I haven’t blogged for ages…. although when I looked it wasn’t actually as long as I thought and, to be fair, I’ve always been a bit hit & miss with my posts. But I read something today that prompted me to ‘put my 5 eggs in’ as my Grandma would have said.
I read this article earlier today and it really struck a chord with me. Not so much the finer details – I think I bonded fine with both girls – but absolutely in the sentiment and the difficulties the first lady (Jessica) has experienced for an extended period of time. It resonated so much that I sought out Jessica’s blog so that I could thank her for sharing her story.
As parents we all face different struggles and many people consider that either we are lucky or that we have made the life choice to be a parent and therefore should shut up moaning, think how lucky we are and get on with it.
For what it’s worth, I agree that I am incredibly lucky to have two beautiful, intelligent and feisty daughters. I love them dearly and wish them absolutely no harm.
But PND is not about how much people love their children or whether they are luckier than people who can’t / don’t have children. It’s not solved by putting on a brave face and knowing that all parents find it tough. And you will not help a woman who is suffering by telling her we all have days like that or that she needs to cheer up, feel lucky and get a grip!
It’s about feeling like the best thing that could happen for your family is for you to leave it. It’s about feeling so utterly alone that you can’t begin to put it into words. It’s about being unable to ask for help or accept it when it’s offered. It’s about feeling crushing levels of guilt about how you feel about these young people you created and who you love more than life itself. Even within that, there are good days and bad days. The good days make you wonder if you actually do just need to give yourself a bloody good shake and get over yourself. The bad days reinforce and magnify EVERY. SINGLE. negative thought you have ever had about your capacity for parenting.
Or at least that’s what it has been about for me. But like everything, each family’s experience with PND is different and can be far more extreme and devastating in its manifestation.
The toughest thing for anyone is recognising who is just having an off day (or two) and who really is struggling with something more far reaching.
Talking helps to break down the stigma around PND and mental health issues in general but there is still such a long way to go to enable every affected woman to talk openly about her situation and to seek help without fear of being judged – by friends, by family or by the medical profession. I hope one day this changes.