Why are you crying Mummy? Why did you yell at Daddy this morning?”
These are the exact questions I was asked very recently by my four year old son.
In a quiet moment when it was just the two of us, he looked at me, eyes full of innocence yet brimming with concern and compassion. My immediate thought was how was I going to handle this? Was I really about to explain Post Natal Depression to my darling boy? So, I put the ever present Mum Guilt and shame I felt regarding my earlier behaviour aside, took a deep breath and turned to face him.
“Well”, I began, “Mummy is sick. In my head”. I pointed to the side of my crown for added effect.
“And sometimes my chest really hurts and I get a funny tummy”.
“Do you need to see the doctor?” He asked.
“Yes, I do. I may need to take some medicine too. Because some days Mummy feels really sad. Sometimes I feel scared when Daddy is leaving for work and that is why I yelled this morning. It was wrong of me to do that and I’ve already said sorry to Daddy. But just because I’m not feeling well doesn’t make it okay and I will try and use my words next time I feel upset”.
His face gave nothing away. Was he understanding what I was saying, my explanation?
I continued, “I still love you, even when I cry, and it’s not because you’ve done anything wrong. It’s because Mummy is sick but hopefully I’ll start to feel better soon”.
Then he did the most wonderful thing in the world. He silently got up, went into my room and fetched my teddy off the bed.
As he handed it to me he said, “I got this for you, Mummy. To make you feel better”.
I hugged him tightly and desperately hoped that one day soon, I would be.