Becoming the role model my daughter deserves

Now Miss J is four I am very much aware that I need to be a good role model for her. She is my inspiration to get better and beat PND. I’ve heavily relied on my own mother to help me parent her whilst I have struggled to deal with my struggles.

I’m amazed at how resilient Miss J has been over the last year and how well rounded she has become. Miss J was robbed of the mother she had once had and I’ve felt terribly guilty about this and her having to grow up so quickly. I now know I did all I could to get better and she was the main reason why I did seek help.

Somehow, despite all that has gone on she has grown to be a beautiful, kind and sensitive girl and I  couldn’t be prouder of the little girl who I have help create. I am letting go of the guilt and accepting that I have done best for my daughter and I have been a fantastic mum. I know I’m not a perfect mother and I never will be, but that’s not a bad thing and it teaches my daughter that we all make mistakes and as long as we are aware of this and work to correct them, we are doing a good job. My daughter accepts me with all my flaws, which makes me love her even more.

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I’ll get there, I’m just a bit broken.

I will get there eventually, it’s just my road isn’t as straight as others. I will try my hardest, but at times my hardest isn’t good enough. I will still smile and laugh, I’m just not the same as I once was inside. I can’t just get over it, suck it up and get on with it, but I wish I could.

I am a little broken, but I reconise that and I want to get better and work on myself as a person. I am not ashamed of who I am and the struggles I am going through, as they make me who I am. I do need more love and affection than most people need, but I’m lucky enough I have found a partner who is willing to be that person for me.

I am battling, but I’m prepared to fight and get through this.

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I nurture myself so I can nurture others.

Most the time I am my own worse enemy. I can be so hard on myself and make myself feel guilty when I know I shouldn’t. I’ve been having a hard week this week and I forgot to take care of my mental wellbeing and I can now feel the effects. I’m exhausted but I can’t sleep and again feel detached and not present. I’m so fortunate to have friends that understand me and notice the patterns in my behaviour. My friends have been checking in on me this week and just being supportive of me.

I’m so exhausted but I know this is just temporary and that I can get back out of this soon. I know I have a pattern of self sabotage when things seem to good for me and that is because I don’t feel like I deserve it as I have issues with my self esteem.  I forget at times and take far too much on and become overwhelmed which just leads me to be unable to cope with everyday situations and I start doubting myself as a parent and as a person. It’s a vicious cycle as the more overwhelmed I get the harder I am on my self and the more I isolate myself which then leads to me becoming more anxious and depressed.

Since my diagnosis and my road to recover I have learnt so much about how my mind works and can now spot my patterns in behaviour. I am going to be easier on myself and get rest when I can and stop beating myself up for not being my best. I cannot be the best me and best mother without rest and without time on my own which is nothing to feel guilty about. My wellbeing is important and I need to remember this. Sometimes I need to take a step back and look at who I really am as a person. I know deep down I am a happy, kind and confident person I just need to nurture myself to bring that side out and push the negative away.

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Losing your identity as a mother.

For me learning to let go of guilt is something I really struggle with, but I know I need to address this and except that I am doing everything I can. When we become mothers I think we often forget how to be anything other than this and we feel guilty wanting to be anything else. I’ve lost my identity along the way and have forgotten what I deserve and what I need as an individual. Since my first came along I have only really met my basic needs and haven’t spent the time focusing on my own wellbeing.  I not only look after and raise two children, I also keep the house clean, every one and everything organised and I work part-time. I forgot to appreciate that I am doing a pretty good job and I deserve time to myself and I also deserve to be treated as someone who isn’t just mum.

Parenting when there are two parents in the home should be a team effort but at times I feel like I am the one who is parenting and I am in fact looking after three children. My husband works long hours but I think he often forgets that I am not his mother and he needs to look after himself at times and not expect me to do it all for him. I also need to remember my husband needs his wife and at times I am not just mum. It’s so easy to forget our identities and that we can play different roles in the house, especially when the children are so young and we fall into traps of only meeting their needs. It isn’t a competition on who is more tired and who’s job is harder or a game of tit for tat.

We need to take time to be by ourselves individually and as a couple as often as possible and be open with our emotions. We shouldn’t be ashamed to admit that we miss our partners or that we need for them to emotionally connect with us. These problems will never reslove and will just escalate and turn to resentment unless we can communicate and be honest. I know I sit down and ask my daughter why she is upset and what emotions she is feeling so I can understand her and meet her needs, so why don’t we do this with our partners? We need to not forget how to be wives when we become mothers whilst men need to remember to treat us as our partners and not their mothers. I made a promise to my husband the day we got married and I think it’s time to revisit those vows and remember why we are here.

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Trying to see clearly through the fog of depression and anxiety.

The exhaustion that postnatal depression and anxiety brings is deliberating and consuming. My days at times have merged into one where I get up and do the things I have to do, but I’m not present in the moment, I am detached, I am just running slowly on autopilot. This has made me feel like a terrible mother at times as all I’ve been able to do is focus on the children’s basics needs but nothing more. The antidepressants stop me from feeling any heightened emotions, sure I can feel happy and sad but not in the same way I used to.

Anxiety is such a struggle for me, the way it makes my heart race, sweaty hands and that need to leave the situation immediately. CBT has been so helpful to me but I constantly have to stop myself going back to my old coping mechanisms that hold me back from getting involved and living my life. One of the hardest things I find about anxiety is how exhausting it is, over thinking everything and not being able to sleep which then starts to really negatively effect my mental state.

Depression and anxiety really have controlled my life for so long and have put in so many limitations. I hate how depression has taken away my confidence and made me feel guilty over things I haven’t been able to control. I believe that I am always going to have to fight this battle and that scares the shit out of me. I feel so weak and overwhelmed at times but the rational side of me knows that I am not weak ad I have come so far, but at times that all feels pointless. When my head is ready to explode all I want to do is run away and escape, not permanently, I just want a break from my own mind.

I am still fighting and will continue to fight for my husband and kids as it’s all I know how to do. I mask the pain well to spare them the burden of my problems and even though I feel hopelessly alone at times I know I never will be. I take comfort in the fact i have more good days than bad days now and when I do have a blip it is usually short lived. Please get help if you need it as talking about it does help and if I hadn’t of got help when I did I really don’t know what would of happened to me.

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The power of positive affirmations. 

Over the last month I have been doing positive affirmations every morning and I’m shocked how much good it has done for my mental wellbeing. It wasn’t easy at first and I struggled to believe what I was saying, but now I really do believe and feel it and it gives me a huge boost. When anxiety gets the best of me I go through them in my head and my adrenaline seems to get rerouted to become confidence. It’s amazing how things we can do by ourselves can have such a positive on our mental wellbeing. Don’t feel like you are being stupid just know that you are becoming more mentally in tune with yourself and taking care of yourself inside.

Since my daughter Miss J came into our lives I’ve done everything to try and make her grow up feeling positive in herself so why couldn’t I do the same for me. Why did I tell my daughter she was beautiful, kind and could do anything whilst I told myself that I was ugly, fat and stupid. I would always give my friends good advice and pick them up when they were down but I seemed unable to do the same for myself.

I turned to selfhelp books and found lots of positive affirmations and decided I had nothing to lose. At first I tried to focus in to when I had moments of doubt and negative thought. I found becoming more aware of these thoughts helped so much as they didn’t just become fleeting thoughts that I never questioned. The more in tune I became the easier it got to challenge these thoughts and everytime I have a negative thought I now do an affirmation and it stops immediately. It takes practice but it works.

You can’t just say an affirmation you have to believe and feel it. Take a step back, focus on your breathing, get good posture and believe and feel it then repeat. The more times you do it the more it will become ingrained into you and the negative thoughts will slip away

“I am unconditionally loved in this very moment. I always have been, I always will be.”

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