12 Feb What PND and Anxiety taught me
Before I had children, I had an idea in my head of how motherhood would be. Play dates and strolls at the shops. I didn’t count on finding the 5 days a week I was home alone with my son as feeling long and lonely. These feelings grew and my focus was becoming more negative and anxious. My anxiety was over small things. My routine became strict and obsessive. Along with anxiety, my depression grew deeper and deeper.
It took 12 months of these feelings before I sought the help I needed. And I was able to recover and be a happy, healthy mum.
After my second son I suffered again with PND and anxiety. This time around it was much shorter and less severe. This made me feel thankful for my experiences the first time around. These along with the people I met, helped me and made my second episode of depression and anxiety easier to recover from.
My heart aches to think that other mums are suffering the same things I did in the darkness of depression and anxiety. But the positive that I can take from my experiences are the things I learnt. They help me even today, navigate through life and feel good as a mum. And I hope they can help even help just one other person. So here’s my Top 3:
1. Fill their cups
In my early recovery I asked a child psychologist who visited me through a government program how long should I sit and play with my child? There was and is no right or wrong answer. We are all different as mums and even our children are different in their needs. But we can gauge from our children what they need. They have ‘cups’ that need to be filled. They will come to us to have them filled, by a cuddle, some interaction or a look. And then they will go explore and play again. As long as we are there when they need their cups filled, we will be giving our children the love and attention they need.
2. Don’t compare yourself
Alot of my negative feelings came from comparing myself. It’s amazing because one of the mums I have compared myself to in the past said to me recently ‘I look at you and think you have it all together.’ It is human nature to compare ourselves to others but when we attempt to stop doing so, it allows us more time and mental energy to just focus on ourselves, our family and how we are doing.
3. This too shall pass
During my times of being unwell, I struggled a lot with anger. Babies require a lot of attention and I was forgetting that my son’s crying was just that he was a baby and needed me. Now that he is a 4 year old full of energy and enthusiasm it’s hard to think of him as that little baby who was crying in the cot and wouldn’t sleep. As children grow they come and go through stages and at the time they can be difficult for us to cope with. Whether teething, tantrums, hitting,biting or any other stage we find difficult, before long it will have passed. If we take parenting a day at a time and remember this to shall pass, it will be easier for us to not get overly worked up about difficult times.
These are some of the values I live by now to help me be the best mum I can be to my two boys. If you are reading this article and struggling, I hope these points are of help to you. If you feel you need help, please talk to someone you love and/or speak with your GP.
About the Author
I am a 32 year old mother of 2 young boys from Brisbane. I have suffered Post Natal Depression and Anxiety twice and feel that want to help other mums suffering the same. I plan on setting up my own blog in the near future and even one day writing a book about my experiences.