I want to start by saying that I understand that not all people feel the same way and that every journey is different; this may not work for everyone, so if you feel that this is absolutely not something that would help you there are some fantastic resources and supports out there, please check them out. (http://www.mothersmatter.co.nz/default.asp). Please don’t travel this road alone.
I haven’t had post natal depression. I do not understand what those women go through, because I havent experienced it. But I have been through something that others cannot understand unless they have experienced it, so I can see that although the journeys are different, they have a number of parallels. So although this is not my story, I want to share it because it is important to me. I want people to know they are not alone. And I hope that someone somewhere will send a quick message to a friend today, just to let them know that they are not alone.
A friend wrote this story about what she found helpful after the birth of her first baby and all I could think as I read it was that we should all strive to be there, for her, for our sisters, friends, mothers and daughters. No one should have to travel that road alone, no one should be left to feel like a failure and no one should ever feel that they can’t ask for help.
She has allowed me to share this with you. These are her words, from one mother to all of us, please just be there.
“After the 20 week scan I didn’t message you back, then you arrived at the house, I was stripping wallpaper in my dress and boots. I told you the baby has a cleft and we need more scans. All you did was give me a hug and said ‘we can deal with this’ and then you stripped the wallpaper with me. You were there.
You came to my midwife appointments. You kept me company, you listened to me cry and all through my anger and sadness and panic. You were there, always.
Then I had him, I think I had already started to cut you off, because I was already on the path to PND, but you stayed, you were always so positive and so there.
We were discharged home and you were there, you’d done the washing and made brownie, you were there.
I rang you in a panic 2 days later, you left a family dinner to come and help us. I had horrific mastitis and you helped massage my breasts to get all the milk out. It was so painful and so personal but you were there.
We went into hospital, and you were there, you texted all the time, I never replied. But you were there.
You came and stayed because I wanted you at the house, and you left notes everywhere, it made me smile and make me think this was all ok.
You came to our 6 week imms, because I was terrified of holding him. You were there.
When I was diagnosed with PND, at about 3 months in, I messaged my two closest people. “I have PND, on Meds, don’t want to talk about it”.
They both offered all the support they could and people to talk to etc. I didn’t want that.
Then I fell apart, I couldn’t feed or touch my beautiful boy- I was throwing up at the thought of having to do it.
You came and fed him. You were there.
When I was so bad that my husband and mother-in-law had to stay at home and look after me, you came and sat with me, literally sat on the couch watching TV while I counted down the minutes till the next Valium.
When he had surgery, you were there, you met us up at the ward, you chattered away and talked to us, I think I was numb and wasn’t really taking anything in, but you were there.
You took me to mothercraft and said it will be ok, and it was. You were there messaging and not caring if I didn’t reply. You were there.
When I thought there was something wrong with his breathing, you came around and decided we were off to the hospital, you came with me and you stayed with me. You were there.
You made sure, if I was anxious about anything, you would try and fix it. I think I decided my eyebrows were in desperate need of attention and plucking, so therefore, I couldn’t go out. So you lay me down and plucked my eyebrows… we went out and even though I found it hard you were there.
I remember going out for dessert one night and I really, really didn’t want to be there. You messaged me that night, to say it was ok and I didn’t have to force myself to do anything with people. You were there.
You were and are always there and you will never know how much that means.”
Sometimes it’s just a text or a call, or a drop and run at the doorstep with groceries, but it tells someone that you are there, and sometimes that is all that they need to get them through the day.