I went to uni and studied Psychology, but deferred forever after 3 weeks. Nothing I ever say should be taken seriously or override anything your counsellor/health professional has advised. However I think I’m wise as fuck so have a read and take what you want on board.
I don’t like the term “Post Natal Depression” It sounds so depressing, like if you find the early stages of parenthood depressing then you have a condition.. Well having babies IS depressing, its so depressing, not the part you see on Facebook where the husband is bathing the baby and everyone is smiling in maternal bliss, or the older sibling is “Being Sweet” to the newborn and the mum is actually wearing mascara. But the real part, the part where the four walls of your living room are closing in on you, your friends are slowly dropping off and the man you once doted over and thought was the absolute shit is now just a big total wave of resentment. That’s normal, it passes but it’s normal. So here’s what to do.
Get a snuggy, or “Special blanket/Scarf”. The purpose of this item is that everyone who’s close to you knows that when you are wearing it you have cracked, not coping, checking out for a while, the snuggy is for Ground Zero days. Before putting on your straight jacket (Snuggy) make sure all children and babies are safe, like theres no water in the bath, the babies in its cot, the toddlers watching TV etc and pop it on. If you’re alone when you don the snuggy (Mine is a big South American style Alpaca poncho) text your mum/dad/aunty/best friend or partner a picture of you in the Snuggy. This is their cue to come over and take over because shits going down.
Once someone arrives check out, babies can scream their heads off if they are safe, toddlers can throw food around the house cos mumma ain’t listening. I like to stair at a wall for an hour while someone else cleans my house and changes nappies. Yes there will be whispers, concerns for your mental state etc but you and I will both know that your just giving yourself a breather and demanding that someone else deals with your living hell for a while.
2 Socialise. This seems ridic, like you need to be reminded. But it can be easy to just say “Fuck it” When getting out seems so god dam hard and staying in your undies on the couch seems so much easier. You will go insane. Trust me. And don’t for a second think that Facebook is socialising, its not. Facebook is a lovely reminder or everything thats going perfectly for everyone else and sucks for you. Facebook is not real, its a snap shot of the best bits. Face to face socialising even when you didn’t want to do it in the first place is therapeutic, other women are mostly kind, mostly lovely, some of your most intimate moments post birth will be with other women especially those who have been there, your contact with them needs to be prioritised.
3 Men feel useless when a newborn comes home. Bla bla bla boo fucking hoo.
Let me rephrase, men behave uselessly when a newborn comes home. They do get better, when your kid turns 2 they step up and sometimes even take over.
So at the end of the day your chances of PND will be greatly lessened if you expect very little from your husband and avoid friends who still like theirs (that too is depressing) Don’t be scared, you can do this alone.
4 Don’t even entertain the mummy comp. Its a big fucking competition of who’s a better mum and the minute you give birth all the mummy olympians come a knocking. They want you and not on their teams, they want your photo on their spotless walls of defeat. They want to have beaten you in the child birth comp, the mummy morals comp, the brest feeding comp, the sleeping babies, the weight loss comp, it just goes on and on. Its worse online, post anything about your kid or motherhood and out come the keyboard warriors. You will know who your real friends are because the only competitions they want to partake in is the ‘who has gone the longest without washing their hair comp’ or the who’s managed to avoid sex for the longest comp and they cackle over a bottle of wine with you (yes while yours breast feeding)
5 Babies cry, dishes pile up you need to prioritise your sanity. A baby who is fed, burped and has a dry bum yet is still crying because it isn’t being walked from room to room and rocked and sang to is not as important as a vagina that has not been washed in over 24 hours. Put the baby in its safe place, let it cry and have that shower. Dishes and washing despite what husbo might think are NOT as important as your cup of tea or coffee, they are NOT as important as your daily exercise, they are NOT as important as that hour long chat with your bestie on her lunch break. Get your priorities sorted, your the captain of this ship, if your a nutty sleep deprived lunatic incapable of wiping her own arse then a sparkling kitchen means SHIT ladies.
And thats about all I have to say on the topic. On a final note just remember one thing, when it comes to babies, everything is temporary, the victories and the downfalls. However on a gradual scale everything is getting easier, slowly as it may seem. You’re a mum, you’re winning.
And in the spirit of keeping things real – here is the worst photo ever taken of my fat pregnant self.
Bet you’re feeling better already.
**Post edited- when I wrote this a couple years ago remembering the times when I had PND and I’d flick through social media and end up just feeling worse about myself. I wrote a line about avoiding fashion blogger’s pages and named one, but Queen shaming is not what I’m about. I reserve the right to evolve as a person and change my mind on things that matter as often as I do my non-designer undies. Con xo