Having a baby is both the most exciting and scariest experience ever, you have waited 9 long months to hold that little bundle in your arms and nothing prepares you for the complete and utter shock to the system that it is.
Maybe you have had the most amazing pregnancy, you have glowed from the moment you found out, no sickness and no complications or maybe your pregnancy has been one complication on top of another, you have been sick for 9 whole months and let’s face it who wouldn’t glow if they threw up for 12 hours a day, but no matter the complications you are convinced once baby makes their grand arrival everything will be ok, but what if it isn’t? What if you don’t feel that over whelming rush of maternal love when your baby is placed in your arms, what if your too out of it to even realise that you have had a baby, what if your only thoughts are about how close you or your baby came to dying. Nobody wants to think that birth can be traumatic or damage woman, but it can, birth is the most dangerous journey you will ever make, the journey into the world.
When a baby is born so is a mother and no mother is perfect (no matter what we tell you or what we portray on social media). The expectation we put on ourselves to be perfect is sometimes overwhelming, and we can cripple under it. We are blessed to be parents it’s not a road that everybody gets to travel on, and yes we should be grateful for our children (no matter how big a pain in the ass they have been today) but nobody is blessed or grateful for every second of every day, mainly because that would be exhausting and really annoying. It’s ok to want to sell them on Etsy (you can’t use eBay because after all you made them), it’s ok to have a bad day and not get out of your pyjamas, it’s ok to cry. What’s not ok is when the bad days start outnumbering the good, when you have intrusive thoughts, when you wish that your child hadn’t been born, then it’s time to seek help.
It’s estimated that approximately 1 in 6 new mums suffer from post natal depression or anxiety and that’s here in Northern Ireland alone the figure is much higher if you take in the rest of the UK. As the old BT add used to say its good to talk and it is, talking can help to prevent anxiety and depression before they become serious problems, even if it’s only for somebody else to tell you they feel exactly the same way. However if talking isn’t helping then it’s time to seek help whether that be from your GP, HV or a counselling service, it doesn’t really matter so long as they are able to point you in the right direction and help you move through your thoughts and feelings.
Always remember we are winging our way through our parenting lives and as a friend of mine always says #ShitDaysAreNormal.
I’ve popped the links for some local NI organisations that help woman with PND and birth trauma below