As Isabella turned 5 months old I finally sought help and support for how I had been feeling since becoming a mum. As Isabella grows I wonder how I will explain to her about the first year of her life, about it not being the happy time we’d expected and how I will explain to her about my PND.
Here’s 5 things I want her to know:
I did love you! - I could on numerous occasions have walked out of the front door and never come back. I knew you were safe and happy with your Dad and I just didn’t feel needed. But despite the overwhelming feeling that you would be better off without me I did still love you. I loved you more than anything in the world but I just couldn’t see past the fog of my depression. As time has gone on that love has grown and now I’ll tell you each night as I put you in your cot or I hold you in my arms that I love you, more than anything in the world and our little family is everything.
Our bond took time to grow - But it did grow! I didn’t feel that overwhelming rush of love as you were placed upon my chest and I didn’t feel it when I held you in the days after you were born. It took 7 long months for me to feel bonded to you, to feel those emotions. I do worry that you may have sensed this, I struggled to settle you when you were upset, I struggled to cope with your crying but what I do know is that throughout that time your Dad could settle you, he could cope with you being upset and his bond with you was so strong. The bond we share is now strong, there are days it is still tough for me, but I wouldn’t change having you at all.
It’s okay to talk - The best thing I did to recover and to get the help I needed was to talk. Its okay to talk about your emotions, its okay to share how you feel, it’s okay for you to cry and it’s okay for things to be too much some of the time. I never want you to think you can’t share anything with us, whatever it is. Talking is the best method! Talking openly about my PND helped me recover and I hope in the years to come you will understand why I was open about it and you won’t be ashamed or feel guilty. It was nothing either of us did, it was the hormones in my brain and a set of circumstances that I couldn’t cope with.
I got the help for you - I walked into that doctors room with you at 5 months old asking for the help I needed for you. I didn’t want you to grow up thinking Mummy was unhappy and that you caused it (because you didn’t), I didn’t want to feel like that anymore, I wanted to feel like I had made the right decision having you and I just needed to know that how I was feeling was okay and that I would get better - for you. All I ever wanted was to be a good mum to you, to love you, to make memories with you. But in the dark fog of PND all I wanted was to stay in bed and not be a mum. But I was a mum and I needed to be a good mum for you. And so I walked into that doctors room and asked for some help because without that help I couldn’t be the mum you needed.
I regret it every day - I have so many regrets from the first year of your life and some I will never be able to make right. Some are so painful I can barley think about them and some become less painful each day. My biggest regret is not holding you more in those first few weeks of your life, putting you down or handing you to someone else. I feel like I missed out on those moments. I regret each day that I have PND and that at times I’ve not been the mum you deserve but just know that I will spend each and every day making it up to you. I will spend each and every day being the mum you deserve and hopefully a mum you will be proud of.
The first year has been tough my darling but hopefully it will get better and when the time comes for me to explain you’ll understand.