Once You Pop You Just Can’t Stop (Writing That is, Not Pringles)

It’s taken a while for me to pluck up the courage to write this. For many people, I know it will be new information. Please don’t be offended that you didn’t know. I didn’t tell you because of how I felt not because it was you.

Day 4. Still marked – “saved as draft”.  Still trying to write an appropriate title. Maybe we’ll leave that to the end. Ok. Deep breath. Here goes…

For a while, only 3 people knew I struggled with postnatal depression after I’d given birth to Jacob. One of those was my health visitor, another my doctor, and finally, my husband. As time has passed a further 5 people found out. I didn’t tell them, I didn’t want them to know, I wanted to disappear but they knew. They’ve been brilliant, I could not have asked for better support. Although, I’m not sure I’ve actually said those words out loud to any one of them.

As time has passed a further five people found out. I didn’t tell them, I didn’t want them to know, I wanted to disappear, but they knew. They’ve been brilliant, I could not have asked for better support. Although, I’m not sure I’ve actually said those words out loud to any one of them. Postnatal depression. It sounds so shameful, so horrid. But that’s what happened.

It took me about nine months to admit something wasn’t right, to get help. As soon as I did, things got better, fairly quickly. Just talking about it helped, made it less shameful, but much scarier to deal with. I did wish however I’d opened up sooner. That I’d realized sooner. I now live with the what-ifs, maybes, and I wonders.

Cliché alert! I’d always wanted children, lots of them. There was no doubt I wanted to stay at home and raise a family. As soon as I got what I wanted I didn’t know what to do. It didn’t feel right, I didn’t want to be there. I find it incredibly difficult to admit how I felt and am plagued with guilt

I’d always wanted children, lots of them. There was no doubt I wanted to stay at home and raise a family. As soon as I got what I wanted I didn’t know what to do. It didn’t feel right, I didn’t want to be there. I find it incredibly difficult to admit how I felt and am plagued with guilt

It didn’t feel right, I didn’t want to be there. I find it incredibly difficult to admit how I felt and am plagued with guilt every day. Not wanting to be in the same room as your baby is a terrifying thing. This tiny newborn who has done nothing, knows nothing, is completely dependent on you is not to blame. He is to be loved and cherished. So how do you explain how you feel to anyone. Especially to those who love your newborn as deeply as you should. It doesn’t make sense. It goes against everything you’ve ever been told about having a baby and about love.

This tiny newborn who has done nothing, knows nothing, is completely dependent on you is not to blame. He is to be loved and cherished. So how do you explain how you feel to anyone? Especially to those who love your newborn as deeply as you should. It doesn’t make sense. It goes against everything you’ve ever been told about having a baby and about love.

It doesn’t make sense. It goes against everything you’ve ever been told about having a baby and about love.

I remember stumbling over words when speaking to Roy until I found an article another mother had written about her experience. I showed it to him and said: “that’s me.”

I didn’t want to harm my baby, but I certainly didn’t want to be around him. I disengaged. Jacob’s needs were met, he was fed and clothed and washed and cleaned. He had toys to play with and was taken to baby groups. I didn’t

Jacob’s needs were met, he was fed and clothed and washed and cleaned. He had toys to play with and was taken to baby groups. I didn’t interact; when at home we spent most of our time in bed. He wasn’t a fidgety restless baby, so it was easy. He slept lots, and in those hours, I’d just lie there thankful for being alone.

How could you not love your child the way you should? I’d carried him for 36 weeks, I’d grown him yet I didn’t know him. He gatecrashed my life–took my husband away from me, and I hated it. What made me realize I needed help was admitting to Roy I’d pick him over Jacob in any given situation. I preferred my husband over my baby. It wasn’t meant to be that way. I resented him for disturbing my sleep, my days, my time alone, my life.

As he grew, Jacob knew. I hadn’t invested my time and love in him and he knew. Roy was the main man in our house. He was the one who couldn’t leave without causing upset, he was the one Jacob wanted to be comforted by when things went wrong. That suited me fine. And yet destroyed me at the same time.

I hadn’t invested my time and love in him, and he knew. Roy was the main man in our house. He was the one who couldn’t leave without causing upset, he was the one Jacob wanted to be comforted by when things went wrong. That suited me fine. And yet destroyed me at the same time.

It’s been a long road to get to where we are today. Our bond is strong and secure, Jacob often wants me now. He chooses me over Roy about 45% of the time. He cries when I leave. I love being around him, caring for him, playing with him, and watching him grow. I can also say with great certainty that I’d pick both kids over Roy all day long. No contest. In my darkest

I can also say with great certainty, I’d pick both kids over Roy all day long. No contest. In my darkest days, I couldn’t believe it was possible to love anyone more than I loved my husband. Now I see it and I live it. I’m both grateful and amazed that we’re through the other side.

What does remain is guilt. A need to explain

A persistent need to explain myself to him; an insecurity that our bond can be broken or replaced. What remains is a constant need to prove I don’t have a favorite child (I don’t), overthinking everything I say to both children so that it doesn’t look like I chose to love Matilda from day one, but not Jacob. A desperate need to “make up for it.” A lingering need to explain myself. Regret.

Postnatal depression happens. It doesn’t discriminate. It isn’t forever. It hurts. It teaches us things. It ends. It isn’t horrid. Or shameful. Or taboo.

Not for me, anymore.

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