“Shut up!” I heard myself scream at my baby girl. That is when I realised I was not ok. I had to stop pretending I was ok; I had to stop being in denial. That was the day that I took myself and my baby girl to the doctor.
After 6 years at this school, I got a transfer to a school closer to home. This was when we felt it was time to start a family. After falling pregnant, my doctor was well aware of my anxiety issues and put me at high risk for postnatal depression. At this stage, it didn’t really mean very much to me and I didn’t really think much about it. I was just excited about being pregnant and having a baby with my lovely husband. I was excited about setting up the nursery and having time off work. I had no idea what I was in for.
I had no idea what I was in for.
Scarlett arrived at 37 weeks. I just remember being tired, overwhelmed and emotional. I felt like I was very alone at the hospital. I just kept thinking, "when I get home everything will be ok". But it was the same. I was still tired, overwhelmed, emotional; and I had no idea what I was doing. To be truthful, I thought I had wrecked my life. I cried every day for 6 weeks. I was too scared to leave the house. “What if my baby cried? What if I look like I don’t know what I’m doing? What if I forget something?” I felt trapped in my own house; too scared to leave. It’s when I heard myself scream “shut up” to my little 6 week old baby girl that I realised I was not ok.
“why am I the only one feeling like this? Why am I the only one struggling?”
I felt embarrassed. I felt lonely. I really felt like a failure. I would often look at other peoples’ social media and I would see all their ‘good times’. I kept asking myself, “why am I the only one feeling like this? Why am I the only one struggling?”
Deciding to have our second baby was exciting, but so very scary for me. I didn’t want to fall back into that deep, dark hole again. Things had to be different this time. And things are very different from when I had my first baby, Scarlett. I was anxious and dreading the thought of slipping backwards, so I hatched a plan while I was pregnant with my second baby girl, Josie, who is now 6 months old.
I wanted to return to work quite soon after having Josie, and my husband was to become a stay at home dad. Part of my thinking behind this was that my postnatal depression was somewhat associated with my first baby and the fact that I was trying to find myself. It was like I had lost who I was and who I used to be - going from being a professional, being good at my job - to being a mother, and feeling like I wasn’t very good at being a mum. A mum's job is one of the hardest, yet the most underappreciated jobs you can ever do. I mentioned my plan to my husband and he was on board. I had come so far and I don’t think he wanted to lose me again either. So, my husband became a stay at home dad and I returned to fulltime work when Josie was 14 weeks old.
it became apparent to me that I was not the only one going through this; it was just that no one talked about it.
After having Josie, I also started back to my exercise routine a lot quicker than after having Scarlett. I know that exercise and fitness helped me so much after having Scarlett - it’s how I clawed myself out of that dark place - so naturally I wanted to get back to it again as soon as possible after having Josie. I returned to my personal trainer. My fitness and nutrition is ongoing, as it helps me so much.
I am still struggling, but definitely don’t feel as low as I did after my first baby. It might be a combination of our decisions this time and probably even my thinking too. I am not embarrassed anymore and I am definitely not alone.
If you would like to follow Erin's postnatal journey, follow @just_being_erin on Instagram.