This won’t necessarily make a lot of sense to you but it might if you have been through similar. I actually planned this post a couple of days ago but wasn’t sure I had the courage to share it. But now I do.
My daughter is 6 months old. She has a beautiful cheeky grin and chubby little legs. Anyone would smile looking at her. And I did. And her father did. And everyone I met has. However, the first day I met her wasn’t a normal first day.
After 3 and a bit hours of labour she arrived and she was perfect. My first words…”It’s a baby.” Now yes giving birth is overwhelming and painful and strange with the gas and air but it had been a fairly easy one. I said that because I literally felt numb. I couldn’t think of what else to say. After a while, yes, I did look at her with love and always attended to her every need but there was something blocking me. Like a transparent curtain. I could see and touch but it was not as close or as real as I would like. I knew something was different to her brother being born but I just took it as each baby is different.
Now let me just assure you it is not her that something is different with. She is just as perfect and cheeky and smart as her brother. And I’m sure she will be chattering away like him soon enough. But it is me. I felt more tearful and frustrated and stressed. And I didn’t understand why. I had felt depressed before and there was a family situation going on so I just put it down to that. But it wasn’t that. And now I know why.
My fog, my self-criticism, my tearfulness, my emotions are due to post-natal depression (PND). I never even realised that it wasn’t normal. When you’re a mother of a new baby you assume things are just hormone imbalance or the lack of sleep. I had been to the doctors and the first one didn’t even pick it up. Even when I had suffered with antenatal depression. It took me admitting to the doctor that I had thought about self-harming (even though I would never do it) for him to even consider it. And I am so glad he did. I am now on small doses of antidepressants and feel much better.
The other day I looked at my daughter and for the first time felt that overwhelming love I expected to feel when she was born. And I cried with happiness for that chance to really get to know my daughter without the barriers of my PND. Now I know it will be a long road to get to me recovering without the medication but I am so grateful for that second first day.