Just a continuation of my previous post regarding my Mental Health journey.
Sharing this post is deeply personal as I hope that for those who are are going through or went through something familiar that you can find some solace in knowing that you are not alone.
As per my previous post, mental health is something I am not shy of. Throughout my pregnancy I had severe lows as well as highs. Do not get me wrong being pregnant was such an amazing experience which in all fairness I would love to do all over again but for me my anxiety and depression did get the better of me, unfortunately.
Anyway, skip 9 months and Allah SWT has blessed me with this most precious and beautiful little girl, though it was no walk in the park – let me tell ya. For me when she came out and she was placed on top of me, I was relieved, of course but I was underwhelmed. I cannot explained it. I imagined I would be overcome with emotion, flooded with tears but all I was feeling was relief that she came into this world safely. I loved her. I knew I did but I was not overwhelmed by it, yet. I think maybe because I was tired or traumatised by the experience of labour… I do not know but I do know was that I was glad it was over.
My labour was painful AF however once I went into active labour and was fully dilated at 8cm it took about 2 hours for her to be born. Time flew by and the next thing I knew she was born! Maybe blame the dia-morphine, I do not know but honestly, even my sister who was one of my birthing partners felt like my baby girl arrived quickly Alhumdulilah.
What really upset me was, I required stitches so for me I felt I didn’t get to bond with her for much longer as she was then passed over to her dad to carry while I lay there… still taking gas and air as I was stitched up. My husband thoroughly enjoyed his bonding experience, his shirt was off and my daughter was looking for a nipple, his in fact for a feed – it was the most cutest thing as I saw, with my legs wide apart, blood everywhere, no energy, from my bed.
When you are in the hospital everything is so fast paced, I mean I didn’t get to catch my breath. In the hospital already I felt like I was doing a shit job in looking after her, I couldn’t comfortably breast feed, felt like I was holding her wrong, belived she got cold at night because I didn’t wrap her up wrong and did a crappy job in cleaning her after she did her first tar like poo.
Then when I got home I found it rather unfair because a) I went home and there were all these guests waiting to see my baby b) I was tired and all I wanted was to spend time with her in my own home, alone and not have to worry about entertaining people.
I was really lucky to have had my mum stay with me. It was such a big help, honestly as I had no clue and also no confidence or motivation in looking after this baby.
The first night at home, I was all over the place. I was strictly breast feeding and it was not easy as she needed to be fed like every hour so I had to constantly go into a room to whip my breast out. I then had my mum on my case about combo feeding and giving my daughter the bottle as she felt the breast alone was not enough as the bottle may keep her fuller for longer and on top of that I was living on nearly 36 hours of no sleep. My mum told me that night I was talking so much gibberish, I did not sleep, and at one point I shot up from bed, in a panic because I thought my baby was not breathing – I was half asleep of course.
Having my mum with me, I cannot stress how at ease and calm I was. She just took over and knew exactly how to be to help me. When she left (because, lets face it our mum’s cannot stay with us forever and mum had her kids she was worrying about in particular my baby brother) I was in tears. I had no idea what I was going to do without her. I was so scared. I didn’t think I would be able to manage to get by to survive another day and keep my child alive. But I did it, with the help of Allah SWT and my mum’s guidance via phone.
As the days went by, I got sadder and sadder and was not finding any joy in anything. I knew I had this beautiful baby, I knew she was mine and I knew I loved her but all I could think about was how my life changed and all the things I could no longer do and that really got me down. I was thinking things like what I would be doing if my baby was not here and I just kept thinking of being a mum as a chore, a very stressful chore. I was missing work (as crazy at it sounds) and would ind myself logging into my work email. With work I missed the set routine it gave me, with my baby, there was no routine, it was all new, it was out of my control and that was scary as hell.
The way I saw it was, I went through all this pain to give birth to this baby. So to ensure I didn’t do all of that for nothing I felt that I would HAVE TO look after this baby as if I didn’t noone would and all that pain would be for nothing. Like when you have a gym membership and you can’t really be bothered to go but because you are paying so much money every month you don’t want it to go to waste so you go to the gym.
Everyday I felt guilty letting myself feel like that but then it was like I couldn’t help it. Not to mention I just felt I wasn’t bonding well with my daughter. It was like I was there but I was a hollow robot just feeding her, changing her nappies, putting her to sleep without any emotion. It was awful. Every day I was crying. I was crying around my baby, to my husband, by myself. I just could not get a grip and I just could not put my finger on it. My midwives and health visitor visits consisted of a very down, depressed me with a new born baby. They were very concerned especially as after 2 weeks I was still no better.
My husband was really concerned. He made me book a GP appointment and we both went. My GP referred me to the pere-natal team and at present I still attend for my counsiling and therapy sessions. I got myself checked physically as that was important, it helped give me the reassurance I needed as giving birth vaginally, I just wasnt feeling like the same woman I was pre pregnancy – it really knocked by self esteem and I felt broken down there.
As time went on, coming up to 2 months I was geting the grip of this being a mum thing and slowly I was feeling happier and enjoying being a mother to this beautful baby girl. My husbands support was everything – I cannot stress this enough. During this time, if he didnt step up and take over where nessecary and also take the time out to simply ask me “are you okay” I think I would have gotten deeper and deeper into this pit of Post Natal Depression that I think I was very close to.
It took nearly 2 months for me to get out of that funk and really love my baby and not look at her like some chore. My life changed, I knew that but my Soraiya gave me this new purpose and every day I look at her and cannot belive that I made her and she is mine. Looking back I feel so bad and hate myself that I let myself ever feel like that but I have to remind myself it wasn’t my fault as I didn’t purposely choose to feel/think like that so I quickly put it to the back of my mind and focus on the way I a feeling now and how she fills my days with sunshine, unicorns, fairies and rainbows.
I am not fully better as my mental health battle is something I have to deal with every day. I have more good days then bad days but when I have a bad day I literally wake up feeling awful, like I have been run over by a lorry. I am angry, I am feeling hopless and helpless and I just want to be left alone. I don’t want to talk anyone and I have no interest in doing anything apart from sitting, alone, crying. Again having a supportive husband who just takes the time out to be caring when you have days like that is nice and mine does. He is always reassuring me that everything is going to be okay, that he loves me and that made a beautiful baby girl.
I still attend therapy and cousilling and hoping for the best. I do not take medication for my anxiety/border line depression as I feel its best I deal with this with no medication and I feel I am doing a pretty good job of it.
I hope my story has helped in some way, if in any way. We all have our own story and most importantly we are all so very strong in our own way. As mothers, we give ourself a hard time and we beat ourselves up to much, to quick. It is okay. I can totally relate but honestly, we are only human and life is all about learning, loving and living.
As women, as mothers and as humans all we can do is support each other and share endless words of positivity and wisdom beause that is what we deserve.
Do get in touch if you have any questions and I would love to hear from fellow mummies about thier post natal journey (only if you are comfortable enough to talk about it)
Lots of love,
The Soul Tamer x