Yep, that`s right. Once upon a time I was one. I could not sleep even when my baby slept, because sudden infant death syndrome frightened the shit out of me. The fact that boys are more prone to it than girls did not sit comfortably with me either. I just didn`t want my son to die! Was that too much to ask?!
What did I do? I “half-slept” (yeah it is a thing), I bought night light for my bedroom, I hardly ever covered him with a duvet (only up to his waistline), I checked if his chest moved up and down regularly if I could not hear him breathe. This went on for at least a couple of month. I knew it wasn`t normal. Not all of it anyway. But I could not help it. I preferred to be a bit insane than lose my little boy. The fear seemed very real to me at the time.
I didn`t have a good time as a first time mum for various reasons. The responsibility of keeping that beautiful little human alive seemed immense. I was wondering whether I was cut out for the job. The fact that I had no family around to pop in and help made things thousands times worse. I was on video calls to mum every evening after she had finished work and messaging people through the day just to make sure I was okay.
I had friends in my life and even saw some of them regularly, but you just don`t tell someone that you are afraid of not being able to handle motherhood. At the end of the day, I was lead to believe that nothing could be more natural than being a mother and that it is the happiest and most blissful time in a woman`s life… It is of course, when you are chilled, rested and just generally happy. If you have other stuff going on that you worry about then not so much.
I had great times with my boy every day, but it is not to say I didn`t struggle. If you look at my pictures around that time, you would not be able to tell that I was feeling the way I was. That is the scary thing about anxiety and depression. Those around you might not notice and you might not be able to tell them for whatever reason. Sometimes you wouldn`t even know yourself that this is what you are suffering from.
Due to my background (I have been studying psychology, counselling, psychotherapy and personal development for a few years before I had a baby), I was able to manage those feelings somehow. Needless to say, I was on maternity pay so was not able to afford private counselling and was not thrilled about going on the waiting list at my GP surgery.
I always urge anyone struggling to get help. There are many ways of doing that: you can journal, meditate, watch videos on YouTube (motivation, inspiration, personal development, anxiety release, etc.), speak to your health visitor, contact a charity to see if they have affordable counselling available if money is tight, and talk to those who loves you.
Only when I had my first baby and found myself in the situation when my thoughts were spiralling out of control and I felt as if it was someone else thinking them (very scary), I realised how dangerous it was to suffer in silence.
Right now, self-care is my top priority. I don't care if all hell breaks lose around me; I know that if I do not look after myself, I will not be able to care for my babies to the best possible standard and that is just not on. I enjoy my time with my children exploring the world together and deal with any worries through meditation, journaling and personal development. I am also very opened now with the people I love and trust, which helps.
Writing my book made me reflect on various experiences, such as my own therapy in the past, as well as my work with clients. It enabled me to heal even more. I now feel strong and happy to create the best life I possibly can for myself and my family. This is exactly what I help my clients with when they come to me for counselling. This is what I am here to support you with too.