In honour of Maternal Mental Health Week and it’s amazing founders (Eve Canavan and Beth Bone, who I am incredibly honoured to call my friends) and all the amazing women supporting this incredibly important week, I will be sharing instalments from my book “Bonkers – A Real Mum’s Hilariously Honest Tales of Motherhood, Mayhem and Mental Health” that tell my own story of my maternal mental health battles with PND and Postpartum Psychosis.
I will also be giving away signed copies of my book all week – All you need to do to win a copy is to share one of my articles on social media (and tag me in @everymummovement) and nominate a mum you would like to tell that she is doing a MAGNIFICENT job by emailing the name of the mum you are nominating and the reason why to firstname.lastname@example.org.
So here goes……over to Bonkers….
My Story: ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .’
The night I gave birth to our beautiful little girl was the night things changed forever. Not just because her birth started us on the path of being a family but because (without us knowing) it also placed us on the path to living with a maternal mental health illness. A one-way path that led me to the destination of being changed forever.
I left the labour room with a baby in my arms but I also left behind there a piece of myself. A piece that made me who I was: Someone, with an unassuming optimism and the belief that staying positive was enough to ensure everything would be OK. I could get through anything.
The person I was when I entered that labour room, is no longer here. I now know that she is gone forever. Even though I am well and free of the illness, I will never get that person back. I will never be her again.
Now, I feel like I need to step in here for a mo, just in case you are worrying that I am getting a little bit too dark. Admittedly, things for me did get very dark for a while. However, this book and our friendship is built on being able to share our stories of motherhood in all their shades and all their glory. This honesty and commitment to facing things and addressing things head on (no matter how dark) is at the heart of what is going to empower me, you and reading these words to make their mental health a priority. This is going to act as a much needed and vital reminder that every mum deserves the right to enjoy motherhood. And that some of our most challenging of times lead us to become the most formidable of people.
So let’s go through the darkness together . . .
Back on the labour ward, this feeling of leaving something, a part of me, behind that night explains (now) why I felt so desolate in the days following her birth. I was a shell of my former self. Yes, exhausted and in pain from the birth, but more than that, there was just something missing. Despite having the one thing that was supposed to complete me, I was somehow more incomplete than I ever had been before.
Looking back now, I can see that just hours after giving birth, huge pieces of me had already gone AWOL. The cornerstone of my personality, my self-confidence, started to erode. The rot had set in. My body and mind, exhausted from childbirth, had nothing left in reserve to provide a defence against such a silent and swift attack. An attack that was now running amok through my happiness, undermining my ability to feel joy and my strength to cope with whatever life throws at me.
My illness (of which I was unaware of at the time) . It took my self-identity, and allowed feelings of fear, anger, anxiety and isolation to puff out their chests and flood into every vacant corner of my being.
This sense of desolation, of feeling that I had been taken over and no longer existed, was there from the moment I was wheeled out of that labour room. Surely, though, I just needed some rest? Just needed to get myself together and get on with being mum and then everything would go back to normal and I’d be OK, wouldn’t I?……….
Want to read more? The next instalment from “Bonkers – A Real Mum’s Hilariously Honest Tales of Motherhood, Mayhem and Mental Health” will be published tomorrow in honour of Maternal Mental Health Week and for Every Mum fighting their own personal battles with their maternal mental health – YOU ARE NOT ALONE AND ARE DOING AMAZING!
Love Liv xx
Please check out the wonderful campaigns the Maternal Mental Health Week are running by following them on Facebook
You can also follow and join The Every Mum Movement on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can buy “Bonkers” on Amazon and you can read what other mums and health care professionals are saying about the book and why it has received a WHOPPING FIFTY FIVE 5 STAR reviews here