Post Natal Depression: the day I stayed in bed and cried

You can read from the start here

I had expected to cry on day 3. I didn’t. So when day 11 hit and I couldn’t get out of bed because I was crying non stop I was a little surprised.

On day 10, we had taken our tiny little baby to a wedding. Boo hadn’t even reached her due date. She wasn’t even supposed to be there. She was supposed to be in my tummy. If it had been any other wedding, I would have stayed home. But there was no way I was missing my brother in law’s wedding. Plus M was best man so if I didn’t go, I would have spent the day alone and that was equally as terrifying.

Before we went, we bought a carrier. I was so scared of Boo being passed around. I was so anxious about people infecting her with their germs. She was so small. And I had been so ill through her pregnancy. I was convinced that she would be terribly affected by any germs that others humans smeared all over her. Because that’s what people do to babies – didn’t you know? The trouble was, the carrier was way too big for her and I couldn’t breastfeed in it. So I just held her close. As it was, she fed non stop so she couldn’t be passed around anyway. And no one asked to hold her. Perhaps it was my glare if they came close? I must have looked like a crazed animal.

One of the brief moments that day that Boo wasn’t in my arms

But there were a couple of things that happened that got my adrenaline pumping. First off, I wasn’t sat with my husband and that made me super anxious. What if people saw what a terrible job I was doing? I cried when M said his speech. What if people thought I wasn’t coping? I had to change Boo because she was too hot. People commented on her outfit change and I worried that they knew I’d inappropriately dressed her. I let a couple of family members hold Boo very briefly but being separated sent waves of anxiety crashing over me. Then we left at 8pm which made me feel guilty that it was too late for Boo and too early for the newlyweds.

Now – none of these things are a big deal. They are not even noteworthy. But without realising, I had been becoming increasingly anxious. And these seemingly innocent actions left me feeling like I had failed to protect my daughter. I felt like I would continue to fail her. I felt inadequate. Overwhelmed. God, it was crushing. The reality of my horrible pregnancy was sinking in and I felt like I had failed Boo from the word go.

So on day 11, I just cried. And cried. It all felt like it was too much and that I couldn’t do it. Eventually we had to go to the hospital for a midwife appointment. The midwife looked at me and asked if I was OK. Apparently crying all morning makes your face puffy. Of course, I cried some more. She seemed concerned but I shrugged it off. I thought it was totally normal to cry this much. She asked me to speak to my gp for a referral to the mental health team. I explained I was already under their care. Because I had already failed at pregnancy just like I was failing at motherhood.

We went home and I cried some more. Now I was a fraud. The midwife was concerned about me but there was no way I was developing PND. There was no way I was depressed. I was just a rubbish mum that couldn’t take care of my child. My tears were valid – I should be crying given how badly I was doing at motherhood.

There’s still a very small voice that occasionally tells me that. I wasn’t depressed, just realistic about my inadequacies as a mother. i havr to work hard to make sure all thr positive voices shout louder. Day 11 stands out. It’s the day that the fog started to creep in. I became numb to my feelings to get through the day.

I’m lucky though. I already had a whole team of wonderful people looking after me.

 

Next: Walking and sleeping

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