I’ve been putting this post off for a while now. For the sake of honesty and a complete view of who Fabulous is, I suppose I should include my battle with postnatal depression. Who knows maybe it helps someone out there in blog land.
I guess I would have to begin with how I knew things weren’t okay. After my Angel Nanny got back from holiday a week late I was shattered. Two weeks of 24hr on call had taken it out of me. Instead of bouncing back once AN was back and I caught up on sleep, I found myself slipping further and further down into a dark hole. I didn’t want to get out of bed, I resented the boys and the demands they placed on me. I was tired and emotional all the time, but the thing that scared me the most was the uncontrollable anger I was feeling directed at the boys.
Monkey has this funny little foible. He likes to be jiggled, bounced and swayed rather vigorously. The more vigorous, the better. Now it has to be said that dear Monkey is a lot more labour intensive than his brother. He has a quicksilver temperament and is quick to smile and quick to cry. I found myself being very rough with him, bouncing him too hard, shaking him (not the do-damage kind of shaking but enough to scare me) and swearing at him. It was worse at night when I had gotten up for the fifth time and he was crying uncontrollably. Eventually my anger was spilling over onto my happy little docile Lion Cub and he was bearing the brunt of my frustration. Not fair. Not fair to either of them or me. One night Monkey started crying and instead of getting up I just rolled over and ignored him.
I did a quick consult with Dr Google and very quickly realised that I was in the middle of a postnatal depressive meltdown.
These are things to look out for:
A feeling of being overwhelmed
Sleep and eating disturbances
Inability to be comforted
Anhedonia (that is not being able to enjoy things you used to)
Low or no energy
Becoming easily frustrated
Feeling inadequate in taking care of the baby
Impaired speech and writing
Spells of anger towards others
Increased anxiety or panic attacks
Decreased sex drive
Thoughts of doing harm to yourself or your baby
I found myself ticking everything on the list.
Yup, definitely PPD then, damn! Now what? How to go about fixing things? I was lucky that I was able to recognise the problem within a short time, I’ve heard stories of women who struggled for months or years because they thought they were being weak or it was normal to be that tired and overwhelmed.
Continued in part 2.