Being a parent is fucking hard; I am not going to lie.
If you disagree, you must have a dream baby and I extremely envious. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids to bits but nobody could have prepared me for what parenthood is really like.
When people told me being a parent is the most rewarding yet hardest job ever, boy were they right! I now have so much more respect and love for my own parents knowing what they went through with (although I would have been one of those dream babies we spoke about earlier – cough cough bullshit).
You know, some days are just shit. Some days I just think I can’t do it. Do I want to do it? Why does it have to be so hard? Being a parent IS fucking hard. There are no two things that make it this way, it just is.
Some days I want to lock myself in a padded room and scream or drink copious amount of red wine (oh wait, I do that now).
There are days when I wonder is it always going to be like this? Why is he screaming? He’s not hungry, she’s not tired, she was smiling 2 minutes ago – is it something I done wrong?
I worry too much, I think too much. I physically can’t switch my brain off most nights and have been struggling to sleep a full night the past 2 weeks. I jump into bed and think about how much washing there is to do or going over in my head what I need to do the following day.
You know, it’s normally the ones who are the most ‘out there’ who suffer silently? They put up this front to make themselves feel better, so people don’t ask ‘are you okay?’. This probably isn’t the case for all but I know it rings true for me. I know if somebody asked me that right now its highly likely I would burst into tears because no, I am not OK. And it is OK to say that.
Don’t get me wrong, I live a wonderful life, I have an amazing partner, an awesome job, successful businesses, a beautiful home and insanely cute children but some days are just hard. THINGS don’t make you happy. You could have everything in the world and still be unhappy.
If you’ve never suffered from depression you may not understand where I’m coming from, you may not understand that you can have one really shitty day within a month of amazing days and all these old shitty memories/feelings flood back.
I am not going to sit here and feel sorry for myself, nor do I want you to feel sorry for me. I just wanted to share that it’s not all gummy smiles and rainbows. If you’re having a shitty day, it’s okay, you’re not alone.
These little humans chose us because we CAN do it, it WILL get better and tomorrow is a new day.
Some days I can be surrounded by people yet still experience feelings of loneliness.
I’ve struggled with mental health issues for a large majority of my life so one of my biggest concerns when I became pregnant was the high risk of PND. My GP and midwife were well aware of my medical history so knew what to look out for as well as educating me.
For a while there I thought I was fine, that I had somehow managed to sidetrack the issues that for a long time consumed me. I hadn’t. Two weeks passed after Baxter’s birth and my partner was due back at work, it hit me like a freight train. Feelings of anxiety and worry flooded me.
It took me a while to gain the courage to admit I knew what was going on and go and speak to my GP, deep down I knew the day would come, she was super supportive and we talked through our options.
I started to get control back, things became manageable. But I feel myself slipping again. I knew that it was highly likely I would experience PND again with Lily. Did it ever really go away? How long does it last and when does PND become depression?
These days my PND masks itself in anger, a symptom many are not aware of. Sadly it hinders my relationships with people from time to time and if I am being totally open, my partner takes the brunt of it. People who haven’t experienced it or been close to somebody who has simply don’t understand and often respond with “just stop” or “stop getting so mad”. I would love to be that in control of my feelings but right now, I am not. Half of the time my reactions are so unreasonable but I simply don’t see it at the time. God, I thought I had no patience when I was pregnant but this is next level.
I know that these current feelings are not me, and while I know they’re not permanent, it’s hard to deal with right now.
I’m lucky to have such a supportive partner who knows my hormones are up the shit and that when I sass him out, it’s not coming from a bad place.
To those who also suffer from those days where the darkness takes over, I hear you. Whilst you may feel alone, you’re not, it will get easier and good days are on the horizon. Recognizing the signs and talking about it are key steps in helping yourself and allowing others to understand.
Being a mum is tough, so let’s not make it tougher on ourselves. Speak out and support those around you, the smallest of gestures can make a person’s day.
Remember that sometimes the people who appear the happiest may not be and that you never truly know what others are going through.
Being kind of free so dish that shit out.
It is such a taboo topic. One which people are afraid to talk about out of fear of judgment. It truly breaks my heart. There are so many people out there suffering in silence because depression and anxiety has somehow been dubbed something that ‘we don’t talk about’. Why? It’s far more common than we realize and if we were to talk about it more then I feel those struggling would feel far more supported. So many people are scared to open up and talk to somebody about how they truly feel and have that ‘I don’t need/want to be on medication’ mentality.
I have struggled for many years. Some days I feel great, other days that dark black cloud hovers over my head. While there are positive coping mechanisms that have been known to work or at least assist. Somebody telling you to ‘snap out of it’ certainly isn’t one.
Social media has heightened the awareness of what’s around us, obviously – and I believe it plays a big part in some of the negative feelings people experience. We see those beautiful curated squares on Instagram and find ourselves comparing how their life is different to ours, how are they looking so beautiful and refreshed after I barely got 2 hours uninterrupted sleep last night? How on earth do they manage to find time to keep their house so perfectly clean and organized? How did their body snap back so quickly after giving birth. It’s everywhere. What we often don’t think about is that these people are not necessarily happy. We only see what they choose to share, many do not share the messy corner of their house or how little they slept last night.
The dark truth is that if we don’t start talking about mental health now and more openly, the alarming rate of suicide and the prevalence of untreated mental illness will reach crisis point – in fact, I believe it already has.
Please, if you’re ever struggling, with anything or having bad thoughts – talk to somebody. You can talk to me, PM me day or night or call one of the numbers below. It is often easier to confide in a stranger.
It’s so much more common than you realise and we can all play a small part in trying to normalise it in some small way by talking about it openly. There is nothing wrong with feeling this way, but there is a way out.
Please know that no matter how bad things feel, there is always help available. Taking your life is NOT the answer and please take a moment to think about all of those loved ones you would leave behind.
Talking about things is the first step. Realising it’s okay to not be okay if the next.
You are amazing and you hold a special place in this world.
It’s Mental Health Awareness week and I just wanted to remind you all that you’re amazing and you’ve got this.
Need help right now?
Lifeline Aotearoa’s telephone counselling service provides 24 hours a day, 7 days a week counselling and support – 0800 LIFELINE (0800 543 354).