It is something at the back of my mind, In that I really cannot wait to meet Honey Nut in June, but what if I get postnatal depression? I really hope I don’t. I think by writing down what happened to me with Tyler, it might help me not get it with Honey Nut.
So this is what happened. With Tyler I didn’t even consider PND, I thought I’m such a happy person, it could never happen to me. Back in 2012 when he was born, everything changed. After the initial euphoria, came the reality. We were in charge of another life. Such a responsibility, I kept checking if he was breathing! I was breastfeeding him in those first few weeks, and as a result felt too scared to go outside in case I needed to feed him. I ended up not going outside at all for the first week. My car had a flat battery too, just bad timing. So suddenly from a life where I was carefree to wander around London whenever I wanted, I now felt trapped indoors. And the dark thoughts started.
Obviously I expected sleepless nights, but there was one night where I would feed him but he would cry every time I put him down, and this happened from 1am to 7am, I had no sleep and the sun had risen and I just felt like crying. My husband slept through it all. I had thoughts where I would imagine myself drowning at the bottom of the sea. I felt like I hadn’t slept for days, like such a zombie. There was no day or night in those first weeks, it was just one long day, and I lived in my nightie. Sometimes I’d forget to eat, as everything was about looking after our new baby, it just didn’t cross my mind to eat.
My brother picked me up in the second week so I could stay at my parents for a week. It helped but I then felt trapped in my old bedroom whenever I had to feed Tyler. I remember whoever held him, his eyes were always on me, they would follow me around the room, like I was his world. It is amazing that a newborn could feel that way, but at that moment and how my mind was going, I just felt all the pressure like it was too much. I couldn’t stop crying and I didn’t know why. Then my husband’s paternity leave was over and he had to go back to work and I just wanted to cry forever.
I knew this was not normal behaviour for me, and I think how I was acting scared my family, they didn’t know what to do. The midwife in my parents’ area called me and I told her I couldn’t stop crying. So she came over first thing in the morning. She was nice, but really went on about breastfeeding, about not worrying about a routine and to just feed on demand. So I did that, but it just made me feel more depressed, as it meant instead of feeding every 3 hours, it was all the time.
After I went back to my own home, it was time to look after Tyler on my own when my husband went to work. Every time he left at 7 in the morning, I just cried and Tyler would look at me. I’d say to him, sorry I can’t stop crying! My own local midwife came over and I just burst into tears. I’m glad that happened because she realised I had borderline post natal depression, but we were able to nip it in the bud because we got it then, at 2 and a half weeks after Tyler was born. She asked me what was making me unhappy, and I said it was the breastfeeding making me unhappy, feeling trapped in the house, not being able to share the feeding. I missed wearing makeup and pretty dresses.
She was a student midwife, which was a blessing in disguise, because they are told to push breastfeeding. She had all these leaflets about breastfeeding that she had to give me, and then she whispered ‘but you don’t have to’ She unofficially told me it was okay to move to formula, even though they’re not supposed to say that. She said happy mum = happy baby, so do whatever I need to do to be happy. Honestly, that statement saved me from postnatal depression, and I am so so grateful to that student midwife.
That week I gradually moved Tyler on to formula, and I felt like myself again. I started to wear my normal dresses again, and not have to worry about them being breastfeeding friendly. I could share the feeding with my hubby. It wasn’t all plain sailing as he then got colic for the next 3 weeks, which felt like 3 years! But by 6 weeks, he was an angel baby, in a routine and with a happy mummy.
So you see, I am nervous of this happening again with Honey Nut, as I do plan to breastfeed for the first 6 weeks in the hope she won’t get colic. It will be different this time as it’s not such an alien concept to me, I see friends do it, I see mums at playgroup do it and it’s such a normal thing now. I also live closer to my parents now, and we have a larger apartment now with lots of light, not a basement flat in South London anymore.
I also have this blog and blogging community now. Plus a smartphone so feeding the baby won’t be so boring. Can you believe in 2012, I had to go on to my laptop to look on Facebook. At least now I won’t feel so isolated from the world as I can just look on my phone.
So those are my postnatal depression worries. I feel better for writing it down, and hope I don’t get it. I just want to enjoy every minute with Honey Nut and Tyler.