We are the face of motherhood: A series on

We are the face of motherhood: A series on

wearetheface

Here’s a little back story about my post for you

When I was asked to be a part of  We are the face of motherhood: A series on Postpartum Depression‘ organised by the amazing Jamie from Mommy in Flats I panicked a little. It was a no-brainer really, of course I will always say a big fat yes to raising awareness and ending the stigma surrounding postpartum/postnatal depression and anxiety but I got a little nervous that I wouldn’t have much to say because I realised suddenly that things were good. Things were finally feeling really, really good. In fact, I considered that perhaps I had bested the beast once and for all, and that I wouldn’t be lost in the darkness again. Ha! Life loves to remind me that when you have kids you don’t get to be in control of something like that, so after a while of living in blissful ignorance I got the sharp reminder that I needed and out came my post.

Enjoy,

Carmen xx

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Through My Eyes – Jess B.

Through My Eyes – Jess B.

What mental health concerns have you come up against? Are they yours or a family members?

I have lived with depression since I was about 13 and anxiety since childhood. I have also experienced PND after the birth of my first child.

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Through My Eyes – Sharon

Through My Eyes – Sharon

Donning my perpetual fury

Preparing for an empty day

My son the only jury

Not even he is able to sway

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Through My Eyes – Jess

Through My Eyes – Jess

 

“Because she is my mum, and I love her”

My story is not like everyone else’s. I know total cliché line to open with. It is something, that I have learnt to accept and I am very open with. To tell my story I need to also tell my mums.
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How are you feeling?

How are you feeling?

It is perinatal depression and anxiety awareness week. #bePNDaware

If you’re new to my blog you won’t need to look far to see that I’ve been touched by this beast. If you’re a regular around here then you’re probably sick of hearing about it. #sorrynotsorry I’m a huge believer in spreading awareness about this topic and sharing my personal fight is the best way for me to do this.

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From O to U and other conception induced catastrophes

From O to U and other conception induced catastrophes

Today Mister 3 was practising his writing.

He was attempting to write the word ‘mum’ after successfully completing his brothers name. M was easy because it starts his name and he’s pretty much got that one sorted.

The letter U was new to him, so he needed some help. “It’s like a little bucket” I said to him, trying to make it relatable. The next words he said made me laugh and cringe at the same time.

“Look mummy, it looks like your boobies”.

Brilliant.

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Spring, shirts, and sass

Spring, shirts, and sass

Today has been a good day.

Mostly.

 

It’s the first day of Spring, the month of my birth, and it’s Thursday – which is only good because it’s nearly Friday.

 

I’m working on my environment. I have known for a long time that my environment impacts on my moods. If I wake up, get dressed, make the bed, and open the blinds I have a better day than I would if I stayed in my PJ’s, left the bed looking like a UFO crashsite, and kept the house dark and dingy like a Howarts dungeon (I’m the troll).

I’m not currently on my meds. I don’t know if I need to be or not. I can’t decide. I think I can keep off them as long as I work hard to keep myself balanced in other ways. Now that Spring is here the kids can go outside more! Yay! Other parents will understand the absolute joy that brings both the cabin-fever-kids and the pent-up-parents. The aim of the weekend is to have the backyard ready for lazy afternoons and cold drinks.

Sleeve life is treating me well. I can definitely feel the difference and I think people are finally able to see it too. Either way, the fact that it shows in the way my clothes fit is what matters to me. For example, I bought this AWESOME #mumlife t-shirt from Zeke Unique’s ”Equali-Tee’s’ range atleast two sizes smaller than I would have pre-surgery. Yes, that’s partly a plug. Zeke Unique is run by one of my very favourite mums in the whole world and she deserves many, many plugs.

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My awesome Equali-Tee’s #mumlife T-Shirt from Zeke Unique. Just click on my ugly mug to be taken to Zeke Unique through the magic of the interwebs.

 

The kids are good! Daniel is 8 months and crawling everywhere. Yesterday he even tried to stand up against a chair. Ugh. I am equal parts ready and not. I don’t want him running around the house all grown up any time soon, but it definitely does give me a little more freedom to get things done around the house, which inturn helps my mental state. It really is a good thing mostly.

Toby is…let’s face it, Toby is a terror! I swear sometimes he seems much older, then other times – like when he’s throwing every egg we own onto the floor, along with lettuce, yoghurt and maple syrup at 4am (check out the picture!). Or when he thinks his baby brother would make a great seat. Or even right now, when he’s chucking a tantrum because I won’t let him have another lolly!

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It’s a…cake? It’s a mess. #parenting hey?

Marky is a threenager through and through. He is so sassy. The other day he told me to get out of his room. Dude…really? Needless to say that didn’t go down so well. He has also started playing a lot of fighting games. Superheroes and ninjas are the ‘in’ thing. This is new to me. I have one younger sister. We played Barbies and sung along to Spice Girls.

Overall the two older boys are teaming up and driving me crazy. I love them like Donald Trump likes his hairpiece but I am really struggling with knowing how to parent them at the moment. I know they are doing normal things for kids their age, but it sure is exhausting. I need a night off!

One day at a time, one day at a time, one day at a time.

 

Anyway, I’d best go and check on the little ratbags because they are being far too quiet and we all know there is nothing scarier than a quiet toddler.

 

Oh, wait. How about two of them?

Falls and fathers

Falls and fathers

I’ve been quiet.

The simple reason, is that I’ve not been doing so great. I missed my meds for a few days and it was all down hill.

The kids were being kids. I was being a grouch. Grounchiness has a way of spreading, like a nasty flu. The boys can sense when I turn into ‘Mean mummy’. The yelling is a sure sign that she’s here. I hate it.

I hate the mum that I turn into without my medication. I hate that I need the medication to be a happy mum but the fact is that at least for now, I do. And I feel so grateful for those tiny white pills for helping me to be balanced.

And don’t worry, I’m taking them again and mean mummy has buggered off for now.

It has been quite a week! My father turned 50 on the first – yes April fools baby. He doesn’t seem 50 to me, though 50 is the new 40 right?

Growing up my dad wasn’t the kind of man who cuddled or played a lot. He was the kind of man who showed love by working hard to support his family. When I was in school he was tough. He didn’t like report cards with C’s on them. He wanted us to do our best, which he knew I never did. He always believed I could do more, achieve more, be more. Even if he never straight out said it – he was one of my biggest cheerleaders.

When I became an adult and moved out of home with my now husband, our relationship changed. We went from being father and daughter who clashed, to being friends. My relationship with my father has become one that means so much to me. I value his opinion and respect him in a way I never thought I would. And even though he often makes me want to pull my hair out I love him, so it was so special to celebrate his 50th birthday together.

Anyway I went off on a (worthy) tangent there. I’m back on my medication now and have had a much nicer day with my boys. They’ve been water painting this week, which is exactly how it sounds – a couple of paintbrushes, a cup of water and they ‘paint’ anything they can reach out the back – they love it and it’s mess free! Well, for the most part. They usually end up tipping out the water and making mud to stomp around in.

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Little hands water painting. It kept them busy for ages!

It’s nothing a shower won’t fix. And it’s a win-win really because a shower and pyjamas calms them down so it leads into quiet movie time.

I don’t know how we’ll get through winter being locked inside – send raincoats and gumboots and if you don’t hear from me around that time I’ve passed away from cabin fever.

Today’s little wins:

Mumma: Recognised that I wasn’t doing so great and got back on my tablets. That is definitely a win.

Biggest-Little: When I was sorting 0000’s to sell I told big that I was a bit sad that we wouldn’t have any more babies. He snuggled into my lap and said ‘I will be your baby mummy’. I melted.

Middle-Little: Learnt the word ‘turtle’ which he pronounces as tor-tulle. So cute.

Smallest-Little: Oh this kid is getting way too big! He’s now just over 3 months old and yesterday he rolled back to front. Slow down guy.

The joys of a threenager

The joys of a threenager

“What are you doing?”

“Where are you?”

“Please don’t touch that”

“Please come out from there”

“Please don’t slam the doors”

“Why are you hurting him?”

“Please, stop!”

All of the above spurt out of my mouth pretty much daily. Oh, let’s be honest here, most of them are said multiple times a day.

Three year olds are hard. At least mine is, and I think his behaviour is relatively normal. Unfortunately I just don’t know how to deal with it.

I don’t know if it’s the postnatal depression, the lack of sleep, or if it’s just me in general but I’m not handling it well. I really don’t know how to answer all the ‘why’ questions.

“Why can’t we drive faster?”

“Why is too much sugar not good mummy?”

“Why do you have to clean up?”

“Why does daddy have to go to work again?”

“Why can’t we eat marshmallows for breakfast?”

It is constant. And I know that it is amazing because he is an inquisitive little guy eager to soak up everything he can, but it can get seriously irritating. Or I am just irritable? Both?

Is it normal to get irritated by this? Do other parents eventually run out of patience and want to hide in their rooms and pretend they are in their pre-child lives, spending the whole day in bed watching Friends re-runs, eating junk and drinking more than they should?

Surely it isn’t just me.

So how do I get more patience? Is it a mind over matter type deal? Do I need to believe it is so, and it will be so? Is it even possible?

I’m not sure, but I know I have to try. I suppose I need to keep reminding myself that his behaviour is normal. That he is learning. That he needs me to teach him.

And you know what? Maybe sometimes we will have marshmallows for breakfast! That’s one less ‘why’ I’d have to worry about.

Life in the fog

Life in the fog

When you’re looking at the world with postnatal depression glasses on, everything looks slightly darker.

Things that would normally make you smile can bring tears. Things that you would normally look forward to can bring panic attacks. Things that should be celebrated as personal achievements can instead make you see all the ways in which you need to improve.

I love my children. There is absolutely no part of me that doesn’t, I love them right down to my core. But they are a trigger, which makes every day a constant internal struggle to stay sane.

See the difference with a PND brain is fog. And this fog envelops all your happiness and leaves nothing but dark, horrifying emptiness.

Sometimes the fog will thin in places, allowing you a little taste of what life could be like if you weren’t battling this terror. Unfortunately sometimes this just makes you think ‘why can’t I have that? Why am I such a mess? Why am I failing myself and my family?’.

The thing is, you can have that. You may be a bit of a mess – what parent isn’t? And you are not failing anyone. The fog is just in control at the moment.

Say it with me ‘Postnatal depression is not a weakness’. It’s just another obstacle some mother’s have to overcome. It’s really ok. It’s ok to admit it. It’s ok to talk about it openly. It’s ok to spend the occasional day in your pyjamas, doing no housework and getting cookie crumbs in your hair.

But we need to pick ourselves up. We do it for our children, our family, ourselves. I don’t want to live in the fog. I want to bask in the glorious sunshine. I’ve beaten this beast twice before, and while I know I personally will have a lifetime battle against anxiety ahead, I know postnatal depression is only temporary and I will beat it again.

And even just by writing this, the fog has started lifting, just that little bit more.