My Mental Health Roller-Coaster Ride Called Motherhood
The moment I became a mum was both a beautiful blessing and an overwhelming sense of responsibility, with my first thought being “what do I do with her now?”
Throughout trying for a baby, pregnancy, labour and birth thoughts are based around loving expectations, hope and love (even during the times of pain us child birthing women are promising ourselves that it will all be worth it when the baby is born – for that prize we get at the end!) However, for the majority of new mums there is a void left once our child has arrived as we are unable to bridge the gap between expectations and reality, with sleepless nights, exhaustion, sick, leaking breasts, bleeding and suchlike being all those things that we never get a full insight into until we actually have our own baby.
I had the most joyous pregnancy with my first child (Ella, now 6), but the most horrendous labour, which lasted 6 long days in scorching Summer heat, and pushed body to the max in terms of my pain threshold (which I had always considered to be quite high!)
After this long week, I had a fairly straightforward and quick waterbirth and after an overnight stay and little difficulties with breastfeeding me and my new addition were discharged from hospital and sent home. Matthew my husband was absolutely incredible and with his support the first few weeks, while he was off on paternity leave, even through we were utterly tired, it was a doddle.
But once he was back at work and routine set in things turned quite sour. I was always a career focused woman up to that point and enjoyed the thrill and challenge of the working environment, so becoming a stay at home mum, only communicating with adults for a maximum of a few hours per week and having to rely on public transport at the time, left me feeling bored, isolated and quite depressed.
Looking into my new baby’s deep blue eyes, I was absolutely head over heals in love with her, but my heart felt broken as I resented her for the life I was now trapped in. All day everyday I clock watched until Matthew came home from work, and the days seemed so long inside the house with just the dog and newborn for company.
I didn’t let on that I was this miserable at the time, and even though my mum visited as often as she could, I used I sob after she had left as would again be counting down the minutes until I had proper human interaction again.
Luckily after 6 months I started to feel better from visiting mother and baby groups, doing activities with other mums and kids, and getting a lot of fresh air in the Spring and Summer, and realised that so many new mums feel this way right after having their baby.
With the impact or hormone, lack of sleep, pain from childbirth, struggles with breastfeeding, boredom of homelife, pressure of chores, lack of money, judgement from others, along with that intense feeling that I was never good enough, becoming a mum seemed an uphill struggle, but it got easier once I realised that I wasn’t the only one who had these feelings and pressures.
I am glad to say that, even though I had an awful pregnancy and birth with my second child (Alfie now 2), I didn’t have the same negative feelings of post natal depression that time around as I knew whenever I felt a little low I just needed to reach out and talk to other mum friends about it. This is why I took over NorfolkMums.com in 2018, as I was keen to develop it into a platform where local mums could connect, support and empower one another, as well as share their experiences of motherhood (like the one I have told you here) and also have some fun too!
By creating an open forum for mums in Norfolk to be themselves without judgement, plus join in with events to educate, support and bring them together means for a much happier mum, thus much happier children and family environment.
You have probably heard the saying “happy wife, happy life” – well at Norfolk Mums we favour the saying “happy mother, happier altogether”
Written by Serena Fordham, Owner of Norfolk Mums
If you are a mum in Norfolk please join our Facebook community and find out more about our events and meet ups through our website www.norfolkmums.com.