Postnatal depression hovers over me through the days and nights. During the day it’s a black cloud that is forever in front of the sun. At night it’s the dark shadows that wait for me around every corner and every thought. There is rarely any moments of relief.
I feel like I have fallen into this giant pit and I cannot get out.
I think what makes it feel even worse is that no one talks about it. If it is mentioned it is in a hush-hush tone. There is still a stigma attached to mental health issues and this stigma is standing in the way of the person receiving the help and support they desperately need, to recover.
I read a post today pointing out how when a person is physically sick they receive more help than when they are mentally sick. I can relate to this and I find it mind blowing that with all the medical advances and understanding when it comes to mental health that people still feel this stigma attached to being mentally ill.
I try not to lose heart as I am reminded of great Saints who also struggling with mental illness or dark periods in their lives. St Therese and St Mother Theresa of Calcutta.
The reality is motherhood can be brutal, It can be messy. But then, if we look hard enough we will find the beauty of motherhood amidst the craziness, the ugliness, those quiet lonely moments and even in the loud ones. Motherhood is everything all rolled into one.
My stretch marks are my battle scars from the struggles of bringing new life into this world, into this family.
I guess I can look at postnatal depression as the aftermath. Some of the messy ugliness that can be experienced as a mother. But like the seasons one day, I will wake up and see the sun shining.
I have to slowly build myself up, reclaim my confidence in being in my own skin. In being me. I am not perfect and I am far from the perfect mother. If the truth is to be told, my days are hard as I constantly battle and fight against the physical health problems that constantly drag me back behind again.
Most people don’t see the truth. Most people do not know the severity of my health problems or the struggles that come with raising children with special needs. Juggling both is quite exhausting. It is a constant balancing act.
Having postnatal depression thrown in has made it even harder as I am mentally exhausted as well as physically.
Most days I keep everything bottled up inside as people assume I have gotten over it or moved on. No, I haven’t and I wish more than anything people would start talking about it so I don’t have to keep it bottled up. I wish someone would say “how are you really?” and mean it, not as a passing gesture, but as a genuine question wanting a genuine answer.
Pinpointing the trigger this time around with PND, was the first step to getting better or at least acknowledging that I was hurting.
PND is a personal hell, one I wouldn’t wish on any new mother. But until society changes their attitudes and gets rid of the false images of how perfect motherhood should be, mothers, are going to continue to suffer in silence. It’s time we speak up. It’s time we break the silence.