My name is Trish and I’m a 36 Londoner living in West Yorkshire, a wife, mama of two and fur mama. I’m going to write about something I’ve never written about before for people to see.
No one in my world knows about the ins and outs of it all and to be honest I’m a bit scared to share. But I want others to feel comfortable to be able to share too and believe the sharing of such experiences will ultimately encourage other Mamas in the same situation.
Some people will get it. Some won’t. I hope anyone who reads this and feels the same knows they are not alone. So here goes…
My first struggles with my mental health began around the ages of seventeen. I struggled with depression and had an eating disorder. This came and went over a couple of years. I had therapy and medication to help during this time. Depression crept In over the next few years sometimes for a few months at a time other times a bit longer but more noticeably after the birth of my first child.
I had wanted to be a mummy for years and years and finally I was going to have my babe. I was so excited! His birth was nothing like I wanted, it was frustrating and I felt totally out of control. Recovery took some time and no one ever tells you how you might feel after birth. How long you might need to sit on that cushion or how you get so used to having your sore (huge!!) boobs out for what feels like all day.
I didn’t feel well, I didn’t feel myself. All of the pressure I’d put on myself to have an amazing maternity leave and to cherish every moment with my Bear felt overwhelming.
Don’t get me wrong, we had a ball. We went everywhere and did so many lovely things in the midst of my cloud of anxiety and depression. I learnt over time how terrified I was to walk into a baby playgroup. How alone you can feel in a room full of people. I began to find it harder and harder to talk to people. I was/am the ultimate awkward adult!
I got round this by going to smaller groups or places where I didn’t need to talk to other parents. That helped me at the time but I guess increased the feelings of loneliness and isolation. I do wonder how things would have been had I got the help that I needed. At the time I don’t think I realised how much I needed it.
It was only after Ezra’s birth that I realised what ‘normal’ felt like after birth. Although I really struggled with anxiety throughout his pregnancy. His birth was literally the most perfect birth I could have asked for. I felt in control. I was In a pool, at home, in the middle of the night watching Harry Potter, with a four hour labour. He was here! His birth was a real turning point for me. I felt free. Don’t get me wrong it has not been perfect and I’m not 100% there yet. Life would be boring if we’re all normal though hey?!
I think for me these issues will always in some way shape or form be a part of me, but I know equally they have shaped me into the person I am today. They have enabled me to share, empathise with others and allowed me access to opportunities I wouldn’t have necessarily thought of.
I am learning that it’s ok to struggle with these things and it does not make me any less of a person, wife or mother. I hope my boys will be proud of me for sharing this with you today. I am proud of myself.
I’ve just gone back to work from maternity leave. I work in a short break home for children with complex needs which I love. Over this maternity leave I developed a space online and in person for Mamas. I have wanted to develop a space like ‘Hey Mama’ for some time and after talking to 80 Mamas about their mental health experiences during pregnancy and after birth I thought there was no better time than the present. I want Hey Mama to be an open, loving platform for sharing our emotional and mental health issues without shame or embarrassment.
You’re never alone Mama x
We’d like to thank Trish for contributing to our Mental Monday’s series.