I find it quite difficult to talk about myself and about this time of my life but here goes…
I had my first two kids very close in age (13 months apart). At the time I was shocked to find out I was pregnant while I had a 5 month old but that’s life’s rollercoaster right?
We had the opportunity to move overseas for my husband’s job and it came with excitement and nerves. My second boy was born while my first still wasn’t walking. It was all a bit of a blur. After 9 months when things should have been getting easier I felt like they were getting harder. I didn’t have the energy or motivation to get up in the morning, at times I could find no reason at all to wake up. I got no joy from my kids and really disliked being with them and feeling like a slave to my kids and domestic work. I had completely lost myself, any sense of purpose and who I was before kids.
It was hard to see what was happening but I started drinking regularly and wanting to just “get away” from my kids and family all the time. I would ring my husband at work and tell him to come home immediately as I didn’t want the kids anymore and I was leaving the house so he had to be here in 10 minutes or they would be left on their own. I am embarrassed to admit this and was embarrassed and lonely at the time with no support and felt like I had no one to talk to.
I put in a call to a very close friend of mine in Sydney who had experienced post-natal depression and asked her what she thought. She said go to the Doctor and get a support group. It is really sad that it is such a taboo topic when it is so common and hardly ever talked about. I felt like I was in a really dark place and numbing myself with alcohol seemed like my only relief.
I had a battle with my pride and the sense of failure that I was experiencing at not feeling like a loving glowing mother so happy and proud of her kids. I felt ungrateful and selfish that I was lucky enough to have kids when so many cannot but at the time I just didn’t want to be around them.
I saw a Doctor got some help and worked slowly through the emotions. People around me had mixed responses when I told them what I was going through. People really close to me that I thought would support me told me to stop overreacting and that I was just experiencing lack of sleep (even though both kids were sleeping through the night) and that all would be fine. I guess I was lucky that I had a close friend who really understood what I was going through, a good Doctor and online support group to share my feeling with and realize that I wasn’t a bad person but that this was a mental health issue that I had to work through slowly.
I guess each person has a different experience with PND, but I am really glad that things are slowly starting to change and that people are starting to talk about it a little more.
I have to admit, I still remember that time with a sense of shame and embarrassment at the thoughts and actions that took place. I even questioned having a third child as I was scared it would happen again.
One really positive thing came out of that experience. A girl that I hardly knew at the time turned up to my house with a meal and some baking. I was so emotional that I hugged her and cried. The gesture was so lovely and I was really not in a good place, she had taken the time to think of me, bake and drop a meal around. It took me two years and a return to my hometown of Sydney to realize the impact this meal had on me. I decided that I wanted to be able to share this with others. Other mums going through a tough time like I had been in. How good it makes that person feel and how a little gesture can make such a huge difference when someone is not in a good place. So Happetite Food was born. A Food gift company for new mums or anyone recovering from illness. Made with comforting meals from my Italian grandmothers collection sent with personal notes of love to family and friends in times of need. It is really rewarding to be part of these messages of kindness and I am so humbled at the support and feedback that we receive from customers.
I absolutely love what I do, on the days where things get a little tough I spend some time delivering packages so that I see the faces of the recipients and remember how good it feels to receive a home cooked meal as a gift.
We have had a third baby boy now and although life is hectic I know the importance of looking after myself and my mental health as a priority. I try really hard not to get wrapped up in the crazy perception of “the perfect mother’ and that it is actually ok to not be ok. Your support people will be there for you no matter what.