Oh the Irony

It doesn’t escape me that barely 12 hours after posting my November Project Smile, I ended up in the Mental Health ward in our local hospital. And I had no idea. No idea that I was feeling as overwhelmed and stressed as everyone else apparently knew I was.

That night, after recording all my smiles for the previous month, was a long one. Jasper didn’t settle. He simply wouldn’t. I was exhausted, the girls had pushed the limits to breaking point through out the day. I asked James to stay awake with me, and in hindsight I suppose I knew I was not doing so well in that moment, but the poor thing was so tired and couldn’t. Apparently, I yelled at him numerous times about falling asleep. I don’t remember that.

In the morning I had pain in my wound and was feeling sick to my stomach, when I called to see if my Doctor – who was booked solid – could fit me in, I was told to come immediately. I thought I had an infection, but it seemed my Doctor was thinking along a different line. The moment he saw me he was asking how I was feeling, how I was coping and suddenly it dawned on me that I was a little ‘mental’ as James so eloquently puts it.

The fact that I suffered Post Natal Depression after Kahlei, my pre-disposition to the illness, my botched c-section, general after-newborn lack of sleep and the busy life of a mother of three (two of which are in major attudeous territory at the moment) accumulated into a landslide which turned into a meltdown.

At first, I felt like a failure. I couldn’t survive a single week alone with my children and that weighed heavily on my heart and mind. I stressed about the pressure my hospital admittance put on James as he took time off work and had to deal with the drama that (currently) is our daughters. I worried about the future of our family; if I couldn’t see out the week after Nanna’s departure then how was I going to raise happy, healthy, well-rounded children? The guilt was amazing. Crushing. And as I sat and fed Jasper, for what felt like the hundredth time in an hour, on a cold couch all on my own I shed many tears for where I was, what had happened, what I was doing and how it was effecting my family. It was a dark moment.

But, somehow, that time in the hospital did what my Doctor intended. I saw a mental health worker, numerous midwives visited and I was linked to services I never thought I would have to utilise and somehow I started forming plans and thoughts on how to get through this struggle to have a happy, healthy family life and to get through day-to-day.

It means letting people help, it means asking and insisting for help when needed, it means letting community workers into my home and life, where I would never have otherwise. It means doing what ever it takes to overcome the isolation and loneliness to keep me afloat. And it means little steps, little plans of moments to look forward to. It means changes. It means focusing on doing something just for me daily.

It means the world, my world can stay in the light.

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P.S. I would love to hear other stories on how people coped with PND, on what you did just for you to get you through. Any ideas, thoughts, stories you would like to share would be greatly appreciated!

39 Comments

  1. Oh Becky – Well done! You have faced such a huge challenge and met it head on. You should feel so proud of what you are doing to keep yourself well so you can continue to be everything your family needs you to be! I'm so glad you have such a sensible doctor, and such a straight-shotting partner!
    I hope you a doing better now that you have some more support in place 🙂
    xxxCate

  2. ((HUGE HUGS)) for you!! Well done for being so honest about it all hunnie!! You have an amazing family and I'm sure you will overcome it all now with all the support you have!!

    Remember you are not a failure!!

    Helen x

  3. What an honest and beautiful post. Well done. Thank you for sharing, I'll be coming back every day to check on you and see how things are. We are all thinking of you and wishing you the best. Kx (Shamozal)

  4. Becky,
    I'm so sorry to hear that you are having difficulties, but kudos to your doctor for helping you out. I have nothing to offer but lots and lots hugs!!
    Katie

  5. Hi Becky … here's a big hug for you from Switzerland. I'm happy for you that you have a support system in place that will help you to take those little steps! Be well!

  6. That takes a lot of courage sweetie and thank goodness you have people who love and care about you and saw you struggling. It is so hard for mommies to admit they need help (including me). I hope you are doing better. Big Hugs and you guys will be in my thoughts.

  7. Well done you!! Asking for help is not easy but it is the BEST thing you can do for you and your family. There is wonderful support out there, but in so many cases you have to stick your hand up and say "Help!"

    Better days are around the corner.

    x

  8. My heart goes out to you. It is not easy dealing with a bunch of little cherubs, recovering from surgery and facing all the emotions and changes that come with giving birth.

    Please know that you are wonderful.

    You are not alone in how you are feeling, in fact in many ways you are normal!

    PND can strike at anytime to anyone and it is so excellent that you are open to receiving help. It will make a huge difference.

    Although letting people help is difficult to do it will help you to get to a much better place.

    You will be able to raise those cherubs to be happy and healthy and you will feel the same way too.

    Just give yourself some time. It takes time to heal and to start a new schedule and routine that everyone feels happy with.

    Slow down, try to relax and enjoy the blessings that come. Keep up with the little steps and know that there are lots of other mothers supporting you and loving you for what you are doing – raising cherubs is the greatest work we can ever do.

    Take care. Naomi x

  9. Ah Becky, how brave you are to write about all this when it's all so new and raw. I am so glad you asked for and got some help. I hope that the light continues to shine a little brighter each day. Thinking of you and your family.

  10. Hi Becki
    I'm so sorry you are going through all this, but so good for you that you have help now. I never had pnd but my third kid, a son, was not an easy kid and by the time he was about a year old I was totaly and completely exhausted. So I can relate to your feelings of how to rais the kid to happy and good adults. I had quilt feelings to, just because I felt it was me who wasn't good enough.
    I got threw that period and so will you. Take all the help you can get and do take some time for yourself.
    You need it and you deserve it. Every mum does! And never doubt yourself, you are doing the best you can and as long as you love your kids you are doing good!!
    Hugs Jeannette (Ren)

  11. Hey Becky, keep strong. It's good to vent it all out. I admire your courage for acknowledging the problem and accepting help from strangers. You can get through this, just one step at a time. You'll be in my prayers.

  12. Well done for taking those first steps. They're the hardest, but most important. There are some really good services out there, it just isn't always easy to access them, but your doctor sounds like he's done the right thing by you. Good luck x

  13. Well done Becky, you've got through the hardest step, it will all be up hill from now. With the love and support from everyone around you, things will get better, it will take time as PND is not something that can be cured over night. Once you get your caeser wound properly that will give you one less thing to worry about. Take everything in your stride, one step at a time and you will make it!
    hugs to Becky x

  14. Becky-
    Just wanted to send you some hugs-and kudos for writing so eloquently and honestly about what you are going through. I know as a mother it is so difficult to ask for help-I am so very guilty of that myself. But sometimes WE definitely need it-and I am glad you were able to get such great support through your doctor and the community. It will get better-and you will be an expert at juggling those 3 little ones.
    XXOO
    Mel

  15. Hi Becky

    I'm your newest follower through lovely Cate. Kirsty and Naomi above also know me ☺.

    I will send you a private email with links to some of my posts as I have 3 under 6 and severe PND. I hope that will make you feel less alone.

    Know that I'm walking this hard road with you, Sweetie.

    J x

  16. Big hugs.
    I second what all previous commenters have said so well.
    You are doing the right thing accepting support and letting go of the guilt.
    Glad you are in a better place right now than a few days ago.

  17. So glad that you have the love and support that you need at this time. Like everyone said, it will take time and baby steps but I'm sure you will do great with all the that love and support, just make sure to take some time for yourself! Love and hugs, thinking of you too!

  18. It means all those things and it most means just getting it out. You are so right to do that. One of the things that we all kid ourselves about is that life is good all the time. That having children is good all the time. It's just not. So not.

    Children are demanding, exhausting, overwhelming little creatures that get to you at the best of times and defeat you at the worst. We all feel that, we just don't talk about it enough. And sleep deprivation is torture, literal torture. Not being able to hang your boots up at the end of a long day with children (because you know those boots are going to be needed in the trenches at 11pm, 1am, 3am and then 5am) is dehabilitating.

    It's not okay to suck it up and solider on. That's not what life is about. It will make you miserable and unhealthy. You've got to get it out. It's okay.

    And just know this, Becky. This, too, shall pass. You will get through it. We always do.

    x

  19. You, my dear girl, are a STRONG and WONDERFUL woman! The strength it takes to do what you're doing is enormous, and you and your precious family are going to be just fine. BECAUSE you are you.

    Love you, miss you and am praying for you often.

  20. Hi Becky

    Me again. I can't find an email address for you. You can email me at jane1970atlivedotcomdotau.

    You can also look at my blog http://lifeonplanetbaby.blogspot.com for my posts about my stay in Hobart's Mother Baby Unit and my PND.

    Take care of yourself, Becky (I'm only just now working out what that means) J x

  21. Hi Becky

    Me again. I can't find an email address for you. You can email me at jane1970atlivedotcomdotau.

    You can also look at my blog http://lifeonplanetbaby.blogspot.com for my posts about my stay in Hobart's Mother Baby Unit and my PND.

    Take care of yourself, Becky (I'm only just now working out what that means) J x

  22. so glad you are getting the help you need!

  23. Congratulations on being brave enough to do what you've done. I'm currently coping with PND and I've found it's an ongoing struggle. I wish you the very best of luck.

  24. My darling Becky,

    I am so proud of you. I know how hard it is for you to accept help from people you don't know – but I also know how tenaciously you always do what's best for your family. And you getting well IS the most important thing for your family.

    Reading all the comments your friends have written has made me cry with thankfulness that you have so many women that love and appreciate you for the amazing woman that you are.

    I'm sorry I can't be there to help you – but I'm grateful that your dad is.

    I love you.

    Mum xxx

  25. So glad you have received nice comments on here and support and you have been working through this. Good doctor for picking up on it. I applaud you for recognizing that the help is needed and accepting it – I was always to scared to do anything and I feel awful for some of the things I put my family through, as my PND/depression and I am sure it was that was undiagnosed. xx keep on track and you have 3 beautiful healthy whole blessings – 4 with hubby 😉

  26. Oh Becky, your post has bought tears to my eyes and what I went through 7 years ago with Toby and 5 years ago with Ryan has all come flooding back. I never thought having a baby could bring on so much emotion, stress, exhaustion, love and work. All in one hit and it was so overwhelming. I was initially diagnosed with PND as Toby was a collicky baby and had reflux and he cried all night till about 4am for around 6 weeks I think before I got help. I hated to have to seek support, but staying numerous times in a Mother & Baby Unit plus having a Maternal Health Nurse calling on me was the best thing I could have done. It is hard on the rest of the family to manage whilst you're getting the rest and care and guidance, but take the offer up if you can get it. I don't know how I get through each day still being a single Mum of 2 and some days I think I'm not going anywhere but into a huge black hole. Life is hard with them but I love them more than life and would give the world for them. It is a long and arduous road so get help, admit that you need it and take it one day at a time. Thinking of you and a big hug to you 🙂

  27. Becky, dear Becky, being honest and open about your feelings and emotions is one of the hardest (and best!) things to do! You are on the right track and you will see that things will get better once you have accepted the fact that PND is a very normal and frequent illness that we must not take lightly.
    I cannot lie and tell you it will get better soon. It won't! It means hard work, it means going through all the waves of depression and allowing yourself to feel what you are feeling, it means functioning on a restricted basis (you only do what you CAN do, nothing more), it means fighting off the guilt (we, mothers, have a lifetime subscription to feeling guilty!), it means going through the motions one step at a time…
    Trust me, I've been on this road a long time… I KNEW about depressions before David's arrival in our lives, I had been in therapy for years and knew how it felt like to be depressed, however, nothing compares to the feelings you are experiencing when a child (the perfect trigger for all repressed emotions in your previous life) comes along and then you have to confront a whole Niagara of emotions crushing your soul… No human being could possibly go through that without help. It is a wise thing that you got yourself help. Don't try to run away from the depression, you won't escape it anyway and it will make things even harder… it would be like denying yourself… Instead, go with the waves, let yourself fall if you feel down, and remember: the only way through the pain is THROUGH the pain, there is no shortcut out of depression!
    It will get better, eventually, but only by being authentic, honest with yourself, and allowing yourself to feel the pain!
    Remember, children do not need parents who are cheerful on the outside and full of pain, anger, resentment, frustration on the inside… Children can take it when their parents are sad… It is important that the parents stay true to themselves!

  28. Remember one more thing, children do NOT need parents who are cheerful on the outside and full of pain, anger, resentment, frustration on the inside… I grew up like that, my mother wore a mask all the time, but I could FEEL her true feelings and she abused me badly because she wasn’t true to herself and I was always a huge threat to her lie of a life… So be sure that children can take it when their parents are sad… the most important thing is that the parents stay true to themselves!
    Depression is about letting those old repressed feelings resurface and trying to cope with them in order to get rid of them… Nothing more and nothing less… If you have the power and faith, if your family supports you, there is no better way to fight depression but to give in and experience it with all your senses, it’s the best way to get rid of it… In therapy they say: "The old pain might have killed the little child that we once were, but the adult person can take that pain, there is no need to repress it anymore"…
    Please know that you are dearly thought of and I am positive, from the genuine way you write, that you have the will and the power to go further down this road! Don’t lose hope, peace of mind will come too!
    Here is a song that helps me a lot in bad times, I want to share it with you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WId0WS48JgM

  29. First time visiting your blog and I can say you are truly inspiring….take care of youxx

  30. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

  31. Wow. I'm totally moved and tears are streaming down my face. You have put into words what every mother goes through, whether they admit it or not. It brought me back through the pain, exhaustion, and frustration of that time. I think I probably did need help, but I didn't get it. I'm so proud of you for recognizing that you needed it AND for accepting help. You are an amazing woman, an inspiration to ALL women.

    xoxo

  32. Becky… I need to give you a giant virtual hug! Its not easy being a parent, especially one of several young children. Its not easy when your spouse works all day and doesnt have the energy to help out. Its not easy wondering why you are crying, or why doesnt the kid shut up? And its not easy to let anyone else know….

    I know. I have been in your shoes. The positive things is that you want help! Because without that, you go deeper and deeper under. Remember that when you feel yourself wanting to pull back.

    And remember that sooooo many moms have experienced this and we are all around for you to just talk to…. one way talk… the kind where no one interrupts or undermines your feelings.

    Its ok to get help. Its ok to be weak. Its ok to open up and cry! Love you!

  33. Dear Becky,
    I am glad to are feeling strong enough to express yourself and I to am guilty of not asking for help often. Life can be overwhleming at times but you are a strong women and mother and as many of us do think we can conquer the world but forget to take care of ourselves. HUGS sent to you from me and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Let us know if we can help in any way!

  34. Becky,

    You are so strong! You are doing what your DR said, and getting the help that you need for you and your family. You are becoming stronger, and will continue to do so. Needing and even asking for help isn't you being weak, it's you knowing what your bounds are, and not stretching yourself too thin anymore. I am glad that there is help available for you!!

    Many many hugs for you!!! At least you didn't take the 'easy' way out and hurt yourself or your kids. You took the longer, harder road, and you are and will be a better person for it.

  35. Oh, I've just read your posts, and I'm sending you hugs from here. What you are going through is amazingly hard, and I'm so glad that you've sought help. That is the best kind 🙂 Thank you for sharing your journey as it happens. So many other people will/may be going on the same journey. xx

  36. I am so glad that you courageously shared this. Bless you!. Your story will give strength to those who are struggling. I've dealt with many of these same issues. It's always helpful to read you're not alone, and more importantly, that there is help. Hugs to you.

  37. You're such a strong woman:) We all know you can do this, and it will get better

  38. What a raw and honest post, thank you for sharing.

    I have suffered PND also myself, having only recently just felt like I'm coming out of the darkness once more.

    You will get there, you sound like you have an amazing attitude and I hope you see that there truly is nothing wrong with asking for a little bit of help.

    Hope 2011 is a fantastic year for you xx

  39. What a brilliant, raw and honest post.

    I'm currently seeing a therapist for PND and have already done a group therapy course.

    The treatment has seen me change my demands v resources balance – so making sure I have enough help around for the days when I can't manage.

    One of the best things I heard was "You can't save face and save ass at the same time" – so simple and so true.

    I hope your PND journey is a short one and that you can truly have a Happy New Year.

    Glowless x

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