I took my eldest tiny human out shopping after nursery yesterday. We are off on our holibobs next week, so we both hit the shops, trying on shoes galore, new summer outfits and packing the changing room with discarded clothes, giggles and gasps of “Ohhh that’s beautiful mummy!”
Following the shopping trip we headed out for impromptu pizza and ice cream and had the best time, chatting, laughing, telling knock knock poo jokes and colouring in the menu. It was quite simply magical and something I will remember always.
It got me thinking….it was the sort of time I longed for when I was suffering with my maternal mental health after first having her. The sort of time, when in the terrifying grip of Postnatal Depression and Postnatal Psychosis, I could never imagine being able to have with her. The sort of time and the sort of relationship I had always thought I would have with a daughter; one filled with fierce loyalty, comradery, belly laughs and a comfort and security like no other, however, thanks to my illness I was convinced this would never be our reality. It would never happen for us.
You see, when I first had her and for the majority of the first 2 years of her life, I felt as though I did not deserve her, that such an extraordinary creature like herself did not deserve the dud she had been handed. That one day everyone was going to find out the truth (that we were already both so aware of) that her mummy was quite simply not up to the job and was frankly not good enough.
In the months following her birth, I would watch my daughter watching me, following my every move and sound. She would look at me with her beautiful big blue eyes and it was as though she was looking beyond the fake exterior of a mum that was coping, the hollow new mum smiles the rest of the world (including her daddy) had fallen for and was giving me a look, that at the time I thought meant “I’m not buying it. You are not fooling me! Where is my real mum? How did I end up with this dud instead?”
I believed that my Tiny Human thought I was a fake, a phoney, a crap mum and it drove me to want to scream “Why can’t anyone else see the truth, someone needs to save her from me and give her to a mum she deserves?”
The level of insecurities, anxiety and self loathing this illness can instil in us, is as terrifying as it is debilitating. We are left believing that the one person we love most and wanted most In the world, the one tiny person we have been dreaming of meeting for what feels like forever, to hold, to love, to nurture is the one person that does not want us and is the one person who deserves better than what we have to offer.
Whilst sat there last night with me and my Tiny Human now at the glorious age of 4.5 years old, smiling through mouthfuls of Margareta pizza, chatting about nursery and just being together, no doubts, no cruel insecurities and no trace of anything more sinister than fun, I thought back to the two of us to where we first started out together and how far we have come since. The darkness we have travelled through, the demons I have slain and the happiness and enjoyment that I have fought tooth and nail to reclaim for us. To have the life for us I had always imagined. To finally be able to exercise my right to enjoy motherhood. To just be us; A mummy and a little girl, sat in Pizza Hut, talking about sports day and crying with laughter at our poo jokes.
We made it.
You can too.
If you are currently going through this then please take faith and hope from someone who’s been exactly where you are. With the right help and support you will come out of the other side of the hell you are now in. Your Tiny Human does not think you are a phoney. They do not want anyone else to be their mummy. You are their world and they can’t wait to be eating pizza and sharing their best poo jokes with you.
I need your help and the help of Every Mum out there to spread the message that Every Mum Deserves the Right to Enjoy Motherhood! Therefore, I would LOVE you to come and join The Enjoy Mum Movement here and show your support by following the movement on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Love Liv xx
(Founder of The Every Mum Movement)
Love Liv xx