Sometimes I get asked why I always write about Luca and not always Sofia. Usually I say, well Sofia is a good sleeper, nothing to report. And she is.. But lately she’s been doing this thing where she wakes every two hours, some type of sleep regression, maybe the room is too hot, I don’t know. (The moon was shining too brightly… Who knows). However, despite her giving me a shit night, I always smile when I pick her up, and in the morning I try to make her giggle. I’m even content when I hear Luca singing in his cot. Don’t get me wrong, eventually this no sleep thing will catch up to me and I’ll have a nervous twitch, but I feel that this time in better equipped to deal with it.
When Luca was Sofia’s age, when he woke up. I wouldn’t smile. I’d sigh and think “what is my life”. When he’d wake in the morning I wouldn’t try and make him giggle, I’d cry and think, I survived another night. I didn’t die from sleep deprivation.
I was tired, undoubtedly, beyond exhausted. But the way i dealt with it was very different because I wasn’t in a happy place. It’s taken me another baby to realise when the maternal child health nurse kept telling me I was suffering from depression, that she wasn’t mistaken and it wasn’t just from sleep exhaustion.
Look hindsight is a beautiful thing, and Luca never wanted to be out of my arms, it was extremely difficult and would have been hard for anyone. I don’t belittle it. He was (and is) a beautiful child, and I did find joy in him, always. I raised him well but I didn’t have the village to help me raise him, because all the other villages had their own kids to look after.
I also didn’t know how to ask for help. I couldn’t articulate what I was feeling or even understood what I was feeling to know I needed to raise my arm to get help. I always thought I didn’t wanna raise my arm because I hadn’t shaved in weeks 😉
We are not really meant to ask for help, we are warriors travelling across the desert trying to find water, by ourselves, because we are “mothers”, we are “women”, and we are “strong”, and to admit anything else, is unacceptable. We have to find water or we will die. We just gotta keep chugging no matter what. We tell men to seek help isn’t a sign of weakness, but we won’t do it for ourselves.
Sometimes I hear other mums talk about their child, and I think, “ohh I remember those feelings”. I’m very quick to give them numbers to refer them to places or offer my help, because I’ve been there, and I don’t want anyone else to go there. But even when a friend told me about her friend with depression, I was like, “oh your poor friend”… I didn’t realise the hint she was giving.
When you’re in it, you don’t see it. Even though you might feel you can’t cope, or you know you can’t, you don’t ask for help. Even when your pits are shaved and you have jugs full of water. You think, well other people have it worse, I am not that bad, or when they do this or that or when I lose 20kgs or when the moon shines brightly, everything will be okay. Just because we live in a time where the self-help section in a book shop is the biggest part of the store, doesn’t mean you have to do this alone.
You deserve help. You deserve assistance in all you do. You deserve to feel good and happy every day. It’s okay to be persistent in what you need. If you do ask for help and no one listens, yell louder. You don’t have to carry a burden of despair on your shoulders. You don’t have to be the worse case in your head to qualify. I wasn’t the worse case, but maybe I could have gotten to it if I hadn’t gotten help. Even if it’s “not that bad”, you’re not living your ideal life and you’re not waking up with a smile, and dreading the night, it’s time for you to open up to receive it. It’s hard! It’s hard and it’s confronting, believe me, I know. I dealt with a lot, but you know how fucking damn good I feel now? So much so it makes me swear, and even the negative comments about me swearing doesn’t even bother me.
If you are having it rough with your kids, call your councils mchn line, get a referral for the enhanced team.
If today sucks, go to your gp, ask for a mental health plan, tell a stranger (who studied for years and years gruesomely for their passion to help you) who won’t judge you, what is going on.
Go join positive support groups on Facebook, no mum debate groups or bitchy see you next Tuesday groups.
Google shit… You know you want to.
Create the space you need to feel good because you deserve this. And I know you know you do, so prove it to yourself.
And go find your village girl ✌🏼️