Another story I have been asked to share...
Normally when you are having a baby it is all exciting and you can't wait for the future, well this is how I felt for my first 2 babies but my 3rd was a completely different experience that I am still feeling the effects of, even now.
My baby was born in the middle of lockdown and I have never felt so alone for the birth and afterwards.
My previous babies I had my husband there the whole time and my parents were at home babysitting but this time we didn't have anyone to look after our eldest 2 as we couldn't risk our parents health.
That meant I was on my own, in labour, during the birth and afterwards. Don't get me wrong the nurses were amazing but it isn't the same as your loved ones.
I hated the masks. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't see their faces. It felt like a barrier for communication. During labour I can't hear very well and would rely on my husband or lipread. Not being able to understand them was so confusing and traumatic.
I felt like I was in a bubble and things were just happening to me and I didn't have my voice. It was really scary.
The nurses had a lot of first time mums there too and they were a priority, and I get that. I was scared, but at least I had given birth before and I knew I could.
Baby was born easily enough and I stayed in for as little time as possible before my husband and the kids picked me up. This was at least a blessing to be home within 12 hours.
Home life began to get tricky though. I had a 3 year old and a 5 year old as well as a newborn and we were all stuck in the house. We couldn't have anyone over for support, my husband was working from home, I was trying to home school and survive just every day and I broke.
It happened very gradually but it was when my eldest asked "Mummy why are you so sad? Do you not like us being altogether as a family all the time?"
It was so honest and so true and I just sobbed.
It did make me realise that at least for them they were loving this family time but his comment made me realise I wasn't and it was more than just feeling a bit down.
I went to the doctors and they said I had post-natal depression. I wasn't surprised but I felt guilty and sad and so angry with myself for not holding it together like I had done before. Why was it happening to me? Why couldn't I just get shit done and be happy at what beautiful children I have.
But post-natal depressions is very real and once I had accepted I had it, I could at least start working towards coping with it a bit better.
This was not an overnight fix though, this took over a year of tiny ups and huge downs.
Do you know how awful it is to hear your baby cry and to not want to go to her?
To hold her but to not feel anything like the love you were expecting?
To wonder what is wrong with you but be so scared to share what you felt because you were not right in the head anymore?
I felt so very alone and scared.
I felt like a failure.
I felt like every day was such an effort.
But this is confessions of courage and it didn't end there!!
I found the Dr's were amazing and helped no end. I received counselling, which also helped me believe I wasn't a terrible person.
I joined an online group for mums suffering with post-natal depression and it helped to hear other people's stories and realise you actually aren't alone and others are also feeling what you felt.
When lockdown eased and we could have my parents over, friends to meet in the park and share more stories and enjoy each others company, to laugh again.
I have told everyone that I know how I have suffered and I have been amazed at how many of my friends and family have also suffered from post-natal depression but just kept it quiet and really suffered in silence.
I wanted to share this with you all incase there is someone here struggling with lockdown babies or postnatal depression or any kind of depression. You are not alone, even though it so feels like it.
I still have grey days but I am focussed on my future now and what I will be doing next. I accept what has happened and I know it does not make me a bad person.
Thank you for listening to my story x