I recently signed up to be part of Emma’s Diary parent panel and their latest campaign really made me stop and take stock. I have never considered myself as someone who has struggled with mental health issues, I have a huge pain and stress threshold and have always just “got on with it”.
After labour with Harper we became responsible for another human being and things started to change. I would go for days on end without sleep to cluster feed her, I had to remember to change her, feed her, have skin to skin, take her to appointments, arrange vaccinations, shower, eat, go food shopping, walk the dog, clean the house...sleep deprivation and the mental load was overwhelming. There were days I would just cry the minute David walked through the door and took Harper for a cuddle. Not because there was anything wrong but because I was so overwhelmed and overloaded mentally I needed that break and release so I didn’t combust!
In addition to the mental and physical demands of being a mum there’s also the hormonal influences on top. Your body has spent 9-10m adjusting hormonally to grow this tiny little person and we expect that once labour is over our body will bounce back and be the same as it was. I completely get the societal pressure to bounce back to look the same (it’s rammed down your throat enough) but rarely to we consider the internal recovery. The rebalancing of hormones can have a huge impact to new mums emotions.
Now pregnant with baby number two those emotional influences are already apparent through my uncontrollable bouts of rage. I can not control it, I know it’s irrational and completely out of character but that’s just the impact this pregnancy is having on me.
I think it’s so important that mums make sure they express their feelings in a way that’s right for them; whether to a partner, a counsellor, talking to strangers on social media or forums; as it’s so easy to bottle everything up, stay at home all alone and stick their head in the sand. Being a mum is such a huge life changing thing and whether you’re doing it solo or have a lots of help around it’s ok to not be ok. XXXX