Monthly Archives: January 2014

A Poem About Motherhood

My beautiful friend has written a stunning poem about the battle between parenthood and the rest of life. She was inspired by my blog.

Like me, she’s fighting postnatal depression. We’ve shared our struggles with each other and our daughters have a lovely friendship. I’m very proud of you KC, hang in there.

“I’m sorry if the house’s a mess,
And the beds remain unmade,
But today I’ve climbed a mountain,
And dived a deep sea cave.

I’m sorry if the cupboards are half stocked,
And my husbands shirt a little creased,
But my days been full of my daughters cuddles,
And I’ve kissed her tiny feet.

I’m sorry if my lawns not mowed,
Or the flowers never pruned,
But today I’ve been an astronaut,
And flown a rocket to the moon.

I’m sorry if there’s dust on the shelves,
And I haven’t vacuumed for a week,
But today I’ve made a magical den,
And listened to the same song on repeat!

I’m sorry if I’ve missed your facebook status,
Or forget to #retweet,
But today I’ve jumped in muddy puddles,
And played hopscotch in the street.

I’m sorry if my car’s full of rubbish,
And there’s chocolate on the seats,
But today she used the potty twice,
So deserved a little treat.

I’m sorry if I forget you’ve text,
Or arrive late to a girls night,
But today I’ve made 21 mud pies,
And then flown my daughters kite.

I’m sorry if my stories bore you,
Or you feel I no longer care,
But I’ll never get this time back with her,
To make fun memories to share.

I’m sorry that my life has changed,
And we’ve taken different paths,
But I have my precious daughter now,
And she deserves my heart.”

The blog that inspired the poem:

http://babysbreastie.com/post-natal-depression/

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Loopy Update

Just a little update on the ‘I’ve gone loopy’ phase I’m currently experiencing, for anyone that’s following my journey. If you are, then thank you. I’ve read every single one of the messages and there have been fabulous offers of support.

I’ve been taking the higher dose of 20mg of Citalopram for 16 days. I’ve been feeling a little better since Tuesday afternoon, but it may be that I’ve kept myself so busy that I haven’t had time to perfect a plan of suicide. It’s a fine line between feeling better so you want to do things and doing so much that you’re masking that you’re ill.

I haven’t needed to take any diazepam so far. This afternoon is the first time I’ve been alone since Saturday and Moo is asleep right now. It’s approaching the time of day when things get tough and I’m mentally begging for my husband to come home.

I can still hear my ‘cave’ calling to me. The emotionally luxurious space between the mattress and the duvet. The place where my only concern is the chocolate growing back in Candy Crush. It makes me feel totally lazy, but it’s more than that. It’s a *need* to be there, I can physically feel that I need to lie down in the quiet zone. Anything that stops me doing so is the enemy and I greet it with furious rage.

I’m too anxious to drive, or talk on the phone. My husband spoke to the Talking Therapies service who have referred me elsewhere as they can’t offer what they feel I need. I’m just waiting on an appointment. I just wish there’d been something available to me three weeks ago, when I was wondering how long it would take me to die if I just stopped eating.

I just need to get through a few more days. If I don’t feel any better then I can increase my medication. One hour at a time is all I can do.

Anyone Got A Womb For Rent?

I’m suddenly awash with sadness. I’ve mostly been swinging between agitation and anxiety and lethargy and fatigue, but tonight I’m just plain old sad. I feel so sad that my life has come to this. What a waste of a life. So ungrateful.

I feel sad and lonely and frightened. I just want to be wrapped up tight like a baby and mothered. I need all the decisions and responsibilities to be taken away from me. All the bad things and stresses would disappear and I’d just feel warmth and love. I need a womb to hide in.

But that’s not real life, is it. What kind of a person can’t cope with everyday life? What kind of a person can’t see how blessed she is? I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not always nasty or self involved or undeserving. My brain is just malfunctioning. It just needs some TLC and some medicine to make it better.

Two And A Half

As of the 20th of this month I’ve been breastfeeding for 30 months. Moo is two and a half and has had my expressed breast milk her whole life. Sure, we used a little formula along the way, and she now has cows milk too, but she’s had plenty of the good stuff.

I can tell the end is in sight. I think about stopping pumping more and more often. I’m less religious about counting ounces and although my freezer stash is almost gone, it no longer upsets me. Quitting won’t be emotionally easy, but I won’t feel I’ll have failed Moo by calling it a day anytime soon.

The dream of breastfeeding her will die with it, and that will be hard. My life will no longer revolve around breast milk and the pump. You never know, my nipples might go back to normal too. I don’t think my passion for breastfeeding and supporting pumping mamas will ever go away. While I didn’t get the experience I dreamed of, pumping for this long has certainly had its own rewards.

Letting go of the ‘habit’ will be a toughie. Even as I’m writing this, I can feel the pumping gremlin telling me that I may as well do another six months. We shall see.

Talking Therapies Self Referral

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Apparently you can now refer yourself for talking therapies on the NHS. My doctor gave me a leaflet and form to fill out, along with my anti depressants. Seems pretty simple. The form isn’t too long winded, fortunately I’m not so insane that I’m incapable of holding a pen.

I get started. I complete my name. NHS number? That’ll take some research. Might leave it blank. I don’t have the energy to wade through paperwork mountain to find that. Tick boxes. Tick boxes are good. I can say yes to the things that are wrong with me. Simple.

Wait, what’s this? A big blank box? Ominous, somewhat intimidating. Describe the things that are causing me difficulties? Hmm. And out it pours. The lethargy, the planning of suicide, neglecting to stimulate my child, the insomnia, the anxiety attacks. There it is, all written down in block capitals. I even managed to fit it in the box.

And underneath, a question about what I hope to achieve by attending such therapies. I’ve written ‘I want to be normal’. A big ask, but I may as well put it out there.

Do I want to sign up for any group courses? Hell no. I don’t answer the phone or door, I can’t begin entertaining the idea of sitting in a room full of strangers while I rock back and forth. I think talking about how crazy I am with one person is plenty enough for now.

Done. Now just to build up the courage to post the damn thing.

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Doctor, Doctor…

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Off I went to see my family doctor, armed with my barely legible list of symptoms. I’d written it with my husband and had been as honest as I could, from the crippling anxiety to my plans of suicide. I felt much more calm than I did last week, avoiding a panic attack in the waiting room. This time a week ago I was wrestling Moo back into the pushchair, heart racing, while frantically texting the Samaritans.

I handed over the scrawled note and waited for the questions so I could explain in more depth, but they didn’t really materialise. Was I eating? Was I sleeping? Important points, but a lot less concerning than the plans to kill myself or desperation to be drunk. I was given instructions to return if there was no improvement from my anti depressants and to complete a talking therapies self referral form.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ungrateful. I’m sure those things will help me. I’m sure my GP is following standard procedure. I’m not even sure what I expected or wanted from the experience. But I left feeling a little deflated. Off I go, to join a waiting list of thousands of people who need a listening ear.

I know that the change needs to come from me. Only I can improve my outlook and coping mechanisms. I’m sure that the talking therapy will guide me in the right direction. But until then I just continue not sleeping? Being so anxious that I can’t answer the door or go to work? Sitting vacantly staring while Moo stands in front of the TV?

I don’t know what he could possibly have offered to help with any of those things. I need an immediate miracle cure type thing really. I’m just praying that I’m not waiting too long for therapy. And that the new dosage of anti depressants kicks in pretty soon.

The Clear Out

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Pretty pink bags, all sealed with goodies and addressed, off to the post office and then on to their new homes. Pre-loved clothes, ready to be re-loved, worn again by other children, that will hopefully have just as much fun in them.

The clothes in these bags are some of my most precious items. Tiny floral baby grows, pinafore dresses and dungarees. Holding them close to me brings back a waterfall of memories, not all good, but memories to never be forgotten all the same.

Holding onto things that have no useful purpose is pointless. They’ll just serve as a reminder of the children I’m never going to have. I’ve kept a few precious things, the first outfits, some hand knitted items. But to keep bags and bags seems wasteful. They deserve to be worn again.

Listing them on eBay kept me busy, rummaging through the holdall in the attic, photographing them neatly. Packaging them was a chore. Writing the names and addresses on them was heartbreaking. My baby’s clothes, scattered around the country, along with them goes some if the hope that one day I’ll change my mind and have the large family I dreamed of.

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The News Fucks Me Up

It started as a teenager. The terrorist attacks, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, George Bush and Tony Blair. I was consumed by it all. It was a difficult time for me anyway, the first serious bout of depression. I isolated myself, harmed myself and absorbed myself in current affairs.

Why I latched onto watching the news broadcasts I don’t know. I didn’t have the Internet at home at the time, but I’d tune in once the evening news shows started and watch late into the night. Perhaps seeing the devastation that others faced made my own issues seem insignificant? Maybe it gave me something else to focus on and become passionate about, rather than simply wallowing in my own self pity.

And then I just upset myself. Lying awake for hours, my conscious filled with scenes of war, neglected children, criminal mug shots.

I can see the pattern starting again now, and it’s reached another level with the use of social media. I can access the headlines 24/7. Missing people, online petitions, live news updates, weather warnings. I’m flicking between Twitter and Facebook to catch it all. I need to know the latest details, perhaps I’ll be there when the case is solved or the child found.

It almost becomes a compulsion. Just another idiosyncrasy to add to the pile. My over active mind is like a monster that needs to be constantly fed. More thoughts, more information, links, images, tweets.

What I wouldn’t give for a thought free, day dreaming moment.

Over Exposure

Is there such a thing as over sharing when it comes to blogging? Can a person be too open and honest? I know that there’ll be judgement and opinion. In some ways I welcome it. It’s good to get people thinking and talking, it all raises awareness, whether people agree or disagree.

I worry most about judgement from people that know me in my real life, the 3D people. It must sometimes be hard for those that care about me to read this stuff. It even makes me wince, reading some of it back. I know that there’ll be others that don’t agree with my parenting style or choices. But I’ve had feedback that loved ones have gained a huge insight into my life over the last three years and have a much better understanding of my experiences, particularly the post natal depression. It was hard to keep friends in the loop during the worst of it.

I wonder how Moo will feel that I shared so much of her life? How would I have felt if my mother had done the same? I like to think that she’ll be able to read some of this and know that I always tried my best and that my love for her is what kept me going.

I share my life and am as authentic as I can be in the hope that someone else can relate. I appreciate the support for myself and I hope to break feelings of isolation for others. It feels right for the moment, so I’ll go with Over Exposure

Is there such a thing as over sharing when it comes to blogging? Can a person be too open and honest? I know that there’ll be judgement and opinion. In some ways I welcome it. It’s good to get people thinking and talking, it all raises awareness, whether people agree or disagree.

I worry most about judgement from people that know me in my real life, the 3D people. It must sometimes be hard for those that care about me to read this stuff. It even makes me wince, reading some of it back. I know that there’ll be others that don’t agree with my parenting style or choices. But I’ve had feedback that loved ones have gained a huge insight into my life over the last three years and have a much better understanding of my experiences, particularly the post natal depression. It was hard to keep friends in the loop during the worst of it.

I wonder how Moo will feel that I shared so much of her life? How would I have felt if my mother had done the same? I like to think that she’ll be able to read some of this and know that I always tried my best and that my love for her is what kept me going.

I share my life and am as authentic as I can be in the hope that someone else can relate. I appreciate the support for myself and I hope to break feelings of isolation for others. It feels right for the moment, so I’ll go with it.

Winners Never Quit

Right?

I don’t think I can ever quit pumping.

Quitting would mean there would be no chance of me ever breastfeeding a baby. That teensiest slither of hope that I hang on to, the ridiculous belief that maybe one day Moo might just latch on and do it, would be gone. No breast milk, no chance. I’ve hung on to that desire, that wish, that insanely unlikely fantasy for so long. How do I just let it go?

I’ve worked damn hard to get here, to keep going this long. There were days when I’d be desperate to just do something else, to be able to leave the house without the contraption, to be able to sleep all night. Days that my nipples were bleeding and the milk was bright pink and I ached and shivered with mastitis. How can I give up when I’ve come this far?

It’s such an ingrained part of my life now. I get up, I pump. Before I say good morning to my daughter, before I eat, before I brush my teeth, I pump. Every single day, for more than two years. It’s the longest running activity I’ve ever taken part in. None of my other ‘hobbies’ have lasted this long.

With breastfeeding, there’s self weaning. But with pumping, there’s no natural end point. Lots of exclusively pumping mamas do a year, when they can switch to cows milk. Perhaps I should have had a date in mind and just stopped, a clean break. But I just couldn’t do it, I felt compelled to continue.

I’m freaking out that I’ll quit and then regret it. It’d be far too late to go back. The work that would take would destroy me, but I’m worried my stubbornness and determination would make me do it. So I’m stuck, just pumping on forever, aimlessly listening to the repetitive buzz of the pump.