BY YVETTE MYSTAKAS
I will never forget the day I admitted to myself I may have postnatal depression. I put my son into the baby carrier and took myself to our family GP. My anxiety was at its peak, but all I could ever feel was emptiness, nothingness, and some sort of sadness. Most of all, I felt like I have failed at being a mother. Sadly to this day I still feel like a failed mother.
The crux of my PND comes down to this – Our society’s expectations imposed on new mothers to influence what is “right” and that it is OK to enforce certain expectations on another. All babies are the same, taken solely from the rule book of a perfect child. You MUST have your child on their back or they’ll DIE. Don’t formula feed, breast feed. Don’t co-sleep. Why are you going to work so soon? Why are you working full time hours? Can’t you work part-time? Can you not be a stay-at-home mother? How could you put your baby into day care so early? Why don’t you have allocated date nights with your husband? How can you afford this with a baby? Why did you put him on solids earlier? Why isn’t your toddler talking properly yet? You should be doing this, you should be doing that. Why, why, WHY? Should, should, SHOULD!I will never forget the day I admitted to myself I may have postnatal depression. Click To Tweet
These questions greatly affected me, therefore my guilt began to grow and the notion of a failed mother was permanently implanted in my fragile mind. I tell myself that I really shouldn’t have let it get to me, if I didn’t then maybe I would not be in this state of fragility and sadness. Ultimately, it happened and I bottled and bottled it up, becoming distant with everyone, including myself. It is so easy to fall into this mentality, as in the first few months I felt like a zombie with this same routine for my son. As a new, first time mother you get your head around the basics such as getting baby into a sleep routine, a feeding routine, a routine for myself and when to do the house duties. The grind and the monotony of these instructions messed up my wellbeing and so the failed mother took over. I literally spiralled into a silent madness. Who would want to listen to my problems? I have this perfect life. There are women out there who raise their children in war and poverty. I have the perfect boy, the doting husband, an education, a roof over my head, food on the table and I cannot get my shit together.
What I am learning is this. It doesn’t matter what status I am in society, I have these feelings, doubts and fears that has affected my role a mother, as a wife, as a human being. I have finally after 3.5 years learned to take control of my PND. I can in a clearer state see what impact the illness has affected myself and my surroundings by speaking up, soul searching and figuring out that I am not a failed mother. Simply, through trial and error I am learning that it is ok to not be super mum and pick up the pieces to be a better person, for myself and family.
About the Author:
Yvette is the founder of She is Sacred, where she created a sacred space for raw heartfelt stories, self-love and sisterhood. Since launching her site, Yvette has been featured in numerous blogs, online magazines, sharing her struggles of mental health and the highs and lows of motherhood. You can follow her journey on Facebook and Instagram.