I kind of hummed and arhhed about writing this, but then one evening I just thought what have I got to be ashamed about. And also in hope that writing it may also help others.
So for the last month or so I’ve been battling with my anxiety, it started with just waking up one morning doing my Normal routine with the kids and suddenly thinking “what happens to the kids if I die?”. And with that came a whole lot of worries and daily stresses. From something so little as walking to the park with the children, and thinking “what happens if a car mounted the kerb and came towards us, how do I save the kids?”. To sitting in trafffic and a lorry pulling up thinking “what happens if this lorry doesn’t stop and shunts us into the traffic”. Now to most people my logic of thinking is somewhat “crazy, stupid and totally irrational”. Now these words are not me making them up, that’s genuine words people have used when I built up the courage to tell them how I feel.
It would seem a mother, the person that holds the pieces together isn’t allowed to have any anxietys or worries. And that each day u should just continue to carry on and be told to look at all the postitive things and be thankful for them.
What’s funny is I’ve never once not appreciated what I have in my life, so why is it we are not allowed to feel without being accused of being selfish or ungrateful. People often wonder why people have to suffer in silence, but there is still so much negativity around mental health and how people should feel.
I knew how I felt wasn’t exactly “normal”, but I masked it for a while trying to put a brave face on. Each day my anxietys grew and I found something new to worry about surrounding me and the kids. Each day my worries becoming more and more irrational. I would watch social media clips about parents dying from cancer etc, and it would stem my worries more and at night my brain wouldn’t switch off.
I also had constant flashbacks of Jessica’s birth, and being on the operating table and some days I felt like I was living a reoccurring nightmare. I can still Picture everything about her surgery so vividly and it constantly caused me to be upset and anxious.
One day I decided enough was enough, not only could I not cope anymore with the thoughts I also thought, I should be enjoying my time with my children without these worries.
So I contacted my mental health service and started the process of regaining my life again. I knew what had stemmed this anxiety, it was the birth of harry and Jessica and how traumatic each of them was. That showed me how easily things can change, I went in to hospital expecting a nice Normal caesarean procedure with Jessica especially after what happened with harry, and it didn’t happen that way for me. And in that moment I saw the panic on my partners face and heard the tears from my mother on the phone franticky awaiting news about what had happened and why it took so long. It was in them moments I knew I took things for granted. My doctor has said I am suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome, and that it had caused these anxiety’s to flare up and for me to worry about death and any harm coming to the children. Although I felt relieved to be taken seriously, I also knew this was just the start and I had a long way to go.
After talking to the mental health team. They also picked up on how much lone responsibility I felt for the kids. It’s true I do, I’ve looked after harry full time for 2 years, and Now I have my gorgeous daughter too. So I’ve grown to know their quirks, their fears and their loves. And with all these qualities comes huge pressure on myself being able to do this job 24/7 with no day off.
Although I have the support of my partner, the days are long and each day brings a new challenge especially with the kids being so close in age. So it was that realisation that made me think “you can never leave them”, “who would care for them like you do”.
Talking to the mental health team, made me realise it is quite normal and some what expected of me to feel like this. From what tends to be a beautiful memory for some expectant mothers, can also leave some tainted memories for others. What’s more is no one really shares the bad ones so openly, because the birth of a life should be that one magical time.
And both times for me, all I can relive is the negative moments. Down to the last detail, I remember it all. So many times when I have visited the GP or hospital and they read my notes I have so many comments. After harry I had these comments “wow bless you, what an ordeal I bet you won’t have any more”. “Wow you really sampled all our maternity unit has to offer, I’ve never seen notes like it”.
When pregnant with Jessica “wow you braved it to have another, bet you opting for a section this time”.
“Wow surprised your having any more”.
After Jessica “oh my word you really have been through it all”, “you really are just unlucky ain’t you”.
And so on and so on. With each comment came another flashback I didn’t need. And another feeling of guilt for my prefect births I didn’t have.
So hearing the mental health team, tell me it’s ok to feel how I do. It was a weight lifted, I’m Not going to lie I felt if I opened up they would say I’m crazy and take the kids. It’s why i put it off for so long. Thinking they would say I’m an unstable mother.
But boy how wrong was I, Angela (part of the mental health team). Made me feel like a human again, her tone and her approach was such a comfort and her words were so sincere. Not only did she say she couldn’t believe the ordeal I had, was shocked I hadn’t had any help sooner. She promised me she would rush my case through so I could “enjoy my children and not worry”.
And she didn’t let me down, After a long teary phone call, within 2 days I had a letter to say my counselling sessions start in 2 weeks time. I’m beyond grateful to her, and I’m positive this will be the help I need. My partner is in full support for this, and says although he was there with me throughout each. He saw first hand how traumatic it was but cannot imagine what I must feel.
If your reading this, and my words you could of wrote yourself. I urge you to seek support, don’t feel alone. Sometimes just knowing someone else is going through the same makes it easier for you to deal with. I’m so glad I spoke out, sometimes births don’t always go to plan. But it doesn’t mean you have to suffer with the memories forever. Or feel guilty for feeling that way either, there is so much pressure on ladies to have a natural uncomplicated birth, and we are made to feel almost inadequate if we can’t achieve it. But I don’t want to feel guilty or anxious any longer. Sometimes some of us don’t want to remember the birth or reminisce over it, or give our birth story to everyone who asks us, we just need help to make the bad memories of it fade a little.
Just remember Not all births are textbook! 💕