Maternity Matters

CBT is Hard

CBT is hard. I started this course of treatment before Christmas, and I intended to update this blog, and Maternity Matters, regularly with my progress. I wanted to show others what it was like, so that maybe I could help someone else along in their journey. But it’s hard. It’s really hard. Most days I don’t want to talk about it, let alone write it all down. I’ve told people snippets of what is happening, but I cannot fathom the energy to lay it all bare. I cannot allow the prickles to seep into everything right now. It’s easier to leave it all in that little room once a week, and it will probably stay there for a long time. Because right now I don’t feel strong enough at all.CBT is hard-Ghostwritermummy.co.uk

I had a post in my head a few weeks ago,entitled Happy. I was in the middle of a ‘high turn’ and things were bright, happy and calm. I was spending delicious days with Elsie, really spending time with her and loving every minute. I was thankful for people around me, and I was loving being busy with work, stimulated with the team I work with and positive about life ahead of me. I knew. I knew it wouldn’t last. It never does. It always comes to an end, I just didn’t realise it would be so abrupt. (more…)

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Speaking Out for Maternal Mental Health

On Saturday I attended the Maternal Mental Health event at the Cumbria Infirmary, hosted by the Happy Mums Foundation and the World Health Innovation Summit (WHIS). I was invited to speak about my experiences so that I might be able to help the professionals understand what a traumatic pregnancy and birth can be like for women. So that they might better understand the things that they can do to help. So that other women like me might not fall through the cracks for so long.

cumbria-1It is always hard to speak about what happened with my son’s birth. And last week was a big week for me because I finally had my debrief, and I also had my second CBT counselling session. And then there was the PTSD diagnosis.

I’d like to say that seeing those four letters on the page came as no shock (hadn’t I always known that I wasn’t depressed? Hadn’t I aways known that there was something more, likely to be PTSD?) but actually I’ve really struggled with knowing that someone else agrees with me at last. Someone else, who is professionally qualified to do so, is taking control of my care now. It feels strange. To hear her tell me she will never ask me to fill in a PND questionnaire. To hear her tell me I have been traumatised. To hear her tell me she believes me, she is sorry for what has happened, and she intends to help. It’s all so new for me, and the effects of it are still coursing their way through my life right now.

I was in two minds about Saturday. I was scared. Not of speaking, but of getting there. Making my way to the train station, sitting on a train, finding the venue. Even knowing that Jenny would be there at the station in Carlisle was very little comfort, and this is a perfect example of just how far reaching my birth trauma has been. The thought of travelling alone to Carlisle was terrifying and had it not been for Jenny I would not have gone at all. (more…)

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Post Natal Anxiety: Time to Talk

I posted recently about finally stepping into the GP’s office and walking away with a label around my neck. Post Natal Depression. It hasn’t sat well. It’s off centre, like a pendant too heavy on a delicate chain. Swinging, useless, lopsided and ugly. The wrong label. A little bit off. I couldn’t really explain it, but my heart was saying no. And then I remembered that I’d been there before. In the early days after my son was born, and they told me I had PND and I argued, and they told me over and over again that I was wrong. Back then I stuck to my guns, and those around me who knew me best agreed. Not depression, something else. Something far too complicated to deal with maybe. And so this time, too, the label doesn’t quite fit, and I’m not the only one to believe it.

With my first Think Positive counselling session behind me, I am more assured and more confident that I have not lost all sight of myself. I don’t know why a professional opinion on the state of my mental health means more than my own, but it does. We’re in agreement: post natal depression doesn’t sit right because it’s not right. I’m not depressed. I’m not.

post natal anxiety 1Post Natal Anxiety is my label now, and its of no great surprise at all. And so I am learning to talk about the things that make me anxious, and the reasons why they do. The hope is that I learn to deal with them in a different way, and re-learn how to think positively and with a clearer, more rational response.

I am at the beginning.
I cannot see the end of this tunnel.

No light, not yet. (more…)

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My Journey Has Only Just Begun

I didn't complain~ #birthtrauma :ghostwritermummy.co.uk

I’ve fallen down before, many times. And each time I’ve risen again. Maybe not quite dusted myself off, but risen none the less. Maybe on shaky legs and tentative toes, but risen none the less. Maybe slowly, but surely none the less. And as I sit here tonight, thinking over the way today has gone, I’m starting to realise that this has been here all along. It’s no surprise, not really. It’s been lurking for months, years even. It’s been waiting for me to notice it. It’s been peeping around door frames and hiding under beds, waiting. Holding its breath, biding it’s time. Waiting, just waiting, for me to accept its prescience. And now that I have? I must get up.

I must go on. I am a mother and I must go on.

But first, a rest if I may.

I was feeling so cross with myself! I was sure, so sure, that my journey was almost complete. I didn’t know it was only just beginning. That my decisions had been holding me aback, preventing me from travelling further. Instead, I’ve been going around and around and around in circles. Chasing my tail like a faithful dog, so determined to show the world how strong I am and how far I’ve come. In reality though, I’m no different from every other mum who sits with her head in her hands as she admits, at last, that she’s a little bit broken.

Post natal anxiety.

Depression.

Exhaustion.

All of those things are ME. Me, the mum who decided three weeks was long enough to take for maternity leave, before getting back to the business of proving how strong and how capable she is. Me, who refused to seek help, insisting instead that writing was her therapy and she’ll sort her own way out of it all thank you very much. Me, who truly truly believed that she was actually ok.

It seems two pregnancies in a short space of time following a traumatic birth actually is enough to tip you over. A stressful pregnancy is enough. Months and months and months of broken and disturbed sleep. A child with health issues. A busy house. All the stuff that comes with being mum.

I want to be me, too. But I don’t know who that is right now. All I know is that my journey really is only just beginning.

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