I’ve been trying to explain to Hubby what a day with PND feels like, how it can come out of nowhere and toy with my emotions for fun. The best way I’ve managed to get him to understand is by explaining that I consider Post Natal Depression a separate person, maybe even like a spirit, that no one else can see, whispering in my ear. I liken it to a domestic violence type relationship, one clear victim filled with fear, sadness and with a sense of all-consuming helplessness, the other a dominant, nasty force getting joy and strength from tormenting and making someone miserable.
It begins by telling me that I’m fat, stupid, unsuccessful, ugly and, worst of all, a lousy mum. I fight this abuse off, until it goes on for so long that I actually start to believe it. (I’ve always had a sound level of confidence and before PND always felt pretty good about myself on a whole so this is unusual for me).
The worst day lately was Boxing Day. I woke up with that cloudy feeling and felt nothing – numb, flat – whatever you want to label it. PND took this opportunity to close in, to push and push, to egg me on to end my life. It said “you’re a rubbish mum, your kids would be better off without you, Hubby would meet someone else, why does he even stay with you anyway?”.
It’s like I’m being bullied in my own home but no one can help me because no one can see it happening.
The worst part about PND is the trick it plays regarding the love you have for your children or child, it makes you believe that maybe you don’t love them enough and that’s why you feel this way. It makes you question the bond you have on good days because on bad days you might feel nothing towards them. That’s the sad truth and I’m admitting it here and now because I know somewhere out there is a woman who feels the same way as me and she may read this and no longer feel alone. In my truly darkest moments I’ve told Hubby I don’t want the girls anymore, that I regret having them. I’ve felt particularly detached from Little Red at times. Why her? I have no idea but it’s confusing and heartbreaking and just feels so wrong, all the way down to my very core. As I write this on a “good day” it makes me want to burst into tears and run in their room where they’re napping and just watch them sleep. How could I ever think, feel or say such a thing? But that’s exactly what PND does to so many women. It’s confusing to say the least, evil beyond comprehension at the worst because it turns that natural and biological bond upside down and inside out.
The irony in all of this is, my children are what keeps me alive. Always. The fleeting thoughts of not seeing them grow up is physically painful and that is when I know PND is trickster, a stirrer, a liar. I finally stop believing the abuse and confide in Hubby exactly what my inner dialogue has been all day. My head is telling me one thing but my heart knows the real truth, and that’s why PND will never win. The sooner it realises that, the better.
Moments of sanity are what keep me going because when you’re pushed into a corner it makes you come out fighting and nothing is stronger than a mother bear protecting herself for the sake of her cubs.