Sunday, 20 September 2009

Mrs Independence

Friday was my last day with the respite nurse coming to help me. She has been coming for the last 2 months and my support worker has gradually weaned me off having her. I feel so good about it and feel like I am about to start really being a Mum now. It is amazing how far I have come in such a short time. It was only recently that I hadn't even left the house with Ella because it was all so frightening. Now I am managing well at home and am out and about lots. Finally the dream I had is now becoming my reality.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

A new life

The past 12 weeks have been quite the journey and I certainly haven't reached the destination. The first couple of months being a Mum were pure survival. Recovering from surgery, sleep deprivation and PND are a lethal combination which I would not wish on anyone. At first I felt like Ella was a mystery to me. I knew what the books said and I thought I knew how I wanted to parent but a newborn is liking having a foreign guest in your house who speaks no English. So much is lost in translation. The worst part of that is that I felt constantly torn between my desperate desire for sleep and the knowledge that she is totally dependent on me and my care.

Very slowly we started to get to know her and her cries, expressions and quirks. Like the fact that she cannot feed while going number 2s. And that even though it may seem that the entire contents of her stomach has been returned to sender, she still grows and is not that upset by it at all. Or that if we tried to put her down to sleep and she screamed it was because she was hungry. I could go on...

Now that we are approaching 3 months together I would say we have developed a rhythm and a dance. We know each other well enough that we can get through the day without a major misunderstanding and can actually enjoy it. I am excited to introduce her to people and watch her learn and develop. All the joys of motherhood are starting to be a daily blessing rather than something for the future.

But it is surprising how hard it is to adjust to this new life, for it to feel normal and fit with me. I have wrestled with lots of advice and am slowly finding a pattern for my day which works for me and Ella. I have been confronted again with the fact that I need to feel competent and I need things to be ordered. I enjoy routine and accomplishing tasks, even tiny ones. Managing myself and my mental health as well as a new baby is a real challenge but I am beginning to love it. There is real pride in such tiny things, like working out how to do a supermarket shop or how to get her out of the car without having to go back to the driver's side door to lock the car. Such simple and possibly blonde things to conquer but each of them help me feel that this new life can become normal and that I can do it.

Now that my time revolves around Ella I am realising how much my identity is built around what I do and how I live. There is so little time for thought or reflection and it seems often irrelevant to the pressing and practical needs in my life. Why spend time in contemplation when a nap could be had or washing folded. I hope that soon I can find more balance but at present, to be honest, I am enjoying not thinking too much about everything and just folding the washing, making a cuppa and learning how to make my wee girl giggle.

Monday, 14 September 2009


I am slowly returning to the world after a rather shocking start to motherhood. Ella's birth definitely did not go as planned and ended in a C-section. Anyone who thinks that is the easy option is misinformed. Being on strong pain relief and not being able to move around is such a hard way to start out. By about 3 weeks after Ella's arrival it was pretty clear I was not my usual self and was diagnosed with post-natal depression. I ahve struggled with depression and anxiety in the past but this was like being hijacked. It was so physical and my usual coping techniques did nothing. The local mental health crisis team got involved and with the wonderful support of family, friends, professionals and drugs I am doing so much better and feeling myself again. A month ago I would not have believed I could ever get better but each week I have made so much progress and now am absolutely loving motherhood.

Accepting what has happened is tough though but in hindsight I was such a prime candidate for PND. Learning to see myself in this new identity as a Mum but also as someone with a mental illness is quite a journey. It reminds me of how much I want to feel like I have it all together and how easily things can fall apart. I am so much more appreciative of the simple things and so much less interested in always striving for more in my life. At present I would be satisfied with quality time with my bubs, hubby and family and friends, enjoying nature and the simple things in life.

As spring arrives I feel for the first time in years that I am contented with my life and instead of wanting to fast forward I want to put my life on pause and savour every precious moment with my little girl and our little family.