The Fourth Trimester – Struggling With My Mental Health
This post is pretty personal and raw, I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to talk about it but then I remembered why I started blogging in the first place, to share my thoughts and hope to help even one person feeling the same. I think it’s really important for parents to talk about post natal depression and mental health struggles, So here goes.
Poppy was a very much planned and wanted baby, I cried when I found out we were having another girl. It was all I had ever wanted. When she was born I expected to be in this amazing love bubble where life was perfect but that didn’t happen. Obviously I love her with all of my heart but I didn’t get that same instant rush of love as I did with Ava and part of me will always feel guilty about that. Maybe it was because I was so exhausted from child birth and Poppy was a nocturnal boob monster or was it the guilt I felt at not being able to do much with Ava, maybe it was the added stress of having a baby just before Christmas,or even the pressure of wanting the Insta perfect family, I don’t know. I knew I didn’t have post natal depression but I knew I wasn’t quite right either.
Feeling out of control
5 days after Poppy was born I felt like I was having a breakdown, Poppy had been up all night every night, my boobs hurt but she wanted constant feeding and she would not sleep anywhere but on me. I spent that entire night sobbing uncontrollably, It was awful, I felt awful for feeling such resentment towards my own baby, It’s crazy what sleep deprivation will do to your mind isn’t it? Thankfully her sleeping habits improved shortly after and I started pumping to give myself a bit of a break. Things were finally starting to fall into place until Andy went back to work, and every day he came back I would be crying, I felt so out of control and I like to be in control.
As the weeks went on I found myself feeling angry towards Andy and Ava. I was angry that Andy went to work everyday and didn’t have to deal with them but mostly I was angry at Ava, which is awful. She was just about to turn 2, full of emotions she herself couldn’t control plus a new baby was suddenly in her life and there I was shouting at her all of the time, wishing she would go and play on her own so as I could look after Poppy. She would look on helplessly as I sat there crying, It broke my heart even more when she would ask what was the matter and try and hug me and then start crying herself. I know this sounds awful but I want to be totally honest with you all, otherwise what’s the point in me writing this. The text messages I sent Andy were disgusting, saying how I hated everyone and that I wanted to run away, obviously I did not mean any of it but at the time I was so frustrated and scared by my own feelings I needed to vent. That man deserves a medal sometimes for putting up with my crazy episodes.
The turning point
As Poppy got older and started to get into a routine my mental health definitely improved. I stopped breastfeeding (that’s another story) I stopped trying to control every little thing, I found my groove as a mother of two young children and I generally manage to keep my shit together most days, yes I have blips, but I’m only human and spending every waking hour with a demanding toddler and a helpless baby is enough to send anyone crazy sometimes.
Poppy is 3 months old now, I have barely any recollection of the first few weeks of her life, there are nowhere near as many photo’s of her as there was with Ava. I feel so guilty about this but I can not change what has happened or how I felt. The worst thing is Poppy is not a difficult baby, in hindsight Poppy was a dream and Ava was better behaved than most after having her world turned upside down. Hindsight is a bit of a dick isn’t it?
Life is just as I imagined
If you are about to have another baby, I don’t want this to scare you, this is just how I personally felt at the time. There is a good chance you will absolutely boss it. If you do feel a bit out of control though, I want you to know that you are not alone and that it does get better. Suddenly everything falls into place, babies settle into routines, you learn to do more things one handed than you ever thought possible, you find a way to split your time between children and life with siblings becomes just how you imagined it. Until the sibling fighting begins that is, hopefully I’ve got a while before that starts!
As always though, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel you really aren’t coping well, no one is judging you for admitting you are struggling.