I was thinking of the blog recently and about the reasons for starting it, where I began and where I have ended up and I thought that in honour of the true reason why I started this blog that I should really aim to look at writing a post a week or a month, relating to post natal depression.
The blog has become so much more than I had ever imagined and it’s really been an amazing journey with meeting new people and the many different opportunities that have also presented themselves to me. All thanks to an idea, a few friends encouraging me and a love for writing whether or not people think it’s a good read, it has taken me to exciting events, places and formed a lot of new friendships.
So today I start off with a tip for those who may be experiencing post natal/prenatal/post natal anxiety etc. My tip is GET OUT. Whether it be to the park, a 5min walk, out to the shops or visiting with a friend, it really does help in recovery. I felt that sitting in was more detrimental to my recovery and it made me more anxious , left me alone with my thoughts and really just made me feel very down.
When I started going out and walking with the baby in the pram, even if it was me walking and crying, the fresh air started to slowly have an effect on my moods and for the first time in the darkness , I congratulated myself for doing something and seeing something other than the four walls. The daylight also gave me a boost whether it be raining or sunny , its always important to get that vitamin D.
When I was getting out, I was able to build up the time that I spent away from the house and the fear of getting bottles ready, having enough food, clothing etc, those anxieties started to leave my thoughts and lessened my anxiety. I was able to go to the library or have lunch with friends and I started to see that although my worries were valid, I could challenge them and work through them easier. All of what I was doing, had a knock on effect to how i was feeling as well as my behaviour.
It takes effort and confidence but I promise it does get better:) I’ve had PND twice and both times I am here to tell the tale, it just takes time but you can do it because you are strong and brave not to mention fantastic parents.
Sitting watching some tv this afternoon and I was the lucky recipient of an email from “Babyexpertbabble” how these people got my email address, I wont bust a gut trying to find out as its given far too much thought to the biggest pile of rubbish that my eyes have had the displeasure of reading already.
Today’s article is brought to you by those who call themselves….”Baby Expert”, who cater for every mum and mum to be. Well slap my thigh, aren’t we the lucky ones! They are going to tell us how we can banish that all so famous “baby belly”! Wow, i couldn’t wait to read the whole article .. Seriously! Steam was already coming out my ears and rage beginning to build about what I would read next. It started out telling us how our uterus will shrink and the ins and outs of what happens after child birth because we as women obviously cant educate ourselves on the science part of pregnancy and just concentrate on the physical side…as that’s just what us women do. It gets better though, it then makes us feel even more stupid but puts their own element of care across in the sentence about not doing sit ups until at least 10 weeks after the baby has been born. Ok, thanks guys, I will remember to mark that special day on the calendar instead of watching my baby grow, or making sure that everything else that I need to do sits on the side line for that all important day when I can start exercising.
The article then talks about how all women like to stroke their pregnant bumps but how it suddenly changes to jelly after the birth of the baby. Talk about stealing your thunder Mr or Mrs “baby expert”! What about those who have pre natal depression and the sight of their growing bump may make you sick with fear and anxiety? Didnn’t think of that one, did you? Also presuming how every pregnant woman feels after their child is born, making them then view what was once an amazing bump but then dismissing it in the same paragraph is pretty darn silly in my eyes. I had visions of me shaking my tummy and shouting “Ho Ho Ho”, like Jolly ol’ Saint Nick! Instead, this article doesn’t make me feel good in the slightest and there is nothing joyful about it, just more pressure and guilt.
The next paragraph down from that was titled “The wobble factor”do I bject myself to this and read it? I did, Im my own worst enemy and just when I thought that I couldn’t produce more steam from my ears, I read that i really should have lost that little bit of jelly on my tummy within a few months. darn it, I am a disappointment to my fellow mothers! its been nearly 5 years and I still have a bit of my “marsupial pouch” as I refer to it as… Darn it where did I go wrong?!
I guess maybe when I began my journey through PND/perinatal mental health , adn trying to get my sanity back for myself, child and husband I must have got lost along the way?! or maybe when it was after my journey and enjoying being a mother that i lost out then as well? Gosh who knows?! Shall I ask the experts at this publication? Doubt that they would really have an answer to my argument of empowerment and pride that I have gained whilst raising a daughter, carrying her for 9 months and overcoming something much more difficult than losing pounds? Hmmm, silly me Indeed! as said in the article, I should really stock up on those control pants if all else fails so that I can be just like Gweneth Paltrow… But then … she also went through PND.
Yesterday was the long awaited conference here in Glasgow and what an amazing day it was! There were many speakers from different areas of healthcare and it was also the launch of the SIGN guidelines for patients.
We also got to show our film which i will e posting later today and I am pleased to say that the response exceeded any expectations that we had. Most people understood what it was about and were congratulatory after it was viewed . There was the odd person who felt that it shouldn’t be viewed without supervision of a health professional and to that I say, “stop adding to the stigma!” Watch it again and realise that what was said, was our reality and should never be expected to keep that quiet. It is real and it was true, and it may e similar to any one else going through their journey.
At the end of the conference, there was a speaker whom I was very excited to see as I had referenced her in essays when on my counselling course, Dr Christine Puckering but have to say that I was highly dissapointed by what she had to say and how she delivered the information that she had. I had the opportunity to speak with her after the presentation and asked her about what she said regarding anxiety in pregnancy , when she said that I had “not wanted to hear which was why I was disagreeing”, I said that I was affronted and excused myself. Apparently she had asked the MAWS to apologize to me but I cant believe that someone in the position that she is in, would be so very narrow minded!
I did not let that get me down and also managed to speak with Dr Margaret Oates who is an amazing and inspirational woman. She is in my mind, an absolute legend and I hope to have contact with her again in future. She understood the film and what the aims were, and for someone who is an expert on Perinatal mental Health , it was a great honor to meet and hear what she had to say about the film. We also had the pleasure of her company later that evening in the pub 🙂
Also, we have managed to get some very good contacts for future work and the MAWS Facebook has been buzzing with new people joining and what is so great is that the majority are trainee nurses/midwives or health professionals who want to make a difference and listen to a woman but most of all they want to HELP! This is important and this is how we break stigmas by sharing and working together.
I am so proud of myself and the other MAWS for what we achieved and please stay tuned as there will be much more great work in the future!
last night was our first meeting with the production company who will be making our film about Perinatal Mood Disorders(PND as I hate the word “disorder”) that will be shown at the conference in April. I will only be talking about my own experiences of the activities that we did as I have to obviously maintain confidentiality for the others involved.
Until last night, I thought that I had dealt with a lot of what I went through but because we were using drama as a means of showing to the two people making the film with us, the emotions or some of the emotions experienced when having PND, it did bring moments of “OMG , I’m going to burst into tears here”. I came to the conclusion that actually, I really do believe that psycho drama would be a brilliant way to help one recover and to channel your thoughts and feelings along side exercise and counselling as it is another way to get the emotion out and to experience a different way of reacting to previous situations that you cant change but using hindsight and how you may react now. Almost like a second chance but knowing that the past cant be changed , if that makes sense?. Its exhausting but it brought about some great things and some great emotions too, I came away feeling positive and had some more insight into how I thought about my personal experience and let go of some of the anger that I still carry with me 4 years later.
I was able to “wave my magic wand” last night and say “just stop already” This was of course in reference to the feelings and the emotions as well as the self defeating thoughts that I once had, the ones which tried to tell me that I was going to be like this forever and that I would never love my daughter or bond with her. I also got the chance to see a lot of strengths that I had and have as a result of going through PND and I have to say that it was very empowering to concentrate on that and to take a minute for myself to realize that I do have these strengths even now and they have continued to help me in other areas of my life. Looking back, having had PND, a young child , holding down a job and doing a college course all at the same time, it takes a strength to do it.
I am looking forward to doing more with the production company and I really do believe I am going to learn even more about myself. It is very much a learning experience and I couldn’t have been with a better group of women who are also part of it. These women are exceptional and I certainly learn a lot from them.
This is yet another positive of having gone through PND. Its hard at the time but boy do you come out an amazing person, wife,mother,friend… after it.