First-time mum, in training. Blogging about this motherhood malarkey from a refreshingly honest perspective.

Why I Couldn't Seek Support Post-Baby

I wonder how many people are afraid to seek help for their mental health when they have a baby(ies). Who are suffering in silence, how many are drinking alone to numb the ache, who are self harming to release a relentless anguish that is crushing them from the inside out.
Hiding their torment for the fear they will be deemed incapable, unfit to be a parent. That their baby will be taken away from them, never to be seen again.

And that was my fear. 
It revolved around in my mind every day. I couldn't shake the growing restlessness. How uneasy I felt before every health visitor appointment. I would fuss over every minor detail in the house, if the dishes were washed and put away, if it looked tidy enough that we were still able to maintain a clean household, but not too tidy that suggested we compromised attending to Arthur over housework. I would stress if Arthur was inconsolable, terrified she would assume I was neglecting his needs or not attending to him enough. I was warily conscious of my appearance, if it was noted I was looking a little deflated, a little worn out. If it was noticed I was still wearing the same sick stained clothes from last week.

I remember my old Health Visitor showing up with a PND checklist a few weeks after Arthur was born. A mixture of questions that, based on my score, would ascertain my current state of mind. She was cold and frankly, uninterested.

Do you experience persistent feelings of sadness or low mood? -  Never/Rarely/Sometimes/Often
Have you considered or thought of self harming? - Never/Rarely/Sometimes/Often
Do you experience uncontrollable bouts of rage or anger? - Never/ Rarely/Sometimes/Often

I know, right a 10 question survey that would take under two minutes to complete and would deem my mental state. What happened to a good old, face to face conversation over tea, and a simple, "How are you feeling today?" or "Do you need to talk?"

I lied on every question.
I sat scribbling answers I knew would suggest I was feeling okay. Sometimes, rarely.. Nothing that seemed out of the ordinary. Sometimes, I felt anxious or sometimes I felt sad, just like everyone else. I wasn't experiencing occurring panic attacks or lying awake for hours at a time, eyes glued to the rise and fall of my sons chest. I wasn't crying every minute of the day or feeling so alone my bones ached. I didn't feel like there were hands gripping my throat, suffocating me of air. 

"Well you scored a healthy 6, Taylor. That's an average, normal result." She assessed moments after assuring this wasn't a test and the score didn't mean anything.

Why did I lie? Why didn't I just confess that, actually, I really wasn't feeling too great. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat, I felt like I was doing this all wrong.
I had this horrifying concern that they would take Arthur away there and then. Pry his tiny sleeping soul from his bassinet and never let me hold him again. Condemn me a bad mum. Believe me unable to cope with the constant demands that came with being a parent to a newborn (a wailing colicky newborn).

Not only that I'd lose everything (sanity included) but that, my son would be whisked away and would grow up, without me, with a strange family, someone else he'd call Mum, feeling abandoned and alone. Wondering why his mum had let herself sink so low, why she couldn't fight hard enough through the dark to be there for him.

It was a scary, confusing period. My body was on high alert. My mind was stumbling through a fog and I couldn't find a way out.
I was stuck between trying to compose the reality that I was crumbling inside in terror I would lose my son whilst silently pleading out for someone to see through my faltering facade. This trying pretense. 

I wasn't in the right state to ask or admit I really did just need someone to confess too. 
That I was finding it tough. That my anxiety was debilitating my every thought. That I needed someone to help me process the whirlwind that had been the last few weeks. I was always rushing through life, never taking a minute to stop, to breath, to just let everything sink in.

Even now, I still feel a familiar worry when it comes to seeking any form of help about my mental health. It took months of suffering alone, fighting just to make it through the day before I could drop the facade and crumple in my bed each night, of being riddled with despair before I finally succumbed and admitted something was terribly not right. 

It is frightening. It can seem a daunting thought. But a happy mum, equals a happy baby. If you are struggling or finding it difficult to cope, please talk to a friend, family member or someone you trust. Don't suffer in silence. It is not weakness. It does not measure your worth as a person or as a parent. We all struggle. 
Support is available. Reach out.



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