Two Years In: How can this be PND?

A couple of months ago, Mrs Lighty had a bit of a meltdown. Not over something as important as global warming, or whether the UK would be better or worse off after Brexit. No, nothing as important as that. It was something much more serious to most mothers I know, at least: the postman dared to ring the doorbell not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES during naptime.

I know, I know, it’s hardly the crime of the century. But to a tired mum, who really, really just wanted a sit down and a cuppa, it was tear-inducing. As soon as I opened the door, I heard a familiar little cry from the nursery. And of course Baby Lighty didn’t want to go back to sleep. As I freelance as a copywriter most evenings, I often feel like I cram the whole of my adult life into naptime. And on this day, that adult life had been stolen from me.

Looking back now, it all feels a bit dramatic. And even on the day, I think I recognised that I was being a bit of a diva, as I didn’t tell anyone about my meltdown bar my lovely Facebook baby group, and one of my NCT friends. Instead, I went and got Baby Lighty up from his nap, and sat on the sofa and cried.

I felt terrible. Here I was crying because, selfishly, I craved a bit of time to do my things: blogging, social media, to clean the house, to have a cuppa. But actually, if you’d asked me two or three years ago what I wanted to do, my answer would have been to have a baby. To be a Mummy. I felt terrible for wanting to be a little bit selfish. And I felt terrible that because I felt this way, I couldn’t give Baby Lighty my full attention.

What’s more, on speaking to my online friends and my NCT friend, it started to become clear that I’d been feeling like this for a while. I’d been feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders, or so it seemed, trying to be strong for the family, trying to put everyone else’s needs before mine. And it was wearing me down. The every day grind, the drudgery, the feeling guilty for every decision I made. I was trying to be everything to everyone: wife, mother, friend, employee, relative…and I’d started to feel like I was doing none of them well. My friends that I spoke to on that day made me see that while it’s normal to have down days as a mother, it’s maybe not so normal to be feeling like this as often as I was. And so I did as I was told by many of them, and made a doctor’s appointment.

That doctor’s appointment came and went. If I’m honest, I’d already had one appointment at the start of the year, when my migraines had started to get worse. The migraines which completely zap me of energy, which make me bone weary, sick and nauseous and feeling like my head is going to explode. The doctor then suggested I try stronger painkillers in an attempt to see if stopping the migraines in their tracks helped my mood, as the migraines felt like they were sucking the soul out of me. That doctor gently suggested that all of my other feelings were perhaps just general motherhood, but to come back if my mood didn’t improve.

Two years in: how can this be PND?

Morning snuggles…about the only good thing to come out of the migraines.

But at the second doctor’s appointment, the one I made on the advice from my friends on that emotional day, a different doctor that I saw on that occasion could see how low I’d become. I think when I described my migraines as “making me worry I was going to have a stroke”, she could see how debilitating they were. And so she prescribed me a preventative tablet, which was also a mild antidepressant.

However, a few months on, these tablets still lay unopened in the little bag from the chemist. Hiding in the kitchen cupboard like a dirty secret. Me struggling through migraine after migraine after migraine, and feeling worse mentally. You see, the doctor had warned me to take them before bedtime, as they make you rather drowsy. And I was worried that if I took them, I wouldn’t hear Baby Lighty if he woke up in the night. The thought of him crying and his mummy not hearing him broke my heart, and I just couldn’t bring myself to take them. Couple that with the fact that when I mentioned to a few people that these tablets were a mild antidepressant I was met mostly with negativity, and I felt even worse about trying them.

So where did this leave me? Well, a few months ago, it nearly left me unable to attend a family weekend away. A weekend which I’d been looking forward to for weeks. I can’t tell you how annoyed I was with myself when I woke up on that Saturday morning to that oh-so-familiar feeling of limbs leaden with aches and pains, a throbbing head and nausea. I can’t tell you how annoyed I was when I reached into my handbag for my strong meds only to find the box empty. And I can’t tell you how annoyed I was when I had to make a trip to the out of hours doctor, making us late for our weekend away.

Two years in: How can this be PND?

Enjoying our weekend away, after the migraine pain subsided!

Everyone I spoke to that morning seemed to question why I’d got into the situation where I had no tablets left. Why hadn’t I been more aware, more organised? But the truth of the matter is this: I am always so aware of what the other people in our little family need, that I constantly put myself on the backburner. And I do this willingly, of course I do. Doesn’t any mother? But I did make myself a promise, as I was sick yet again on the two hour journey to our weekend’s destination, that I needed to look after myself better (and even after this, it still took me nearly a week and a good talking to by another of our NCT friends and another two trips to the doctor’s to discuss how I felt and to see if we could find something that could potentially work for me!).

In all of this, the thing that strikes me is that there has been quite a bit of talk from the doctors of postnatal depression. But how can this be, when Baby Lighty is two years old? How can this be the case when I love that little chap like my life depends on it? It’s not like I don’t want him, don’t love him. I love him like any mother loves their child; it’s a love that’s selfless and all consuming and at times overwhelming. And it’s not like he doesn’t make me laugh – in amongst the tears of course – every day. So how could this be PND, two years in?

Well, I’m not sure, if I’m honest. I’m not sure if it is PND, or just feeling a little low, or a side effect of the migraines worsening. And I’m not sure how I’ll feel over the coming months. But the moral of this story is: be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up on those bad days. Have a little cry when the postman knocks during naptime, even if he’s delivering a lovely anonymous care package to cheer you up when you’re having a bad mummy day (pretty sure that it was from one of the lovely girls in our Facebook baby group, and if I’m right on this fact: THANK YOU!!). Even if you have to apologise to the postman the next time you see him (true story, and he was super sweet about it). But most of all be kind to yourself: go see your doctor, check out that thing that’s been niggling you, rest when you need to rest, listen to your body and know that you’re always doing your best, even if you need a little helping hand along the way.

Two years in: how can this be PND?

The care package I received (sorry the M&Ms got snaffled by Mr Lighty before I could photograph them!)…THANK YOU to whoever sent it! xxx

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Proud to be linking up with:

Rhyming with Wine
Motherhood The Real Deal
Me, Being Mummy

29 thoughts on “Two Years In: How can this be PND?”

  1. I’m so sorry that you’ve been going through this Nic. It’s so difficult to identify just what’s wrong sometimes and I think PND can be underlying for so long without diagnosis in so many cases. I’m relieved that you’ve been able to speak to someone and get some support. I really admire you for sharing your experience and I’m sure that many people that read this will be able to relate and draw strength from knowing that they aren’t alone. Lots of love to you xx

    1. Thank you lovely. Have really appreciated all of your support through this. I’m still not sure quite what I make of it all but getting there xxx

  2. Thank you so much for being brave and writing this. It’s so good to let people know that motherhood isn’t always happy and smiley and Instagram-worthy. Being a parent is hard work, especially with a spirited child and especially when you want to foster amazing attachment, because so often it leaves you with no damn choice but to put your needs second to your child’s. So I totally agree: be kind to yourself, and above all, be honest with yourself. You’re an amazing mum and no less amazing for wanting to have 20 minutes to yourself!

  3. I would take the tablets, they will help you no end and shouldn’t make you that drowsy that you wouldn’t hear your lo. It’s hard but think about where you could cut back so you’re not working in the evening, or organise some childcare so you have proper work time. You can’t do it all, anyone who says they do is lying x

    1. Thank you for your advice, I’m going to speak to the doctors some more, so hopefully I can find a way forward. Unfortunately I can’t cut back in the evenings as we rely on the money, and I can’t put childcare in place as the cost of that would cancel out what I earn from the copywriting. It’s such a find balance but hopefully I’ll get there.

  4. I really feel for you Nic.

    I also often feel I put myself last and it can get a bit ridiculous. Running a business from home I understand the important of every child free minute too but it can get obsessive! But I end up working in the evenings too… so when’s the ‘me time’?

    But it’s a career choice I made. Those migraines sound horrendous though and I’m so glad you went to talk to the doctors. That takes strength too.

    Onwards and upwards one day at a time!


    1. Thank you so much for your kind words lovely. I know you know where I’m coming from with the working from home thing. It’s hard to know what can give. The second lovely NCT friend was the one that we both know! Thanks so much for stopping by xxx

  5. I can really relate to this right now. I suffer with SAD and used to be able to manage it before my little one came along through excercise and the use of a dawn simulator alarm clock. Right now it seems my daughter at 30 months is going through a developmental leap where the only way to settle her at night and for anyone to get any sleep is to bedshare in the spare bedroom away from the alarm clock.
    Yesterday I took the decision to take some time off work this week to get myself together and I have a doctor’s appointment for next week.
    It’s so easy to neglect yourself when you have so much household responsibility along with little ones. Take care 🙂 #DreamTeam

    1. Oh no I hope you are ok? It’s so easy to neglect ourselves, isn’t it? I’m glad you took some time off work, I think I probably need to do the same. Thank you for your kind words. #DreamTeam

  6. Oh darling, I remember feeling a total mess not after baby but from around 16 months when I finished breastfeeding I don’t know what it was but I knew my hormones left me in a mess and sometimes I think things can take a while to catch up with us, or perhaps we just don’t notice until things get really bad that something’s amiss but either way be kind to yourself is definitely the way forward here thanks so much for linking up this honest post to #coolmumclub xoxo

  7. Oh no! I’m so sorry you’ve been feeling this way. The migraines and sickness sound awful. You’re so right that as Mums we are very good at looking after everyone else and not very good at looking after ourselves. You’re right also at being kind to ourselves; we need to make time for us in order to keep everyone else going! You don’t say whether you are now taking the tablets that the doctor prescribed, but I hope that you are. Wishing you love and kindness through whatever this may be. Xxx #CoolMumClub

    1. Erm…well…I’m not taking the tablets but I feel more in control and I think I’m going to look into some further migraine options. Thank you for your kind words though. It’s so easy to neglect ourselves, isn’t it? xxx #CoolMumClub

  8. I’m sorry its been so difficult for you. Two years?! Thats such a long time to be suffering. I was diagnosed with PND just after having my youngest back in march, and I didn’t think twice about starting antidepressants. Anything was better than the hell I was in! 11 days of feeling out of sorts passed by and ever since; it has been like getting myself back again. Hormones were causing my migraines and low moods so the antidepressant has corrected the imbalance. I’m a bit anxious about sde effects as I wean off of them after Christmas but I shall listen to my GP and follow instructions. Like I say, anything is better than the hell I was in! #coolmumclub

    1. Did the antidepressants help with your migraines? Do you think they were a physical symptom of being depressed? I’m still not sure what to make of it all, or if it truly is PND to be honest. #coolmumclub

  9. Oh I’m sorry that you’ve had such a tough time. Motherhood is such a balancing act – not just the balancing of everyone in your care, but the balance between caring for others and caring for yourself. Your migraines sound awful – my brother gets them and they really do impact so much on quality of life. And don’t be afraid to take those anti-depressants. x #dreamteam

  10. Bless you, I understand how you feel. I was diagnosed with PND and PTSD after having George in March but I think it was ongoing from having Teddy all the way back in 2015. It’s a serious illness, am so glad you wrote this because the more awareness there is about it all then the better. Thank you for joining in at the #HoneybeeLinky xxx

    1. Ah thank you so much for your kind words. I’ve had some lovely support from many people who’ve read it, so that’s really nice. #HoneybeeLinky

  11. What a beautifully written and honest post. I’m so sorry to hear you’ve felt so down and those migraines sound horrendous. There’s no shame in taking medication, don’t think of not being able to hear your baby and get up in the night, think of getting better so that you Can enjoy being a mum. Yes it’s stressful beyond belief but if you’re feeling like you’re failing, which you’re clearly not, then you should accept some help. Do take care. Big hugs. Xx #honeybeelinky

  12. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been going through this. I think it’s helpful for you to share though as it always helps to feel that it’s not just you. Migraines are just relentless and I find always wipe you out for days. Hope you’re feeling a bit better soon and sounds like you’ve some fab people round you which always helps #HoneybeeLinky

    1. Thank you lovely. Yes I’m lucky enough to have lots of support around me. The migraines are feeling a bit better now weirdly, so hopefully I’m finding better ways to manage them. Thanks for stopping by! #HoneybeeLinky

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