During this time of self isolation and social distancing it can, for some of us women with mental illnesses, be even harder to cope and to hold it all together as we wonder and overthink the future.
I have decided to share a little about my journey from a young mum barely able to function (although still turning up to work every day with her "A" face on) to the point where I am at now; Running my own lady startup dream (still with her "A" face on!) I truly believe women are resilient and strong and we do what we have to do, but when we have the support of our tribe we are even stronger and that’s where communities like WWGI built by Michelle Redfern, my Bali Babes group and my special girlfriends can give the extra strength, advice and assurance we need!
Me now. This is my "A" face, the only face I show in public.
During this time we can lift each other up, check in and arrange zoom parties or FaceTime, leave Marco Polo messages or have a "house party". These things keep us connected and can lift us up.
This is the start of my struggle with mental wellness story in brief. Only read on if interested.
Did you know 1 in 7 women suffer from Post Natal Depression (PND)? And I was the one in our mothers group of seven.
Before my first child, I was a Marketing Systems Manager for a Supermarket Chain and I went back to that job. I loved working and believed I could have it all but the travel and a new baby that never slept took its toll, and so I moved to a part time night managers role (still in the supermarket industry). Still with my "A" face on.
When I had my next 2 babies I had one week off from the job each time, and never told them I was pregnant! (They just thought I was gaining weight...WTF!) and I know (now) this did not help my mental health, but back in those days there was no maternity leave for casuals or part timers and I needed my job!
I did not realise what I was experiencing was PND or PPD (Post Partum Depression). I just knew that I had NO feelings about this baby... no instant love, no 'I would die for you feelings'... It was like a stranger that I had to care for. It was annoying and I was tired. All the children wanted to be fed, entertained etc., and I just didn’t want to do any of it. I never wanted to hurt any of them, I just wasn’t up for the job! I didn’t tell anyone for fear of judgement or the kids being taken (they were my own feelings). I cried a lot as everywhere else I saw super mum's doing it all. I hated playgroups or any social interaction and made the kids play hidey when anyone called in until they stopped knocking. I never answered the phone (this was my "B" face, the true Brenda face). My health centre nurse asked one day, "how are you going?" And as I fell apart, she booked me in to see the Doctor who at that point saved my life. I still remember the day when my baby turned one that I fell in love with them!
Here is that beautiful baby now and she is the light and love of my life!!
PND is not visible and so most don’t know what you may be struggling with or going through. It’s different to the baby blues and can often get mixed up but remember there are people who can help and you should reach out even if it’s just the baby blues, it’s better to know earlier!
In this time of social distancing it could be the quiet ones you need to check on. Our new mum's are going to experience such a different world with not as much support as they should have, so please look out for them and each other!
I now know that I am strong and resilient and no matter what, I will be ok. I've got this and even with small manageable (so far) panic attacks and the support of my friends and family I really will be ok. I have been through worse and was ok!
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