Having my second child, presented many challenges. Ones that would later define my mental health and put me into a mother and babies unit. Admitting defeat and being placed there was the last thing that I ever wanted but it was the way it happened.
Rewind the clock to the walk out of the hospital doors when reality hit me like a tonne of bricks. Then when my little one was 4 months old things hit rock bottom the sleep deprivation was getting worse with feeding every two hours for an hour, a screaming baby 24/7 due to coelic/reflux and undiagnosed tongue tie, which resulted in my nipples being cracked and cringe worthy pain every feed. My need for perfection and having a house where everything was in its place plus trying to keep up with the newborn demands eventually lead to me being admitted to the mother and baby unit. At the time I told very few people as part of me was ashamed that I ended up in this state.
I spent three weeks there receiving the treatment and being armed with the tools to be able to cope with my postnatal anxiety and depression. It was from this moment that I wanted to do something about my mental health and to try to do what I could to not be in this situation again. My mindset was changing and my resilience and determination was returning little bit by little bit. Yes I was now medicated, against my will at first, but I now also was armed with some great strategies to cope- one of them was using exercise.
With postnatal mental illness people can not see it like a broken arm or leg and it is something that will always stay with you. Unfortunately a label is now attached.
Fast forward to being pregnant with my third -who came into the world 10 weeks ago. During the pregnancy my obstetrician, GP, husband and myself were all on the front foot with keeping tabs on how I was faring. I was also more mindful of my feelings and emotions and tried to keep things in check as best as I could. Couple this with my strong determination to help Mums in a similar position by the platform of MUMMACTIV - and being a PANDA champion.
I coped through the whole pregnancy with working, a business and exercise as my leveller and did not have a lot of continual down moments. After delivering my little girl I was in the right zone and was nourishing my soul in the newborn bubble. I set the bar low with daily goals being coffee, shower and walk everyday. This was achievable even on those crappy days and having a sense of achievement is good for the soul. Even though bubba has reflux she is so much more content than my last which I think has a huge impact on how I have coped so far. Ive also taken the pressure off myself to get back to my level of training 6 days a week and to have the house spotless and in order-overall being kinda to myself.
So if you are a Mum struggling know that you are not alone and the WAY IT IS IS NOT THE WAY IT HAS TO BE….Take time out for you and set the bar lower.
Hopefully through time we will break down the stigmas attached to Postnatal Mental Illness and PANDA is a great resource if you or your loved one needs the help/support. (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Helpline: 1300 726 306)