Postnatal depression is manipulative. It floods your mind with self-doubt and negative thoughts. It convinces you that you’re hopeless, a bad parent and a weak person. And the more you believe it, the stronger it gets.
Depression is determined. It wants to stay. It will trick you into believing you cannot do the things that will make you feel better such as talking, finding support, leaving the house, talking medication or going to therapy.
Depression is basically a dick.
If you are a parent dealing with depression or anxiety then reading this will really piss it off. So, read it now QUICK, before Depression makes you feel bad for pissing around on the Internet instead of making baby food out of organic unicorn tears.
The TRUTHS depression just not want you to know:
1) You are not a weak person. You are suffering from an illness that happens to be depression. You got sick; it is not your fault.
2) You CAN still be a good parent when you feel anxious, sad or just plain terrible.
3) Postnatal depression is more common than many people think, affecting around one in 10 women. You are not alone.
4) Postnatal illness can come in many different forms. Just because you are up and wearing make-up– does not mean you don’t need help as much as the mum who can’t get out of bed. Pain is pain, whether it is under the skin or on the surface.
5) Your baby will not remember seeing you cry. Your baby will be fine.
6) You are taking care of your child while feeling awful. That is something to be proud of.
7) If your baby is happy, healthy and all in one piece then you are doing a great job.
8) You will try and convince yourself that you are not ill and that you are just a bad parent. This is NOT true. It is the depression talking. Tell it to shut the fuck up.
9) At one point you may worry that you have gone mad. But you are not. It is true that mad people do not think they are mad!
10) Postnatal illness does not discriminate – it can happen to anyone. Working mums, stay at home mums, dads and even film stars like Gwyneth Paltrow!
11) You have nothing to be ashamed of. Depression is a disease. You did not choose it.
12) You have nothing to feel guilty about. Would you feel guilty about having a physical illness?
13) Talking WILL help. There is significant evidence to show that sufferers of PND improve more quickly with support. Find a support group, get counselling, ask your GP about cognitive therapy or talk to family and friends.
14) If you are taking medication, it does not mean you are weak. A diabetic would not think twice about taking insulin. Antidepressants do not change who you are – but they can help you to find your way back to who you were before you got ill.
15) It is ok to be kind to yourself. Take breaks when you can and instead of beating yourself up for all the things you are doing wrong – commend yourself for all the things you are doing right. Like getting up, getting dressed and caring for your baby.
16) Even people who are not suffering from a mental illness find parenthood really tough. You are stronger than you think.
17) Just because you are not cherishing every moment right now does NOT mean you do not cherish your child.
18) You WILL survive. Just like you did yesterday and the day before that and the day before that.
19) Those things you are worrying about that might happen. The ‘what ifs’? (especially the one about throwing your baby out of the window).It is more than likely that they will NEVER happen The Depression plants these seeds of doubt in your mind. Do not nurture them and they will not grow.
20) You WILL get better and when you do you will be stronger than ever.
PS: Depression, if you are reading this. We are ON to you. Your days here are numbered.
For Postnatal Illness advice visit PANDAS or get in touch with your local Home-Start. You can also read about my battle with PND here.
Check out my new book that contains no baby sleep advice whatsoever… Just lots of laughs and tips on surviving the sleepless nights from someone who has been there!
Sleep Is For The Weak: How To Survive When Your Baby Won’t Go The FzZk To Sleep at book shops or on Amazon now!!