People ask me, ‘how did you change when you became a mother?’
I sat and thought for a while, ‘how did I change?’
I’m not as patient as I thought I would be, that’s for sure.
Having a mental illness and having someone depend on you for everything is life changing. You almost have to put your needs aside completely to focus on being a parent, or so I thought in the beginning.
It took me 6 months to find the courage to get help. It was then I realised I’m not in this alone it isn’t just about the baby. It’s about me, the baby and my husband. My health is as important as hers. If I am not well and stable I can’t be the mother she deserves and I deserve to enjoy her after everything I have been through.
I would say honestly I changed for the worse.
I lost my confidence, something which took me so long in life to gain.
I realised I had a short fuse. I completely let myself go because I had no time or any will to make the effort with the way I looked. Getting out of bed was my main goal.
I became so aware of the world we live in even more so because my daughter will grow up in it now and it’s my responsibility to keep her safe and guide her.
My body shape changed, it almost feels as if I had her and my identity was lost that day. I looked and felt different. I wasn’t the Kerry I use to know. Slim, long wavy hair always had my nails painted and dressed nicely. Always found the funny side to things, enjoyed having a laugh and socialising. It changed because I now didn’t want to socialise, through embarrassment of how I looked, and I didn’t want to have to talk about my birth because it seems to be the first question people ask. How did it go? Was it as bad as people say? How long were you in labour? What did she weigh?
The truth is at first I couldn’t answer these questions. I didn’t know. It came back to me in flashbacks over the months. I didn’t want to have to explain that to this lady who was sat opposite me looking great, smile on her face child in her arms lovingly. All I could think of is why me! Why can’t I have that? I must of gone over every scenario in my head of what conversations would come up and what my answer would be.
So the answer is to how did I change when I became a mum is, completely. I completely changed.
Two years on finally I can say I am happy I love being a mother. I enjoy my daughter’s company. I make an effort with my appearance, I care. That was because I found a counsellor who listened.
I still have days where I feel very low, I could cry and just need a hug off my husband and for him to tell me I am doing a good job when I doubt myself.
I sit and think what could I of done better, what can I do better?
I think hormones and lack of sleep plays apart in this. I started writing because it helped me to get my thoughts on paper. I also read a page or two when she settled, in a book so my mind went elsewhere before I tried to sleep. I still do that when I struggle now. I truly think having a supportive network helps. My husband was and still is a great support. I know it has affected him more than he lets on. But we have learnt to support each other. I found creating my blog has helped me see there are women all over the world who have suffered like me and men that have suffered because they have seen what there partner has gone through. I’ve even seen stories of men and women that suffer with PND before the birth.
I don’t feel alone anymore and I don’t feel like I was the only person in world that had a traumatic birth and suffered with their mental health.
Most of all I am happy and have accepted the way I am now.
My husband and I make an effort to have our time even if it is just the two of us and a Chinese on the sofa with a film, as we have no one to baby sit. We can focus on each other rather than focus on us as parents. We lost that at the beginning. We were too focused on my mental health and making sure our daughter had everything she needed.
Be kind to yourself. Make time for yourself even if it is having a soak in the bath.