Having another baby after your PPMD/PNMD group – register your interest

Hi everyone,

As you know while I was pregnant with Flynn I was part of an amazing group of Survivor Mamas called the ‘baby after PPD‘ group. This group of Survivor Mamas were a much needed support during my pregnancy & in the first six months of Flynn’s life – the nine weeks in hospital & the months following as we constantly worried about his feeding & weight gain.

I’m about to help out some Mamas who are thinking of having a baby after their PPMD, to start a FaceBook support group & am shouting out to anyone who wishes to join up. The group will be completely private so that only those in the group will be able to view your comments or posts.

The group will be supporting each other on various topics including staying on/coming off medication while trying to conceive & during your pregnancy*, ways to prepare yourself for the postnatal/partum period, action plans for the postnatal/partum period, preparing your toddler for their new sibling, anxieties relating to your pregnancy & postnatal/partum period, setting up support systems for when the baby arrives etc. We will also be asking those that have managed to have a better postnatal/partum experience after their PPMD to share their wisdom & insights in order for the group members to get both real life examples as well as the proof that having a better experience is possible.

This is my way of paying it forward as the support I received was invaluable. Thanks Amber for starting up our group back then & the lifeline it provided me.

If you’re interested in joining the group, please fill in your details below or email me at yuz@notjustaboutwee.com & we’ll contact you when we’re up & running.

 

* We are not medical experts or medically trained in any way when it comes to discussing medications, dosages, weaning or staying medicated during your pregnancy. We will be offering support in whatever decision you make in consultation with your OB, midwife, GP or physician.

Things I’m afraid to tell you – my open letter to my daughter

There are a group of bloggers who are all banding together & participating in a series of posts called “Things I’m Afraid to Tell You”. The TIATTY movement was inspired by a post from Jess Constable of Make Under My Life & Ez of Creature Comforts. If you’d like more information on the TIATTY movement, you can read Jess’ interview with Laura Rossi from the Huffington Post. You can also visit Robin at Farewell Stranger to read other TIATTY posts as well. All these women are truly amazing & inspirational & I’m so very honoured to be part of this movement.

This is an open letter to my daughter, Orli, who will be four this September. (The name Orli means ‘my light’ in Hebrew).

Dear Orli monkey/muppet,

As you read this letter, please remember this: You are so very loved. You were wanted & you were planned. I love & adore you more than words could ever convey. You bring me joy each & every day & there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you. You make me so completely proud & I’m so very lucky that you chose me to be your mum.

I ask you from the depths of my being to remember that what I’m about to tell you is not your fault. It’s no ones fault. It just happened, & I’m a better person for it. So please don’t get too caught up in the how & why because, well, because it just was.

When I was pregnant with you I wasn’t being very honest myself with how I was feeling. I know that every pregnant first time mum has certain trepidations & anxieties about having a baby – about having it be completely dependent on you for the first year & a half (at least), about the sleepless nights, about the changes in you & your partners life & your relationship, about staying home with a baby & not going to (paid) work every day, about giving up a career (or at least stalling it), about having less disposable income, about saving more, about making more decisions on a daily basis & also for the long-term decisions to be made i.e. schools etc. Well, I had all of those thoughts & feelings, but also a few more too.

We had a lot going on in our lives during your pregnancy – my job was extremely stressful & I was working really long hours with management that didn’t seem to care that I was throwing up in the bathroom several times a day, excusing myself from client meetings to get air & generally feeling crap. I was covering for someone while they were on long sick leave & they decided to fire my resource, so I was pretty much doing my job, covering for someone & taking back everything I had delegated my subordinate to do. I also had a miscarriage before falling pregnant with you so I was nervous about getting too excited about you too early in case I lost you as well. I couldn’t wait to get pregnant again as we wanted you so much.

During my pregnancy with you, your Zaida’s (your Daddy’s Daddy) wasn’t very well. He’d been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a little while before Daddy & I got married & was having a difficult time while I was pregnant. Having said that though, he made it to see your first birthday which was special beyond words, but I worried that he might not have ever met you which was so heartbreaking & I didn’t want that to be. But I think on top of the work issues & your Zaida being unwell, the major stress I had while I was pregnant with you was that my parents (your Saba & Omi) spilt up after being married for 39 years. It came as a massive shock for me. I could see that they were no longer happy, but I never thought they would actually end their marriage. I was first told about it the week of my miscarriage, but chose to push everything & anything I felt about it under the preverbal carpet & focus on getting pregnant again whilst grieving the loss of your sibling.

And all of this leads me to why I wasn’t being honest with myself during your pregnancy. My focus was on having a baby, on starting my own family & no longer being an extension of my parents. Work didn’t matter, because I was leaving (although I was miserable each day I went), I avoided anything & everything to do with my parents because I was having a baby & that was all that mattered. I figured it was their crap & I was old enough not to be affected by their separation. I was pretty down & extremely anxious but I just kept on thinking that once you arrived my life would be complete & joy would fill my days so that nothing else mattered.

You decided to come at 36weeks. You arrived just after midnight & were taken straight away to the special care nursery for observation because you were early & so very little & I first held you (properly) about twelve hours later. You weighed 2.025kgs & were a spitting image of your Daddy. I’d love to be able to tell you that the day of your birth was the most exciting, amazing & awe inspiring day of my life. But sadly it wasn’t.

So this is where I’m going to start sharing with you all those things that I’m afraid to tell you.

* I had an out of body experience during your birth & was looking down on myself. I started thinking (whist pushing you out) that I didn’t want to have a baby. My life was good & I didn’t want it to change.

* We were separated after the birth & I was glad of this because I was so scared & wasn’t ready to meet you.

* I felt so disconnected to you after the birth & when I first held you there wasn’t that overwhelming sense of love & attachment that people talk about or happen in the movies. I felt numb.

* Daddy went with you to the special care nursery after you were born & all I could think of was that he loved you more than me & I wasn’t important anymore & was replaced.

* You stayed in hospital after I was discharged & I was relieved as I wasn’t ready to take you home.

* I didn’t enjoy breastfeeding you – I preferred to express & bottle feed you even though it was much harder work. Much harder. (And expressed for the first eight weeks of life). And when I said I preferred to bottle feed you, well, I actually meant I didn’t enjoy feeding you at all, because all you did was scream at me. I actually preferred when Daddy fed you so I wouldn’t have to.

* When you got home all you did was cry. You were so unsettled & when you finally fell asleep, I dreaded you waking up.

* I had no confidence as your Mother.

* I was completely overwhelmed by all the information I was getting about what was best for you, what was right, what was wrong & the good & the bad way of doing things. Every midwife had a different way of latching you onto my boob, every person I spoke to had conflicting advice – it was just all too much & I found it so hard to trust my own instincts & do what I felt was best. My head was a jumble of too much information & not enough clarity.

* Life was so much easier without you.

* I resented you – for not sleeping, for not allowing me to sleep, for being completely dependent on me, for the constant crying day & night, for making me have you & for putting my career on hold, for coming early & robbing me of my last four weeks of maternity leave & for not having the balloons & flowers that other hospital rooms had (we told people not to visit as you were in the nursery & they weren’t allowed to go in). I was crying all the time, I was so angry & miserable & your Daddy & I fought all the time in which was so testing on our relationship.

* I wanted to run away from home. I thought you & Daddy would be better off without me.

* I wanted my life back.

* I resented the fact that my role in life had changed. Just because I was now a mother, I was also the homemaker now too.

* I couldn’t understand why people ruined their lives & had children. And I certainly wasn’t going to do it again.

* I pretended to love & adore you in public & socially, but I was lying to both them & myself.

* I hated coming home after being out for a while as I knew it was going to just be groundhog day & I hated every minute of it.

* I wanted to have you adopted out because I was sure there was another family that would be able to take better care of you. And what I mean by ‘family’, I mean Mother.

* I wasn’t able to eat, sleep or do any menial daily tasks as I could before I had you. It was as though you made me miserable even though these tasks had nothing to do with you.

* I wondered what would happen if you feel off the change table or if I let you fall into the corner of the coffee table. I thought it, although I knew I wouldn’t act upon it.

* I was so very very sad & never thought I would ever be happy again.

* I hated the mornings because it meant that my day was going to be the same as the day before & the day before that. Actually, the days weren’t separated at all – my life just felt like one long day.

* My intrusive thoughts were so overpowering & on loop. I blamed myself for you being unsettled (it turned out you had a diary intolerance & I was craving milk & was drinking it all the time), everything was my fault, if I went out for a bit without you I usually came home to you screaming so obviously it was because you were punishing me. It took me a long time to turn the volume of that self-talk down.

* Overall, I regretted having you.

Orli monkey, the reason why these are the things I’m afraid to tell you is because I feel ashamed about the way I felt about you, the way I behaved when you were a baby & the way I, in my mind, mistreated you. I’m embarrassed because I could handle such difficult tasks at work but when it came to a baby, to my baby, to my newborn that only needed feeding, bathing & changing, I was completely incapable of functioning normally & was anxious about every.little.thing. You were completely innocent of everything I felt or thought at the time yet were integral to why I was thinking & feeling all those things. I need to remind you, that none of this was your fault. It would make me so very sad if even for a millisecond you thought it was. And what’s more, please don’t ever judge me for this because it’s not something I chose or would have ever chosen to have gone through.

I know I had some of these thoughts because I was a first time mum & overwhelmed with an unsettled baby. I also knew I had these thoughts because I was just so very very tired. But mostly I had these thoughts as I was suffering with a mental illness, more specifically, a postpartum (postnatal) mood disorder. It was confirmed ‘officially’ when you were seven weeks old & at eights weeks of age we went to a mother baby unit at a psychiatric clinic. You’ve heard me talk about ‘the nuthouse’, but I really think we need to call it our lifeline, because that’s what it was for our family. I was put onto special medication to help my mind level itself out & had lots of groups with other mums that had my issues (or similar) & the fog slowly lifted & I was started to be able to be your Mummy & not just your Mother. It took another few months until I felt better, but it was really when you were about a year old that I started feeling like myself again.

People always comment to me that you’re such a happy little girl & that when you smile your eyes sparkle. I have to be honest with you, as much as this comment makes me proud, it also triggers a sadness in me which I fear will haunt me for the rest of my life. You see, I thought that my ambivalence, numbness & disinterest in you in the first few months of your life was going to ruin you forever. I have proof now that it’s not the case & that our relationship doesn’t bare the scars of that time, however, the overwhelming fear of its possibility will never be forgotten or minimised by me.

My little angel – you have taught me more than I ever imagined I could learn from a little person. I now get why people have babies & I also why they have more than one. And so we did. You have a little brother. And the way you love & care for him is beautiful it makes me think we’ve done ok.

I’ve spent a long time trying to be ok with people knowing about my postpartum mood disorder (PPMD) as well as trying to not care what they think of me having it, being admitted to the nuthouse or being medicated or whatever. But, what I haven’t worked on & is how I’ll feel one day when YOU know all about it. It’s one thing for me to share my story because it happened to me, but, this also happened to us. I hope you continue to grant me permission to talk openly about this as it’s the only way to diminish the stigma associated with PPMD’s. I’m also passionate about the need to increase it’s awareness to ensure no one suffers in silence or alone & so that all mothers with any PPMD know that help is out there & recovery is possible.

Monkey, those are the things I’m afraid to tell you. What I’m not afraid to tell you & never will be is that I love & adore you forever & ever & you will always be the light that brought me back from the dark.

Love always,

Mama xoxo





My gift with purchase

The term ‘gift with purchase’ is familiar to most. Those of you with experience in advertising, marketing, retail or just seasoned shopaholics are all well aware of what it means. It’s that free product you get after you purchase an item. It’s that lip gloss you get when you buy your perfume or that extended warranty when you buy your new car.

Three & a half years ago, I got a gift with purchase after I had Orli. My purchase was of course my baby girl. My gift with purchase was my Postnatal (postpartum) Mood Disorder (PMD).

Did I see it as a gift back then? Hell fricken no! Do I see it as a gift now? I most definitely do!

Here’s why.

I truly believe I am a better mother because of my PMD. It’s as though I’m more in touch with my kids emotions because my extensive therapy teaching me how to feel. I had spent my life pretty much only feeling things on the surface but not diving to explore the rest of the iceberg. I had made myself numb to most pain & wore a mask for as long as I can remember. Throughout my recovery, I worked on allowing myself to experience emotions and learnt how to process different emotions. How would my children learn to manage their emotions without being shown or taught this fundamental life skill? Thanks to my PMD, I’m hoping I won’t have to find out.

While I was pregnant & after I had Orli I experienced many flashbacks of my childhood which were hard to revisit. I always knew I wanted to do a better job with my children (my parents did the best they could, truly, I’m not blaming them) but I could only do this if I had the tools & emotional wherewithal to do so. Therapy is making me re-explore these memories & be at peace with them, accept them or simply to move on. I’m well aware that there will be things in the future when it comes to our kids & their happiness etc that will trigger my anxieties & memories however, I’ve now got the tools to both recognise & rectify how I feel & how I let the situation affect me… if at all. Had it not been for my PMD & therapy I’m almost sure this would not be possible.

My therapy made me question a lot of things. I had to re-learn things, had to see things differently & had to learn how to make myself emotionally available to Orli – admittedly, tantrums & fatigue certainly tested me, however I did & still do my best to refuel & regroup & try again. Or call on Seon – because asking for help was something I had/have to learn too! Children teach you things about yourself you never thought possible. They teach you patience, they teach you to live in the moment, they teach you that the littlest gesture can mean so much, they teach you the true meaning of advocacy, they teach you strength, they teach you resilience, they teach you to speak up (when they can’t yet & while they’re learning), they show you how to remove the clutter & focus on the little things like a flower or a bird chirping, therefore, they also teach you embrace things we have long ago taken for granted. They are amazing little creatures that bring with them innocence, life lessons you never saw coming & show you the true meaning of unconditional love. If I thought I knew myself before I had kids, I was wrong & dare I say completely delusional! But I’m ok with that. Now I can say that my PMD made me look deeper & guided me to embrace so many of these deeper aspects of motherhood that may well have passed me by.

I had many therapy sessions in the nuthouse, but one of them which I still think about most days was an activity called ‘wait, watch & wonder’. We had to sit & look at our babies & share what we thought our babies were wondering about us. This was a very painful session due to my ambivalence at the time, however, as difficult as this was, it had a huge impact on me. This was a truly empowering exercise as I learnt to connect with Orli on much deeper level. For example, when she was a baby I didn’t want her passed around at social or family occasions, because if it were me, I wouldn’t like to be passed around from person to person. I just felt that people needed to have respect for her personal space & to be conscious that she could not communicate this. (I’m well aware I could be wrong about all of this, but we’ll never know, so just work with me here). Sure she could cry to try & get her message across, but as we all know, that would have been because she was hungry, tired, wet or just being ‘difficult’ in others eyes. I am using this less with Orli as she can now communicate her wishes (oh boy, can she ever), but I am most definitely tuned into Flynn. Had I not been in the nuthouse & had these sessions, I’m certain that I would not have this connection to my kids.

I have said this before & will say many times in my posts & for as long as I live. I truly believe my PMD was one of these best things that ever happened to me. I learnt to explore my own emotions, be in touch with feelings I would not have otherwise done & believe I am more tuned in to how my kids are feeling. It truly was & still continues to be my gift with purchase.

 


I wanna….

A few weeks ago there was a thread on the Mama’s Comfort Camp closed FB group that allowed us to explore our ‘ wannas’. The comments appeared quickly, were shameless, funny, honest, full of hope & love & the underlying realisation that approximately 90% of our ‘ wannas’ were just not going to happen or be feasible. However, it was a lot of fun where we learnt so much about each other & for a short period of time dreamt unashamedly & freely.

Allow me to share with you what I wrote as well as more ‘wannas’ that I’ve thought of since then. I’m also hoping that the chances of some of these being feasible works out more favourably, especially the ones where I share my hopes & dreams for myself & my family.

So here goes:

I wanna be able to call Maya Angelou whenever I need or want to.

I wanna nanny (to do the annoying things like clean up vomit & poo & deal with tantrums & I’ll still do everything else)

I wanna holiday home in every holiday destination around the world of my choosing.

I wanna endless supply of cash.

I wanna maid.

I wanna question what makes people famous.

I wanna have warm weather all year round – for it to always be Spring & Summer & to never ever have another Winter.

I wanna infrared capabilities to zap annoying people in the supermarket (grocery store) that are about to come up to me & say something stupid.

I wanna second toilet in our home.

I wanna have more time in the day for just me.

I wanna spend days & days talking to Dr Gordon Livingston.

I wanna chef & personal service from our favourite take away places.

I wanna wand so I can make people’s wishes come true.

I wanna employ the worlds smartest scientists & doctors who will work on getting rid of cancer. Cancer Sucks.

I wanna toy store at the back of our house so my kids can grab another whatever to play with when they’re bored.

I wanna have happy & healthy kids.

I wanna be able to go to the toilet by myself & be able to close the door.

I want my kids to learn they must be responsible for their actions & inactions.

I wanna only travel first class. Without kids. They can meet us where ever we go. Screw that. I wanna have our own jet with a play area, bedroom & lots of staff to do everything.

I wanna ensure my kids feel good about themselves – who they are what they look like & what body shape they have. I hope society, the media & advertising changes to help me with this quest.

I wanna rid the world of sick babies & children. It’s just the cruelest thing.

I want to invent a neurobionic sensor to place in my brain to zap away judgements before they occur. I wanna also be able to insert these into other people. I shall experiment on those people first. You know the ones I’m talking about.

I wanna hire more scientists & doctors to get rid of those ‘extra’ calories in the best tasting foods.

I wanna have go go gadget arms in the supermarket when I need to reach the top shelf.

I wanna be able to look back on my life & truly have no regrets.

I wanna ensure my kids are instilled with the knowledge on how to be good people & how to participate & contribute to society as they grow older.

I wanna end the shame & stigma of all mental illness, mostly all Postnatal (Postpatrum) Mood Disorders (PMDs)

I wanna have Elle Macpherson’s body. I don’t need to be that tall though. I’d be happy just with the overall shape.

I wanna be able to be teleported so I can meet all my PPDChat Mamas & my Comfort Camp Mamas. Maybe the boffins at Skype can work on this one.

I wanna have an infrared zapper in my kids so they get zapped Bart style when they start to whinge or whine.

I wanna ensure no child anywhere in the world lives in poverty or goes without food, water or shelter.

I wanna get rid of the substantial time differences between Australia & the UK/US. A few hours here & there could really help Seon & his game developing & also me catching up with my Mamas.

I wanna remote control for just about everything I can’t be bothered doing. I’m talking to you dish washing, bottle washing, clothes washing & hanging up & folding & putting away & also to you, putting away groceries & tidying up toys.

I wanna make Prejudice a flavour of ice-cream or icy pole & not a nasty human trait.

I wanna invent an anti-bacterial spray that automatically sprays out of the fire sprinkler systems in daycare centres, pre-schools & schools so that my kids don’t bring home lice, coughs, sniffles, diarrhea or vomiting. I know you’re going to tell me it’s good for them to get sick as it builds up their immune system & I shall retort with ‘that’s fine, if my nanny was dealing with it’. Also, I hate seeing my kids sick. It breaks my heart.

I wanna have Diet Coke on tap. Post mix is not acceptable.

I wanna ensure all children can access basic education so that they are given the opportunity to be the best they can be.

I wanna night nanny that looks & smells exactly like me, but isn’t me.

I wanna be remembered for being kind, generous, spirited & loving.

I wanna punch the next person that tells me having my kids at 36wks ‘isn’t really prem’.

I wanna be a cowboy & you can be my cowgirl. Just kidding. It’s just a really bad song.

I wanna let you all know that are suffering with any sort of PMD, it’s not forever & you will get through it.

I wanna be ok with cleaning up vomit, cos I’m not, & I have to be.

I wanna be ok knowing that anyone in the world that knows me or not, is going to read my blog.

I wanna rid my body of ever feeling tired. How good would life be if we didn’t get tired?

I wanna be happy, healthy, content & a good enough mum.

 

I know I’m not done with these & I’ll probably add more as the days go by. In the meantime, want to share some of your ‘wannas’?

Special thanks to @story3girl & for @jamesandjax for having the conversation on Twitter & opening the discussion up, giving us all the permission to dream.

‘Button pushers’ – my guide to you

I suppose this post needs some sort of introduction or disclaimer due to the nature of what you’re about to read & learn about me. See, I wouldn’t describe myself as an angry or hyper-vigilant person, however, I would say the terms passionate & highly defensive would be generally right up there but multiplied when my buttons are pushed. It’s not so much the extent of the button pushing, it’s more the number of buttons I have! I’m slowly disengaging some, re-setting some, removing some & trying to turn the lights off the real flashy ones, but in the meantime, they’re still there.

I’d like to share these buttons with you, so you can help me reorder &/or tone them down or perhaps even avoid them all together when you consider pushing one when next time we meet. I’m (probably) not directing my words to those that are reading this post. It’s more targeted to the know-it-all strangers, mean-wellers & pedestal sitters that I seem to cross paths with on a daily basis.

A word of warning should you decide to continue reading. I’m not going to apologise for anything you’re about to read as this is my domain (literally) & in order for me to be true to myself I need to be true to this space. So I apologise if you’re offended about anything I’ve written & I hope you’ll be back.

Ok, here goes (in no particular order):

The Smug/high-horse parents button: Some people become more humane, down to earth & grounded when they become parents. They quickly learn humility & not to judge others. Seeing a child tantrum, my pre-kid brain went to, ‘spoilt brat, discipline lessons for the parents, crap parenting blah blah’. Now, I instantly think, ‘shame, I wonder if the child has any behavioural issues or cognitive delays etc’. Sadly however, there’s another group of parents that think that being a parent gives them the right to judge others & they make no apology for it. They shit me. And to think their kids will grow up learning that behaviour trait, well, that shits me too.

The I’ve done it before know-it-all/well-meaner down at the shops button: Please don’t presume you know me or my kids. You don’t. You are seeing but a glimse of our life. Go about your business.

The sensitivity button: I know the term ‘failure to thrive (FTT)’ is a medical term used to describe infants not gaining weight, toddlers at the low end of off the chart scales or premmie/disabled kids that are just taking more time than others, but when Flynn was admitted to hospital due to FTT & I heard this term too many times a day for weeks on end I started to personalise & internalise it. I started becoming really defensive about this terminology as all I could hear was ‘your son is a failure’. I would tell people we were in hospital due to feeding difficulties because I didn’t want Flynny hearing me use the words that I had started to resent & wanted to protect him from hearing it. I knew not to take it personally, however I was still hormonally charged/compromised at the time & took it to heart. I can now use the term with ease & know that it doesn’t define Flynn, but describes his journey.

This button actually stems from me hearing lots of comments about Orli when she was a baby/toddler, that she was ‘being lazy’ as she was developmentally delayed & only started walking at 25 mths. Someone actually said to me once, ‘she’s not walking or crawling yet. What does she do? Just sit there like a blob?’.  Yeah, exactly the right thing to say to an mum recovering from a PMD & blaming myself for everything my baby wasn’t doing ‘on time’. But more to the point, how dare you talk about my child like that? Shame on you.

This button has taught me a great lesson in humility & sensitivity & through it a valuable lesson, as I need to learn how not to assign a meaning to everything that is said to me. I’m trying.

The stereotype button: I’m Jewish. This doesn’t mean I’m tight with money, doesn’t mean I’m rich, doesn’t mean I only have Jewish friends, doesn’t mean I only care about Jewish interests or only donate to Jewish causes & it doesn’t mean I am, or am married to a doctor or lawyer. However, it does mean that I would appreciate if you thought hard before you share a joke about the Holocaust or Hitler with me. Oh & using the term ‘Nazi’ instead of custodian or task-master – yeah, don’t do that. It’s really inappropriate & frankly an insulting comparison.

The  ‘I know everything cos I watch the news’ button: Now, I admit I’m not completely educated on the Arab-Israeli conflict, but I have a fair idea of the history in the Region. I love Israel as a country – I speak Hebrew (not well I might add, ok, maybe I understand it), I have family & friends that live there that serve in the Army because it’s the law & they defend a country that would protect me if, as a Jew, my life were in danger due to anti-Jewish uprisings anywhere outside of Israel. So, I’d really appreciate you not giving me your opinion on the conflict, about the suicide bombings, the border protection issues, the whose land is it etc unless you are educated on the subject (which I would actually encourage & enjoy as I love listening & learning) because the media already does a great job at giving me a biased one sided story.

The Gavel Graber button: Really, you’re going to judge me. Where are your qualifications? Nuff said. Bye bye.

The interpreter button: I can speak english & I can understand most accents, so please don’t talk to my kids through me. Don’t lean in to my baby & say, ‘your mum’s mean because she won’t let you <insert anything here>’. Don’t ask my child if she wants to do an activity you know I would not agree to, or offer food you know I would not allow. I am their mother. That gives me the right to make decisions on their behalf while they’re unable to, as well as to teach, guide & educate them so they can make their own decisions one day. What you do when you use them as a go-between is belittle my role in front of my kids & send them the message that you don’t care or respect my position. And if the way you are using my child as a confessions booth has nothing to do with how you feel towards me, well then, don’t patronise or insult my kids. You’re only smarter than them because you’ve been on earth longer, so in terms of intelligence, they’re going to catch up.

The anxiety projector button: Please don’t project your anxieties onto me (I’ve got my own thanks). Don’t ask me if I think my baby is warm enough, full enough or slept enough. I know the answers to all of these questions cos you know, I know my kids. Please don’t come up to me in the store & remind me to watch my baby in case he suffocates to death (Flynn slept on his stomach & face-planted due to his laryngomalacia – I could also hear him breathing as he snored really loudly). This is insulting. Please don’t treat me as if I don’t care or know my child. You certainly don’t.

The ‘pack your bags we’re going on a guilt trip’ button: Please don’t share with me your tragic stories. I’m truly sorry you’ve had pain & sadness, but unless I ask you details, please don’t assume I can handle it, want to hear it, won’t be scarred about it & have it impact me negatively as soon as you walk off & go about your life. There were many social occasions I left the ‘my labour was worse than yours pack’ before I had Orli. I was at the chemist with Flynn after we got home from hospital & a lady left me in tears when she told me (when he was face-planted in the pram) to ‘watch my baby because she knows what it’s like to lose one’. Talk about the stabbing feeling in my stomach, leaving me breathless & in tears. She had no idea what I had already been through with Flynn & it left me angry for days. I actually resented her talking to me, but because I’m not heartless I also empathised with her on some level (when I wasn’t angry).

The someone else is worse off button: Don’t tell me a sad story about how hard someone else has it when I’m struggling. My struggles are my struggles. My pain is my pain & by you down-playing it is both unfair & wrong. I had just been diagnosed with depression when something tragic happened to a friend of mine. The first thing someone close to me said was, ‘makes what you’re going through pretty insignificant don’t you think’. Um no. Actually, I had been suffering for months before I was diagnosed & while the diagnosis was both met with welcomed relief & a care & recovery plan I still had a long road to go. Plus I had to get used to the fact that now I was one of those people with a mood disorder/mental illness. My stuff & my pain was still worthy of me going through the motions & not sweeping it under the carpet because someone was worse off. There is always going to be someone worse off, but that should not diminish or make my pain any less worthy of me dealing with it.

When I was in hospital with Flynn for nine weeks I used to have pastoral carers drop in to check up on the patient (that was usually asleep & couldn’t talk anyway). I decided one day, rather than exchanging smiles & pleasantries, I would tell the person how I was really feeling. I admitted that I was feeling robbed & sad & that I just could not see an end to our admission. I kept reiterating that I knew my baby’s life wasn’t in danger & that he ‘just’ had feeding issues, but my journey was becoming very testing & honestly endless. The pastoral carer listened intently & started off by saying, ‘you know I have also counselled parents that have lost their babies’….. It was as though she had ignored MY pain & wasn’t listening to me at all. I kindly told her that her comment was not helping me & actually invalidated everything I had been telling her. It was the first time I had opened up to one of these carers & sadly, the last time.

The ‘I’m going to tell you what I think you need to hear’ button:  If you’re a close friend of mine, I value your honest opinion. If I ask your advice, I appreciate it & take on board the words you’ve said. However, I always have an undercurrent of weariness when trying on clothes in a shop with their ‘oh, you look great in those’ attitude & the ‘I would have totally done what you did in that situation’ comment when you know that’s nothing like you would have handled the scenario. Don’t bullshit me. I’m not stupid & as I said I asked you because I wanted your honest opinion. No one likes a bullshitter.

The ‘just because I have more money than you means I’m better than you’ button: No. Quite simply it means you have more funds in the bank than me. Money, privilege &/or entitlement does not provide a person with class or manners. It might provide someone with a better education, but the school of life is much harder to learn than any text book I’ve seen. So if you have more money than me, that’s great, & your life is financially easier than mine, but please know that it doesn’t mean you’re better than me & I’m certainly not going to accept being treated as a lesser person.

I think I’m going to leave it at that for now. I think this post may be organic in nature & be updated as time goes on & as my life & learning evolves. Maybe I just need to learn how to operate from my ‘ok self’ so none of these buttons can or will ever be pushed again. I promise to work on it if you promise to mind your own business & be more sensitive to each other. Respectfully.

 

To the postpartum depression moms suffering in silence as posted in Postpartum Progress

I have reposted many articles from Postpartum Progress here as I feel that offer both insight & support to those those suffering from a Postnatal/postpartum Mood Disorder (PMD), those that have had a baby after surviving from a PMD & also to partner that are supporting their partner suffering from with a PMD.

This post would have to be one of the BEST descriptions of a mother with a PMD that I’ve ever read. I didn’t write it, but I may as well have. They were not my words, but most definitely my thoughts. Please read this & share it with anyone you know who is an expectant mum, new mum or any mum really that has a young child or toddler.

Warning: For those of you that are currently suffering any forms of a PMD, this post may be triggering to you. If you proceed & start struggling, please head straight over to #PPDChat support page on FB where comfort is only a ‘post’ button away. If you think you need help, please call up your local GP & make an appointment immediately so that you can get the help you need.

http://postpartumprogress.com/to-the-postpartum-depression-moms-suffering-in-silence