It’s mental health week and a lot of people are being very brave and generous sharing their darkest and personal struggles.
Two that have really resonated with me are Parenting through depression with a preschooler by Ariane Beeston LINK and Peeping Mom on the Longest Shortest Time Podcast LINK.
I had a very difficult time becoming a mother, which I wrote about and explored within my work as a way of helping me through. And it did help me, but it also made me realise how problematic our understanding of motherhood and PND are. The language is inept, we can’t seem to understand that is is a complicated relationship that cannot be summed up in a hallmark card, or an inspirational quote. How I came to understand this, is when exploring it through my work and searching for therapy to help me through – people really didn’t know how to support me and often reflected on my being a bad mother rather than someone who needed help and support.
So my daughter is five now, and I feel so happy. I feel comfortable being a mum, I feel that there are still a lot of unknowns – but that is life. I feel like I have a good grasp on my priorities and I see the gaps and faults and just try and fix things that I can, when I can and leave the rest up to others.
I just wrote to my fav podcast talking about my experience of having a baby overseas – the podcast explores family life. And whilst I wrote my story I reflected about how having these transformative life happenings so far away from everyone and everything I once knew – still has ramifications on me today. I spent most of my daughter’s life alone with her. So in a way I have terrible separation anxiety. I try not to put this onto her, but I find it impossible to surrender and it is very hard to let her go to daycare or be babysat by anyone. At the moment I really do not want to be away from her.
On the flip side – I have really had her be part of everything in my life, so she has had all sorts of experiences with art and cooking and exploring. She’s really good at long distance train trips!
A lot of people I know who have had children around the time I did are back at work or have had more kids. I have just moved and moved and moved and lost touch and still don’t feel like I belong or that I have friends or a support network – but I finally feel like I am in a place where the possibility of that happening is likely. I feel like routine will happen and a sense of belonging is not too far off. I’m cautious, I’ve never had good luck with friends – I feel heartbroken by things that happened in the Big Smoke a year or so back. But I am healing and I feel happy or content or at least able to deal with things better than I have in a very long time.
So for the most part, I feel like I have recovered. Or maybe I just got better at managing or it’s a combination. But I think it is good to tell these stories, that giving up isn’t an option because there is still so much more to enjoy and to love in life and parenting. Recovery is not linear.