Pregnancy is a blessing. You know how I know that? Because people will tell you. They’ll tell you be grateful for your pregnancy, there are people out there who struggle. Be grateful. Two words I’m forever hearing as a mother.
Being grateful means I was scared to open up how I felt about being really scared. Holding my stomach and fearing and thinking the worse. I got those two positive lines, and I was excited…. I really was. But I was really scared. Frightened.
I went into the doctors and announced it. He thought I had come in for the pill, as I did the month before but couldn’t remember what I had at home that worked so well, so he told me to come back after I got my period. Well my period never came. He told me to stop taking my medication (my antidepressants) This made me feel even more tense. For so long I held onto those little tablets as my little safety nets.
See I had postnatal depression, but I also had postnatal rage where I would yell and get angry. I would feel rage. I never hurt my son. Not once. I let all those emotions bubble inside me and they came out in crying fits, and disappointment in myself. I feared I would though. I was worried I might shake his crying body out of frustration. I was bought up catholic but I guess I have more Buddhist beliefs, or I don’t know, but I thank god that he protected my son for me, and led me into paths that made me better.
You can see why having another child petrified me.
Look, I was excited until about 13 weeks… until I bled. I had never experienced something like that before. I thought it was the universe punishing me. I had struggled with parenting from the moment I gave birth to son, Luca, (you can read it about it here caution a lot of swearing. ) I thought it was over. I went into the hospital and told them. They gave me nothing, they didn’t care. They told me if my baby was going to die, it’s going to die and the bleeding won’t do anything.
I know, you’re thinking I should have reported those assholes, and I did mention it, but that led to dead ends and my mental state couldn’t handle it.
I was a nervous wreck. Crying constantly. I couldn’t believe I was going to another hospital that was going to fail me like the first one did.
I spoke to someone and they told me how good the mental health care team was at the first hospital I went to (hospital A). I didn’t want to go back, but I didn’t want to face the hospital (hospital B – I don’t wanna use names) I was enrolled into another day.
So I wrote them a long letter, hospital A, about 5 pages. I told them all the things they did to me. How they failed me. How I’m scared of pregnancy, scared of another child. Scared of giving birth. No, PETRIFIED of giving birth again.
I received a letter with an appointment to a psychiatrist in their hospital. I felt relieved.
I opened up the door to a guy. I was scared that he wasn’t going to understand my birth trauma, as he was a male. I was shocked after what I wrote to them that they would assign me to a male. I’ve had a hard time trusting them since young… but you know what? This guy was amazing.
He listened to me and understood every word I said. He got angry when I got angry… and frustrated when I did. He validated every emotion I felt. I talked about issues with my parents and my childhood, and he listened. He made me feel empowered… I felt like I could probably do this. He wrote me up a birth plan that was basically going to have me treated like a queen, and I was relieved. But of course the motherfucker (god love him) was finishing up two weeks after I was due. So my saviour was no longer going to there for me,and that scared me too.
My Birth came… and here’s the story If you want the short, it was amazing. They knew they screwed up and they really redeemed themselves. I was on a high…
But that high wore off. I started to see how hard it was with two kids under two. One that didn’t sleep and one who was learning how to sleep.
I remember once, Sofia was crying and Luca was crying and I screamed, i yelled at both of them and said, I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I couldn’t do this. What the hell had I done? I called my husband, and he couldn’t understand what I was saying… so I told him I hated him and hung up. We started having problems after that, and I was falling into that hole again.
I had a new psychiatrist at hospital A, but she was a little, I don’t know, stern… very medical and didn’t quite get that I just needed someone to tell me, yeah, you know what? This is really fucking hard. I told her how I hadn’t bathed Sofia in a week because I hadn’t even brushed my teeth myself… and she gave me this look that made me feel like I was pond scum – you know in my best friends wedding (the movie) how he goes on about how low she is at the end? “Lower than pond scum…” Well what he said. She made me feel like that.
But I had a really good maternal child health nurse. Amazing. She was beautiful and had been with me since Luca. She referred me to a government nanny service where they send people to your house and they help you when you’re not coping. This was music to my ears. For 13 weeks and three days a week, I get a nanny… felt like I was a celebrity with my own personal nanny.
Introducing a nanny to people without sounding like your a pretentious asshole or a lunatic is pretty difficult,so I found myself explaining it fully, from start to finish…because I wanted people to get that I didn’t cope, and no one was going to make me feel embarrassed about it…and until I got on my feet,she was there. Her name was Kirsty, and she’s a fucking legend.
Some days I didn’t want to get out of bed because I was back on a strong dose of medication. I was dizzy and constantly feeling sick and even more depressed…. and she filled in those gaps on those days. I didn’t have that village to help out, there would have been no way I would have been able to do it alone.
You know what I was grateful for? Finally grateful? Her. And when she left we both cried because we had become friends. We would watch movies together and she would support me in being a mother. She is awesome.
In a way, it’s sad that as mothers, we have to get to such an incredibly low point before we can have a village. We are often so isolated and can’t take those few steps to going out and making friends to cure our loneliness because we don’t know how… and we are too low to want to even try.
I am grateful for my children. But I’m grateful for myself. For my want of not wanting to live that life again, for writing that 5 page letter and for standing up for myself. I encourage all mothers to do it.
It’s not all roses, there are still days, (today is one of them) where I feel like poop but a shitty depressed mum life doesn’t have to be your life. You don’t have to be silent or embarrassed or afraid to admit you’re not coping. (I’m talking to me here… I guess)
But to you I say, you know what? Some days are really fucking hard… really hard. Scream and shout hard… guilt hard… can’t go on hard… but you’ll get through it. As it’s when we are at our lowest point, when we are all broken apart that we have the power to open ourselves to change and put ourselves back together how we want to be.
Now look at these little shits… I did a good job.