A fantastic factor about being a new mum is how much help and support there is if you feel you have post-partum depression or “baby blues”. Most people watch out for the warning signs, especially midwives, parents and pals.
Your body goes through a whole rollercoaster of emotions after you have your baby and your hormones are playing havoc with your body and mind, throw in some sleepless nights and adjusting to your new baby and your head can play tricks on you. It’s a huge adjustment.
Every single morning at 6am for the first 4 months after having my son I was a over the loo heaving (I had the dry boak – as we say in Scotland). It was like clock work. I didn’t know how I was going to get through the day. My partner was so worried about me, and I could see in his eyes that he felt helpless. He had to go back to work and I had to keep a brand new baby alive, by myself, every single day – it was terrifying. I’d also been working or going to school/collage/university my whole life so getting up each day and not doing this was alien to me and I felt like i was doing something wrong by not going to work.
I had read a lot about depression but it didn’t reflect how I felt. Once I got into my day I was fine, but it was those few hours in the morning; dry heaving over the loo, lump in my throat, not being able to eat, panic, worry, stress, how will I cope, the house is a mess, washings need done, shopping, everyone else with young kids seemed to be coping via social media and I didn’t feel like I was. This feeling was very debilitating. I couldn’t relate it to being depressed because I didn’t want to run away, I was bonding with my son, but I wasn’t right at all.
I ended up going to a physiologist and told her I needed help because I was depressed (I didn’t know how to define what I was feeling, so I went with depressed). She told me immediately that I wasn’t. She said, “I can clearly see you’ve not washed your hair in a while, you don’t have make-up on, you look tired, when women have pre-natal depression it’s covered up, people pretend everything is fine. You’re not doing that. You have post-partum anxiety”.
I’d never heard of it, or knew much about it but everything she said was how I felt. I had this huge responsibility and I wasn’t prepared for it. I use to have thoughts that I would drop my kid, or I would let him fall down the stairs, or he’d fall out his pram and onto the road. This is anxiety and something a lot of mums go through. I never have dropped him – that goodness!
Our session was concluded by “welcome to being a mum!” I didn’t want this to be me for the rest of my life, it was too consuming. I was spending more time worrying than enjoying my baby.
I went back to using the techniques I’d learn in hypnobirthing as a coping mechanism. I was so busy trying to parent and get into my new life I’d forgotten about my months of relaxation and practicing I’d done in preparation for the birth. I’d invested a lot of time in learning my techniques and due to this my birth was calm and peaceful, I wanted that back, but in my day to day life.
Hypnobirthing gave me a blissful birth, but since dealing with post-partum anxiety I think it helped me more after the birth. It allowed me to reflect and assess what was going on in my head. Just to take some time out every day to relax and clear my head. The affirmations gave me daily confidence. The breathing helped me take time out for me to priorities what was important.
You can’t pour from an empty cup…