When I was diagnosed with PND, I was devastated that I was having a negative impact on my child. I knew that I was struggling with our bond because I was stuck, alone in my misery. But I also knew that poor attachments had really bad outcomes and this made me worry. A lot.
When children form poor attachments with their caregivers, they can develop attachment disorder. Children who have attachment disorder display a range of behaviours that alienate them from their peers. It is complex and painful. It is hard for children who have formed poor attachments when they are young to overcome the hard wired pathways in their brain that keep them in a cycle of stress. It affects their behaviour, perceptions, thoughts, actions, personality.
Attachment parenting aims to form strong attachments between parent and child to help aid development. The thinking is that children who form strong attachments with their caregivers have greater independence, social and emotional wellbeing and behaviour control.
Knowing this, I was very paranoid about getting attachment right. I wanted Boo to feel secure and safe so that she had the perfect environment for nourishing development. I knew that post natal depression had damaged our initial bonding so I wanted to rectify any problems I had caused. I was really concerned that my mental health would have a severe negative impact on Boo.
So I held her. And I breastfed her. And I talked to her. And drove myself slightly potty.
I never really stopped to just enjoy the moment because I was always worried that I needed to do more to fix everything I had broken. This anxiety about the situation wasn’t doing either of us any good.
But here’s the thing: I already had lots in place to ensure that Boo has positive outcomes despite me having PND. We went to baby massage to help improve our bond. I went to CBT and took antidepressants to help me overcome the depression. We co-slept so that I could immediately respond to her needs throughout the night. We went swimming together which we both enjoyed. My health visitor and gp had already put us on a good path to ensuring we had a strong attachment. My natural instincts guided me.
Not only that, but The research into PND and attachment has varied outcomes. The theory behind attachment is patchy. And attachment parenting isn’t all based on research. I knew snippets of information and let it really worry me. It’s not to say these things don’t matter, but my anxiety tends to make things seem far bigger than they actually are. Furthermore, seeking help ensured we were on the right path.
I am positive that Boo and I have a strong and positive attachment. I know lots of the things that were put in place for me by my health visitor and GP helped ensure that. I am so glad I had the courage to seek help. I just wish I could have stopped worrying so much!