I fell pregnant with Willow in October 2015, she was a surprise to us as we were told that it was not possible for us to fall naturally. Fast forward 41 weeks and I bought Willow into this world in July 2016. I had a pretty shitty pregnancy, I actually hated it. At no point throughout those months did I have mental acknowledgement that my baby was a real baby. I saw her in scans, I felt her move but to me, she was something so foreign to me. People would ask if I was excited to meet her, I lied. I was excited for the pregnancy to be over. I ended up going over so I was induced, 15 hours of natural labor before an emergency caesarean. Still at no point did I feel anything for this human that I was about to give birth to. My husband would tell me how in love he was with our little girl but I didn’t get it. How could you love something that you have never seen? I didn’t get.
She was lifted up to be shown to me and I was so off it, I didn’t even see her. She was there, but I wasn't. They asked if I wanted to see her and I said yes but I still did not acknowledge her as mine. Greg held her next to me and I just looked at her, blankly as if she wasn’t mine. I was taken to recovery and they put her on my chest to do skin to skin. Still nothing. Here, feed her, try and get her to feed from you. I did, but I didn’t feel anything. I cried, but I cried because I was traumatized. I was in hospital for 4 days and I just functioned. I fed her, I changed her, I held her but I did it so routine like, what a mum should do. Did I love her? I’m going to be honest and say I don't know, what is it suppose to feel like? I've heard that it's a love that you have never felt before but where was mine? . At times I would ask the midwife if I should be feeling something and she told me that it will come, when I’m ready. Right, ok so I'll just wait then.
We got home and I continued to do the routines. Feed, change her, hold her but when I stared at her, I felt empty. I would sit in the shower and cry. Ahh it’s the hormones, it will pass. But when, I would cry every night in that shower, every single night without fail. I put up a fasade that I was so happy but I wasn’t. I was an empty shell that was now responsible for another human. My husband went back to work after a week so I was at home just routining…again. I would listen to her cry and I couldn’t do anything to stop her. I had family and friends offer to help with the house etc but I didn’t want anyone near me. I let calls ring out, I didn’t reply to texts, I secluded myself from everyone. All along my baby needed me and I wasn’t there mentally for her. I had heard of PND but thought because I knew the signs I would be fine. I had all the signs, but to me they weren’t bad enough.
It wasn’t until I caught myself looking at Willow and thinking about who would be a better mum for her. Like, Im pretty sure my sister in law would take her as her own.
What the hell was I thinking?? Why was I thinking like this, did I not want to be here anymore? I was so confused.
I am lucky that my husband and I communicate so well cause he could see I was off. It had been 4 weeks and I was not myself. I didn’t go out, I stayed in my trackies and dressing gown everyday, I don’t think I washed my hair for over 16 days and I didn’t eat. I was just living. As you do.
It wasn’t until I was sitting at home, on my bed, with Willow and I just stared at her. I grabbed her hands and looked her straight in the eyes. I needed something to switch in my brain so I could be the best mum to her, anything. I sat there for an hour, and I don’t know what happened but I burst into tears. I wasn’t upset, it was a different cry to the usual tears I cried, I sobbed. My husband came upstairs and asked what happened, at that very moment, 5 weeks after Willow was born, I finally loved my baby. Like, that love you are suppose to feel, that REAL intense, how did I live without you kind of love. I felt warm and accomplished. That was my turning point. I don’t know what or how it happened but I was finally a mum, the mum she needed me to be.
Now how did I get out of this? What did I do? I had people around me that knew the signs. I stepped away from myself and studied my actions. This wasn’t me, and it wasn’t hormones. It wasn’t normal how I was feeling and yet, I didn’t talk to anyone about it as I thought I was just ‘down’ due to change etc. I wish I had other mums around me that had gone through what I did so I didn’t feel alone. I had my husband but it wasn’t the same, I needed another woman to help me. I needed to talk to other past PND sufferers as I don’t think we are there enough for each other.
Sometimes now I still deny I had PND because it wasn’t me. I am the kind of person to make a joke when a serious situation is happening as it's my coping mechanism, and I guess that is why I started my blog and I make my posts funny. We need to talk to each other and reach out. Sometimes its easier to talk to someone that is not in your circle, message them. I can guarantee that no one will turn away.
You aren't alone. It isn't 'just' being sad. It is a real thing that can take over your mind and body. We mustn't let it, we need to come together and do what we can to help each other out.