’s taken a good few years but I find myself feeling much more positive in situations and I also have a different perspective in those times when worrying and negative thoughts used to take over in the past. Listening to music also releases the energy that isn’t needed. I am a very active person that discovers there is something to tidy, clean, or clear away (even if others don’t see it). We all have something eh?

Remember to take part in things you enjoy. Some things you can’t pick and choose and things can happen that aren’t predictable. But it helps to have a positive mindset no matter what you are experiencing.

person looking at the mountain view

There Will be a Light at the End of the Tunnel

Here we go again… Boris has announced that England will enter a second national lockdown this November, which is expected to last a month. Many of us are referring to it as ‘Lockdown 2’. There’s something about this time round that doesn’t have me feeling as much emotion as last time.

I was one of those who experienced a birthday in lockdown and missed a long awaited trip to New York (I will return one day). But what you need to remember is that, although it may feel like ‘forever’, it isn’t. There are better times ahead at the end of all this. Coronavirus will not magically disappear but we can adapt to different ways on how we respond to changes, restrictions, and just as anything that the future holds, keep a forward-thinking mindset. 

What are you supposed to think now?

It’s normal to feel frustrated during these challenging times. Let’s face it, it’s like deja vu and almost feels like we are going backwards. There’s so much negativity in the news and different media outlets. You just want to hear something uplifting for once, right? I have decided to think about the things that make me happy, even if people can’t take that approach, it’s okay. 

I feel like my thoughts over the spring and summer took a toll and enough is enough, you know? I now realise how much time you can waste worrying. The truth is, you can’t always change things and you will experience unfortunate events.

My heart goes out to the families who have lost loved ones and friends, no matter how old or young. They are lives which have been taken. There are too many conditions and illnesses in the world as it is, why does there need to a place for something else? 

I think the whole COVID era has given me an insight to how people handle situations in different ways. We are all in this together and some people still need to realise that, and the much bigger picture.

Sadly, there are also people who are alone. I can’t bear to think about how all of this feels for them. I like to think I smile more at strangers in the street because you just never know if it’ll help how they are feeling. No one ever knows what someone is going through unless you really know. 

Looking forward and thinking about Christmas

I am still excited for Christmas even if it “won’t be the same.” Whether it’s for the fact that’s it’s a break, or it’s just me and the festive spirit. Either way, I honestly think it’s one of the nicest times of the year.

I was brought up to know how important it is to have family together at Christmas. Although I won’t be around all of my family members at the table, I am very lucky to have the one that I do need. I have Danny, who has been by my side many years now and we will be celebrating our 8th Christmas together this year. 

This COVID period has taught me a lot and has helped me gain a greater perspective of what means the most to me. I know how much I long for a family of my own and for the last few years, we have visioned that dream. So, this Christmas I will be thankful for everyone I have around me day-to-day, maybe not in person but who I know are truly there with or without COVID. I will not let the virus take the magic of Christmas away and I will continue to think about all the great festive seasons I’ve had with the most special people in my life. 

Now it’s down to you

From reading this post, I hope you manage to see things in a better light. There’s a ray of sunshine out there if you look a little further. Stay connected to those who you are close to. Even a small conversation matters, try not to lose touch. It’s so important to keep those relationships flowing.